Laura Hernandez Andrade

Laura Hernandez Andrade

May 14, 2012: The department of Design Media Arts mourns the loss of Laura Hernandez Andrade who passed away last week. Laura was a MFA candidate of the Design Media Arts at UCLA, where she also earned her BA in Design. She was a native of Spain, and while in Europe her work was focused on coordinating multimedia production projects for large audiences, combining large projection systems, special effects, and other visual extravaganzas. She was also a laserist at Griffith Observatory for a while. Her interests resided in the vocabulary that emerges from the fusion of visual technologies and performance. She was also obsessed by mirrors, and the exploration of worlds that extend beyond our visual perceptions.

At the end of 2011 Laura co-wrote a book called “WikiPlaza” presenting the practical and theoretical research carried out by and a broad network of collaborators from 2005 to 2010, in the field of the participatory social construction of public space mediated by information and communication technologies. The work aims to condense the experiences of free software and hacker culture, and the social and independent media movements that emerged at the turn of the twenty-first century, in order to produce “ecosophic machines” that is, new technical, social and mental ecologies that offer an alternative to the dominant neoliberalism and promote and stimulate emancipation, autonomy and spaces of the commons. WikiPlaza Book

"I am extremely saddened by the loss of Laura Hernandez-Andrade, former BA and MFA 2005 student of our department, and a personal friend. Laura was an incredibly dedicated student, to her work and to the department, she was an excellent T.A., and because of her personality was loved by many. She was my first T.A. when I came to Design Media Arts in 2004 and we quickly became close friends. I was impressed by her strength; always very positive in attitude, and a real fighter for good causes. When she decided to move back to Spain after she graduated, our friendship had to continue via e-mail, which to both of us felt extremely insufficient. My last correspondence with her dates March, 27th in which she listed the sufferings of her body and the treatments she was getting. She did that in a typical Laura-style, no nonsense, no self-pity, instead she expressed her worries for her mom and the possibility of her losing another of her children. Then she ended with a beautiful poem: Ithaca by Constantine P. Cavafy (1911). and she signed “I love you, l.aura”. I will miss her as my dear friend, and I will cherish all the good memories we shared; like our nights out, Laura and me on her motorbike, driving around Los Angeles under a dark, starry sky. I love you too, Laura, and I always will... besos, x x x whl"
— Willem Henri Lucas

“We shared one of the most important periods of our lives together as part of a small band of 6 grad students at UCLA. A short time, but deep with resonance as a moment of self-discovery and finding friendships that would always ring true. Laura was a friend, confidante, critic, supporter, spirit.”
— Scott Hessels, Hong Kong

“A year ahead of us '06ers Laura's guidance helped us make sense of our new environment. I'll always distinctly remember her laughing and happy at Zai's house in Malibu after a (final?) round of thesis critiques. Laura, you will be greatly missed.”
— Krister Olsson, Yokohama

"I am shaken and deeply saddened by the premature passing of our friend Laura. She was a warm-hearted, lively and unconventional woman. During my years at UCLA I had the privilege of meeting some exceptional individuals, and Laura was one of them. I remember meeting her for the first time. I was attending one of my first classes with Prof. Huhtamo and she draw my attention because she was asking many interesting questions. Laura is so imbedded in the memory of those years as we crossed paths many times after that first encounter. We became friends. I enjoyed speaking in Spanish with her, her open laugh and her down-to-earth attitude. Laura was extroverted and thoughtful; her creative sensibility was shaped by her cultural heritage and the complex narrative of her life. With her work she contributed with a different voice to the conversation about media arts in the department. I like to remember Laura as she smiles, wears her gears and jumps on her motorcycle, at sunset, as I saw her doing many times after long afternoons in the lab. I like thinking at her as she take-off, rumbling into the golden light of the evening, boundless and free. Be safe in your last journey dear Laura, your friends will miss you."
— Silvia Rigon, Los Angeles

“I first met Laura in that space at UCLA we used to call the CDA. I was a new staff member in the Video Lab and she may have been a DMA undergraduate student at the time. I was fascinated by the world she was creating with her Maya project and told her so. We fell into friendship very easily and became collaborators. I am so unbelievably sad to hear that my dear, dear friend is gone now. She had the soul of a true artist and knew how to bring joy into the room. Laura (with the Spanish "r" rolled, she would gently remind you) - a beautiful person, a wonderful designer, and if that wasn't enough she had a way with her Spanish paella recipe that made even gay men wish they had thought to ask for her hand in marriage before Ed got there. I love her so much and I just always assumed I would see her again when I visited Spain. . . . free spirit fly free . .”
— Mark Eby, Goroka, Papua New Guinea

“Laura. I respected your work, work ethic, and delightful character. Your energy will live on among those you have inspired.”
— Gil Kuno, Los Angeles

