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The UCLA Film & Television Archive, a part of UCLA Library, is pleased to announce the selection of Esteban Arellano (he/they), an emerging multidisciplinary artist and designer, as the inaugural artist for its new artist-in-residence program. Chosen from a competitive national pool of more than 120 applicants, Arellano will begin the two-week residency program later this year, with the residency culminating in a public presentation. The inaugural program is made possible through support from the Golden Globe Foundation.

Established to provide resources and mentorship for emerging artists who excel in visual storytelling, the artist-in-residence program(opens in a new tab) will offer one artist each year the opportunity to engage deeply with the Archive’s moving image collection, among the largest in the world, to create innovative new work.

“By launching this residency program, the Archive encourages artists to explore our vast collection of moving images – films, television and other media artifacts, to inform their creative practice, revealing the potential of intersecting a contemporary lens to archival materials,” said May Hong HaDuong, the Archive’s director. “Esteban’s innovative approach to storytelling is grounded in a curiosity and criticality with his telling and retelling of history.”

Arellano’s practice encompasses a wide range of mediums, including video, technology, photography, performance, essay and sculpture. Describing his work as “rooted at the crossroads of Brown and queer life,” and as shining a light on “those existing together in the peripheries of this city,” Arellano was captivated by the prospect of immersing himself in the Archive’s collections to construct a counter-map of Los Angeles, delving into visual representation as both injustice and liberation.

"Not many institutions like these are willing to take such a risk inviting in an artist like myself,” he said. “But it's this very commitment to bridging disciplines, audience and generations that excites me most about this residency."

Arellano plans to synthesize process and product, engaging in speculative community collaboration and forging connections with the communities represented within the Archive. By building and disseminating tools that invite others to engage with the Archive, he hopes to foster a collective reimagining of Los Angeles, empowering others to reimagine their own worlds out of the terrain.

"I am excited to turn the platform and resources of this residency into an invitation to reimagine what an archive can be and our relationship to it," Arellano said. "As an emerging artist, I've learned how to make worlds out of shoestring budgets – which makes it all the more exciting to dream wide with the resources of this residency."

During the residency, Archive staff will introduce Arellano to conservation and digitization processes, help him research accessible analog works, and facilitate connections with various members of the Los Angeles and archival communities. The residency will culminate in a public program presented in the Archive's Virtual Screening Room, scheduled for the end of the year.

Arellano’s work has been presented at institutions such as Harvard University and The School for Poetic Computation. He earned a B.A. in History and Literature from Harvard University. While a student, he was the publisher of The Harvard Advocate Literary and Arts Magazine. Visit Arellano’s website(opens in a new tab) to learn more.

Originally published by the UCLA Film & Television Archive.(opens in a new tab)