Catalina Alvarez is a film director and artist, and faculty at Antioch College since 2018. Her films draw on local research and are informed by theories of gender performativity and sound studies. She is a recipient of fellowships and residencies from the Flaherty Seminar, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Flux Factory and the Wexner Center for the Arts. Her films have screened at festivals including Slamdance, Fantastic Fest, New Orleans and Palm Springs, and venues such as the ICA Philadelphia, the San Diego Art Institute, and the Museum of the Moving Image.
In her documentary in post-production, Sound Spring, Yellow Springs residents become actors lip-syncing to their own interviews, as they narrate their personal entanglements with the village’s larger history, creating a collage of past and present.
Together with Liz Flyntz ’02 Alvarez co-founded Ant Farm Antioch Art Building Creative Preservation Initiative (AFAAB), an initiative to restore Antioch’s historic art building, the only publicly accessible building designed by the radical media art and architecture group Ant Farm.
Alvarez approaches teaching as another facet of her art practice. In her intermediate video production intensive, students conduct documentary research in order to shoot their own fictional narrative. This approach connects the class with members of the community and grounds their fictions in historical specificity. Her fall 2018 class studied the Antioch Program for Interracial Education (1964-1969) and later produced a film about a group of female black students who created systemic change at Antioch by lobbying for the creation of the Afro-American Studies Institute. In her course, “Choreographed Films and Experimental Musicals,” students study the history of the musical alongside formal experimentation in contemporary art as inspiration for their weekly assignments. Her syllabus functions as a script with room for interpretation—she asks students to use techniques she is currently developing, and they adapt these to their own creative visions.