Projects & Exhibitions
open Source

open Source is an adaptive model that supports the cultivation of collaborative connections and knowledge exchange/transmission outside of the institution. This project began as a direct response to local and national budget cuts to libraries and their subsequent closures, politicians banning books, and the persistent censorship of our free-thinking minds and expressive bodies. It considers public libraries as integral sites of accessible and agentive learning but also as a safe space and alternative housing resource for the unhoused. Inspired by the promises and failures held within social welfare models like public housing and public libraries, and the theories that drove minimalism and modernism, the work critiques and expands these forms and ideologies to construct a new integrative site as cite. The project consists of collapsible wooden objects that can be reassembled in any environment, gathering folks to share and respond to various practices and resources by carving and imprinting them directly onto the forms establishing an archive of exchanges and intentions. The project acts as a living citation and new architecture for social spaces of learning, living, and processing together. For this work-in-progress/test iteration, learning resources were gathered from my personal library, local NYC archives, the Public Library, and by artist/activist collaborators and friends. I made a transgressive flower essence as an energetic offering of subtle and resilient strength for the space and for those who entered. Additionally, warm yellow lights were installed in the space, and ambient frequencies tuned to 528hz were played to slow down the body and mind from a reactive to a responsive state when engaging with the materials, and to regulate the autonomic nervous system inspiring aligned action. Read takeaway print

The door you open is determined by how you twist the knob. The room you enter is determined by how you
open the door.


Three person exhibition with Mira Dayal and Micah Schippa at Apparatus Projects. The works sunrise, sunset, eclipse, Time immemorial, Shaping Time, and Collapsing timelines are contemplations on transitions and the actualizing power of presence. These pieces explore formations of time from the celestial and political, to the seasonal, the alchemical and collective. 
Listen to Collapsing timelines

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In the project Acknowledgments 2022, I use an 1892 New York Times article about a young Indigenous woman’s attempt to escape a Convent as an anchor to engage parallel narratives. I connect this story with and call attention to the contemporary epidemic of missing and murdered BIPOC womxn, girls, trans, 2S, and gender non-conforming folks. This project contends with the missing (people, data, visibility, histories, etc.) and centers the agency of the fugitive from a theoretical and emotional standpoint. I employ these realities as conceptual, poetic, and formal frameworks to recognize how cultures of domination perpetuate cycles of violence - how the missing go missing. The work consists of a vinyl image of a partial sky at sunset placed at the height of 12 ft. (the height of the wall the subject mentioned in the article is attempting to traverse, and the average height of prison and border walls), a sound piece on loop (Sine Nomine), a takeaway print, and live performance + breathwork practice. The works together offer an escape plan from cultures of violence and domination through forms of resource sharing, poetry, sound improvisation, and collective gathering.
  Access the original NYT article “She Tired of Convent Life”

Listen to Acknowledgments
(Sine Nomine)

Read takeaway print

Watch a video clip of the performance Acknowledgments (revelations of life)

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blossom soup, bossom salad catalogue

A catalogue was produced for the group exhibition blossom soup, blossom salad at the Block Museum for which I exhibited the work Acknowledgments 2022. The book presents the research of an emard, Whitney Johnson, Scott Kemp, Travis Morehead, jess mai walker, and myself. My section includes an essay written by Joelle Mercedes introducing my practice, followed by research images from various iterations of the Acknowledgments project, and a poem contextualizing the works.

your poison is our medicine

your poison is our medicine appropriates and intervenes in museum didactics and display (generated from the Field Museum) to reframe our relationship to poisonous plants (the Anacardiaceae family) and current environmental crises (i.e. overconsumption, water scarcity, and climate change). It is a proposition to deepen our awareness of the structures that create ecocide (colonialism and global capitalist economies) and mobilize actions towards transformative change. Throughout the wall label text, I mix prose poetry with collected research and redactions of taxonomical writings on the poison ivy and pistachio plants. The footnotes act as a site of potentiality engaging source material, personal narratives, and decolonial, environmental, and social activist strategies. In the installation, citations vibrate outside of the page within the corresponding images transferred onto the insides of pistachio shells and sound works that punctuate the silence ([11] dream record, [13] song/prayer, [24] pistachio shell snaps, and [26] a clip of Nina Simone covering George Harrison’s “Isn’t it a pity”. These multisensory forms of translation act as ways to expand research into felt sense, and reorient the viewer back into a kincentric understanding of being in/of/with the living world.
Read wall label text

Listen to footnotes [11], [13], [24], [26]

