art + cinema

As an artist and filmmaker, I produce video, video installations, films, performances, workshops. lectures, and publications. The trajectory of these pieces has recently been towards forms of open knowledge, commons and commoning, digital archival research and production, and crowdsourcing and collective production of cinematic texts, framed by decolonial feminist pedagogy and aesthetics.

Current projects

agua-cine|watercinemas is both a research project and a platform for collective production, and exhibited at Indigeneity Decoloniality @rt at the Fredric Jameson Gallery at Duke University, April – August, 2014. I gave a preliminary lecture about it, “agua-cine,” at the Symposium on Decolonial Aesthetics from the Americas, sponsored by FUSE magazine and e-fagia collective in Toronto, October 10-12, 2013.

los archivos del cuerpo (body files) is a living, crowdsourced archive of decolonial body knowledges, and is collecting writing, images, sounds, documents for transmedia exhibitions and publications. I also do workshops and other interventions along with the project, to provoke/evoke questions of how our bodies might carry unofficial, marginalized knowledge. It was on exhibit at Huret & Spector Gallery, Emerson College, through the end of March 2015, and subsequently at the SALASAB in Bogotá, Colombia in October 2015.

Hotel/Panamá is also an ongoing research and video production project that investigates the multiple legacies of the Panama Canal. The project was first exhibited at the Decolonial Aesthetics/Esteticas Decoloniales exhibitions in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2010, and Duke University in 2011. Its most recent exhibition was at Rutgers University December 2014 as part of the “Rethinking the Asia Pivot” symposium – the image above is of the iteration of the installation there.

Selected Video/Art Works

Agua-cine (water|cinemas). multiple-channel video and mixed media installation with photography, print publication, and workshop/performance, 2014 – ongoing. The project engages in a media archaeology and crowd-sourced process of mapping stories and struggles over global water resources with the Bolivian constitution’s assertion of the rights of mother earth at its center along with the re-imagining of water through multiple discursive forms, with contributions from Pierre Archambault (Quebecois/USA), Choralyne Dumesnil (France), Tom Jones (Ho Chunk/USA), Enrique Castro-Ríos (Panama), Matthew Shropshire (USA), Pedro Pablo Gomez (Colombia), Raqs Media Collective (India), and others.

Los Archivos del Cuerpo (body files). Multiple channel video installation with online, crowd-sourced tumblr platform and mixed media installation, 2013 – ongoing. With contributions from Joeser Alvarez (Brazil), Daniel Brittany Chavez (US/Mexico), Maria Magdalena Campos Pons (Cuba/US), Pedro Pablo Gomez (Colombia), María C. Lugones (Argentina/US), Robert Ochshorn (US), Naomi Elena Ramirez (US), tammy ko Robinson (Korea), Zvonka Simcic (Slovenia), Filippo Spreafico (Italy), and others. The work is a collective archive of “the files of the body,” revealing the body as a site of struggle between the frictions of multiple valences and hegemonic globalization, social movements, nationalisms and indigenisms, sexuality, and constructions of gender and race.

Hotel/Panama. Single channel video, and 4 to 24-channel video installation, 2010 – ongoing. In Hotel/Panama, multiple digital videos relay a spectrum of moments from the technologies and archives of the Panama Canal, creating a transmodern assemblage of historical, perspectival, temporal and epistemological fractures and trajectories.

FWD:[Fwd: Suite de notre conversation]. Online text/image piece meditating on routes of transformation and communication, 2009. Co-produced with Isabelle Massu for “Typos in the Writing on the Wall,” on-line exhibition, SARAI, Centre for Developing Societies, New Delhi, India.

Watch, Wait. Cinematic artists’ book, 2007. Watch, Wait reflects on parallel historic routes of resource extraction, territorial expansion, linguistic hybridity and cinematic friction. It uses original text, images and archival stills from cinema history. Produced for Evelyne Jouanno’s project, Emergency Biennale in Chechnya, which has exhibited internationally continuously since 2005.

Voces y Luchas.  45 min. video, website and curriculum guide, 2003.  Documentary based on oral histories and the politics of testimony and history with Chicago Latinos and Latinas. Directed and co-produced with Video Machete, co-sponsored with the DePaul Center for Latino Research, and funded by the Illinois Humanities Council.

Artifactos del Archivo de la Red Feminista.  Video and multi-media installation, 2000.  This multi-media installation documents a fictional history of women’s guerilla media activism, proposing a series of premises and analyses for future interventions.

Mi Cuerpo, tu cuerpo, y el espacio entre los dos. Video and interactive CD-Rom, 2001/2014. Experimental hypertext piece using poetry, text, interviews, and archival images to explore bi-lingualism, bi-culturalism, sexuality, mothering, and other excesses. Recently transposed as a one-act play to be produced by the Latino Experimental Theater, Chicago, IL in 2016.

Voces y Videos. Video installation for live poetry performance, 60 min., 1994.  Commissioned by the Chicago Latino Experimental Theatre Company.

Canal  Zone/La Zona del Canal. Video/film installation with still image projections and single-channel video, 25 min., 1993. Explores colonial history of Panama Canal through an autobiographical lens.

Home Birth/Partos en Casa. Single channel video, 26 min. 1992. Bi-lingual documentary about home birth. Commissioned by Chicago Community Midwives, co-produced with Salome Chasnoff.

The Women of Pilsen/Mujeres de Pilsen. Single channel video and video installation, 180 min., 1992. Oral history of Chicana/Mexicana women in Chicago. Co-produced with Maria C. Lugones and collective of participants.

The Fantastic Moms. Single channel video, 15 min., l990.  Documentary about teen mothers. Co-produced with “The Fantastic Moms,” a teen moms collective, and Salome Chasnoff.

Potential  Pictures. Video, 25 min., l990.  Experimental narrative about multiple women’s abortion experiences.

Selected works created by Video Machete collective

Ju-Nam. Video, 14 min., 2000. Interrogates indigenous identities and signifiers with a group of Native American-identified youth.

Yo Quiero Ser. Video, 60 second public service announcement, 2000. Young women of color make demands to exist. Produced for the Listen UP! Project, sponsored by the Merrow Report, New York, N.Y.

Don’t Wake Me Up. . .I’m Dreaming. Video and performance,13 min., 1998. Collectively produced and performed video/performance representing young women’s experiences of love, sexuality and sexism. Produced for and performed at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

Division 11 Diary. Video, 8 min., 1997. Experimental documentary of Video Machete member Ramiro Rodriguez’ experience in maximum security division of Cook County Correctional Center.

No Pictures. Video installation, 60 min., 1997. A television screen is flanked by images of the police and maps of the city. On the screen is the text “No Pictures,” with a soundtrack of a young man his incarceration.

Puntos y Rayas. Video installation, 45 min., 1996. Three monitors, each emblazoned with urban street art, represent three different perspectives on the city:  young women’s – the gangs’ – the police. Commissioned by New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY.

I’m hard at work on coding a project website, as soon as it’s up I’ll link to it here! In the meantime, here are a couple of additional links:

Mis-Treating Prisoners, Healthcare Behind Bars

Dalida María Benfield, Selected Works reel on Vimeo