Hello, my name is Valentina Chamorro. I am a student at MIT and this is my portfolio of sorts. Everything posted here is an original work of mine whether it be visual or written, so I hope you enjoy it and please respect intellectual property.
I went to Catholic school.
Where we prayed before every class
Went to mass every Friday
Where our skirts were plaid
And our biggest fears were the nuns
With fingers that itched for even an inch of ruler.
We said “Yes Sister! No Sister! ”
And most importantly “I am sorry Sister”
And where they teach America’s finest sex-education
And you know the kind
Where it’s your genitals and God
And threesomes only mean the trinity
And condoms? You didn’t know what those were
But if you did want to know
You’d have to ask your public school friends
About the sexier things
Like heavy petting and hand jobs
But those where not for the children of God
On Abstinence day
I was told that I was like a sticker
Like the pretty sparkle pony stickers I stuck on everything I owned
I was a sticker that was placed on a boy’s arm
The one whose heart was on his sleeve
So he could take mine off and we could sleep
But not really sleep
Until my pretty sticker gets ripped off his arm
Along with his_dead skin
On Abstinence Day
I was told that this would happen again and again
Every time I had sex with a man
I was not wedded to
And how could I expect to stick to man to whom I was
We were always told to not judge books by their covers
But on Chastity day
Sex made the covers of our bodies tore up
From the inside out
Beginning with Christ and ending with us
Until not even God would deem call us “daughter”
It’s funny ‘cause
I thought sex was supposed to be like
And a guy will have his “untouched” pair
Meanwhile the girl shared
Hers with the soccer team
And the football team
And the tennis team
…and the lacrosse team.
And she promised!
Of course she promised him
That those shoes were his
Because you know
Is something that belongs to someone else.
Am I just a cup meant to be drunk?
I’m chaste because nobody likes backwash
But please tell me
Am I supposed to relish a lifetime of one person’s spit?
I became afraid of sex for fear of becoming a cesspool
It took years to dig up the truth you hid from me
From the ink well of poetry
I carried out the ownership of my own body
My own sexuality
Because for Christ’s sake I finally found out what sexuality even meant
And when I finally did know another
I did not feel like a sticker
Like a cover
I felt like a person
And “Yes, Sister
I am a sinner
But at least thanks to catholic guilt
I still pray ‘OH GOD’ during sex.”
Over the summer, the Cantab Lounge delivered a prompt that was “write about something typically bad that was a good influence.”
Your hair scares my mother
I mean you turned my hair orange
Is what my mother believes
How can we think we will be taken seriously?
Do you not care what the world thinks?
You play music
Rock and roll music
It’s seduction through sound
Your hands finger strings
And you’re very good at that,
You go somewhere when you do that
A place I want to follow you to but can only watch you leave to
But Bad Boy,
I do follow you to some places.
TV warned me about you
It told me you’d take me into the night
and you do
And that we’d trespass
and we do
and that I’d love you
and I do
We go where we shouldn’t
Open closed doors
Walk through walls
I feel like magic with you, Bad Boy
You smell of danger
And being close to you has taught me that danger smells good
Better than cologne and kind of like Old Spice
And I’m still wary because it scares me
To see you take risks
And do stupid things sometimes
Like climb too tall things, push yourself too far, sometimes even past the cliff
And maybe you want to be a bird but know you can’t be
And maybe that’s why you’re a bad boy
But maybe I want to want to be a bird too
Because what I see when I look at you is what want to see in me too
I am too often too afraid of what others think
Of what “Mother May I” wants
But you are brave and full of love
For music and for me
And, yes, maybe for danger too
but you are a bad boy.
But, Bad Boy?
I think you’d make a good bird.
I want to speak the way books do,
the way my hand writes
returns to the books I read.
Make my lips do what hands do.
I envy paper people,
their purposeful existences,
Everything being said as it should—
even when it isn’t.
I am jealous of their relationship
with the English Language,
with whom my own relations
My attempts at novel speaking
are linguistic follies,
smatterings of inelegant, pauses—
my mind is slow
to pick up on relevant abstractions.
I am queen of my castle
and my kingdom is the literal.
My walls are concrete.
They are not made
of pulp and ink.
Though I wish they could be.
At least sometimes.
I like to look but I want to speak, but
My mistake is not in the words I choose.
My mistake is the life I envy
for humans breathe in more than two dimensions.
