AFK | Screenings

Sites for Spectral Transference

Sebastián Salfate Devés
Curated By: Yasmin Nurming-Por
Niña Hermosa (Beautiful Girl), Sebastián Salfate (2023). Video Still.

Niña Hermosa (Beautiful Girl)

Sebastián Salfate Devés

Sunday, April 16, 2023
11:00AM EDT
Gallery Hours

Artist Talk

April 21, 2023 at 12:00 PM.

Join us for a free live online conversation with Sebastian Salfate and Yasmin Nurming-Por.

Click here to RSVP.

Innis Town Hall
2 Sussex Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 1J5
Street level entrance, elevator and ramp available, door width 32”+, no automatic doors. Gender neutral single occupancy accessible (32”+) washroom, automatic door No accessible parking on site 4 wheelchair seats in-cinema.

For a map of Innis Town Hall, click here

COVID-19 Policy

Images Festival is committed to providing an accessible festival and continues to work to reduce barriers to participation at our events. This year, we are implementing a COVID-19 policy to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for all, and to prioritize the participation of people who are disability-identified, immunocompromised, or part of an otherwise vulnerable group.

The following guidelines will be in place: Self-Assessment: We ask that staff and participants screen themselves for COVID-19 before visiting the exhibition.

Presented With:

In Sebastian Salfate’s experimental film Niña Hermosa, the road is simultaneously the central character, antagonist, soundtrack, and host. The work chronicles, over four years, a single animita—a type of shrine dedicated to tragic deaths—while considering material manifestations of love, loss, and popular religion in public space. Following theorists such as Aesthetic philosopher Claudia Lira Latuz, Salfate situates a specific animita as a syncretic practice, an intersection of pre-Columbian and Catholic desires to be close to death and its purifying potential.

More than two decades ago, 18-year-old Astrid Soto rode her motorcycle along ruta 68 in Chile. She died on the highway after colliding with a truck; her father, who was following behind her, bore witness to the scene. The horrific nature of the accident contributed to a kind of mythic aura around Soto’s death. This phenomenon is reflected in the roadside animita documented in Niña Hermosa: what began as a humble commemorative act has evolved to become a towering structure of stuffed animals, cosmetic items, flowers, and images of Soto as it accrues dust and debris against an endless orchestra of traffic noise.

Soto is not a martyr, but her idealized spectre exists in perpetuity through her shrine, a shared symbol maintained by self-appointed custodians. This communal experience of grief is further intensified by the intention of the Chilean government to expand the highway, which will require relocating the site—effectively enacting another tragedy as it compels mourners and audience members alike to reflect on whether a non–site-specific animita can hold the necessary symbolic power.

Please join us on April 21st for an online artist talk with Sebastian Salfate

Sebastián Salfate is an artist, film director, and editor. He holds an BVA from the Catholic University of Chile and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. His works have been exhibited at venues such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (Santiago) and Kugler Space (Geneva). Salfate’s films have been presented at Poitiers Film Festival, FIC Valdivia, and the Annual CPH Festival, amongst others.

Yasmin Nurming-Por is a curator and writer based in Toronto. She has held curatorial positions at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Walter Phillips Gallery, Global Affairs Canada, and Sheridan College, amongst other organizations. Recent projects include the Xiao Museum of Contemporary Art, Images Festival, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Banff Centre for Arts, and Creativity, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the Art Gallery of Guelph.