Panama Narratives

Panama Narratives

2021

Single Channel Video/Installation, 8:44 min.

Panama Narratives is an experimental short video in which counter-archives layered within indigenous cosmology attempt to dismantle false utopian narratives in the Panama Canal Zone. My work seeks to challenge colonial narratives imposed on my latinx identity. As an adoptee from Costa Rican living in the Panama Canal Zone, a U.S. military base, I began to question what it means to be Latinx in a country that devalues people of color, instead exoticizing them or exploiting their labor. This video explores the U.S. intervention in the Panama Canal Zone and the relationship between the Canal Zone residents, the Panamanian people, the Indigenous Guna people and my own experience as a marginalized latinx resident –  not quite Zonian and not Panamanian. I use graphic gestures drawn over my personal family archives and a Frederick Wiseman film about the Canal Zone to interrogate the inaccurate utopian vision embedded in these historical depictions of the Panama Canal Zone. These poetic gestures, inspired by Molas, artisanal quilts made by the Guna people of Panama, trace a forgotten boundary built by the U.S. military to divide the occupied territory. They evoke the historically silenced voices of oppressed and colonized people.