Mano de Obra (The Hand of Work)

Sofía Córdova makes video, sound and installation works that consider sci-fi as alternative history, revolution – historical and imagined, and dance music as liberatory tool.

Artist Bio

Mano de Obra (The Hand of Work) is a performance, video, and installation set in the near future and in conversation with histories and fictional narratives of labor organizing in the Caribbean and the USA. This work will employ absurdism to avoid telling a single, linear narrative, opting instead for a multi-vocal telling of these processes. Materially, this video will contain aspects of performance, experimental choreography, and a sculptural set. The same will traverse through my father’s life as union president during the 1980s FAA strikes in Puerto Rico –which led to Ronald Reagan striking a near fatal blow against the labor movement in the US and its colonies-, scenes of labor organizing from literary sources such as Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man, and from recent unionizing efforts around the world. Mano de Obra will tell the story of labor from the perspective of Black colonial subjects whose resistance is inherently double–against the bosses and against colonialism, both parts played by government and corporation. A monochromatic-red set will be created for the video and carry over as installation for the same.

Award Year

In Progress

An AfroIndigenous person with curly hair and a black tanktop and skirt stares at the camera

Sofía Córdova

Emeryville, CA and Carolina, Puerto Rico

Sofía Córdova received the Creative Capital Award in 2024. Sofía Córdova works between her native Puerto Rico and Oakland, CA. Her work considers sci-fi as alternative history, dance music’s liberatory dimensions, climate change and migration, and most recently, revolution – historical and imagined – within the matrix of class, gender, race, late capitalism and its evolving technologies. She works in performance, video, sound, music, installation, photography, and sometimes taxidermy.

Her work has been exhibited and performed nationally and internationally at The Whitney Museum of American Art, Tufts University Galleries, the Buffalo Institute for Contemporary Art, SFMOMA, the Arizona State University Museum, the Vincent Price Museum, the Wattis Institute, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (USA), as well as the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (Puerto Rico), Art Hub (Shanghai) and MEWO Kunsthalle (Germany). The same is part of The Whitney Museum’s and Kadist’s permanent collections. She has participated in residencies at Eyebeam, NY, Headlands Center for the Arts, Mills College Museum, CA, and the ASU Museum, AZ and composed and choreographed performances for the SF Arts Commission, Merce Cunningham Trust and Soundwave Biennial. She is a recipient of a Fundación Ama Amoedo Grant, a Creative Work Fund Grant and is a 2023 Artadia Awardee.

She is one half of the music duo and experimental sound outfit XUXA SANTAMARIA.