Brújula is an independent film that investigates the inception and duration of Puerto Rico’s early 20th century colonial history through the legacy of Darice Polo’s grandfather Ruperto Udenburgh—a pioneer and activist who migrated from Puerto Rico to New York in 1927. In 2018, an excerpt of the film was screened at the headquarters of Progressive Insurance in Mayfield Heights, Ohio in the exhibition Full Fathom Five.
Shortly after, Brújula was screened in the exhibition A Hopeful Gesture at the Center for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, Poland. A Hopeful Gesture was put together in conjunction with Creative Time Summit, an annual convening for thinkers, dreamers, and doers working at the intersection of art and politics, and it circled around the Summit’s themes of borders, identity, the anthropocene, and justice/subjugation.
A Hopeful Gesture Statement
‘A hopeful gesture’ is a line taken from “Female Statue With Movable Wings,”* one of three videos in Carrie Wang’s Museum of Plastic Age (2017), which investigate found objects of a past world. The narrator provides possible identities for these artifacts from The Plastic Age, the time period of the early 2000’s, where plastics ruled and ultimately outlived humanity. The phrase ‘a hopeful gesture’ becomes an emblem for an ever complex reality reduced to a romantic, myopic, nostalgia. A notion that feels kinfully linked to the messaging on those red MAGA** baseball caps that can be found en masse at rallies across a post-2016 America.
The videos presented in this exhibition provide complex and nuanced perspectives; gestures of hope, protest, and deep questioning that are found within this shifting landscape. Circling around the general themes of this years’ Creative Time Summit: borders, identity, the anthropocene, and justice and subjugation, the eight participating artists manage these ideas in ways that are playful and sobering, sometimes occupying both simultaneously. What emerges from this collection is the prominence and nuance of the human voice as a gesture, the human voice as a tool. Whether it be through song, spoken word, or text, these sounds (or lack thereof) represent the vulnerability and precarity of the voice, its power, and the, at-times, near indistinguishability between being heard and being silenced. These small but significant gestures are aimed at disempowering the truer threats of today: monocultures, oligarchies, willful destruction of natural resources, and the denial of truth. They are a collective gesture that does not establish a perimeter to further divide but rather becomes the aperture from which to consider a more comprehensive existence.
*full title ”Female Statue With Movable Wings A.D. 2020, Brooklyn, New York | Private Collection”
**MAGA is an acronym for Make America Great Again
CURATORS: The Muted Horn and Katie Zazenski of (Stroboskop, PL)