Photo by Stephen Pruitt

A native of Ethiopia (b. 1972), Betelhem Makonnen
currently lives and works in Austin, Texas. Working with a variety of mediums that include video, photography and installations, she researches questions on perception, presence and place. In addition to her practice she is an active member of the Austin-based contemporary arts collaborative Black Mountain Project.

An experimental blending of anthropological, philosophic, and historical (both personal and collective) research provides the platform for the development of the conceptual foundation of my practice. My works in photography, video and installation explore questions on perception, presence and place within a trans-temporal and trans-spacial topology that operates on the relational dynamics of my diasporic consciousness. 

With unfixed, many-ed, and dis-identified figures as a point of departure, I use strategies of (re)combinations and (re)configurations, collapsing form into fugitive perceptual experiences that activate in-between spaces existing in paradoxes, feedback loops and sites of connection. I am interested in creating image experiments that disturb our perception vocabulary, possibly opening new ways of seeing and making sense.

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