Michelle Arcila is a Brooklyn based photographer. She was born and raised in New York, but she considers her summers spent in Costa Rica, visiting her family, as the experiences that continue to inform her work. She received her B.F.A from the School of Visual Arts in photography in 2002. Since then she has exhibited her work in Australia, Paris, Italy, New York, and Spain. “A Thousand Ancestors”, Michelle’s self-published project in collaboration with musician Eivind Opsvik, was described by the New York Times as "encouraging a tactile, track-by-track experience: a film in fragments, or maybe a high-concept slide show with no projector. Whatever you call it, there’s reason to hope for more like this.” and “The art photographer Michelle Arcila and the bassist Eivind Opsvik share an aesthetic of haunting introspection, and the desire to seek out beauty in austerity.” Michelle currently divides her time between upstate NY and Brooklyn, where she lives with her husband and 5-year-old daughter. 

A becoming, a divide of identity, approval, a shimmer of who you have to be and who you choose, or the other way around, fluctuating, colliding into birth, without the perspective of self. Like accidental artwork, life is such a familiar word; yet this may be the most absurd thing you ?ll ever know. You are a part of forever, equally frozen in time and fully alive.

Stardust, bones, blood, throbbing heart, muscles, water, neuron fibers, grey matter compiling, rushing towards contemplation. Slowly realizing a world. Photography without a beginning but which also has no ending. The subjects captured are as much organisms as they are objects, blended into their environment, equally alive, equally a remote memory. Showing layers of the living world, in it is also inertia; in it is also the unfamiliar familiarity of something long lost to the present, still having an impact on future events. Not mummified entering death, but mentors and thus still in love. This is at once a picture of the hidden, what hides and how the concealment lives within us through life, through death.

A Thousand Ancestors is the culmination of a long-standing collaboration between photographer Michelle Arcila and musician/bassist Eivind Opsvik which synthesize the strong influence of visual imagery on music, and vice versa. Hailing from Costa Rica and Norway, two different countries with distinct cultural traditions and folklore, A Thousand Ancestors is an exploration of family history and the continuing influence of ancestral narratives on the present generation.

The artists aim to slow time for the observer, and allow him/her to perhaps uncover distant, buried memories of their own during the encounter. A beautiful example of this can be experienced in “A Strange Gratitude”--the second track and print on A Thousand Ancestors pairs a steady, escalating tension of bass strings with a slightly ominous, dreamlike image of two silver-haired figures obscured by a thin veil of dying tree branches in the foreground, hazy snow-covered mountains stretching behind.      

The project is a limited edition box set (numbered edition of 500) designed by Espen Friberg containing a ten-track vinyl LP (plus a CD and download card), ten photographic prints, each of which correspond to a track on the record, and a poster. Released by the Brooklyn based record label; Loyal Label.

 


Website

www.michellearcila.net
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