Aliza Rand
Graduate Student

Contact information


Group: Department of Art Practice

Web site:

Personal statement

Aliza Rand is an artist who uses elements of performance and photography to capture moments that would otherwise be fleeting. Like the flaneurs of the past, much of her work relies on chance encounters with the people and places that she discovers while traveling throughout her neighborhood. Rand uses her various methods of photography and performative actions to make observations and statements about shared space and the urban environment. Examples of this include her dual exhibitions at the SFMOMA window spaces titled, "Are You Talking to Me?" and "Culture For Sale", as well as her current work with cyanotype photography, titled Cyanalogues.

"Are You Talking to Me" and "Culture For Sale" at the SFMOMA street-level window spaces focuses on how various permutations of visual culture can be used to manipulate or encourage another person into a specific action. Aliza Rand uses appropriated Coca-Cola ads, enlarged photocopies of typed notes and mock advertisements of her own creation to sell this message. "Are You Talking to Me?" and "Culture for Sale" finds an appropriate venue in the storefront windows of the Museum. Storefront, street-level windows are usually where we find made-up worlds to display the objects of our desire. Vitrines that contain all of the things we need to make our lives better. These spaces, and their accompanying advertisements, have become an accepted part of our world. Often the messages that are thrown at us conflict, yielding confusing and unexpected results. Rand challenges this notion, and elevates it, by confronting a viewer with these spaces in a museum environment. Aliza Rand has made several pieces that use mock advertisements as a way to comment on the worlds of commerce and the visual culture of advertising.

Currently, in a project titled Cyanalogues, Aliza Rand is using cyanotype photography to register the lights and shadows that visually define the physical contours of both buildings and people in an urban environment. The Cyanalogue project pays homage to analogue photography and the one-of-a-kind object in a culture that is increasingly dominated by digital methods and mass production. With this project Rand is also asserting her interest in expanding the realm of photography out of its traditional restraints. The Cyanalogue project has two primary strategies that get employed whether the work is addressing people or architecture. Light sensitive fabric sheets and sheets of paper are used when architecture is the subject, and light sensitive body suits are used when people are the subject. The sheets of fabric, paper and white body suits are made sensitive to light and shadow through an emulsion, that Rand prepares herself, of salt crystals that change color when exposed to light. She then drapes the prepared fabric in a space or has someone wear a prepared body suit to record the fleeting light and shadows of that environment. That shadows of the environment remain the white of the fabric, while the light-exposed areas turn blue. Thus, what we typically view as negative space becomes positive space. Through this method of making negative space positive and Rand's eye for places that usually go unnoticed, she makes the invisible seen and shows us how to be more aware of our environment. When the finished blue and white fabric sheets and body suits are removed from the context of where they were created, they become a ghost of a moment and a blueprint of a point in time and space where the ingredients were right to create a moment of beauty. With the Cyanalogue project, Aliza Rand is embracing chance by recording elusive moments through an elusive medium.

(Text by Matt Mullins, MFA 2010)