ONE Human Race Video Installation
Geraldina Interiano Wise artist-2021
ONE Human Race -animated digital video installation in 2 channels- is a narrative of my trajectory of understanding and accepting myself in a world that assumes who we are by the color of our skin.
As a Salvadoran accidental immigrant who was assigned Mestiza categorization from birth ( mixed European and Indigenous people) based on my non-red skin undertone, I have lived with how others define me for too long. I've been caught in the middle of unmet expectations wherever I am in the world. I've been denied my own identity by too many: too light, too dark, too yellow. I am the color in the middle, caught between the red & yellow, in the video, where indigo -my signature pigment that connects me to my Maya patrimony- like blue blood overtakes the screens like a wave. Latin Americans encompass the gamut of skin pigmentation: we come from the soils under the historical forces of colonization, domination, and oppression- the black & white clashes in the video. I'm a Latinx artist, with multiple genealogies. Coexistence and connectivity are the reasons I make art. I'm a recorder of time, and abstraction is my grammar.
I am who I say I am.
We are who we say we are.
I have followed the history of humans all of my life, and I experienced a moment of personal and artistic clarity when in 2017 the new genetic science points in the direction of skin pigmentation being determined by gene variants, directly correlated to the incidence of UV rays. The color of my skin is an adaptive trait that continues to evolve. In the accompanying interview below, Dr. Sarah Tishkoff narrates the scientific story of humankind and skin pigmentation, which is meant to support my artistic premise that science can help re-frame how we look at ourselves, at the world, and at each other.
We have the lenses of division on.
Man-made constructs of definition of the races have been passed down to us for centuries, all based on color of skin. Race is not a biological construct. Colonization, domination and oppression - in white and black in the video- have been at work around the globe throughout the centuries.
The lenses get cloudy
White skin evolved in Europe only 2000-3000 years ago. Africa has the largest diversity of skin colors in the world. All humans come from Africa. The dance of evolution is fitting us perfectly into the sculpture of humanity in the video.
The lenses begin to shatter
The latest science is offering evidence of color of skin as an adaptive trait, with different variants determining light and dark skin pigmentation that correlate with UV rays.The forces of nature and natural selection are shown as yellow lines in the video and are constantly at work.
Take off the lenses, reframe your assumptions
Skin color continues to evolve through natural selection.
We have a shared history and genome. We are who we say we are.
Where does white skin come from?
The answer is a complex story of genetics and evolution, which informed and inspired the video ONE Human Race, at the intersection of art+science. Watch the interview with Dr. Sarah Tishkoff, Silfen University Professor in Genetics and Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she explains the story of us, and the color of our skin.