Marbella Anne Carlos


CAAF Residency st[art]@Art Central, May – July 2010




Marbella Carlos is a media and installation artist based in Calgary, Alberta and recent graduate from the University of Calgary were she obtained her BFA. She has exhibited her video work in venues such as The New Gallery in Calgary, Gallery Lambton in Sarnia, Ontario and has participated in the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation’s Start residency as well as the scholarship program with EMMEDIA.



My patterns and habits have a direct effect on every decision I make, every single day. I decide, not by understanding each opportunity or chance as being new and unique, but by relating the circumstance closely to something I have already experienced, choosing then by comparison.

It is the understanding and breaking down of these particular inclinations that forms the basis of my studio research. The outward appearance of obsession and neurosis cannot be denied and are the common thread between the video and knitted works I create. Working mainly with video and installation work my practice is undeniably performative, engaging and uses the manipulating the motions of my own body to create a new sensational experience.

“I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.” – Bachelard, the poetics of space.

House, by definition describes a building for human habitation, esp. one that is lived in by a family or small group of people. A structurally sound environment the house lives its purpose by protecting, encasing and supporting the safety of its inhabitants. The domestication of human life has been a product of our need for safety, warmth and ownership. The idea of ownership of environment, paying invisible money to an invisible person to own the space that surrounds you, draws one to be curious about the actuality of the space surrounding and how much of it truly belongs to us.

With mass production super centres like Ikea, Bed Bath and Beyond etc. outputting millions of cheap, aesthetically pleasing objects meant to change a space from a “house” into a “home”, the distinctions between the two words become as simple as “empty” and “full” or even more superficially, “undecorated” and “decorated”. Is it the throw pillows, matching the drapes that makes a space your own? Is it the interaction of family members sharing a space together? What about a person who lives alone? Or a longtime renter with no mortgage? Or those who share, not a house but a tin roof with makeshift walls?

The intention for this specific residency is to research and distinguish the difference between house and home through the creation of my own, squatter style home built with armatures and knitted textile. Recently, my studio research has set me on a path to explore knitting as medium, embracing the meditative, repetitive motions as a metaphor for habit, and the inhibition of potential. A structurally unsound environment, encased in yarn supported only by the attention and care given, the project is ambitious and exciting.