• film

An Evening with Beatriz Santiago Muñoz

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Tuesday 10/22
7:00 pm
Ibrahim Theater
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Beatriz Santiago Muñoz’s errant cinema composes a visual love of signifying Puerto Rico and other “disappearing landscape[s].” It poeticizes a radical dance with images that breaches the fascisms of the everyday and makes life from a polluted world and reckless economic system.


Questioning the formula that “radical form follows radical content,” and the threadbare aesthetic and ideological mistake that virginal content lies in wait for penetrative form (the island of Borinquén awaiting Spain; Puerto Rico awaiting the U.S.), Santiago Muñoz instead proposes that, “A radical artwork can move thought forward, rather than simply replicating the political analysis. Art is a way of thinking through forms, of working through forms” (Radical Form, 2008). In distinction to what history says did happen, or dogma says should happen, art is defined as an intensely subjunctive “unreasonable hopefulness”: form looking for other forms of thought.


Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, who has screened at the Tate, CCA Wattis Institute, and Museo Rufino Tamayo, among other venues in the Americas and Europe, will be present for conversation, and will be introduced by the filmmaker and scholar, Franklin Cason Jr. Curated by Mary Ebeling and Rachel Ellis Neyra.


This program is presented by The Penn Cinema Studies Program, The College of Arts and Sciences, The Department Latin American and Latina/o Studies, and The Department of Hispanic Studies @ the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.


La Cueva Negra

dir. Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, 2012, digital, 20 min.


La Cueva Negra is a moving image project and photo series which explores the Paso del Indio site as a layered repository of symbolic and material histories. The site is well known in the archaeological community. Twenty years ago, during the construction of a multi-lane highway, a complex (possibly Archaic, definitely Pre-Taíno and Taíno) indigenous burial site was discovered and many objects and remains recovered. But the site was paved over for the construction of the expressway. Paso del Indio visibly holds many conflicting histories, embodied in the landscape and built environment.



dir. Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, 2012, 16mm, 6 min.


Farmacopeas are catalogs of plants and their uses. Farmacopea is a visual and text-based work on the relationship between historical processes and the natural landscape of Puerto Rico.



dir. Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, 2011, digital, 8 min.


In Caxias do Sul mega‐factories with 4,000 workers in one site have changed and re‐structured the image of work, the worker and lately, that imagined threshold in which a worker leaves the factory, and becomes an individual subject in public space among other workers. Commissioned by the Bienal do Mercosul in Porto Alegre to develop project in a Caxias, I collaborated with musicians and organized two public events in which musicians with experimental affinities improvised a live soundtrack to images of workers leaving the factory.



dir. Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, 2006, digital, 18 min.


The town of Frontera Corozal was created in the 70s as a modernization and urbanization project in Mexico. 601 Chol families were relocated to identical plots of land by the Usumacinta River. I asked the citizens of the town to physically draw in space the contours of an imagined natural landscape or of their own constructed space. I worked with the community council (18 comuneros, all men) to make an inventory of all that exists within the town. The inventory was then narrated by a town council member through the makeshift speaker system that serves as the town’s preferred method of public communication.


Esto es un mensaje explosivo

dir. Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, 2006, digital, 16 min.


A film in two parts, about the construction and meaning of an event which persists in unofficial and rumored histories of art in Puerto Rico. In 1979 Carlos Irizarry, a Puerto Rican artist, boarded an American Airlines plane and threatened to blow it up in support of the liberation of Puerto Rican political prisoners. The event is sometimes referred to as a work of art, as a political-symbolic action, or as terrorism, and at yet other times the event is stretched around the hazy figure of national hero, or artiste maudite.


Total running time approx. 68 minutes