REDCAT: “There is something dreamlike and almost hallucinatory in Santiago Muñoz’s work, a nod to the counterculture of the 1960s and ’70s and its interest in drug-influenced approaches to art. At the same time, the re-enchantment of nature evoked by her haunting images might foster a politics of ecology.” — Art in America
Film at REDCAT is proud to present a selection of films by the 2019 recipient of The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts in Film/Video Beatriz Santiago Muñoz — including Nocturne (2014), Playa Negra (2014) and Gosila (2018), as well as clips from her new work-in-progress, Dicen que cabalga sobre un tigre (They say she rides a tiger, 2020). Santiago Muñoz has created a body of trenchant, poetic work thoroughly dedicated to imagining not only a decolonized Caribbean but alternative modes of vision and representation. Influenced by Boalian theater, experimental ethnography and feminist film histories, she has likened her way of working with non-actors to musical improvisation, ritual, dance and psychoanalytic sessions. Her work has been shown internationally at the Tate Modern, the New Museum, the Whitney Biennial and Pérez Art Museum Miami, among others. In addition to the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, she also received a Creative Capital visual artist grant.
In person, via Zoom: Beatriz Santiago Muñoz
16mm and HD video transferred to video, 9:58 min, 2018
“Two nights ago I dreamt all the objects of the world had been washed away in a giant wave. There was a museum of the Tibetan object, but it was really a museum of all the objects that had survived. They were set up in Lazy Susans that swirled together all moved on a conveyor belt that traveled throughout the museum. I was given a few minutes to compose a history of the world with 5 objects for a crowd in the auditorium. This a film about disorder, sense-making from the ground up, slowness and the work days after the hurricane.”
HD video, 4:20 min, 2018
Elizam Escobar - a Puerto Rican artist and writer who served 19 and a half years in US prisons for the crime of seditious conspiracy, as a member of the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional - handles a ceramic object that was made for Muñoz’s 2017 film, Oneiromancer, and proposes possible interpretations. With his presence he both grounds and unbalances the work. He is both the voice of authority and willing player in the game, an artist as interested in the world of the imagination as in history.
Playa Negra/Caballo/Campamento/Los muertos/Fuerzas
16mm black and white, silent, 8:00 min, 2016
The film was shot in Vieques - an island that was used as a bombing range by the US Navy in Puerto Rico for 60 years, and that for the past 10 has been fighting for its decontamination. It weaves together images of a man who cares for horses that roam the old target range; a black magnetite beach that is slowly eroding, an artist who has helped to resurrect a sacred tree which was once within the Navy’s gates and who has herself resurrected from illness more than once, a man who hopes his ritual movements return the island of Vieques to a cosmic balance—all of these are intertwined - land, toxic bomb, political work, celebration and death.
Nocturne (31.20, 2014)
HD video, color, sound, 30:35 min, 2014
Nocturne was shot over 10 nights, while thinking about material and poetic transformation - in dreams, in darkness, through objects or ideas - in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. During this time, Santiago Muñoz was hosted by the Quatre Chemins Festival, whose collaborators became an important part of the film. Daphne Menard, appears singing a traditional Haitian song about a young man who goes off to buy coffee and is arrested by the police. Guy Regis Junior’s mother, an assiduous lottery player, describes her lottery dreams and the common system for deciphering their codes. Two young theater students, Rodlin Christolin and Marie Claude Agustin from ENARTS, Port-Au-Prince’s art school, rehearse a speech, written for the occasion.
Ojos para mi enemigos (14.00, 2014)
HD video, color, sound, 14 min, 2014
Pedro Ortiz Pedraza prays to the Orishas. "Give eyes to my enemies, so that they may not take mine out". This is not a ruin and there is no nostalgia, no melancholy for a different future. The cotton trees have returned, from a time before the US Navy base was here. The cotton in Pedro's hands is for Obatalá, who loves the color white. It has been 10 years since the base closed. It is a wild combination of native species, introduced species from the agricultural past, and ornamental betel nut palms for the Navy's housing. Packs of abandoned dogs, wild boars escaped from a farm, and native birds jockey for position. No future has been determined yet. The forest retakes acres of land every day. An infinite number of events take place.
Clips from Dicen que cabalga sobre un tigre (They say she rides a tiger) (2020, work-in-progress).
Animated by a shifting cast of collaborators from music, performance, art, and poetry, Dicen que cabalga sobre un tigre entwines the linguistic structure of Monique Wittig’s iconic 1969 feminist novel Les Guérillères with the material and conceptual ground of the Caribbean. It visualizes the ecstatic potential of a near-future, non-binary world order through the struggles of its protagonists to imagine a new sort of sensorium—an autonomous language of post-colonial and post-patriarchal society.