By Charlene Adhiambo
In María Fernanda Videla Urra’s experimental short film “La Vida Normal“, a drawing mannequin gains a large social media following during quarantine and reckons with his own high status and material identity. We spoke to Videla Urra to reflect on what it means to be an artist and a human in these times.
MVU: I’m hoping for the spring to arrive here in the south of Chile. I’m pretty overwhelmed by the news around the world, so I suppose I’m navigating different emotions.
I have had a very introverted experience lately. I connect with friends on video calls, but I’m focused on parenting my two year old toddler and working. By the end of the day there is not much time to connect with other artists.
I’m trying to develop some skills related to home and daily aspects of life. I never experience boredom, but I have tried to create a vegetable garden with not much success. Also baking bread and cookies with my daughter, but I stopped when I realized how much weight I gained.
This is a very deep question. I realized every week a different aspect of my own material identity. I have the feeling we are experiencing a dark period of history, but the most important thing I see in different aspects of life has to do with how our society is excessively immersed in the individual. The lack of a social project manifests in our current world crisis, and we need to examine why.
I constantly feel I’m living in a polarized world. Today, this polarization is for me a response to the social crisis. It is hard to be positive today, which is an exercise we need to practice, but I feel the crisis is a possibility to make change, to rediscover our priorities and modify ourselves from the ground up. The mannequin in a way discovers the complex network we live in, and that is the beginning of his own change of paradigm.
Charlene Adhiambo is The Play Company’s current Literary Intern. She hails from Atlanta, Georgia by way of Nairobi, Kenya. You can reach her at [email protected].