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Gabriela Ruiz

Digital Engrams

Furniture decorated with organic-looking additions is shown in a room. All visible surfaces are painted deep red with the exception of a television screen that shows a face wearing pale makeup and red lipstick.

Thursday, November 2, 2023
5:30 pm


In-person Event

Michigan Theater
603 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104


Penny Stamps Speaker Series
Open to the public
Free of charge
Watch Video

In an era of iPhones, Macbooks, Instagram and Facebook, our once unplugged memories have gone digital, with videos and posts of everything that’s happened at our immediate disposal…every day of every year, of every trip, of every postcard destination. With access 24/7 to the newsreel of our own lives, Are we losing our own ability to remember and our own sense of direction in the process? The notion that our brains create memories, first stored and then revisited, surprisingly dates back to the times of Plato and Aristotle. These units of memory or engrams are portals through which we time travel, gaining hindsight and foresight, more meaning and greater wisdom, in hopes of a future less encumbered. 

In the Institute for the Humanities Gallery exhibition Digital Engrams, LA artist Gabriela Ruiz conjures and explores a hybrid space, combining sound, video, and assemblage. Ruiz’s immersive visual inquiry considers how images function on and off the screen, and how our memories real and curated are at the center of our personal and cultural identities…Who do we think we are in this life or our life on the eternal internet hereafter?

Ruiz is a self-taught artist whose practice blends diverse forms of expression and media, including sculpture, video, painting, and apparel design. Her sculptures incorporate found objects and industrial materials, such as thrift store furniture and insulation foam. Strongly influenced by growing up in LA’s San Fernando Valley to immigrant parents from Mexico, Ruiz’s practice is a reflection of the DIY work ethic she was raised with, the vibrancy of Mexican cultural and artistic traditions, and her exposure to subculture and fantasy at a young age as a means to escape the realities of daily life. One of LA’s rising young talents, she presented her solo showStream at the Palm Springs Art Museum 2022, part of the museum’s Outburst project.

Presented in partnership with the Institute for the Humanities with support from the Arts & Resistance LSA Theme Semester. This project was made possible by a grant from the Arts Initiative at the University of Michigan.

Series presenting partners: Detroit Public Television and PBS Books. Media partner: Michigan Radio.


Content Notice

In accordance with the University of Michigan’s Standard Practice Guidelines on Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression, the Penny Stamps Speaker Series does not censor our speakers or their content. The content provided is intended for adult audiences and does not reflect the views of the University of Michigan or Detroit Public Television.