Maria Chavez was born in Lima, Peru on June 1, 1980. While she’s now based in Brooklyn, NY, she works internationally. For her education she first earned her Associates Degree in Audio Engineerings from the Houston Community College in 2003. Then, from 2014-2017 she served as a visiting research fellow for Sound Practice Research at Goldsmith’s University of London.
She is as an abstract turntablist, sound artist, and DJ who has won a variety of awards and whose work has been shared on an international basis. Her work ranges from sound sculptures, installations and other works involving her solo turntable performance practice. In all instances, it is common to see themes and the presence of accidents, coincidences and failures within her work. Along with producing her art, Chavez has also taught workshops, given presentations, and written books. She has also been a research fellow with the Sound Practice Research Department of Goldsmith’s, which is located at the University of London, since 2015. Chavez has also had her work and sets showcased at various locations including House & Techno, art museums such as MoMa, gala events like El Museo del Barrio, New York Fashion Week, various festivals, and on different radio stations.
When looking at her work, I had mixed reactions and also wasn’t sure which pieces I wanted to focus on discussing within this blog post. Different from anything I’d ever seen or heard before, I had to go through a wide variety of her videos to better understand how I felt about her work. After reading about her in order to try to better understand Chavez both as an artist and an individual, I started exploring her website to look at the various outlets, platforms, and styles of work she creates. In the end I realized that while her work may not have been something I would typically gravitate to or come across in my day-to-day life, which is why I initially had mixed reactions to it, the creativity and uniqueness behind was she does is something that I respect and consider to be impressive. Her way of thinking and the types of sounds she creates goes way outside the box of what is typically seen and showcased in modern society, which makes her work incredibly captivating to watch and listen to.
For anyone interested in learning more about Maria Chavez, and seeing more examples of her work, I highly recommend checking out her website. Realistically speaking, though I exampined a wide variety of her work, for the purpose of this blog post I knew that I needed to focus on just a few examples. One video that I really enjoyed was the “Improvised Spaces 2, upstairs performance gallery” for the way that it combined elements of nature with features from interior locations, and how it was a simply complex way of creating a new sound. I also really enjoyed the video of her from the Forgotten Bar in Berlin. The visual aesthetic of the video, combined with the sounds produced in it, had a really interesting effect and drew me in as a viewer. All in all I felt that in the examples I addressed, as well as many others that can be seen on her website, I felt that Chavez successfully created a new form of sound creation that was incredibly fascinating and unique.