Nuevos Materiales (New materials) gathers a series of recent works by Beatriz Santiago Muñoz that mobilize images production devices in order to approach the past, not necessarily in a historicist way, but rather linked to the present through affects and the sensorial. Faced with the question of how to get access to the daily life of a past political struggle, Santiago Muñoz “manufactures memories” using the potential of fantasy and the realm of dreams as grounds to grant meaning to an obliterated materiality.
These Works evoke the political struggle of FALN (Armed Forces of National Liberation) a Puerto Rican anti-colonial revolutionary group active between 1974 and 1983. More precisely, Santiago Muñoz approaches those militants active in Chicago. Many activists of this organization were sentenced to excessive prison sentences for their work against the US occupation in Puerto Rico, accused of “seditious conspiracy”, translated in the public opinion as terrorims. Given the evidence produced by the hegemonic state power –FBI, criminal courts, etc.– Santiago Muñoz seeks to créate another type of register that resorts to a sensorial unconscious that crosses through and the vital, and that accounts for the other side of this story.
In Oneiromancer (2017) attorney Jan Susler, advocate for the rights of Puerto Rican political prisioners, talks about her profesional work. Through the movements of the camera and the images that accompany her story, as well as the testimonnies of Santiago Muñoz, we get a glimpse of the role of affects and dreams in the exercise of memory involved in revisiting documents and places that remain as silent witnesses of a way of thinking forced to disappear. The title, which refers to a form of divination base don the interpretation of dreams, evokes a collapse of temporalities through which we can, perhaps, project other realities.
Safehouse (2018), co-produced by Museo Amparo, is a two-channel video where a group of three people simultaneously share the inherent tension of a clandestine situation in a closed space. On the one hand, the daily manifestations of the body and its physical and psychic relationships with the environment; on the other, the guard, discourse, and labor. On its A and B sides, these extremes meet and are disturbed by an explosion, a bomb “literal and of the mind”, a momento of interruption that makes posible the emergence of something that had remained veiled. Through sound, Santiago Muñoz wonders about the possibility of evoking the political dimension of a rarefied everyday life.
In the absence of a material culture that could speak of that momento, Santiago Muñoz seeks and produces new materials to read those dreams, to access that sensorial unconscious. The works gathered here are based on images and objects, traces of the vanished political movement, to expand them and thus reformulate this history.