Daniel Greenfield-Campoverde                                                                                                                                                               About  Work  News  CV    ︎

Photo credits: Romina Hendlin

Almost forty years ago to date, Viasa’s 747 and Air France’s Concorde arrived in Caracas. The onset of supersonic modernity to Venezuela, signalled the status quo of an economy camouflaging into future dreams of progress. The bonanza of the 1970s oil boom, not only cemented a petrodollar orgy whose regional standing was the envy of South America but rather, set the stage for the political turmoil that would afflict Venezuela today.

The history of aviation in Venezuela serves as an ideal analogue to explain the current economic crisis and, to a larger extent, the boom and bust cycles of oil-dependant economies. As international airliners continue to withdraw from Venezuelan airspace, the slow transformation of Maiquetia (Caracas' International airport) into a quiet, isolated ruin becomes ever more imminent.

As a second generation Venezuelan of Eastern European descent, this work examines airports as sites where diaspora, exile and nationalism congeal in the collective imagination. I think about how nationalism is represented in art through icons and mythology, but wonder: what happens when a nation has gone astray? How do we represent that which has been lost? To a nation in hunger? The so called “Bolivarian diaspora”? Can an airport ever serve as a locus to memorialize failed dreams?

“El Libro de la Diaspora (The Book of the Diaspora)” is a sculptural installation taking the form of a diptych in the shape of an open book. Two vintage samsonite briefcases are filled with ephemera that are cast in concrete. Part 1 (recto) contains a decommissioned pressure valve from a 747, and two photo transfers, each depicting the “Orinoco” - Viasa’s 747- and the arrival of the Concorde in Caracas on Febraury 12, 1976. Part 2 (verso) contains a graphic depicting the the flux of migrants from Venezuela since the onset of Chavismo.