I am the last child of eight, with my mother coming from one side of the tracks while my father came from the other. The former combined her studies as a teacher and artist with sheer ingenuity to make our lives colorfully creative while the latter worked as an organizer, helping unite diverse minority groups to have stronger voices in their communities. With these abilities as part of my personal fabric, I became a teacher in 1990, joining the ranks to help empower people of all ages through English and Spanish. In 2008, I transferred my skills to the arts community, traveling perpetually, photographing, documenting and developing an approach I call contextualizations.
As an artist, I focus my camera on both impossibly large subjects as well as the nuances that define the dynamics and character of the fleeting yet eternal present moment. Looking at a scene both as a whole and as a unique union of colors, shapes, textures and circumstances, I use my medium as Dorothea Lange aptly described, “an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”
At one point, I used the video setting to bring movement to my stills. Sometimes likened to Cinéma vérité and also having qualities that are reminiscent of Jonas Mekas’s works, the scenes I focus on unfold in real time. As finished pieces, they are set to music; dialogue is often non-existent. Most of my time is spent with the situation I’m recording, keeping post-production work to a minimum. I leave my work for audiences to experience based on their individual and cultural fabrics, causing them to lean in.

Contextualizations had been in my thoughts for quite a while before I was invited to the Calumet Artist Residency in Gary, IN, 2017. It was here where I dove into what has now become my long term artistic practice. This site-specific approach is based on refreshing our perspective of what is otherwise neglected by familiarity. I document everyday life-in-motion moments from the area, and project them against familiar objects. I then video record those projections, creating the material for my final pieces. Though I am using digital equipment, my process of real-time layering and minimal post-production gives the results an analog feel. The works cause audiences to lose themselves within and outside their familiar spaces, allowing them to see their ‘known’ anew and inspire all to see and hear a place though their own filters of culture, mood and preconceptions.


Since 2008, ACVilla (Chicana, b. 1968) has focused her time as a peripatetic traveler, tour manager, photographer, videographer and visual artist. ACVilla’s photography and projections have been shown throughout the US and Europe in DIY spaces, museums, galleries, schools, universities as well as in music videos and documentaries throughout the world wide web. She has worked with a variety of musicians both in live and virtual contexts, and was honored to be invited by the internationally-renown Rova Saxophone Quartet to create No Distractions, a 3-screen video score for their 40th anniversary in January 2018. With her partner and musician Thollem, she continues to tour various iterations of Obstacle Illusion.

ACVilla’s setup ©Thollem 2023
ACVilla documenting AIDS mural in Los Angeles ©Thollem 2019
ACVilla, camera on the move ©Thollem 2020
Olympia, WA, documenting for Who Are US ©Thollem 2016


2023 International Tour
Obstacle Illusion II as Thollem/ACVilla
Feb 8-9 (Santa Barbara, CA) @ UCSB – Obstacle Illusion – performances and Q&A
Feb 19th (Tucson, AZ) @ Pidgin Palace Arts (part of the Peaceful Sky Festival) – Who Are US 4-hour experience
Mar 14 (Albuquerque, NM) @ The Guild Cinema – premier of Obstacle Illusion II and The Murals of Nani Chacon
April (Poschiavo CH) @ The Uncool Residency Thollem/ACVilla (This marks the final event that was cancelled in 2020.)
April 11 (Poschiavo CH) @ Scuole Valposchiavo – Thollem/ACVilla workshop
April 22nd (Poschiavo, Switzerland) @ Casa Hasler Poschiavo – Thollem/ACVilla
May 6 (Livorno IT) @ Teatro Refugio
May (Palermo IT) @ Curve Minore – residency to develop a documentary about Lelio Gianetto and the Sicilian Improvisers Orchestra (SIO)
July 5th (Santa Fe, NM) @ Cocteau Theater for Sandbox Series – Also: Thollem/Begay
Fall (Japan) @ TBA – Stay tuned!
December 15th (Seattle, WA) @ The Good Shepherd Chapel in The Wayward Series

