“Fertility” and “A Study on Social Poetics,” two videos by Lucia Hinojosa

Today’s post features two recent videos by VCS alumna Lucia Hinojosa, who graduated from the Visual & Critical Studies program earlier this year. When I mentioned that I wanted to post them, she offered to write some comments to go along with each. In her notes, she talks about how the videos were made, what inspired them, and the way that each relates to some of her other work, including her final VCS thesis paper.

The first video is titled Fertility.

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Here’s what Lucia had to say about it:

Fertility is a video performance (I suppose). It started more as an impulse than an idea. I didn’t have a very clear notion of what this impulse was at first, I just knew I wanted to do it.

I shot the footage about two summers ago (it’s very long footage) near a town called San Juan Atezcapan in Mexico.

It was all a slow process; I edited it for a long long time and after thinking more about it, I noticed that what I wanted to question was the relationship between nature and man, linked by procreation. That’s why I used a symbolic language (man, animal, nature) which works as a triangle of tension. The sound also plays a significant role because it is what pulls the idea together. Janice Ahn helped me a lot with critiques throughout the editing process.

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Lucia’s second video is titled A Study on Social Poetics. This piece was screened for the public on Wednesday, May 15th at Anthology Film Archives on the Lower East Side as part of the NewFilmmakers Short Film Program. Here’s the description that’s on the NewFilmmakers Online website:

A Study on Social Poetics

This film is an experimental documentary which investigates Mexican social and political issues through video poetry. It is composed of three individual video portraits of Mexican women. The portraits are choreographed and speak to one another, showing the different ideologies which coexist in the same country.

Lucia also provided the following additional comments:

A Study on Social Poetics is more of a research project. I was very interested in working with portraiture. But essentially, the concept that I wanted to explore was a social issue and how social roles alter individual awareness in relation to our community, and most importantly, our country.

I spent a lot of time with every woman, talking about their life and how they perceive it. I made very simple questions, like what it means for them to be women, what they think about Mexico, what is their relation to their country, and, last, if they feel a tension between the classes and social hierarchies.

Also, in a very subtle way I wanted to capture all the little details and objects that delineate their image, that make them who they are.

Art is a social and political catalyst triggering new ways of understanding collective self-awareness through social, psychological, or philosophical perceptions.

With my work, I try to address social problems through a poetical and contemplative language.

My written thesis is an attempt at explaining this idea. Perhaps these videos triggered the main focus for the written thesis or it was probably the other way around. I really don’t know what came first. My interest was to explore this “collective self-perception” by focusing on contemporary Mexican consciousness and self-consciousness. Also, I wanted to bring together this notion (social self-perception) with the understanding of art and the art market of today.

I’ve selected two small paragraphs from my written thesis in order to give the viewer a more expanded notion of the video’s intention or purpose:

An interesting element of how each individual adapts and understands its relation to the world is the socio-economical, political, and cultural reality in which they exist. Inevitably, social inequalities affect our ontological awareness. In this case, the Mexican socio-economical interaction is quite complex.

Contemplation is perceived as a unified object that’s conceived only in the light of subjectivity. Through this object we unveil what is really there. Art’s aim is to abolish its origin by eluding the structure that created it. The act of contemplation is so powerful because it is the remembrance of who we are as humans—of our eternal condition, and in this abstraction there is an exchange that by nature denies its materiality in order to see itself with lucidity.

You can see some of Lucia’s other work from the VCS program in the following posts:

A timeline of history from 1900 to 1950 (November 20, 2011)

Lucia Hinojosa in the New Filmmakers festival (June 18, 2011)

Lucia Hinojosa in Chiapas, Mexico: part 1, part 2 (September 28th and 29th, 2010)

For more about the NewFilmmakers New York film series, visit their website. You can also find images from their screenings at the NewFilmmakers Flickr page.

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