Cristina Ossers captures life as it happens through art and technology
Cristina Ossers uses video loops to document identity and small motions -- from things like picking up a pot or a pair of keys -- that reveal glimpses of inner character. Part of that documentation is using technical devices like various cameras and film equipment.
Cristina began to enjoy using tech in this capacity after failing a film midterm in college. They set out to study film and make music videos but studying film helped them see technology in itself as a means of producing art.
“My understanding of a film set was channel 13,” says Cristina. “It was an individual man with a large tripod and a camera at my school's choir concerts. That was film production to me. So I actually was quite overwhelmed and daunted my first semester. I failed one of my first midterms and then I got scared and I changed majors. But why that's important is because like, how did I get here? That education taught me how or not I didn't teach me; it just exposed me to how to be creative with equipment and tools.”
We were introduced to Cristina last month when we were looking at Milwaukee’s women, femme and non-binary artists.
Cristina, however, requested to be featured outside of the month.
“I believe strongly that women's spaces are important for solidarity,” Cristina says. “It was me questioning if I was now taking up space. Because there is the potential that I could have this privilege that a woman-identifying individual could not.”
Making space for gender and sexually queer people is something Cristina prioritizes in their art. You might not know their gender identity or sexual orientation but they are there and seen going about their day. Cristina’s work looks at the shapes and physical movements in everyday activities like washing the dishes; it captures life as it happens. Instead of a movie where you see a character and get to know them through plot and story, Cristina focuses on images that suggest internal dialogues.
For example Cristina’s 2016 video piece “How Many Tomorrows” depicts their hands and feet circling on top of a bar stool. You can see the tension in their muscles as Cristina tries to stay on top of the stool. At the time Cristina says they were examining how they were straight and woman-presenting when it wasn’t how they saw themself to be.
“It's as if I'm on the edge of something,” says Cristina. “When I talk about that tension, it's like I'm literally limiting myself to a space that is not serving me. It's literally not serving my body in that moment in the video. Why would you constrain yourself to the surface level of the stool?”
Right now, Cristina is doing a project called “ sundays are still sundays.” Cristina says they started the project to show that even though there’s a pandemic there are some things that remain the same. The series shows video loops of someone watching TV or folding laundry.
“Movement is important to me,” says Cristina. “I took one class with dancers in college and it wasn't about dancing, it was just the beauty in movement, the beauty of the way your hand moves on the steering wheel when you drive. That everyday movement is quirky. And I think in a video loop, when you have to watch something in a repetitive nature it looks more intentional. It's less about the details of the person and it's like the essence of them. It's their body language.”
See Cristina’s art at ckossers.com. You can see their “sundays are still sundays” project and projects like “Doc My Art,” which looks at other artists and their creative processes.