July 9, 2020

Assistant professor of studio art Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz’s vocals can be heard on the new single “The Twitch” by local electronic musician and DJ Stereo 77 (Alejandro Ramirez). Raimundi-Ortiz features a chilling, fraught spoken-word narrative about domestic abuse, while Ramirez creates a dense mat of intricate sound that is somehow meditative and anxious at the same time.

Raimundi-Ortiz has collaborated with Ramirez before, best known for the heart-breaking and life-affirming durational performance piece Pietà, part of her Reinas series, for which Ramirez provided backing soundtracks. She has also done several projects with UCF, including her Exodus/Pilgrimage performance for UCF Celebrate the Arts 2019.

“’The Twitch’ was inspired by witnessing a friend struggle with an abusive relationship and recognizing the red flags from my own personal experiences with domestic violence/abuse,” says Raimundi-Ortiz. “At the time I was still reeling from my own situations and put pen to page and started reflecting on the feeling of walking on eggshells around a violent person, then watching someone else go through it and you can’t do much to help them. You can only witness and remind them that you are there to support them. My written work is what people probably know least of my creative practices, but the word and storytelling and grappling with my own trauma plays a big part in how I make all of my work.”

Raimundi-Ortiz has been teaching in the School of Visual Arts and Design since 2010. Prior to that, she was an adjunct professor at Yeshiva University/Stern College for Women in New York City. She received her master’s in fine art from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of Art, and her undergraduate work was done at State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. She is also an alum of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

When asked what was coming next, Raimundi-Ortiz responded, “I’m definitely still working. During my yearlong residency at the Maitland Art Center I’ve been building a new body of work that addresses hair politics and race struggles, sanctuary. I’m also thinking a lot about disease, mutation, trying to manipulate nature while attempting to be one with it and all that hypocrisy (of which I am entirely guilty). I’ve got exhibitions coming up this fall and throughout next year, so I’m pretty busy that way.”

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