February 2 – June 23, 2024
East Wing Galleries
SIN AGUA is a video and sound installation by artist Sofía Córdova that layers research and personal narrative catalyzed by the artist’s inquiry into water—its presence, absence, and significance—in Arizona’s arid landscape and in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
Described by the artist as an “anti-documentary trilogy,” the three films merge Córdova’s research into the colonial erasure of Indigenous water systems in Arizona and it’s reverberations into present-day water access, while she contends with the arrival of Hurricane Maria and it’s ruinous impacts on her native Puerto Rico. The films layer footage culled from a vast range of sources including Hollywood films and Zoom interviews, views from car windows and vacant streets, communication with family on the island, mirage-like desert dances, and trips to tourist sites, archives, ruins, and strange infrastructures. Merged together, these scenes register how time collapsed in the process of making SIN AGUA. For the artist, “all time became one”—present-day Phoenix and built community experiments like the Biosphere 2 and Arcosanti began to resemble ruins. Córdova narrates the films, slipping between English and Spanish, and flitting from research observations to memoiristic digressions—all against an ominous soundtrack that hums with field recordings, as abrasive as the dry desert air.
These far-reaching elements are metabolized into a scintillating installation environment where past, present, and future collide signaling, in Córdova’s words, “history forever looping onto itself.”
SIN AGUA is organized by Julio César Morales, Executive Director & Lead Curator, and Alexis Wilkinson, Curator.
Generous support for this exhibition is provided by the The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Arizona Commission on the Arts; and MOCA Tucson’s Board of Trustees, Ambassador Council, and Members.
In-kind support provided by Rune Wines, Randi Dorman, and Exo Roast Coffee, Co.
About the Artist
Sofía Córdova lives and works between her native Puerto Rico and Oakland, CA. Her work considers sci-fi as alternative history, dance music’s liberatory dimensions, climate change and migration, and most recently, revolution—historical and imagined—within the matrix of class, gender, race, late capitalism and its evolving technologies. She works in performance, video, sound, music, installation, photography, and sometimes taxidermy. She is one half of the music duo, XUXA SANTAMARIA. In addition to discrete projects, they collectively score all of her video work.
Her work has been exhibited and performed nationally and internationally at The Whitney Museum of American Art, Tufts University Galleries, the Buffalo Institute for Contemporary Art, SFMOMA, the Arizona State University Museum, the Vincent Price Museum, the Wattis Institute, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (USA), as well as the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (Puerto Rico), Art Hub (Shanghai) and MEWO Kunsthalle (Germany). The same is part of The Kadist’s and The Whitney Museum’s permanent collections. She has participated in residencies at Eyebeam, NY, Headlands Center for the Arts, Mills College Museum, CA, and the ASU Museum, AZ and composed and choreographed performances for the SF Arts Commission, Merce Cunningham Trust and Soundwave Biennial. She is a recipient of a Fundación Ama Amoedo Grant, a Creative Work Fund Grant and is a 2023 Artadia Awardee.
Image Credits: Sofía Córdova, SIN AGUA ii. subtle suffering (video still), 2017-2022; Sofía Córdova, SIN AGUA i. expectation crowned by its own desire (video still), 2017; Sofía Córdova, SIN AGUA i. expectation crowned by its own desire (video still), 2017.