People are a little surprised when i explain that i want to present mujer_cita_MIA in public rest rooms, specifically Women’s rest rooms. Like, ew… really? Yes, really. Initially, the conversation has been: “Are you going to interview women in public Ladies’ Rooms?” No. I am going to use the Ladies’ Room as an exhibition space for the video projects. “What will it look like?” Like a loop of moving image art on a flat screen. “Will it be like a commercial for feminism?” No, it’s actually contemporary video art in a public rest room. “What is it about?” It’s about our existence as women.
The layers of meaning that the Ladies’ Room brings to the piece are many: Presumably, the Ladies’ Room is a private, female-only space in which women feel safe; yet public rest rooms rank alarmingly high among the places of highest risk for rape. And then there’s the systematic attempt to define “female” and “femininity” and the issues trans and androgynous people face with regards to using the Ladies’ Room. At this time I won’t expand upon my belief that the myth of the binary gender system is a patriarchal form of social, political and economic oppression, as that subject deserves its own post, but do keep that in mind as you read.
The Ladies’ Room is that ironic place of utmost privacy in public. It is a place where fleeting intimacy occurs between random strangers as we wash our hands and apply lipstick in a mirror together, greet each other politely, make small talk, and wish each other a nice day, having just taken care of other, more delicate, personal matters. Imagine if, as we do this, we are surprised by the presence of a unique video art piece on the wall. And if, furthermore, the work is layered with references to the issues that we are confronted with daily and discussing through social media, among friends in private and public places, and quite possibly, in the Ladies’ Room itself. Imagine if the work addresses our strength as women, the difficulties that we face daily and our power to continuously evolve. Imagine if the video is telling our stories through an abstract and universal visual language.
mujer_cita_MIA wants to reach a specific population of people and make a subliminal commentary on society from the perspective of a Latina immigrant in Miami, along with others who enter into the dialogue via social media. The conversations that i am having on facebook, and particularly on Twitter, with women from all over the world, are the basis for the images that i am creating for this city-wide film and video art project.
The idea first came to me in 2007 while working on a piece made with recycled vintage porn footage and television commercials on 16mm which i also hand-colored and scratched on. My first impulse at the time was to propose exhibiting the work in the Rest Rooms of some of Miami’s most popular nightclubs. I even came up with a sort of business plan for it, thinking it a great ménage-à-trois between fine art, public service, and commercial potential. That piece grew into an installation that was instead presented in the closet of a local gallery, but the idea of the public rest room stayed in my mind.
So my first choice of venues would be Ladies’ Rooms in local nightclubs, as I really want to address rape and sexual assault in that context, where sexual nuances and cues are flying about. The point of the work is not to moralize upon those nuances, but to stimulate the psyche through moving imagery that subliminally empowers us to feel more confident about our bodies and the social and sexual choices we make, both within the specific space and, by extension, within the dynamics of our personal relationships.
There will be several versions of the videos designed for different types of spaces, some more suitable for younger viewers to be installed in venues such as restaurants, libraries, and youth centers where the target audiences are girls of varying ages. The piece is multilingual and filmed mostly in Miami. And for guys who want to see the work: videos will be posted online so that you can also see them and comment on them. i want to get this message out there and love exhibiting my work in public space.
And… If anybody knows of a cool venue that might be interested in featuring this work, drop me a line. Likewise if you are a composer, musician or sound artist interested in contributing work to the piece. At this time, i am in the development stage of this project. Any leads to potential funders, contributors or sponsors is also greatly appreciated. firstname.lastname@example.org
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