Neuromantic - PhMuseum

Neuromantic

Ana Vallejo

2020 - Ongoing

New York, United States; Brooklyn, New York, United States

My name is Ana and I am a love addict. All my life, I have been consumed by anxiety and trapped in a loop of rejecting the partners who want me and obsessing over the ones who don’t. It's been painful and exhausting.

In march 2020 the Covid 19 pandemic severely hit NY and I was suddenly trapped in my apartment with my fears and anxieties. This ignited a process of looking inward and creating a visual language to cope with my extreme emotions.

My apartment became the stage where I resignify traumatic experiences and the collages, and portraits of my friends and lovers mirrors to my emotional world.

I exhaustively researched neuro scientific and psychological journals to understand the origins of my emotional dependency. I found connections between trauma, emotional abuse, emotion regulation, and addictions and learned how these factors affect our attachment styles and intimacy. (link to project website: https://readymag.com/u632244703/science/)

Humans need meaningful social bonds in order to survive. Some of us developed coping mechanisms where we learned to suppress our emotional needs (avoidant) or over activate them (anxious). Anxious and avoidant individuals attract and clash at the same time, enhancing they’re insecurities when conflict arises.

In 2020 I launched a survey where I asked people to describe how their emotions around romantic love felt. (Link to curated answers from 100+ participants: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RusfAcMVsv4t3uMYJZ5LxRslHyY-rZrU7KaNhRcV2c8/edit)

I'm currently collaborating on a second survey with data scientist Andrew Hill (link to the pilot surveys: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1M97pNeuQHdDG0XGYk1TirAg8KfG0vopc). We are planning to map the data collected into an interactive archive of anecdotes and experiences around intimate romantic relationships. The data will be mapped out according to an attachment style assessment that we do in the survey. The survey will provide an anonymous and safe space of expression for the participants. Likewise, it will bring insight to the public by showing collective emotional patterns and our intricate differences.

Through this interdisciplinary scrutinization of relationships, Neuromantic delves into romance to ultimately highlight why healthy relationships are essential for our wellbeing.

Having a solo exhibit would allow me to present the project’s visual landscape as an immersive experience where the public would interact for the first time with Neuromantic in a physical space. This would provide me with a unique and profound opportunity to have a collaborative exchange with the festival's public which would in turn expand my research and the project's collaborative scope.

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  • A light beam on a wall in my apartment captured while going through heartbreak during lockdown

  • Jaded in Compatible Ways

  • Collage made with a photograms of my blood, and a xerox print of a medium format photo of a past love

  • I wish I could heal your pain

  • Collage of a photogram made from my blood coffee and fire, medium format photo of a love and burnt instax

  • Love-Induced Analgesia

  • Collage made from a denounce that I made on April 2019 about a sexual assault on March 22 2013: "In that moment I was alone, for example didn’t want to talk about it publicly because it was outside of the school it took me two months to assimilate what had happened. I didn’t have the knowledge it was taboo and they worried more about my image in society so neither offer help I had the strength to start a process my testimony crime feel too much anxiety rage pain. I think. I didn’t know him. a prudent normal distance between two people who just met. I fall asleep. I wake up. I feel something is not OK. moment I am confused because I am recovering consciousness and I don’t understand what is happening. I start to scream, cry, and hit him. I told a variety teachers. They couldn’t. I went out. Denigrated. Precautions. Could go to prison. Time after. Calm."

  • Embrace. Collage from two medium format photographs.

  • Breathe

  • I never meant to hurt you

  • Unfillable Void

  • A drive stronger than thirst.

  • Photogram made in my bathroom with my blood, coffee and fire

  • Collage. I feel discarded, like something disposable. I just want to be curled up in a ball and embraced by someone who can make me feel safe and loved again.

  • Reaching for the Unattainable

  • Hot and Cold. Collage made with notes from my research, page from the scientific paper "Attachment and Substance Use Disorders—Theoretical Models, Empirical Evidence, and Implications for Treatment" and portrait of a friend

  • Panic

  • Have you been addicted to someone? Scan of a burnt medium format negative 

  • Ruminations. Scan of a scratched medium format negative

  • Hallway to a past love's apartment.


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