Synesthetic Antropomorphism 2
She is loud and does not care who hears her
To her everyone is an audience
An ear dying to hear what she is dying to tell
And she’s not wrong.
She is a story teller
And a good one
Knitting fantasies and…
ExaggerationsBut always entertainment.
Her daughter quietly wishes to be like her
Often not getting the point,
Of telling rather than talking
And maybe someday she’ll learn how to knit
But this isn’t about her.
This is about her mother
Never known for patience
With a temper halfway to red
That makes the sweetness of her laughter
More worth hearing,
When Orange laughs, it is never too loud.
Some say sweaters are meant to keep us warm
Protective outer layers for under weather times
But that is for the utilitarian and cold.
You might think then that I speak of the knitted kind
Made by the kindhearted hands that belong to grandmothers
Whose knitting needles perfectly mimic their arthritic fingers
Bones and fibers filled with a different kind of warmth
Or perhaps of I speak fashion
Caring about colored cardigans
Whether or not it’s warm regardless of weather.
The unfashionable make the unfortunate look like jesters
But I speak of sweaters
The term “a portable hug”
An emotional loan
Where the intent of borrow does not matter
When being surrounded by scent meant—
That something special
That touching memory
Bear arms warm
Memories not known
By this skin, but
Made by another
The one yearned for
Protecting the arms yearned for.
This is the warmth I speak of
This is the protection I seek
This is what a sweater is.
While at MIT, I have taken up radio broadcasting with WMBR 88.1 (left side of your dial, Cambridge!). Currently, I run two shows. Poeddictions is a show about poetry I do with my best friend and Loose Talk is a random topics talk show with three other of my friends. I also engineer for two other shows.
Surprisingly this post is not related to Poeddiction rather it’s about the first episode of Loose Talk. Last week, the four of us decided to create found poetry over the course of the hour. Each of us chose songs to play and as they played we would each pick out a line from the song and compile them into a poem at the very end. Below is my found poem. Each line is what I heard in a song; all I did was choose the order of the lines.
With these political statements,
We will not survive ourselves,
Swing your arms into a ghost.
I’ve been thinking nothing is true,
You found another way to tell the truth.
Hurry up along the middle,
Don’t write. I might sit tight. Tight,
Strong emotion that this is all I had to say.
Synesthetic Anthropomorphism 1
It is the man sitting on the park bench,
The wooden one he sits on everyday
Now a relic of his daily routine,
He himself a relic in every way.
Regret has carved lines into his own face,
A permanent frown from his sagging jowls.
Knobbed knuckles twitch restlessly on his lap,
Perhaps it is time to go, finally
Fed up with monotony he gets up,
But once again he reclines and concedes
For Red forever sits on the park bench.
Embarassed. Pen and Sharpie. 2012.
This a word portrait and a strange take on Expressionism. I chose embarrassment (this was the first trial for the project I mentioned in my previous piece) and decided that instead of painting in my usual way I would just create the expression by writing it down. What I realized while making this is that unlike many expressionists, when I paint, I don’t set out to “embarrass” people. Instead, I hope to convince them of the emotion I’m painting because when I paint I am typically painting a personal experience. And truth be told I was embarrassed at the end of this piece because it wasn’t until I had finished that I realized I’d misspelled “embarrassed” every single time… How embarrassing.
Embarrassed.Acrylic on photograph. 2012.
In class, we were assigned to create a piece modeling a style we had learned about or seen during our trip to the MFA. The essay I’d written about my trip addressed my new found definition of the “art expereince.” During my visit, I saw an impressionist painting “Man at His Bath” and made and expressionist illustration. In the essay, I claimed that when dealing with art there is a give an take. You take from the artist what (s)he provides and you provide your own perspective. In the case with the “Man at His Bath” I took the attention to light and imposed my own attention to form.
This time around, I played around with this idea taking photography and literally imposing expressionism by painting straight onto the photograph. I’ve essentially made a concrete representation of my definition.
Staring out my window, I used to wish for the leaves to fall away,
so that we could see each other across the way.
I wanted to make signs like kids in a neighborhood
who did so with window blinds,
a tribal smoke signal display,
like sending love notes in class,
through my foggy window glass to yours.
But now that all the trees are in their winter death,
And we have changed, dried up and fallen in a way unlike I’d imagined
I know when you’re better rested than I,
When your sleepless nights
and you’re working or otherwise
Information I wish I didn’t know
no longer have any business knowing
My wish was granted but with bad timing.
