The Lingering Survival of the Unfit
The first four minutes of black video include excerpts from a series of interviews with Williams’ mother about the Greater United States (the US mainland and the precarious nature that it held with its territories). The animation focuses the Philippines' absence from American history textbooks, presenting the perception of nationhood formed from unlearned and fragmented contexts.
The protagonist is a balut (a Filipino fertilized and fermented duck egg). Americans eat duck, Americans eat duck eggs, but the thing as in-between makes it distasteful.
*The puppets as performed here, will continue to add footage to this project, performing a walk sequence until the puppets stop functioning.
WALKER, 1:45min, stop motion puppet animation, 2018
PINOY/PLOY / 5:36min, stop motion puppet animation, 2016
“PINOY/PLOY explores stereotypes found in American food culture as well as the appropriations of the foods of marginalized communities. The main protagonists are balut, half-formed fermented duck eggs that are considered a delicacy in the Philippines. The loose narrative unfolds in a kitchen, where the balut come alive and dance featuring cast Precious Moments figurines, Aunt Jemima Syrup, and Uncle Ben’s Rice. The work calls attention to the mainstream acceptance and prevalence of racial caricatures in popular culture. Pinoy/Ploy unpacks understandings of “American” identity at a moment when fusion and foreign cuisines have become popular in restaurants and homes across the United States.”
-Connie H. Choi & Hallie Ringle, The Studio Museum of Harlem
HANS / 3:16min, stop motion puppet animation, 2015
Growing up can often mean learning how to ignore unwanted attention. In the light of recent resistance towards the need of feminist voices, Hans was created knowing the very real power of a look. Having first read Hans the Hedgehog, a Grimms’ tale that tells the story of an alienated turned misogynistic hedgehog boy, I thought of Elliot Rodger, the 22 year-old that shot and killed 6 women in Isla Vista, from the University of California, Santa Barbara at the beginning of the summer of 2014. Rodger, in previous accounts, recalled feeling inadequate around women and wanting to reclaim a sense of power by any means necessary. Hans doesn’t offer any solutions but unpacks the power dynamics associated with looking while fully implicating the viewer in the process. Instead of dialogue, we come to know of the main character through a series of sometimes humorous, sometimes unsettling, stares.
COMPRESSION / 1:17min, stop motion puppet animation, 2014
Set in an animal stall at the Wassaic Project, a residency in upstate NY (the resident studios are in converted animal stalls), this piece talks about stereotyping and commodifying identities of marginalized communities. I came across a Lane Bryant ad, touting Exotic Inspirations showing a woman of color, hair shown naturally, in order to sell something called “Tribal Trend”, recounting painful comparisons between people of color and beasts. Here, the protagonist is an amalgam of exoticized symbols, “wild” hair, “bestial” gyrations and overly generic notions associated with these stereotypes.
JESUS IS A FISH / (clip) 2:30 min, stop motion puppet animation, 2007
in collaboration with Jesse Thompson