A Crossing (1698/2003)
with Kiera Coward-Deyell (Sound Design) and Andrés Nieves (Archival Footage)
Video, Digital film, Digitized Hi8 tapes with Audio (English and Caribe Spanish; 10 minutes)
Captioned (English; on-screen text and sound descriptions)
A CROSSING (1698/2003) tells a story woven from speculative visioning & historical accounts–spanning from present day to 1698–of Scotland’s attempt to colonise the Caribbean Gulf of Darién, and Crabb Island (the colonial British name for Bieke / Vieques / La Isla Nena, part of the archipelago of present day Puerto Rico).
The textual narrative is combined with images, sounds and storylines bearing witness to more recent narratives from Vieques as well as from the northwest coast of Scotland on and near Cape Wrath, where military occupations, and local resistance implicate these distinct geographies.
This film is part of a larger body of work that addresses entangled histories of bodies, land and resistance, and seeks to engage griefwork attuned to climate and place.
Screening/Access Note: The use of headphones or speakers with bass capacity is recommended. The video and on-screen text are best viewed on a laptop computer or larger screen.
Image Description: The image is divided into 3 - the first two images take up a quadrant at the top of the page. The 3rd takes up the bottom 2 quadrants. In the top left image, a grey rock floats in front of a shimmering gold background. In the top right, many bees sit atop a honeycomb that is lit from behind with golden light. At the bottom is a black screen with the open caption reading: soft sparking chimes.
Kiera Coward Deyell (she/they) is a creative practitioner born and based in London. Their work spans Sound Design, Sound Engineering & various forms of production. Seeking contextualization through the communities she is in service to, Kiera addresses the tensions of being seen/unseen in an ever more extractive world. They are a member of Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S.), and Tanum Sound System.
Andrés Nieves (he/him) is a Puerto Rican filmmaker who began his career as a cinematographer in the early 1970s. He studied filmmaking in New York and worked as a cameraman, editor and negative cutter for North American, Puerto Rican, Colombian and Iranian film productions. After many years working in the film industry, he moved to the Island of Vieques. There, he joined the people of Vieques in their great fight to stop the polluting military practices of the US Navy, which ultimately succeeded in 2003. He produced an extensive collection of video documentaries on the Vieques struggle, as well as two feature films. He currently lives and works in Vieques, and his film collection is currently being digitized by the Vieques Historical Archive.
NOTES ON ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE
Sharing thoughts on the archival video (digitised Hi8) featured in this work, Andrés Nieves writes:
Playa Ismael Mameluco (Beach, Ismael protection suit) is the raw footage of a visit-entrance to the shooting range in Vieques, by a group of volunteer fighters who went to document the disaster caused by the Military practices. We were dressed in special suits (Mamelucos) to protect ourselves from the contaminated dust in the area. Our group; Ismael Guadalupe, Tin Cintrón, and Andrés Nieves (Me) along with other colleagues, were very determined to expose to the world what was happening in Vieques.
Vuelo Zona Impacto (Flight to the impact zone) is raw footage showing the extensive contamination on the Island of Vieques, in the impact zone, where the US Navy carried out its deadly military practices. Something curious and surprising was to see from the plane we had rented, the raising of cattle; the contaminated beef was then transported and sold to supermarkets and residents of the Eastern zone on the main island of Puerto Rico.
CREDITS & ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Director: Emilia Beatriz
Sound Design: Kiera Coward-Deyell
Archival Footage: Andrés Nieves / Cine Vieques
Animation: Sharif Elsabagh
Sound Descriptions: Collective Text with Bea Webster
This work is an excerpted adaptation of a forecast, a crossing, a haunting, a visitation, commissioned by the Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow, 2019.
Thanks to Cine Vieques; Robert Rabin & Archivo Histórico de Vieques; Gabriela Ponce and the crabs; Jorge Cora; Ana Elisa Pérez Quintero and the bees; Donald Mitchell; Camara Taylor; Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; Scottish Collections at Mitchell Library; Beatriz Santiago Muñoz y lxs participantes de los seminarios itinerantes; Sofía Gallisá Muriente; Ainslie Roddick; Hope Scott Trust; Glasgow Visual Arts Makers Awards; Beta-Local.
Produced with support from Bamboat | Mitchell and the Canada Council for the Arts.