Pushed (2018) is a work of dance film that I created as the
summative project for an Independent Study in Political Dance Film. Working on this
project allowed me to synthesize my practice as a filmmaker, with my childhood dance
training, and my involvement in politics and activism. The resulting film takes its
inspiration from art history and the #metoo movement, activating the body as a site of both suffering and power.
My research process began with the oeuvre and life ofAmerican-Cuban artist Ana Mendieta, which I use to convey the oppressions of gender binarism and the violence it incurs for non-male bodies. Mendieta’s connection between the exploitation of the earth and the exploitation of the female body also furthers the entanglement of gender and violence that I sought to convey. By considering works such as Silhuetas, and translating their themes into movement, the body becomes both the subject and object of storytelling, shedding light on the embodied experience of inhabiting a space marked female. While the film aims to subtly convey this point of view, and the emotional and physical conditions that undergird it, it also seeks to problematise the category of ‘female,’ by examining the concept of gender itself, and how its enforcement applies violence upon the body. Mendieta’s work foregrounds the radical insistence of the female body in occupying space, both physically and socio-politically, and using the body to confront structural violences.With her work and legacy as a starting point, I considered how radical acts of dance might do the same, by liberating the body from its obedience to power and ‘acting out.’Both visual art and dance have historical relationships to gender construction and deconstruction and I paid homage to both in my work by activating the research and placing it in real space, onscreen. My choices as a researcher/student, choreographer, and filmmaker allowed me to convey the body as a site of embodied knowledge and political transgression in the fight against gender-based violence, moving from theory to praxis via the body itself.
Directed by Tia Glista
Performed by Iliana Penichet-Ramirez
Special thanks to Kathryn Posin