Graciela Cassel October 29 2017

The City: How I Dream It & How I Feel It


Reality cannot be described in a sequential story. However, reality is broken into parts where present, past, and future are woven together but, yet, these parts are not completely sealed. This non-narrative condition leaves a gap -- something unexplained –- something absent but open to possibilities. Indeed, this void questions the sense of history of what is meaningful and of what composes “reality.” This void allows for what is experienced as dislocation. This disruption derives from making a fiction of the truth but not a myth.

My work is about memories and dreams. In my videos , I present the city, how I feel it and how dream it. The pace in the videos is sometimes fast other times slow creating a dreamlike and reflexive state of mind that may invite the viewer to recognize in these images their own experience.

The process of creation for me, is organic, always a relationship between me and where I live. They city has always been a source of ideas for me. Everywhere I look I find a new story to tell, I don’t speak, I show what my eyes see.

Through the Mirror (2016)

Through the Mirror was created in a science lab, it is by the interrelation between the eye, the camera, and cells captured through mirrors that a journey develops. Repetition, reflections, movements, and gradient of colors: all traversed the cells, showing how the most minimal part of our bodies re-iterates nature.

Through the Mirror

Accelerate (2013)

Accelerate shows the urban landscape while travelling but this work is also a meditation about modern cities. In Accelerate, light and speed stream together. Light is the only thing that can achieve the highest speed. Light appears with both contrasts and reflections, and speed with its variations, when increasing and decreasing the acceleration. Along this trip, our lives appear as real but also as mirage.


City-life II (2012)

The images from the video projection of  City-life II move quickly in the sky, acting as the memories, dreams, and the action of these inhabitants. The windows of trains moving appear as new realities. In this process, a new city is created.  Additionally, a new city is created in which the actions of the inhabitants are present as extensions of their ideas, but their appearances are almost invisible.

City Life II

Light Dreams In And Out (2013)

This piece is about dreams, transformation, identity, and play.

1 - ”Wolf-girls” are inside a space, appearing as if they are being trapped. The masks play an important part of their transformative roles. The action of putting on a mask and taking it off is a moment of self discovery.  

2 - Two wolf-girls come through an opening in a fence and they discover a mirror. In its reflection, they start to see themselves. They discover how they look and what they can do. But in this interplay, they start a fight that ends in the Tchi’s surrender.  Then, the interaction becomes more of curiosity than of animosity. When the Tchi falls asleep, she becomes part of light.

3 - The mood in this part is of the freedom of light and movement. Girls, without masks, can play to catch the moon.

Light Dreams In And Out deals with our desires and fears to live our lives fully.  Two mythological characters, half wolf and half human, take a journey that serves to resolve their isolation and alienation by confronting their fears and embracing their destinies.  In their dreams, they realize that they must abandon their wolf masks and claim their humanity in order to become integrated with the world.  They dance with the moon as a symbol of this transformation.  This is a joyful dance which connects humans, the city in which they live, and the nature that is all around them.

Dreams Inside-Out

Dreaming Tigers (2014)

Dreams are where our memories, fears, and desires become one complex vision in an alternative reality. In this video, a young woman dreams into being a tiger that travels through a vast area. Her eyes become like those of that dreamed tiger and, once awake, she will look through the tiger’s eyes.

Dreaming Tigers

In the Sky (2015)

In the limit between the sky and the city, water-tanks appear as new beings. They are many, fragile and beautiful and appear as if they belong to the same family. It seems that they had made connections between each other and they are the real sentinels of the city.

Water tanks in a skyline evoke the contrast between past and present. The water towers stand as titans and sentinels over he city, guarding what is precious and in danger to disappear: “water.” In this video, the zooming in and out of the camera brings three water tanks alive: they move, they watch, they blend with the sky. 

In the Sky

River A (2016)

The video River A presents the connection between cities and nature. The city is viewed from the river in a continuous loop. The colors and the shapes change, transitioning between the moods of very mellow to intense, thereby showing this constant relation between the river and the city is at times balanced; yet, at other times, the relationship is vulnerable, leaving each other in danger.

River A

Subliminal (2016)

The title Subliminal refers to the subtle changes in the sky that affect us in our every-day lives. This video intends to show a story of the clouds over one day. The narrative starts with a placid sunrise, with cotton-pink clouds. Next, the video continues the flow, showing different times of the day, different facets of the clouds. There is a moment of great intensity when a storm appears: the clouds turn red and then dark blue. Slowly, after the storm, everything turns back into a calm day: the white cotton clouds reappear.


Portals II (2016) 

Portals II is an exploration of differences.  The initial part of the video shows a sphere-cloud machine discovering spaces. When the sphere-cloud machine travels, the landscapes and spaces are transformed: they elongate, they multiply, and they shift to upside down.  The sphere continues the trip accelerating and de-accelerating and finally passes through the clouds to an outer space where it meets other sphere-planets. These planets move around each other as if in a beautiful dance. In this dance,  they touch each other, with the touch transforming each planet and they acquire the characteristics of the other "partner" sphere. They also multiply, showing many differences. This interaction is an amazing dance where worlds don’t collide into each other but mix and differentiate.

Portal 2

About the Author

Graciela Cassel is a multimedia artist who works on video installations and sculpture, exploring concepts of subjectivity, change, and border politics. When rethinking border politics, we analyze the intersections between society and individuals; we uncover the power clashes and their incongruities in the systems where different logics exist at the same time. All of these clashes occur in time and are experienced as change.

Recent solo exhibitions include Arte x Arte, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2014); Recovered Memories, Consulate General of Argentina, New York (2012); Islandia, Dutch Kills Gallery, New York (2009). Recent group shows include Artist Book, Sculpture Garden, LIC, New York (2014); Front and Center, SVA, MFA Show (2014); and Speed, North Carolina Museum, North Carolina, USA (2013).

In 2015, In the Sky received the New York Filmmakers Palm Award in the Spring season screening at Anthology Film Archives. In 2016, she received a grant for her Rivers, video project by NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Greater New York Arts Development Fund. And her Accelerate received  the Spring Palm Awards 2016 given by New Film Makers in Anthology film Archives.

Graciela Cassel

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