Sharelly Emanuelson, ±45 min., DCP and audiovisual installation. Expected 2022.
The new film project Mirada Karibe by Sharelly Emanuelson will portray scenes within and surrounding the Klup di Shell in the Sufficant neighborhood of Willemstad, Curaçao, where ‘comeback parties’ are regularly held. The comeback community is a niche group within the island’s afro-Curaçaoan community. Comeback fanatics, as they are also known, throw dance parties that only insiders know the social rules and cultural codes for. Dancers at comeback parties are usually referred to as bailadores. They meet up to dance passionately in open fields surrounded by large walls that allow only insiders to experience the music, vibe and ambiance. The Bolero or Son Montuno songs played at the parties are strongly nostalgic, romantic or melancholic. The songs tell stories about the experiences of people from the afro-Curaçaoan community.
In addition to being energized by the festive events and its attendants, Mirada Karibe reflects on the site of the Sufficant neighborhood and the Klup di Shell, named after the nearby and now derelict Shell refinery. The site will not only receive special cinematographic attention, but it will also be approached as a historical and socio-economic setting importantly connected to the Dutch colonial past and global companies’ neo-liberal agendas. During the research trajectory preceding the film production, Emanuelson and her team will inspect and reflect on the ruins of the Shell refinery, using their investigations of the Shell company’s presence in Curacao to inform the making of Mirada Karibe. Through interviews with scholars of Caribbean culture, sociology and history, asell as with the people living in the neighborhood and the bailadores, the whole community will have a say in the film project and the events that the film seeks to document.
The Papiamentu title Mirada Karibe refers to a Caribbean way of being and seeing. In that sense, Mirada Karibe will be exemplary for Emanuelson’s practice as a filmmaker and artist which focuses on the exploration and mediation of her sense and perception of what constitutes a Caribbean existence [Caribbean being]. Her work is motivated by her desire to involve herself through the cinematographic medium in the transmission of Caribbean stories and experiences. She questions the (im)possibility of visualizing the Caribbean reality and sensibility, and her work reflects on this problem from an opinionated artistic perspective. Characteristic of her installations and films is a multitude of voices and sounds as well as a critical engagement with the colonial past and the subsequent period of hyper-industrialization in the Caribbean. By mixing images and sounds from, for example, the sea, the wind, human beings, singing birds or barking dogs and, above all, the different music styles from the Dutch Caribbean, she creates soundscapes for specific experiences which are aimed at mediating the Caribbean sense of life.
Expected in 2022, Mirada Karibe will be presented in two formats, as a single screen projection for cinematic settings and as multi-channel installation to be experienced by audiences as they move through exhibition spaces.
The Production of Mirada Karibe is done with Translocal Productions.
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