This young Bolivian video and performance artist, who graduated from her architecture studies at La Paz's Universidad Nuestra Senora in 2003, went on to a Rijksakademie residency in Amsterdam, and to the Venice Biennale of 2007. In the interim, she has shown widely in Europe, South America and as far east as Egypt. Making art, she says, allows one to alter reality according to one's wishes with no restrictions. This permits her "to live in a chaotic, contradictory, absurd and romantic world." In her oeuvre, she juxtaposes order and chaos at several levels and adds a chunk of humor to complete the picture.
Narda Alvarado came to the JCVA in December of 2006. During her fruitful and active stay, she engaged to show her works at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, and met with many artists both in Israel and in Palestine.
Olive Green

For this piece, Alvarado asked the Bolivian School of Traffic Police to block a main road in the hectic city of La Paz just so they could each eat one olive from a plate. Thus situated among crowded cars, the police intervention in the rushed, erratic driving patterns of a busy morning creates a peaceful and delicate straight line, an intermission of strange, out of-place order.
The unusual ceremony, wherein members of a force dedicated to maintaining order arbitrarily stopped traffic in the city, gave both policemen and spectators a rare opportunity to contemplate time and pace in our daily lives.

As it happens, "Olive Green" is not merely the color of the police uniforms, but also the nickname of the force. Furthermore, demonstrations using human barriers and blockades are daily occurrences in Bolivia. In 2003, when this work was made, the police protested as well, but their protest took the form of a strike, which – through absence – increased the reign of chaos in the city.  Alvarado skillfully knit all these elements into a four-minute video performance that juxtaposes intensity and serenity, and weaves the specific national context into a wider, universally accessible visual narrative.

Killing Time

How many drops of water in a wet robe? How long would it take to measure this? Does this sound like a high-school math problem? In this piece, Alvarado uses the immaculate sport of diving to create a messy scene that depicts an off-beat measuring tool.  The divers wear clothes that function as water-carriers.  They are weighed before and after they dive, so that the amount of water drawn from the pool can be calculated. Alvarado suggests that it may be just the preliminary before she sets out to calculate the number of water drops in the divers' clothes, as well as their path and their speed. At the very end, the divers undress and are exposed in their "normal" performance outfits. The story begins in an orderly fashion, but disorder soon conquers the stage. The entire scene is practically a device for killing time until real diving practice starts as the video ends.