Silvana Lagos


It's all about you so - Tell us if you're currently working on a personal project?

 I am always working on personal projects - I can't really talk about them in more specific detail at the moment, not yet. But I am helping on a project now, next week in Brazil, and I will go back to South America in July. In a way I am trying to dismantle the language I know of art in English, and re-learn it all again, in Spanish. Learning how to look again, from a South American point of view. So the personal project are based there for the next year.

 Have you always wanted to work in the creative industry? If yes, can you tell us why? If not, how did you land in your current position?

 I don't know how else to express than through art, music (sound). In a way, I have tried to avoid it, to take an easier route, to do something somehow more stable, linear, regular. But it doesn't last long, and when I decided that this is it I can can call myself an artist". I worked out that if I had spent 5 years in education and in debt because of student loans, I wasn't going to just give in to not working in what I love.

I met Carsten, at a dinner. I had of course been a fan of his work ever since I was exposed to it, in 2009 when he did his slides at the Turnbine Hall, at the Tate Modern in London (unfortunately I never got the chance to go on them). Carsten had also given a talk at my school during my MA, which I remembered so this was a starting point for conversation - I asked to meet for coffee and chat, and he was generous enough with his time to want to meet. It just so happened that he was also looking for a new assistant at the time. The rest is history. I feel like, I got two amazing people when I started working at the studio, also because at the time we had Steffi Hessler (curator) as Studio Manager she's also amazing, and a massive facilitator and encouragement.

What has been your biggest achievement to date and why?

Moving to Sweden to do my MA. After finishing my BA, I knew I wasn't finished with how I was thinking, and I knew I needed to explore that further.

It was scary to move to another country, also to give yourself the space and enough self-belief that you can do an MA. I wasn't eligible for any grants from the UK - because it was abroad. I suddenly found myself working at a cafe every single weekend for two years. It was tough and l shed an untold amount of tears, but finishing the dissertation, building the installation and being asked to be part of a group show straight after made it worth it.

What would you describe as you biggest obstacle so far? 

Honestly? But it’s also my biggest asset and the riches of inspirations. I think in a way, having to deal with this division between the grounding one has being a second generation immigrant and how that is perceived and accepted within the social domain. And in a way also within myself. Some aspects of this have gotten easier over the years, whilst others have gotten more difficult. Working out the dual identity, dual culture, dual perspective, it can definitely be confusing and somewhat looked down on but its also been by far my biggest asset.

 I am certainly more comfortable in myself and identity as I have gotten older, also I have learnt more about my culture. Whilst you see the world dividing further, and immigration being blamed. I am also seeing racism being more open than ever; I wouldn't say that it’s increased, but rather people are being more open within those prejudices. Its sad to see that its easier to divide than to unify.

Taking a lighter note what and who inspires your creative process?

 I am fortunate enough to have an amazing group of friends, all of whom inspire me in the greatest and smallest of ways. Everything from inspiring me with new food and recipes, to encouraging me when I want to bounce an idea for a new project. What's most vital has been the ability to be able to send off whatever I have written, drawn or thought up and having friends who take the time to listen, read, look. Their own creativity, and energy has also been infectious - whether it be having the guts to start a Gluten-Free bakery when no-one else had even heard of Gluten to going on a pilgrimage in the Spanish mountains and learning flamenco. They are all also perfectly human - and when we all fuck up, we share those experiences too, and somehow having that insight fuels not just learning from each other, but that all processes be it creative or not are not linear and rather they are fluid and are certainly not perfect.


What three tips would you give your younger self?

Just because you don't see yourself represented doesn't mean you / your voice / your views do not have value.

Love yourself, the pimples and awkwardness will go away.

Don't waste time on silly boys.

If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would you message be?

 That we all need to step outside of our boxes. Every single one of us.

Soala ClarkeComment