ALICIA VELÁZQUEZ

Being In Between

Being In Between

Being In BetweenAlicia VelazquezComment
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I love being in between. Taking planes and trains, and road trips. Being part of that changing landscape brings me into a meditative state, into a place of high potential to be, to become and to transform. It's an experience filled with expectancy and desire, with fear and excitement.

Because you are passing by you are both an inhabitant and a viewer. You cannot be a tourist of the in between, as you are also living there, even if for a short time.

At this moment I have the opportunity to bring the "being in between" into a professional reality. As I recently became an Adapt-r fellow (Marie Curie ITN funding) I will be for a one-year period working in Zurich, in Brussels and in the in between. 

As a first reaction to this weekly motion, I started a series of material actions. To take a better look at these three places, and see myself in them. 

We forget about our time in between because we do forgettable things. We try to pass our time as quickly as possible. We read, write and look out of the window. We play cards or games. Sometimes we have great encounters and conversations, we read a book we have been wanting to for long time, or we get a very much needed sleep and silence moment to ourselves. We tend to fill our time there, rather than to "feel" our time. 

I love being in between. We take it as being in transit, expecting the upcoming or longing for what we left behind. But in between is also a destination. It's also a place. When we accept that, we will also "live" there.   

How do you experience being in between?

Lifescapes

Textures Purpose, Being In BetweenAlicia VelazquezComment

On the train from Brussels Nord towards Leuven, I look at all of us seating on the brown-leathered yellow-tabled car. We are all part of this material landscape. We - humans - move, we are alive, we emit sounds. Yet we are also mass, skin and form, and next to the other material forms we make this landscape of the now. Them and us, a temporary, dynamic landscape. A lifescape

Perhaps the mistake is to look at us and space as separate entities - us and materials, us and the train car. Perhaps it is now the moment when we should look at all of us as one thing.

Because part of this landscape remains - the material environment. But this landscape I am living in right now, this lifescape, exactly composed of the same mass, form and material as it is now only belongs to this very moment. There will not be another one like this, never. Never again there will be rain outside of this train wetting the windows. Never again this light. Nor are we train companions going to be in the same wagon, sitting in the same places at the same moment, wearing these clothes, having these conversations and getting these phone calls. The woman falling asleep in front of me, the business man looking at his mobile screen, the young guy in front of him with sleepy face looking now out the window, now at his phone. Never ever.

We are wrong. We have been wrong all along. We build and inhabit these material worlds believing that they never change, that we simply take our life in and out of them. But we overlook that our world is the combination of us and them. Us "and" the material world form a unique landscape every time. 

We are part of a dynamic lifescape. It is up to us to grasp it or not, to "be" inside it. We are not just watching it. Or experiencing it. We are part of it, indivisible part of it. It exists because of us. We give it meaning and life. 

Have you experienced yourself as indivisible part of your lifescape? Where, how?

I'd love to hear your experience in the comments below, or if you rather, send me a message.

Embracing In Between

Textures Purpose, Being In Between, VideoAlicia VelazquezComment

Last week we had a workshop and exhibition in Aarhus (Denmark) during Adapt-r event Making Research Research Making. Adapt-r (Architecture, Design and Art Practice Training-research) is a European program and network to promote creative practices research.

Together with designer Verena Ziegler, and after working together for one year we presented there and for the first time our project Inhabiting In Between.

Inhabiting In Between started as a shared space. Coming both of us from an architecture background, we both had the urge to explore the humanness in materiality, bringing it closer to the body. What are the emotional connections that we share with and through materials? And how can we, as designers, as makers, as practitioners, explore these connections?

This shared space of being in between, started as a series of material acts. Performing these acts with the materials, letting them speak to us, we seek to unveil new emotional relationships.

From static materializations of in between space, we moved into dynamic techniques, and started working with inflatables.

How do we inhabit a space that is changing, that is changeable? When inhabiting a dynamic space we are not in control. We are simply there, having the experience. We can activate it, we can decide how to handle the texture or wrap it around ourselves. But it keeps a degree of unpredictability, which makes the act a shared space. We are therefore not designing the texture completely, but providing the space for the material, and our body, to have a shared experience. Of inhabiting together.

Will inflatable spaces give us a sense of belonging? Can materials help us to connect emotionally?

As we don't have answers but only questions, I leave you with a narrative video sharing some of our latest works and thoughts on inhabiting the in between.

And with a question to embrace:

  • what could it do for you? 

Looking forward to your comments here below.

Resilience to Oblivion

Being In BetweenAlicia VelazquezComment
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While I was attending Design & Emotion Society's biannual event two years ago, in one of the coffee breaks, I met a Dutch designer. We exchanged information about our practice. I commented to her that my wish is to intervene in those forgotten moments in the city, which tend to happen during moments of transit. "But if we design everything, won't that be too much?" she replied. 

Well, everything is designed. And my ambition is not creating a theme park out of every moment. 

We are influenced - constantly- by our immediate environment. 

We choose to care about our home, our private space. But we choose to foget about the subway corridor, the back door, the flat lobby. And yet we see it, we experience it. Every day, perhaps twice a day, 5 days a week, 300 days per year.

We pay attention to every part of our body when cleaning it or dressing it up.

Otherwise, which part to forget?