2022 Bicontinental tour
Obstacle Illusion with Thollem (electric) trailer
Mar 12 (Albuquerque, NM) @ The Guild Cinema in conjunction with Basement Films
Mar 17 (DC) @ Rhizome
Mar 18 (Baltimore, MD) @ 2640 Space
Mar 19 (Philadelphia, PA) @ The Rotunda (Fire Museum Presents)
Apr 1 (Toronto CA) @ Array Music
Apr 7 (Lisbon PT) @ Ler Devagar
Apr 9 (Porto PT) – @ Sonoscopia
Apr 15 (Palermo IT) – @ Sala Perriera (Presented by Curva Minore)
May 6 (Napoli IT) – @ Infrasuoni l’Asilo
May 13 (Bitonto IT) – @ Resilienza
May 20 (Brescia IT) @ Spettro
​Jun 2 (Amsterdam NL) @ OCCii 
Jun 23 (Santa Fe, NM) @ Center for Contemporary Art for the Sandbox Series/Currents Festival
Aug 20 (San José, CA) @ School of Arts & Culture Gallery at Mexican Heritage Plaza, presented by Works/San José
Sep 10 (Guelph ON) @ Silence
Sep 19–25 (St. Erme FR) @ Residency at Performing Arts Forum (PAF)
Nov 5 (Palermo IT) @ Sala Faust
Nov 25 (Torino IT) @ Imbarchino
Dec (Amsterdam NL) Residency at The Atelier to create a site-specific piece
Dec 30 (London UK) @ Antenna Radio – Live On-Air with Obstacle Illusion/Interview

2021 Bicontinental Tour
Worlds In A Life with Thollem (electric)
Aug 29 (San José, CA) @ Works/San José
Sept 11 (Flagstaff, AZ) @ Kickstand Café – ​Interference Series
Sept 19  (Albuquerque, NM) @ The Guild Theater
Sept 23 (Kansas City, MO) @ 9th and State 
Sept 24 (Chicago, IL)  @ Elastic Arts 
Sept 25 (Plymouth, IN) @ Wild Rose Moon 
Sept 30 (Detroit, MI) @ Trinosophes 
Oct 24 (Milano IT) @ Macao
Dec 9 (Lisbon PT) @ Damas
Dec (Porto PT) @ Sonoscopia – Residency
Dec 23 (Porto PT) @ Sonoscopia – Canceled due to Omicron

2020 Lockdown – Commissions
New Mexico: Inside Out for (virtual) High Zero Festival (Curated by High Mayhem, Santa Fe, NM) trailer
Tin Plate and Bells for the ​BONNET/HESTIN/QUASS Trio watch
Celebration of Silicon Alleys for Gary Singh’s (virtual) book release – presented by Works/San José watch

2019 US tour
The Now Of US with Thollem (as Silver Ochre) toured as a work-in-progress throughout the US. My work was focused on murals with a message. The film included clips of an interview with Diné/Chicana muralist Nani Chacon. For each presentation, we invited a local muralist to show her work and talk about her own role in her community. trailer

2018 Commissions
No Distractions @ The Lab (San Francisco) – 3-screen video score for Rova Saxophone Quartet on the occasion of their 40th anniversary trailer
Dire Warning @ SITE Santa Fe (New Mexico) with Estamos Trio (Carmina Escobar, Milo Tamez, Thollem) trailer
Everyone Knows This To Be True @ The Guild Theater (Albuquerque, NM): part of Thollem’s Technicolor Grey Zone show / 2018 U.S tour trailer
The Visitor and The Angel @ Colorado State Univ. Art Gallery (Pueblo, CO): Bob Marsh/ACVilla Duo (sound movement and visions)
Collaboration in the Age of Echo Chambers, Part II: Bordering Li(n)es @ University of Colorado (Colorado Springs, CO): Visuals to accompany trio performance with Jane Rigler / Haleh Abghari / Thollem

Residencies: Calumet (Gary, IN), Pioneer Works (Brooklyn, NY)
Visuals for Electro Music Fest (Indianapolis, IN) and Northwest Film Forum (Seattle, WA) in collaboration with Thollem
Collecting material throughout US for No Distractions commission (2018)

2016 tour
The Fallen Angel @ Colorado St. Univ. Art Gallery (Pueblo, CO): Bob Marsh/ACVilla Duo (sound movement and visions)
Who Are US – 7 month, lower 48 state project made during the run-up to the US elections (without being about the elections). Presented in-progress, with live music, along the way at film societies, art houses, DIY venues, galleries, universities, museums, etc. with Q&A by Silver Ochre (ACVilla and Thollem) trailer

ACVilla with drone documenting murals with a message ©Thollem 2019