Claudia Pretelin, New York City, 2016. © Image by Bryan Murray

Hi! Welcome to Instruments of Memory. I’m Claudia Pretelin. I’m a Mexican art historian, independent researcher, and arts administrator based in Los Angeles, California. This site is my long-term art history documentation project. It has evolved with time and I find myself now focusing on personal interviews with women in the arts. I ask about their work, their interests, and future projects. If this intrigues you, I encourage you to subscribe and maybe even take a dive into the archives.


Moving Identity: An Interview with Andrea Ordaz

Andrea Ordaz

 As a Mexican-American choreographer, I create dances with a language that gives voice to my body. A body that is female, free, and echoing history. I perceive the world in this manner and continue to grow this perspective when I collaborate and create dance works. My American identity that is rich in Mexican heritage means home and family, individual and community, and it also means layers. —Andrea Ordaz

Check out our new interview Moving Identity with Los Angeles- based dancer and choreographer Andrea Ordaz.

Andrea Ordaz received a BFA in Performance & Choreography and an MFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine. As creative director of A.Ordaz Dance, she makes and shares dances inspired by human connection and cultural landscapes. She utilizes her first-generation American perspective to advocate for deep thinking and profound opportunity in varying capacities such as dance and higher education, women in contemporary arts, and Mexican American contemporary dancing bodies and makings. Read more…


A conversation with Mexican artist and illustrator, Dulce Chacón

Dulce Chacón

Dulce Chacón, is a visual artist and illustrator currently living and working in Mexico City. Her work is a graphic reflection about the visual documentation and its methods of representation, having as an objective to establish relations between the procedures in the translation of the photographic images to drawings. 

Stacy Renee Morrison & Sarah E. Webb in conversation

Stacy Renee Morrison (left) & Sarah E. Webb (right)

We’re excited to announce our second collaboration with Sarah E. Webb! Sarah joins the IoM team as a contributor and will be interviewing artist and photographer Stacy Renee Morrison. 

Sarah E. Webb’s path is comprised of many stitches, but at heart, she is a storyteller and teacher. From the artist studio to the yoga studio, her multi-disciplinary approach considers both spaces as creative sites of corporeal process and practice. Webb received her MFA from Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY, and is the co-editor of Singular Women: Writing the Artist, UC Press, 2003. For over a decade, she has immersed herself in the physical and philosophical teaching of the yogic tradition, guided by Dr. Douglas Brooks and Vishali Varga. As a writer and a teacher, Sarah weaves her critical, visual, and perceptual background into a unique environment to map and make meaning of one’s individual body stories and experiences: from breath to pen, mat to page. She is currently completing her CPA in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University and writing a collection of essays.

Stacy Renee Morrison received a grant from the Rhode Island Council of the Humanities to research and make photographs about the life of Sylvia DeWolf Ostrander. She has exhibited her photographs in New York City, Rhode Island, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, Parma, Italy, Cordoba, Argentina, and Jeonju, South Korea.  Morrison teaches in the MFA Visual Narrative Department and BFA Photography and Video Department at the School of Visual Arts.  She is also a still-life photographer who makes quiet, polite, and sometimes-macabre photographs.  She never misses an opportunity to dress up as a 19th-century woman. She is currently working on a book about Sylvia called The Girl of My Dreams.  She also recently launched a silkscreened clothing line with images of Victorian women and ephemera named Sylvia after her beloved 19th-century friend.

An Interview with Mirasol Estrada, conservator of photographic materials

Mirasol Estrada

Mirasol Estrada is a conservator of photographic materials. She currently works as a private consultant for museums, galleries and private collectors in the United States and Mexico, and has recently started a project specifically tailored for family photographs and archives. She graduated with honors from the Escuela de Conservación y Restauración de Occidente in Guadalajara, Mexico, her hometown. In 2007, she was awarded by the Mellon Foundation to study in the Advanced Residency Program in Photograph Conservation at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. There she helped develop a system to safely access film rolls from the Mexican Suitcase, newly discovered photographs of the Spanish Civil war. After the program Mirasol became the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Photograph Conservation at the Art Institute of Chicago. At the Institute her studies focused on the Working Practices in Photography of the Bauhaus . She has also worked at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. and for the Photography Collection in Fundación Televisa in Mexico City. She has given presentations in the United States, Mexico, Uruguay and Argentina and continues teaching conservation and history of photography.

Stay tuned!

Before you go…

Don’t miss:

An Interview with Rosina Herrera, Conservator at the Rijksmuseum

Rosina Herrera

From Los Angeles to Amsterdam we interviewed Rosina Herrera, Photograph Conservator at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam to talk about her career and to dive into how a photo conservator approaches, determines, and preserves the stories that a picture can hide above and under the surface. In addition to our interview, Rosina will take over the Instruments of Memory Instagram account. Click HERE to read the full interview.

Rosina Herrera studied Paper Conservation and Art History before she was trained as a Photograph Conservator in Rochester, NY, at the Eastman Museum’s Advanced Residency Program in Photo Conservation. She worked at MoMA (NY) as an Andrew W. Mellon fellow and has collaborated with the Hispanic Society of New York. In 2014 she joined the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). 

Where There Was Fire, an interview with visual artist Alexia Miranda

Alexia Miranda

In my personal process, I go from more intimate pieces related to existential and individual ontological questions to questions about how we relate with others in society. I recognize in my own work two different needs. One is to explore, find answers, or generate thoughts about our human condition using metaphors and poetic images. The second need is to integrate the audience and let go of control, to interact, play, transform, and generate new experiences with local communities and the audience and to form a co-creative action with the work and concept. –Alexia Miranda

Check out our conversation with Alexia Miranda, a multidisciplinary artist from El Salvador whose practice explores the limits of human relations. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. In 2019 she participated in the 13 Bienal de la Habana.  Full interview HERE!