Contemporary And (C&): Where does your fascination with handmade objects come from?
Johanna Unzueta: It may sound a little clichéd, but I think I was born like this. Somehow I remember always keeping myself busy, working on different projects, and all of them involved using my hands. The making of objects was a way of communication, of expressing thoughts or feelings for me. I was also very curious and constantly surprised by different textures and materials. I guess that was part of my personal development.
C&: It seems like the relationship between body and material is an important element in your practice, no matter what media you work with. Could you explain why that is?
JU: As you say, this connection appears in most of my works – in my sculpture pieces in felt, in the drawings, and in the Super 8mm films. I think our bodies relate to space and are in constant dialogue with the objects that compose it. So in my practice I am interested in the history of the elements I work with, in particular with their industrial origins and innovative architecture. Recently I’ve been reading Empire of Cotton (2014) by Sven Beckert, and I discovered that the Industrial Revolution started much earlier than the eighteenth century. It was great to connect the history of colonization with the Industrial Revolution and the history of capitalism. In this sense machines replaced slavery, or a new kind of slavery was formed, a new way of human and economic abuse.