Presented in conjunction with the current exhibition Projects: David de Rozas and Carolina Caycedo, this film series celebrates a pair of artists whose work together exists in solidarity with movements at the forefront of the struggle for territorial sovereignty and the building of cultural and environmental memory. “Somi Se’k is what we call Texas. Before it was Spain, it used to be nothing but Somi Se’k. Before it was Mexico, it was Somi Se’k,” says Juan Mancias, chairman of the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, in The Teachings of the Hands, the central work in this program. A land acknowledgment and an exercise in reclaiming history and memory, the film is also a powerful experiment in collaboration, bringing Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas together with Mancias in a years-long research endeavor that weaves archival footage, reenactments, and archaeological artifacts. Through Mancias’s perspective, and through expansive views of the West Texan landscape, the work recounts the complex histories of colonial and environmental violence in Somi Se’k, and highlights the Carrizo/Comecrudo’s values and knowledge through their enduring bond with the land.
Accompanying the film are two shorts developed by Caycedo and de Rozas, respectively. Apariciones/Apparitions sees the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens overtaken by dancers who embody several Afro-Latine and Indigenous spiritual practices. Rolling down the staircase in the Huntington mansion, twirling fishing nets on the North Vista lawn, or laying down on library tables, the dancers inhabit historically white spaces in ways they have never been inhabited before. GIVE, in turn, challenges traditional approaches to documentary filmmaking, using experiments in editing and sound to explore the motivations behind Roland Gordon’s creation of a monumental visual archive of Black achievement in San Francisco. While focusing on different regions and histories, and using different approaches to filmmaking, the three works in this program highlight Caycedo and de Rozas’s judicious commitment to archival research and fieldwork. Screened together here for the first time, they also highlight the artists’ collaborative spirit, both with each other and with the communities and social movements that inspire their work.
Organized by Anna Burckhardt, former Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.