Interview with Carolina Fontoura Alzaga
How did you start working with recycled bicycle parts?
CFA: I started using bike tubes in my fashion design around 2003. I made hats, shirts, buttons, and eventually lingerie. It didn’t breathe, but, boy, did it look hot! Eventually, I had the idea to make a bike chandelier as I stood in my makeshift kitchen of a warehouse I shared with 12 other punks, activists, and artists. What I ended up making looked more like a mobile and, dissatisfied, I sought to make a proper chandelier.
Have you used other unusual materials in your work? What are those?
CFA: I love to use found objects. When I painted, I would paint on just about anything I could find in the dumpster. I was a huge dumpster diver when I was younger and found many treasures.
In your series, Connect, you use Victorian chandeliers as inspiration. What attracts you to this era? How does it intersect with class politics?
CFA: Victorian taste was based on class. The industrial revolution made available, to those who could afford it, new materials unavailable before. Victorian design is usually excessively ornamental, lush, and abundant to parade one’s wealth. If you look at the chandelier as a symbol of opulence and, as such, power, and the used bike parts as the discarded, invisible, and no longer valuable, then the combination of the two takes on a new third meaning. The invisible are making themselves visible by standing up to that power and reclaiming it. It’s a collective self-propelled movement toward change. I do also like the steampunk aesthetic, though this was an accidental afterthought.
Read the full interview at CasaSugar.
Published: Nov 15, 2010