Oct 8, 2023 at 8:00 pm
Sites of Rehearsal
With Natalia Lassalle-Morillo & Sophie Cavalacous
352 Onderdonk Ave
We’re delighted to host a night focusing on the multi-faceted practice from artist Natalia Lassalle-Morillo. Her multi-platform projects explore familial and citizen relationships in the context of Caribbean collective memory and the resulting imperialist oppression that has altered generations of material and spiritual trajectories.
Our night will begin with her three-channel film-within-a-film made in collaboration with her mother Gloria, Retiro, that explores how maternal trauma, history and myth are made and inherited through disjointed narratives. We’ll then move into a work-in-progress that reimagines the myth of Antigone with a cast of non-professional performers residing in Puerto Rico, alongside members of New York City’s diasporic community. It takes inspiration from the original conception of the Greek tragedy as a forum for communal catharsis through a multi-year process of collaborative rehearsal, scriptwriting, and speculative filmmaking.
We’ll have a fun and engaged community conversation that follows this sneak peek. We’re so excited to have Associate Curator of Film at The Museum of Modern Art, Sophie Cavoulacos in conversation with Lassalle-Morillo after the screening!
Hope to see you here!
Retiro by Natalia Lassalle-Morillo
39 mins, Three-channel video, 2019
Natalia’s mother, Gloria—an actor, director, and writer on the project—worries that history will repeat itself, as her stories, skills, and physical likeness endure through her daughter. Retiro’s meta approach to story-telling unpacks their relationship, demonstrating how maternal trauma, history, and myth are made and inherited through disjointed narratives. A film within a film, Retiro combines the scripted film Natalia and her mother made together, behind-the-scenes shots of that film’s production, and interviews with her mother on gendered familial expectations in Puerto Rico. Reconstructing Gloria’s memories through reenactments performed by the artist herself, the film “reorganizes” ancestral trauma, giving the artist freedom to reject or move on from her inheritance, if she chooses to. This 3-channel portrait is projected onto vertical blind curtains, alluding to the domestic space where the film’s interviews took place: Gloria’s home.
En Parábola by Natalia Lassalle-Morillo
Live performance, experimental film, and installation work, 2022 – present
En Parábola/Conversations on Tragedy reimagines the myth of Antigone with a cast of non-professional performers residing in Puerto Rico, alongside members of New York City’s diasporic community, displaced in continuous, cascading waves of migration over the last 100 years. This film seeks to connect these communities, uncovering the collective consciousness that emerges from decades of shared environmental, economic, political, and spiritual tragedies. Inspired by the original conception of the Greek tragedy as a forum for communal catharsis, En Parábola unfolds through a multi-year process of collaborative rehearsal, scriptwriting, and speculative filmmaking, presented as an evolving series of video installations and live performances. Through a collaborative rescripting of collective memory, history, and reimagination of place, En Parabola envisions sovereignty beyond intellectual discourse, but as transformative processes that include our memory, bodies, collective ghosts, and all of that which is intangible and ungraspable.
Program Duration: 60 mins
Watch the conversation between Presenter1, Presenter2 and Presenter 3 on the UnionDocs’ Membership hub.
Natalia Lassalle-Morillo is a visual artist, filmmaker, theatermaker and educator whose work reconstructs history through a transdisciplinary approach to research, form and narrative. Melding intuitive experimental ethnography, theatrical performance, and collaborations with non-professional performers, Natalia’s practice centers on excavating imagined and archived history, decentralizing canonical narratives through embodied reenactments, and challenging written history by foregrounding instead the creation of new mythologies. Her multi-platform projects explore familial and citizen relationships in the context of Caribbean collective memory and the resulting imperialist oppression that has altered generations of material and spiritual trajectories. Bringing the practice of theater into the camera, Natalia explores a methodology that creates its own decolonial rhythms.
She has participated in residencies at the Smithsonian, Amant Foundation, Fonderie Darling, and Pioneer Works. Her work is part of the KADIST collection, and she has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), Tenerife Espacio de las Artes (Spain), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico (San Juan), SeMa (Korea), Walt Disney Modular Theater (California), among other museums and site-specific venues internationally. She will participate in the 22nd VideoBrasil Biennial and the 2024 Cooper Hewitt Triennial, and upcoming presentations include solo exhibitions at Amant Foundation (New York) and Dazibao (Montréal). Natalia has taught film and performance at Bard Microcollege and MICA.
She developed her practice nomadically, and is currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Sophie Cavoulacos is an Associate Curator of Film at the Museum of Modern Art, New York where she organizes moving image projects across the museum’s cinemas and galleries.
From the Event