Things That Want To Be Held...That I Want To Hold

Link to Work: Link 1
Age: 7 and up
Type: Instagram Non-fiction, Social Media, Ceramics, Performance, Text, Photography
Language: English
Platform: Social Media

Mentor: Paul Echeverria, Blanca Guerra-Echeverria

Mentee: Atticus Echeverria, "the peanut mentee"

Short Description: "Things That Want To Be Held...That I Want To Hold" emulates the multiple stages of childbearing through the use of durational performance, sculptural ceramics, and social media. 

Longer Description: "Things That Want To Be Held…That I Want To Hold" was a collaborative performance that took place from October 2017 until July 10th, 2018. The project attempted to emulate the multiple stages of childbearing through the use of durational performance, sculptural ceramics, and social media. On a conceptual level, "Things...Held" examines the ritual of couvade, a process by which an expecting father accepts physical discomfort throughout the ongoing months of pregnancy. Throughout various stages of their relationship, Blanca Echeverria created embryonic sculptures that were appropriated by her partner, Paul Echeverria. Upon receiving news that the couple was expecting a child, Paul vowed to care for the sculptures by keeping them on his person at all times. This action was intended as an act of symbiosis between the expectant parents. The durational aspect of the work was performed for a period of 9 months by both members of the collaboration. Whereas Blanca accepted the responsibility of carrying their prenatal child, Paul participated in the pre-birth process by acting as a caregiver for the ceramic embryos. In addition, the couple invited viewers to participate by displaying care for the nascent sculptures. The performance concluded on July 10th, 2018 and coincided with the birth of their first child. "Things That Want To Be Held…That I Want To Hold" remains accessible via a permanent digital archive. A social media version of the project can be viewed via Instagram by searching the hashtag #ThingsHeld. 

Mentoring Context: "Things That Want To Be Held…That I Want To Hold" seeks to promote a dialogue about the delicate interdependence between mother, father, and child. The work provides a visual narrative about the ephemeral moments leading up to childbirth. Ultimately, the "show me how to do this" moment is yet to arrive. At some point, the work will make sense for our child. Once he is able to review the work, we expect that the project will initiate a process of growing inspiration. By reviewing the months leading up to his birth, our son will grasp the value of using image, text and social media as a platform for creative expression.

Bios: Blanca Guerra-Echeverria has exhibited work nationally at galleries and museums, such as Hyperlink Gallery in Chicago, The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, The American Museum of Ceramic Art in California, Reese Gallery in St. Louis, the CU Art Museum in Colorado, and the Kansas City Museum in Missouri. She has held teaching positions at the Adams State University, the University of Hartford and Wayne State University.

Paul Echeverria is a filmmaker, digital artist and educator. His research and creative practice examine the formative dynamics between childhood, parenthood and the family structure. In addition, he produces work that contemplates the inevitable collision between humans and technology. Echeverria works with multiple forms of media, including film, video, augmented/virtual reality, performance, social media, data manipulation, podcasting and e-literature.