June 3, 2008

San Andres Screening...

ON THE MAP was screened at the CSA (Caribbean Studies Association) Conference in San Andres Island, Columbia on Tuesday May 27th. A packed audience had the place feeling like a "real t'eatre" as Dwaine Plaza, coordinator of the conference said, while we kept dragging more chairs into the screening room to acccomodate the increasing crowd.

Dr Linden Lewis from Bucknell Univeristy and Abayomi Manrique of Clark Atlanta Univeristy were on hand as discussants for the film. Questions raised included asking why labour is moving in search of more favourable terrain....this to my mind is an important question because the answer lies in the fact that many Caribbean countries are fast becoming failing nation states. ON THE MAP speaks to the relationship between the individual and the state and one can see that increasingly, individuals feel trapped in their homeland, by the state and are therefore forced into a migrant experience in an effort to eke out a living elsewhere.  

The point was made that Barbados should be generous about hosting fellow Caribbeans and should not display hostility since we have benefitted from a migrant history. I am interested as a visual artist in how ON THE MAP is read differently in each of the screening spaces...different groups of viewers raise entirely different issues depending on the context in which the film is read. This is of value to me because it suggests that every visual document has a multiplicity of ways in which it can be seen and understood and spoken about, depending on the location, the audience and the context of the screening. I enjoy this multi-layered approach to understanding a single work because it allows the ideas to be unpacked in a variety of ways. I insist on calling this work an "Open Work" which
means that it continues to evolve depending on the responses of the viewers ....the audience plays a vital part while participating in the viewing and the discussion.

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