Working collaboratively since 1995, Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla use a range of media to explore the complex intersections between culture, economy, politics, and geography. The two videos here focus on the interaction between humans and natural resources in different sites throughout Puerto Rico, where the artists live and work.
Under Discussion features an overturned conference table powered by a motor that carries a fisherman through the waters surrounding the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. This makeshift boat serves as a metaphor for the artists’ interest in mobilizing conversation around the United States’ governing policies for Vieques in the wake of the island’s use as a navy training range from 1941 to 2001. The video’s imagery creates stark contrasts, juxtaposing turquoise water and white sand with bomb craters and tanks, showing that both extremes make up the island’s ecology.
The proximity of nature and technology is once again highlighted in The Night We Became People Again—based on the short story by José Luis González—as sunlight animates abandoned industrial sites and a cave in Puerto Rico’s Guayanilla-Peñuelas region, alternately illuminating machine remnants, insects, and dust.