“Another Unwanted Immigrant” is a short documentary, which enables the viewer to participate in the celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a syncretic figure who simultaneously exemplifies both the faith of the Mexican people and colonializing efforts of the Spanish. Devotees in both Mexico and abroad sing mananitas to the “Virgen morena,” who they believe brings miracles, beginning at 12 am until sunrise on December 12th each year to honor her birthday. Children are dressed like inditos, resembling Juan Diego, the Indian who discovered the Virgin on the hill of Tepeyec, and whose ayata (poncho) was left with an imprint of the Virgin’s image to verify her legitimacy. Flowers, food, as well as sundry relics are given as offerings. Some devotees even crawl on their knees to pay their respects.
More recently, runners, sponsored by the Associacion de Tepeyec in New York, travel on foot, 7,000 miles, carrying a torch from the Basilica in Mexico City, which houses Juan Diego’s ayata, to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, signifying her manifestation in the U.S., and her protection of immigrants working here.
The film chronicles the events as they unfolded in 2004 when an unexpected protest emerged outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Although Cardinal Egan invited the Mexican community to end their journey with a mass inside St. Patrick’s, but once the runners and the large crowd of devotees from various parts of the country actually arrived outside the main door, the community was denied entrance to the church. This short piece renders the surreptitious form of racism, which was never addressed in the news, visible.
“After the Deluge” is a meta-poetic video that attempts to unravel the evolution of visual culture and its correlative effect upon human perception and the bifurcation of the self. Two narratives are interwoven: Oliver Sacks essay, “To See and Not See” about a newly sighted 50 year old man named Virgil and my own labyrinthine and ponderous voice over, which seeks to find alternative recuperations for pre-semiotic expression. By coarsely juxtaposing these two narratives, I hoped to show that the cultural forces, which unconsciously changed human beings ways of seeing themselves, others and their environment through the mediation of various optical devices from the 17th c. on, parallels the process experienced by Virgil as a newly sighted adult attempting to renegotiate his meaning world. The disorientation, the painful unfamiliarity, loss of physical connectivity.
The Sack’s sections, therefore, are intended to abruptly interrupt the flow of narrative, to jar the viewer into experiencing the profound sensation of haptic visuality. Of seeing without spatial differentiation. To recreate this experience, I used a small digital camera on extreme zoom, like a hand, to invite the viewer to inhabit, albeit briefly, how a blind person navigates, “sees,” the world through touch. Sounds are heightened here, of course, since they offer compensatory strategies used by the blind to make sense of the world, of space.
In addition, I am in the process of garnering what Christopher Marker may call an “archive of images,” with which I experimented using in this piece as a way to illustrate to the viewer how various visual innovations unconsciously shape our eyes, our psyches. Used responsibly, They also suggest alter/native way of seeing. Of using the medium of film to communicate ideas.
“Seduction” is an experimental video that psychologically maps the potential affects a city’s fragmented, sexual imagery has upon human behavior conveyed through a fictional narrative device and a haunting voice-over, which is overlaid by a montaged onslaught of predatorial women gazing at the viewer. The short story, told from the point of view of a mannequin, now encased behind glass, who was once a sex worker, but had the misfortune of befriending our protagonist, Stanley Hamburger, a retired insurance salesman turned serial killer, explores contemporary theories of psycho-geography, the unconscious interplay of power and the colonizing strategies of visual culture over our imaginations. In essence, the viewer visually experiences a trance-like version of what Guy Debord coined a derive.