It doesn’t matter how much time passes, nor the distance. Daniela Pérez, like all migrants from Venezuela, in her own words, has the country engraved in her soul, in her memories. He points out that there is no way to disconnect from his reality.
He is 22 years old and, when he was just six, he migrated with his mother and maternal grandparents to the United States in order to obtain better life chances. It was always very hard for her to be away from Valencia, her city, her urbanization, her father and her paternal grandparents.
The last time he visited the country was eight years ago. Since then, he has found ways to stay in touch with his roots, he says. With the parks in which he ran, played, and about which his family has a lot of history.
Afterward, It hasn’t been easy, he says. With the connection failures that exist in Venezuela, it is a communication full of great tension for migrants. But he insists again and again until he can hear the voice of his loved ones or see them through a screen.
“Over the years, more members of my family began to disperse. Especially in the last five years, in the face of the severe political and economic crisis in Venezuela. Most of us living abroad have not been able to return to the country for at least three years. This means we’ve had to connect with our loved ones primarily through digital means.”
It is an experience that inspired him to carry out his creative thesis on communication and virtual communities in the Venezuelan diaspora. It became a virtual installation and series of videos that reflect the bonds of love and community of his family that is scattered throughout the world.
Love thesis for Migrants
Daniela says that she knows very well the failures that arise when communicating with her family. First of all “It’s like a representation of my relationship with Venezuela and my past.” Although, there are several factors that threaten to prevent this constant connection of migrants with their people. It includes the faulty infrastructure, technical difficulties and perpetual working hours of many.
That’s why, after thinking about it a lot and researching what her thesis would do to graduate on a scholarship at the Harvard University in the careers of Latin American History and Literature, and Art and Photography, which he studied simultaneously, had no better answer than to portray his experience as a way to connect with the rest of the migrants.
This is how he made six short films, in a serial entitled “I love you a lot”, based on family videos, voice memos and panoramic photographs found on the web.
Their goal was clear: to reflect the Venezuelan diaspora and the different ways Venezuelans have used social media and technology to create online communities and solidarity networks.
And he succeeded. He was able to explore how Venezuelans are creating an archive of the places that mean so much to them, of those places that have changed so much during the crisis and that those abroad miss so much without having the possibility, in the short term, to visit them.
The Valencia of before
In her videos there is a collection of happy moments shared with her family in Venezuela when she was a child. You can see and hear voice memos, photos sent to her by her grandparents almost daily and even the news story of the country, but with images that fill those who have left with nostalgia and that can be viewed through https://daniperez.squarespace.com
Currently, Daniela is pursuing a master’s degree in education and working as a literature teacher in English and Spanish to 8th graders in Chelsea, Masashussets, and hopes to be able to return to Venezuela soon, walk its streets, enjoy her country and embrace her own.
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