Edin Velez

Through rich imagery and an acute sense of visual metaphor, Edin Velez recasts the documentary into a more personal and poetic vision. Velez's subjective observations of place, which he describes as video essays, take the form of impressionistic visual collages.

Merging the ethnographic and the interpretive, his multi-layered works are cross-cultural portraits of subjects ranging from the indigenous peoples of Central America (Meta Mayan II, 1981), the pluralism of New York City (As Is:, 1984), and the traditional and contemporary rituals of Japan (Meaning of the Interval, 1987). Dance of Darkness (1989), a nonlinear documentary on Japanese Butoh dance, and Memory of Fire (1994), a dreamlike narrative of Latin American history, refines this aesthetic to a startling visual drama.

Eschewing a conventional narrative voice, Velez orchestrates a confluence of associative elements to evoke, rather than analyze, the textures of a specific culture or place. The internal rhythm, pace and structure of his works lend the recorded images immense weight and credence. With his subtle and sophisticated use of electronic effects, content is redefined through intricately-structured, fluid progressions of visual and aural metaphors. In keenly- observed works that reshape traditional ethnography, Velez locates the fabric and rhythms of a culture in the gestures and rituals of everyday life.

Edin Velez was born in 1951 in Puerto Rico. He studied at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture's School of Fine Arts. In 1990, Velez was awarded the American Film Institute's Maya Deren Award. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the U.S./Japan Friendship Commission; and grants the National Endowment for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts. His works have been shown internationally, at festivals and institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Documenta 8, Kassel, Germany; American Film Institute National Video Festival, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Festival du Nouveau Cinema et de la Video, Montreal; International Center of Photography, New York; and Image Forum Film & Video Festival, Tokyo. Velez lives in New York.