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Lydia Nakashima Degarrod

Visual Artist and Anthropologist

Lydia Nakashima Degarrod is a visual artist and cultural anthropologists who creates works that blur the line between art and anthropology.


Artist Profile

My work is interdisciplinary.  It draws on my practices both as a cultural anthropologist and a visual artist. I am guided by the notion that ethnographies and visual art are both means of illuminating, communicating, and feeling our presence in the world.  The process of this hybrid practice creates new forms of knowledge, engagement, and new ways of seeing and of being in the world and requires long-term relationships with collaborators, and deep engagement with places.  The results; ethnographies and art installations, have the potential to bring to the public issues of social justice as they serve as models of action for the audience.


Mending the Past

Mending the Past is a current project.  It combines ethnographic and historical research, and  family memories.  I am exploring what is to be an Asian in both Latino America and in the United States.


Scattered Seeds of the Cotton Bolls

World War II changed my family's fate.  My father's family, immigrants from Japan, suffered the consequences of the US and Peruvian governments who labelled them as enemies of the country just because of their Japanese ancestry.  


Atlas of Dreams

Atlas of Dreams (2015-present) is an ethnography of memorable dreams among residents of the Bay Area of San Francisco as well as a series of visual, sonic, and performative representations of the traces of dreams and emotions in the streets of cities in the Bay Area of San Francisco.  
This project responds to the question:   Do memorable dreams --REM dreams with strong imagery and emotions-- leave visual and sensorial traces in the urban space?  To answer this question, I recorded narrations of over 400 memorable dreams areas among residents of the Bay Area, and mapped the areas where I noticed clusters of the concentration of different types of memorable dreams in the cities:  nightmares, and wondrous, healing, lucid, premonitory and consoling dreams.  In order to capture the traces of emotions left by the dreamers in the streets, I conducted a series of performative acts in the places where the dreamers recounted their oneiric phenomena.  I performed dérive, or aimless walks in which the walker is receptive to all the sensations and feelings from the streets, and the Paranoiac-critical method of Salvador Dali which highlighted my reception of the emotions of the environment.