Glitch Dream

Andrea Hernández Briceño

2019 - Ongoing

I’ve dreamt repeatedly of the time I broke my mom’s favorite flower vase. With sweaty palms and glue I fixed it looking over my shoulder. I was scared she would find out, but she never did. The last time I dreamt about it, someone was shouting at me for shattering it. Now I know that every actor in our dreams is ourselves in one of our many forms. The project Glitch Dream is a long meditation on mistakes, their interpretation and significance in our mental health. “Glitch” was also the exact sound that the vase made when it hit the floor.

Mental health was an alien term for me until recently. It is one of the important issues that gets pushed towards the back of the line in Venezuela, where an all-round crisis envelops every aspect of our lives for the past ten years. Screwing up here is the same as everywhere else, except that it can cost more resources to solve any problem –especially self-made ones. This body of work materializes the price of mistakes in these two dimensions: time and meaning.

Processes here are slower because survival shapes or minds into tunnel vision. A crisis has very little space for things that aren’t part of the base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And slowing a process on purpose is madness. I do it with unforgiving analog photography because its Achille’s heel is also its strength. The slowness of the method helps me be more careful and thoughtful with the people I’m photographing and the images. I believe it helps me grow as a person and as a photographer because it makes me more prone to blunders and appreciative of the present. I inhale before making the picture, I exhale after pressing the button. I’m there. It has meaning.

I’m one of the few people that work with analog photography here. There is only one developing laboratory in the country and they often run out of chemicals. So I decided to do it myself. The learning curve was quite steep. I neglected the temperature of the water, dropped negatives and was overall clumsy. I stared blankly at the equipment and chemicals while trying to figure out how to mend these negatives.

I kept ruminating about all I invested –rolls of film, chemicals, tanks, postal service and time. One night, looking through some negatives that I estimated could be saved, I realized that I could employ the Kintsugi technique. This is the art of repairing broken pottery with gold, silver or platinum. It joins the areas of breakage with lacquer mixed with these powdered metals. So I scanned the negatives and cleaned the dust. I strung them together in a sequence that had aesthetic, narrative and dreamlike sense.

There: I am making my own gold-fused flower vase.

And, like that, the feeling of acidity that I permanently carried with me in the base of my stomach dissolved with this process. I understood that I can continue punishing myself with rumination every time I failed, or I can use gold to join the cracks. With the help of the PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant I can continue to experiment, explore and work on translating this methodical analysis into a personal one because Glitch Dream is the materialization of the philosophy of owning my mistakes and presenting them to the world in a dignified and honest way.

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  • The Manjarrés family pose for a portrait in the La Vega barrio of Caracas, Venezuela, on August 30, 2019.

  • View of the cemetery in Choroní, Venezuela, on January 31, 2021.

  • A fisherman sits in the pier at Choroní, Venezuela, on January 31, 2021.

  • Women carry balloons as a birthday present in Caracas, on August 25, 2020.

  • Juan David poses for a portrait in his mother’s home in the Petare barrio of Caracas, on April 14, 2021.

  • Humberto Jesús poses for a portrait in coastal town Chuspa, Venezuela, on July 28, 2021.

  • María Teresa combs her hair at the beach in La Guaira, Venezuela, on October 26, 2020.

  • Erneisy Palma, 27, poses for a portrait in coastal Patanemo, Venezuela, on July 16, 2020.

  • María Teresa bathes at the beach in La Guaira, Venezuela, on June 11, 2021.

  • View of the fishing boats in Choroní, Venezuela, on January 31, 2021.

  • Doña María poses for a portrait in Chuspa, Venezuela, on February 9, 2021.

  • A burning flower in my apartment in Caracas, Venezuela, on August 19, 2020.