Retiro

 

 

 

Retiro,

Documentary, Performance and Installation project

links to video excerpts :

https://vimeo.com/360452184 

https://vimeo.com/360454140

 

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Retiro is  a multimedia performance and documentary project that reflects on the natural territory between autobiography, myth, nostalgia and potential history. This documentary installation reconstructs memories of the participating women’s lives through interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and reenactments, allowing for an intimate exploration of the fragility of the human experience, the impermanence of time and the process of aging in women. 

Retiro focuses on creating a transitable landscape that goes beyond the individual action of remembering, being instead a fragmented attempt that embodies a collective experience of women from different locations. It focuses on the process that surrounds the making of these films; the conversations, phone exchanges , car-rides to locations, and the connections perceived by the documentarist as a spectator that flows within the different social, political and geographical landscapes. Each presentation of the project responds to the particular context and space where it is presented, as well as the material shown, mirroring the ongoing experiment of remembering. 

Retiro focuses on a collaboration between the artist and her mother, Gloria Morillo. After her grandmother’s death, Lassalle-Morillo decided to interview her mother, 62 at the time, about her process of grieving, her daily life, her memories growing up in Puerto Rico, but most importantly, about the transformation her body was undergoing at this age and her outlook on the future.  After several months of interviews, Lassalle-Morillo and her mother decided to make a film together. Gloria had total narrative and dramaturgical authorship of the script since the film’s focus was not its veracity, but rather how Gloria decided to remember and rewrite this memory. Gloria also had authority on the design, stylistic and casting choices of this film. This being said, she decided to cast the artist, a former actor turned documentarist and director, in the role of young Gloria in this rescripting of her life. Through Lassalle-Morillo’s embodiment of her mother’s memory, Gloria was able to witness and abstract the narrative of her biography in order to realign her relationship to her past.

Due to the political and social landscape of Puerto Rico, Lassalle-Morillo had to leave the island, which affected the production and editing process of her mother’s film. During these five years, Lassalle-Morillo returned to Puerto Rico constantly to work on this film, continuing to document the collaborative process of editing the film her mother wrote and directed. During this period, her mother also underwent two surgeries, which directly affected the narrative focus of their process , as the artist then decided to continue interviewing her mother throughout her process of recovery. This peripheral history that took place simultaneously to the filmmaking process  is focal part of this project, and manifests in the fragmented nature of the editing, but also on how space, territory, geopolitics and non-linear time functions in this film.

Moreover, this iteration of Retiro focuses on the attempt of making this film, the amalgamation of experiences that surrounded this five-year process, and Gloria and Lassalle-Morillo’s collaboration in the violent shifting of their family’s inherited traumas and ancestral history.

 

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Basado en entrevistas con mujeres mayores de 60 años en Puerto Rico, Cuba, Miami y Montreal, Retiro es un proyecto de video y performance documental que interroga las percepciones de la verdad y el pasado de sus protagonistas a través de entrevistas, recreaciones y pietaje del proceso mismo de filmación.

La artista comenzó el proyecto en 2015, entrevistando a su madre después de la muerte de su abuela. Luego conoció a otras mujeres coetáneas a través de encuentros fortuitos en contextos distintos y decidió hacerles las mismas preguntas. Les preguntó acerca de sus memorias, la transformación de sus cuerpos con el pasar del tiempo, y cómo percibían su futuro. También se interesó por las cosas que decían accidentalmente, las memorias incompletas, la posibilidad de imaginárselas en otra edad y las cosas que aún les quedaban por hacer y aprender. Luego, eligieron una memoria de sus vidas y juntas la reconstruyeron cinematográficamente bajo la dirección de las mismas entrevistadas.

Retiro habla directamente del proceso de hacer un documental: conversaciones, llamadas telefónicas, trayectos a localidades de grabación, cotidianidad y convivencia, y las conexiones que encontró la artista como espectadora activa fluyendo entre los diferentes entornos sociales, políticos y geográficos. No hay ningún interés por distinguir entre la verdad y la ficción, sino una invitación a relacionarnos a la historia desde las experiencias de otras, y considerar que la ficción no depende sólo de quien la construye sino también de quien la interpreta. La cámara se acerca buscando las grietas de la imagen y acercándonos con ella a estas mujeres. Al reproducir esas imágenes como luz y color a través de canales múltiples e instalaciones en lugares específicos como esta presentación, la artista genera un nuevo ambiente para insertarnos como espectadores. Cada presentación de esta pieza responde al contexto y el espacio donde se presenta, y así cambia el material también, como el acto mismo de recordar.

*texto por Sofía Gallisá Muriente