In her video works, Claudia Joskowicz (Bolivian, born 1968) considers how popular media circulates and shapes collective memory, contemporary history, and social realities. Every Building on Avenida Alfonso Ugarte—After Ruscha, 2011, documents everyday movement in El Alto, one of the fastest-growing urban centers in Bolivia and also the site of violent clashes during the Bolivian gas conflict of 2003. In Joskowicz’s hands, El Alto embodies the intersection between everyday life and recent historical events that shape Bolivia’s political and social landscape as well as its international reputation. This installation marks the first time Every Building on Avenida Alfonso Ugarte has been shown in a museum in the United States.
In Every Building on Avenida Alfonso Ugarte, Joskowicz takes us down a banal stretch of road on an apparently ordinary day in El Alto. This long tracking shot is punctuated by one surprisingly potent trace of social unrest: a group of people surrounded by fires and smoke standing opposite a police force outfitted in riot gear. Caught in the midst of a rhythmic and steady meditation on the quotidian, this mysterious protest cannot be sensationalized. Instead, it appears as a matter-of-fact component of everyday life.
Joskowicz’s title directly refers to Every Building on the Sunset Strip, an artist’s book published in 1966 by Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937). The twenty-five-foot-long accordion-folded book shows continuous photographic views of both sides of the famous two-mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Much like Ruscha’s renowned book, Joskowicz’s video is not about a specific time as much as it is an ode to a place and an imperfect surrogate for first-hand experience.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.