Watch a video of the installation your poison is our medicine

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Surface Tension

Group exhibition with Ashley Gillanders, Rosemary Holliday Hall, SaraNoa Mark, and Galen-Odell Smedley at Heaven Gallery. I exhibited another iteration of Acknowledgments, this time bringing awareness to colonialism’s effect on the land and native species, as well as highlighting the contradictions inherent in American symbols and policies. Using the original and covered versions of the song Fly Like an Eagle as a means of exploring notions of historic recurrence, I layered all covers, blurring them into a confusing dissonance, dislocating the original author in the same way historical and intergenerational trauma may present in the body and mind. The work additionally includes a collective candle pour For once they intuited that the human will was long intent on capture, they all conspired to rest their Truth everywhere- M. Jacqui Alexander, a wall installation with spotlight and temporary tattoo Phoenix, and a digital webpage that contained resource links embedded within a contextual timeline Acknowledgments 2020
Read Acknowledgments 2020 timeline

Listen to loophole

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Arrow references the four directions, the elements, and the Seven Fires Prophecy as foundational starting points to engage cross-cultural intersecting themes of migration, ecological devastation, intergenerational and historical trauma, as well as individual and collective responsibility. The works weave together charged materials like gunpowder and archival images alongside a sound piece that collages personal narratives and pop music with research from Indigenous and Black scholars/activists to rethink the Statue of Liberty and Birth of the New World monuments. This mash-up resulted in a sound installation of the audio essay A cross is an Arrow that points four ways and includes four wall sculptures and a ritual candle performance. The audio essay, whose narrative is non-linear and circular inspired by Caribbean Native mythologies and the Seven Fires Prophecy, was split into five speakers across the room. The complete audio essay played at the center of the room via a parabolic speaker, and parts of the essay played from the four stereo speakers at the corners. The parts (stereo speakers) layered on top of the complete audio essay (parabolic speaker) to create an echo or a glitch. The layered sounds became discordant and dissonant over time as gaps and delays emerged, making the narrator’s words almost illegible. While guests engaged with the installation, I brewed a pot of wax, asking folks to participate in ritual candle-making. These one-on-one candle brewing sessions became moments for meditation and rest, as myself and participants connected over the topics being disseminated. As we communed, I described the healing properties of the plant materials and guided participants individually to brew their unique wax blend. These individualized gestures of poured wax spilled out from the marginal spaces of the room, layering on top of each other to form a collective gesture of accumulative intentions. 
Access the Seven Fires Prophecy as told by the Circle of Turtle Lodge

Listen to the audio essay A cross is an Arrow that points four ways

Read transcript

Watch a video walkthrough of the installation Arrow

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Acknowledgments 2019 was the first workings of the 1892 NYT article “She Tired of Convent Life”. This initial iteration aims to contend with the violence of borders and notions of private property, and connects stories of capture and cultural erasure through means of poetry, iconoclastic gestures, and orientations of the body to patterns and time. The work consists of the original article’s text split across several pages, a video of the horizon, 2 Judd replica chair sculptures, a printout of US/Mexico border wall prototypes, and a temporary tattoo. I instructed viewers to enter the space as the sun was setting. Judd is referenced in this work as I found that his Marfa complex was formerly the de-accessed military post, Fort D.A. Russell, which served as the original US/Mexico border in the early 20th century. Marfa, TX, and surrounding areas are the lands of the Jumanos, Mescalero Apache, and Ndé Kónitsąąíí Gokíyaa (Lipan Apache). 

Kayla Anderson writes: “In my mind, she was preparing for flight. The wall was her horizon, a launching pad into the unknown, which for her was the only location of freedom. To broaden one’s horizons means to exceed the limits of one’s prescribed plight. While her moment of escape might be fleeting, her flight would be eternal. 

The story was printed as one long horizontal line, the pages placed along a window ledge, beyond which the sun was starting to set.

The setting sun is sometimes used as a metaphor for the end of an empire. It signals a final, inevitable, collapse. I have been waiting so long for this sun to set. Since before I was born. When I see your horizon, I close my eyes and I tell myself that it is near. It is so near.

But before then (as we saw that day) there will be many fires. I pray that their intensity will call down the sun. 
When it does, remember that the sun loves you.”  
Read Acknowledgments 2019 timeline

Watch a video walkthrough of the installation Acknowledgments

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Source of Origin

Two-person exhibition with Wyne Veen at LVL3 that examined what it means to be with or without context through individualized methods. The show reconsidered how information is distilled, experienced, or processed through installation and discrete works. I exhibited two wall works US and Time, a sculpture Untitled, and an installation News piece. A poem was written as a key.   Read poem

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©Yani aviles 2024