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Academic Excellence: SILVIA JULIANA MANTILLA ORTIZ

INFORMATION/TIPS FOR FUTURE STUDENTS?
Take care of each other. Being an artist is a hard road. The only way to succeed with sanity and joy is to support one other and avoid jealousy.

 

Hometown?
Bogotá, Colombia, and Edison, N.J.

 

Why Otis?
I was looking for a program that would support my interests in both art and activism, and Otis was the right choice.

 

Your thesis project?
My thesis project, “Talk Is Cheap: Unincorporated Language Laboratories,” focuses on issues of migration, assimilation, and miscommunication. While it has many components, one of its "laboratories" is a customized Bike-B-Q that I use to cook arepas (Colombian corn patties), which I exchange for stories of miscommunication. For two months I took
the bike out in the West Adams neighborhood and exchanged stories with my neighbors. Then I took it on a weeklong tour from L.A. to Portland, Oregon.

 

Interesting things that you did outside of school?
During my first year I did a lot of Capoeira. I love the way that it reconnects me with my body.

 

Most influential class?
I took an amazing performance class with Allison O'Daniel that helped me develop what would be the core of my thesis. Plus it was so much fun!

Most influential faculty member?
Bill Kelley, Jr. for theory and conceptual frameworks, and Sandra de la Loza for methodology.

 

Favorite place in L.A.?
Slanguage Studios. There are always people making amazing art there, and after working and hanging out,
we'll go out and eat, hang out some more, and laugh way too loud.

 

Impact on your work/life?
Otis introduced me to new contexts, methodologies, and frameworks. I met fantastic people and was challenged to develop my ideas and my politics.

 

What’s next?
I am living in Queens, New York, doing a year-long fellowship with the Queens Museum of Art Public Events. I am also transcribing all the oral histories I collected for my thesis.

 

Something unusual/idiosyncratic?
I sneeze very many small sneezes in a row. My record is 18. Sometimes