Your Ideal End is an experimental animation, created by artist Maria Velasco, dealing with the topic of child abuse in a domestic setting. The imagery is inspired by a book written by Juan Velasco Moreno, titled The Massacre Of The Dreamers (Polibea Press, Madrid: 2010), which tells the story of two children who are victims of abuse. While playing make-believe games of “Cowboys and Indians,” the children allude to an adult named “Buffalo Bill,” who visits them at night and plays with them, but who is actually a sexual predator. Neither the book nor the animation is intended as a literal illustration of child abuse, but rather, both aim to create an enigmatic space that invites viewers to join in a painful but poetic journey of healing.
The animation unfolds as a series of non-linear events that take the children in and out of the “ordinary” world and into inexplicable landscapes where their drawings come to life. Throughout the animation, there are multiple allusions to play, role-playing, and the blurring of boundaries between what is real and what is fictional. The film emphasizes the ways in which imagination can be both a means of coping with abuse and of recovering from it.
As she completes the animation, Velasco would like to invite survivors of abuse to contribute their ideas for what they consider to be an ideal end to the story. Should the abusive adults endure punishment? Or should they confess and be forgiven by the children they have harmed? With their permission, she will incorporate the different suggestions, based on personal experiences, memories, or imaginary scenarios, into the final scene of the animation. She will then use the multiple endings to draw attention to the many individual paths to healing
Velasco will work with the Psychology Department at the University of Kansas, whose staff will facilitate workshops and help identify an appropriate group of participants through the KU Psychological Clinic. She will collaborate with Biri Rottenberg, a bibliotherapist, who will lead the clinical aspect of this project as they build and offer the workshops together.
Maria Velasco is an interdisciplinary artist working with site-specific environments, sculptural objects, and temporary public art commissions. Her work combines multiple media such as sound, light, photography, video, and discrete objects. Originally from Spain, her work is filled with spiritual, sexual and linguistic overtones. Velasco’s practice gravitates toward ephemeral work and the sensual nature of time-sensitive materials, such as melting ice, light, shadows, and edible substances, like chocolate or cupcakes.
Velasco’s work has been exhibited widely, nationally and internationally in university and private museums, and contemporary art venues such as The Soap Factory in Minneapolis, MN; the Contemporary Arts Forum in Santa Barbara, CA; the ARC gallery in Chicago, IL; the Spencer Museum Of Art, Lawrence, KS; Cara and Cabezas Contemporary; H&R Block Artspace; the Kansas City Artists Coalition; Avenue of the Arts in Kansas City, MO; the Albrecht-Kemper Museum Of Art, Saint Joseph, MO; the Paula Cooper gallery and the Elizabeth Foundation For The Arts, both in NYC. Internationally her work has been exhibited in Salón Tentaciones in Madrid (Spain); Museo Del Barro, Asunción (Paraguay); Paradise Gardens Biennial VI, Darmstadt (Germany); Mexico and Argentina. Her work has been cited in many publications including Art In America, Sculpture Magazine, The Kansas City Star, The Village Voice, The Chicago Reader, and The Santa Barbara News Press. She was Artist-in-Residence at Sculpture Space in 2007 and International Artist-in-Residence at Proyecto ‘ace, in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2012. She was invited to be a juror for the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002 and 2005.
Velasco’s professional contributions include leading independent curatorial projects, discussion panels, and workshops nationally and abroad. Velasco has received numerous awards and grants and was the first art student to obtain a grant through the Madrid-California Education Abroad program. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Painting from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid in 1989, and her Master of Fine Arts in New Genre from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1993. In the fall of 1995, she began her appointment at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, where she currently lives and works as an Associate Professor of Visual Art. More information and images of her work can be found on her website: www.mariavelascostudio.com
Biri Rottenberg-Rosler, PhD, is currently a Bibliotherapist and a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Hall Center of the Humanities at the University of Kansas. Bibliotherapy integrates literature, art and psychoanalysis to promote a healing experience through creativity. Rottenberg-Rosler was previously a lecturer in the Bibliotherapy program at the Department of Counseling and Human Development, Faculty of Education, Haifa University, and until recently, she also had a private practice in Tel Aviv working. She received her PhD from the Bibliotherapy program at Haifa University. Her current research interests include psychoanalysis, creativity, gender, literature, writing therapy and qualitative research.