Multidisciplinary artist, Lorna Otero (Puerto Rico, 1979), employs photography to create art based on, or inspired by, human relations and their social contexts (Relational Aesthetics). This installation of photographs, serves as a photo album that takes the form of a tree. The work is an interactive community project that doubles as a research tool. Gathering portraits of contemporary families living in a multicultural city, the work challenges the conventions and ideals of what a traditional family is or should be and how these families weave into the fabric of a community.
Resisting the concept of the artist’s authorship, this installation, is created and
completed only through the audience’s participation. In essence, Otero’s work is a blank canvas. She creates the support in which the public, through their contribution of family portraits, will build an album that reflects the rich and diverse families of South Florida. In this compelling installation there is a fusion between the public and the private realms and a blurring of the lines that traditionally separate the type of images exhibited in an artistic institution and the everyday images created in domestic or social spaces.
These everyday images remind us of a statement made by author, Brenda K. Marshall regarding the emphasis on differences rather than the identity that characterizes postmodern life: “People (and societies) are perceived as sites of difference.” Ultimately, this album aims to question what the definition of family is today, and to highlight and celebrate the rich diversity of these families that make up this dynamic and ever-changing region.