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Presented By: Institute for the Humanities

Digital Engrams

An installation Jean Yokes Woodhead Visiting Artist Gabriela Ruiz

Image of Gabriela Ruiz by Jade Mainade Image of Gabriela Ruiz by Jade Mainade
Image of Gabriela Ruiz by Jade Mainade
The notion that our brains actually create memories first stored and then revisited has been contemplated since the time of Plato and Aristotle. These units of memory, or engrams, are poetic portals through which we time travel, gaining hindsight and foresight, more meaning and greater wisdom, and hopes for a future less encumbered. Beyond reminiscences of technicolor sunsets, perhaps memories are simply the brain's records of endless repetitions and familiar neural pathways.

In an era of iPhones, Macbooks, Instagram, and Facebook, everything that’s happened to us in recent memory is at our immediate disposal and made to look better than the original … every day of every year, every meal of every trip, every postcard destination. With constant 24/7 access to the newsreel of our own lives, are we losing our innate ability to remember what matters in the process?

In Digital Engrams, L.A. artist Gabriela Ruiz combines sound, video, light and sculpture to create unexpected environments that challenge our sensibilities. The installation considers how images function on and off the screen, and how memories real and curated are the crux of personal and cultural identity. Who do we think we are in this life or the eternal life on the internet hereafter?

Ruiz’s spatial inquiries grapple with the potential erasure of the rituals of memorialization and the richness of material culture so important in her own Latinx heritage and to her sense of self.

–Amanda Krugliak, IH Arts Curator

About the artist:
Gabriela Ruiz is a self-taught artist whose practice blends diverse forms of expression and media, including sculpture, video, painting, and apparel design. Her sculptures incorporate found objects and industrial materials, such as thrift store furniture and insulation foam. Strongly influenced by growing up in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley to immigrant parents from Mexico, Ruiz’s practice is a reflection of the DIY work ethic she was raised under, the vibrancy of Mexican cultural and artistic traditions, and her exposure to subculture and fantasy at a young age as a means to escape the realities of daily life.

One of L.A.’s rising young talents, she presented her solo show Stream at the Palm Springs Art Museum in 2022, part of the museum's Outburst project.

Gabriela Ruiz is the Jean Yokes Woodhead Visiting Artist at the Institute for the Humanities. This exhibition is part of LSA's fall 2023 Art & Resistance theme semester.
Image of Gabriela Ruiz by Jade Mainade Image of Gabriela Ruiz by Jade Mainade
Image of Gabriela Ruiz by Jade Mainade

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