Carolyn Drake and Andres Gonzalez
Ficciones is a collaborative project made by Carolyn Drake and Andres Gonzalez along the US Mexico border. We have been partners in life and work since we met in grad school in 2003. Our family histories can be reduced to familiar stories. Andres’ extended family migrated from Mexico to California over a period of decades, settling in the San Francisco Bay. Carolyn also has roots in California – European farmers who migrated West along the Oregon trail in the 19th century. We have both fought, and at times failed, to defy the stereotypes we fit into. And while we are repeatedly confounded by the ways our differing cultural backgrounds shape our behaviors, the next moment we are confounded by the ways we thwart them. The differences draw us together, but they are also a source of struggle, something we are constantly hashing out.
The visual pairings we are making across the border reflect that struggle: to find balance, to relate, and to defy the expectations of our own storyline. We make pictures together yet apart, looking at almost the same things at almost the same time. We are drawn to the ways identity is negotiated in the borderlands – people and towns and waterways that are part one and part the other, perpetually divided and crossing between. The title Ficciones is a reminder that the border itself is not a natural condition; it is an imagined concept – albeit one that occupies physical, political, and psychological space. For the Magnum x Obscura Commission we worked in small towns on both sides of the border between Nogales and Brownsville/Matamoros.
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