By now my eyes are trained to look for your lit square and half drawn shade.
I fear one night I will look out and see you in that window
or else see someone else staring out from it the way I used to.
The way I used to search for my window across the way
wishing for the leaves to fall away
so that we could see each other more easily,
and now that it is easy,
staring out my window has never been harder.
Disappoint. Acrylic. 2012.
As happens in life, things end. In my case, a relationship ended leaving disappointment in its wake as hopes were left to fall uncaught. But as must happen in life, things keep going, just as I picked myself up (with help) and moved onward.
Recently, I’ve taken to processing my internal struggles though concrete means and art and writing are my best tools. This expressionist piece was my best way of dealing with social and academic frustrations, allowing me to look myself in the eye and see what I was feeling. In all honesty, this is my favorite piece in quite a while and I’m glad to make something beautiful out of a less so experience.
Egad. Acrylic. 2012.
While in college, I may have developed a bit of an alter ego… and that alter ego may or may not be a bit of a hipster. She wears glasses (when there is no vision impairment to be mended) and a lot of flannel. I’m not entirely sure what to make of her, but what I do know is that you can expect more of this plaid clad femme… especially when I’ve grown tired of studying (as I did when I made this piece). Perhaps, the expression shown is our shared reaction to having spent several hours studying without rest, or it could be her way of disagreeing with my “obvious” ways of being. Either way we’ll find out.
Where the Intersections Lay. Torn Paper. 2012.
So I haven’t posted in a while. In my defense, I was producing… only my camera died and I was a little preoccupied with surviving MIT to update this, but finals are over and I am back. And speaking of “finals” this piece here is my final project for my Media Lab class. The prompt was to create something that lied at “the intersection of techonolgoy and design.”
Though there are many interpretations of what that could mean, I decided for my project I would choose a concrete combination of the two fields. I have always been interested in the arts and sciences and for me that was enough to consider myself a combination of the two, but with my new surroundings at MIT I realize it is time to rethink my definition. Aside from my experience in robotics, I never incorporated technology into art or vice versa (disregarding basic camera usage). I believe the next step for me as an artist is to explore new and technologically based art forms while still keeping my more traditional styles alive. This project serves as a transition piece, in that the style aligns with the art I used to do and the subject (robotics) illustrates what I hope to soon be working on.
As for the more physical aspects of the piece, the medium is a single issue of The Tech that I cut up and pasted into a collage. This is the fourth piece I do in this style, and third using news paper. The composed image is one of my team members on my high school robotics team. In fact, this image itself can be at the intersection of technology and design, because when I originally took the picture, it was as a piece of photography rather than just documentation. Secondly, the medium also lies at this intersection because journalism is also a form of expression (I need not explain the pun of the title). Just as the many layers of newsprint intersect to form an image, the many interpretations of the intersection of technology and design come together to form my final piece.
Side note: the issue of The Tech I used happens to be the pressure issue which was phenomenal, and a lot of work went into creating it. If you’re at all interested in college students’ stress I recommend checking it out.
My Printer is Out of Ink. Photography. 2012.
I cannot claim full credit for this piece because a good friend of mine, Nico, came up with the actual concept. Also a fellow artist, he was spray painting a board white to mount his sculpture onto it. While waiting for it to dry he mused on the oddity of having a random white square in the middle of nature: God missed a spot.
Where do I come in you ask? Well, I took the picture and edited it after he made the suggestion. As for the title, that is also to his credit.
That’s what I call teamwork.
Yells. Acrylic. 2012.
MIT is a tech heavy school but it is not without its artistic influence. In fact, the above piece was a homework assignment. The prompt was vague to say the least, but essentially asked us to create a composition of words that would convey a message. As you already know (if you’ve see any of my stuff at all) I love words, so this was not a bad assignment at all.
After watching the movie Helvetica and changing my opinion ten million times as to whether or not I even like that font, I decided that a piece about how words are more than just words would be perfectly executed in Helvetica. The way I see it, the piece is more about the composition of the letters and so an unobtrusive font would work well here. As for words being more than words, they can be weapons (swords are a type of weapon); similarly, parenthesis can also be made into mouths. Lastly, I kept the overall image very minimalist which stays inline with my font choice.
Oh, and one last thing. I’ve always hated that saying: Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.