Emerging Artist Series #4. Conceptual artist Carla Herrera-Prats crafts a gift, in the form of a reference book. Based on Marcel Mauss's theory of Gift Economy, her newest project will examine the cultural and economic transactions that flow in the context of a transnational world.
In the fourth installment of Pitzer's Emerging Artist Series, Carla Herrera-Prats will transform the Lenzner Family Art Gallery into a collection center holding all the materials—correspondence, agreements, rejection letters and pictures—accumulated in the production of her book Localization, Location, Ubicación.
In his 1922 book The Gift, Marcel Mauss analyzes different models of a gift economy that can be seen as a form of resistance to an expanding market economy. Mauss describes how the exchange of objects between groups builds relationships among them. Giving a gift triggers an inherent obligation on the part of the receiver to reciprocate the gift. The resulting series of exchanges between groups hence provides one of the earliest forms of social solidarity.
Localization, Location, Ubicación departs from this notion of solidarity, working with Mauss's analysis in the context of a regulated system of gift-giving common to us. Carla Herrera-Prats's project consists of making and donating a gift––in the form of a book–– to a host of libraries, institutions and research centers that deal with questions of immigration, labor, collaboration and art in Canada, the United States and Mexico. This gift functions as a bridge linking the participating institutions together and examines the way knowledge production and art are formed, disseminated and organized. As a "true gift," the book requires the reciprocity and participation of its receivers to exist. The book itself consists of photographs and descriptions—provided by the participating libraries—of the shelves where Herrera-Prats's book is to reside once it is printed. Once accepted, the book is put into the libraries' circulation and distribution system and listed in various subject categories, including art.