Artist Beatriz Santiago Muñoz’s work Pájaro, cómeme (Bird, Eat Me, 2022) is an encounter with the coastline, a line that continues to blur as a result of the ecological changes of the climate emergency, such as the series of devastating hurricanes that have shaken Puerto Rico in recent years. This space that is difficult to demarcate between sea and land is overflown by birds, acoustic protagonists of an image in transformation that seems to be built from the tasty lunch of a horse. To rethink the coast from the place, to film through those who are anchored to the land includes giving them—all of them—the gaze, the ear. Perhaps they are the ones who are in tune with the unreachable space of the ocean. Tunnels, burrows, and lines that connect the underwater world with the open sky.
This short film, commissioned by TBA21–Academy for TBA21 on st_age, is part of a larger research work by Santiago Muñoz on the ways the subconscious intervenes in the creation of sensory images. Images that allow the emergence of a space as visually and conceptually mediated and defined as the Caribbean Sea. Through the materiality of analogue film, its colors, its proximity to the place, Santiago Muñoz approaches those who live on the coast, who have a very precise knowledge based on daily observation of the changes in the line demarcating land and sea. What do people who live by the sea dream of? Does the ocean and its waters infiltrate dreams, painting new images to signify the watery space that has defined and cloistered the island? Can dreams free us from the colonized images of that sea that is nothing more than a hypermediated space? The ways of living, listening, and looking at the sea reside in those bodies that are also on the edge, in the most hidden places and exposed to that turbulent coastline. Between what happens and does not happen, in the ways that fleeting line changes, there are possibilities to implode the vision of the Caribbean and to complicate the points of encounter with the sea.