“I'm still trying to make sense of the reality that my dear friend and confidante Laura Hernandez Andrade is no longer with us. Laura, I'll remember your passion, both good and bad, and how your face would light up when you would see a friend, and how you could bring that out in the people around you too. I'll remember that olive green jacket you always wore. You had so many crazy stories -- someone should write a book about you, your family, and your adventures. Somehow the progressive hearing loss never seemed to get you down. I'll remember how your anger and grief after the terrorist bombings in Madrid led you to create an art work dedicated to the innocent people who died in the senseless violence. Thank you for all the things you showed and taught me, and I will always remember to get out from behind the computer and live in the real world! The universe is a sad and unfair place to take you so soon. Laura, I love you and will miss you so much.”
— Peter Cho, San Francisco

“It was devastating and shocking to learn about the passing of Laura. We met while both graduate students, she a student of DMA, and I a student in World Arts and Cultures. She approached me to perform in a small installation she designed. I was both thrilled and nervous at the opportunity to collaborate. I found her to be a true artists whose vision and interests transcended conventional boundaries-she was about the questions.. not the solutions and it was a great learning experience to share in her process. Laura was at once large and bold with vision and yet tender, thoughtful and full of compassion and care for others. While we remained in contact our life paths intersected only intermittently. What I did know about Laura was that she was never one to place herself above anyone else, even in the face of tragedy. I was and will remain in awe of how she dealt so courageously with her personal tragedies and did so with great grace. Her bright spirit, boundless energy, quick wit, courage and love of life were the gifts she brought to me in the times we shared. Laura my sweet -my biggest hope is that in your final days you were at peace and could sense the depth of caring that surrounded you near and far. With great love and in kinship with all those who loved you- you will be missed but never forgotten.”
— Stefanie Adcock

On February 27, 2000
I lost a loved one,
And I confess I cried.

In the joyous celebration of the lady
and her music
There were tears on the Rio Guadalete
When Lucy Andrade died.

When walking down that river road
I saw crystal tear shaped droplets
Silver beads of love
Sparkling on the river´s tide.

And I´ll just bet they turned to diamonds
For the love that was behind them

There were tears on the Guadalete,

When Lucy Andrade came home.

On May 11, 2012,
We lost her sister Laura
and the pain was multiplied

The old city of Sevilla held her heart
and was her home.
Delicate of word and brush
smiles from all who came her way.
Just when all appeared tranquil
He was hers and their lives became one.

The streets of Arcos
and the streets of Sevilla smiled
In the night as Laura and he became one.

But always Laura's heart was of the sevillana
in San Bernardo and calle Feria
the fresh boquerone and the churro
Torres 5 and cafe con leche caldo suficiente
why does it change?

The tears are on the Quadalquivir
Crystal tear shaped droplets
Silver beads of love
Sparkling on the river's tide.
And I'll just bet they turned to diamonds
For the love that was behind them
There were tears on the Quadalquivir River
When Laura Andrade died.

There were tears on the Rio Guadalete
las Calles de Arcos
When Lucy Andrade
and Laura Andrade died.

— From Tears on the Holsten, Johnny Cash

I know clearly that Laura was enthralled by working with yourself, Victoria, Mark Eby, especially, and the many people she came in contact with over the years. Laura is the first in her immediate family to have a University degree. She and her family did not deserve this outcome even a little bit. Laura's older sister Lucy died in February, 2000. A younger brother died in December, 1992. I am clear that Laura is the older now, and so the roles reverse as they again meet up. She is survived by both parents, Antonia and Manolo, two brothers, two nieces, and 4 nephews.

In this world, Laura was afraid of needles and would look away rather than see blood. She went forward on this journey most bravely, and paid very close attention to her care, to do everything right, in this most difficult journey.

Laura's core career path has been the video arts. She was a video operator when we met at the World Expo '92 in Seville, Spain. We traveled together to London where she worked as a video operator at the FrameStore post production house. She saw that the interesting things were being done by people with Master's degrees in Art. It was there that the seed was set that she would become an artist.

As many people know, Laura was legendary around a fish or clam, and legendary in general in the "chiken" as she would call it, and kitchen as we know it. Her father claims influence in this matter, but Laura surely improved on it.

My years beside Laura have been a dream fulfilled, a journey by boat delicate of adventure, discovery, and challenge. The time has been way too short, with many dreams unfulfilled for each of us.

She and her UCLA thesis project are now one.

A good point is that I am unclear where the mirrors are for the Atoche installation. I have many of her slides, and feel that she should have shown it more widely, a great piece/installation, one of her best. I remember offering to ship them to her, but did not see them while in Sevilla.
— Ed Burzycki