Catalogue > Un extrait vidéo au hasard

Carlos Motta


VIDEO | hdv | couleur | 13:4 | Colombie | 2013

In Nefandus two men travel by canoe down the Don Diego river in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in the Colombian Caribbean, a landscape of “wild” beauty. The men, an indigenous man and a Spanish speaking man, tell stories about pecados nefandos [unspeakable sins, abominable crimes]; acts of sodomy that took place in the Americas during the conquest. It has been documented that Spanish conquistadores used sex as a weapon of domination, but what is known about homoerotic pre-Hispanic traditions? How did Christian morality, as taught by the Catholic missions and propagated through war during the Conquest, transform the natives’ relationship to sex? Nefandus attentively looks at the landscape, its movement and its sounds for clues of stories that remain untold and have been largely ignored and stigmatized in historical accounts.

Carlos Motta's interdisciplinary artistic practice includes the making of video essays, documentaries and online video archives. His early video Letter to My Father (Standing by the Fence) (2005) narrates the experience of living and working in New York City at the aftermath on 9/11 and focuses on the personal and political intersections of immigrants within that context. Motta is interested in questioning the structures of power that control and regulate civic life as well as hegemonic construction of historical narratives. One of his most recognized projects is We Who Feel Differently (2012), a comprehensive video archive of interviews with dozens of queer subjects that speak about the forty years of gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer activism from a variety of social perspectives. The installation was first presented in a solo exhibition at New York's New Museum in 2012 to great acclaim. Motta's most recent video works Nefandus Trilogy will have its World Premiere at the 2014 International Film Festival Rotterdam's Tiger Awards Competition. Composed of three short films, Nefandus (winner of Catalonia Hotels Award for Best Video at LOOP, Barcelona, 2013), Naufragios and La visión de los vencidos, the trilogy exposes the imposition of the category `sexuality` onto indigenous cultures in the Americas during the Conquest and throughout the colonial period, based on moral and legal discourses of sin and crime. These works will also be presented at the First International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Cartagena de Indias in February.