Private Project

salix tree

‘Salix Tree’ it’s the documentation of a displaced domestic space, a self-ethnographic document about my first eight years of displacement as a consequence of leaving Mexico and moving to Montreal. In which language does one self-documents when there is no mother tongue anymore?. As immigrants we are meant to forever wander between the home we just lost and the one we have to construct for ourselves once again. And this is true about language as well. Whatever second language we are communicating with, no matter how much we master it, we never quite own it. Language is a masquerade as much as it is a product of domestication and control. ‘Salix Tree’ is a self-ethnographic document meant to be experienced as a passage between languages, a concentration of voices whose identity remains opaque. Some of these voices materialize into complete translation, while others provide a departure from national identity and their dominant linguistic form. Is the narrator who is telling the story identical with the narrator about whom the story is being told?. When at exile our personal history somehow transfigures into a systematic articulation of mythologies, evoking the imaginary.

I shot the footage over several years, appropriating narrative and stylistic strategies from home movies, such as shaky camera, people acknowledgement of the presence of the camera, and documentation of rites of passage. I consider the home movie to be an important component of popular culture. The home movie is not only a place for the transmission of personal history and documentation of kinship affiliations, but is also a place for self-ethnographic practice, colliding family representation with avant-garde pursuits.

  • victor arroyo
  • victor arroyo
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    experimental, social, ethnography, diaspora
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 2 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2015
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • FIVAC 2015 Galería Republica 289. March 31-april 04, 2015. Camagüey, Cuba.
  • NodoCCS 2015 International Festival of Video Art. Caracas, Venezuela.
  • VLAFF 2015 Vancouver Latin American Film Festival. Vancouver, Canada.
  • ANALOGICA 2015 Auer, Italy.
  • Simultan 2015 October 7-10, 2015. Timișoara, Romania
  • Intermediaciones Video Art and Experimental Video Showcase. October 6-9, 2015. Medellín, Colombi
  • Antimatter media art festival October 16-31, 2015. Victoria, Cana
  • Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal – RIDM November 12-22, 2015. Montreal, Canada.
  • IV Festival Internacional de Documentales de Antofagasta November 10-14, 2015. Antofagasta, Chile.
  • Smita Patil Documentary Film Festival December 13, 2015. Pune, India.
  • Gallery Z Art Space Dissonant Integrations. March 5 – April 2, 2016. Montreal, Canada.
  • Festival de Cine Experimental de Bogotá. April 22, 2016. Bogotá, Colombia.
  • Analogica/Jornadas de Reapropiacion 2016 Centro de Cultura Digital April 26, 2016. Mexico, Mexico city.
  • Santa Fe International New Media Festival 2016 June 10-16, 2016. Santa Fe, US.
  • FOFA Gallery June 06-17, 2016. Montreal, Canada.
Distribution Information
  • pollo
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - victor arroyo

An experimental filmmaker, working with documentary filmmaking, video-art and video installation. He was born in 1977 in Mexico, from the marriage between Reynaldo Arroyo and Leticia Avila. Happily married and living in Montreal, Canada. Leonardo-Kai, his son, born in December 2011, calls him Papa every morning.

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Director Statement

My work is concerned with the iconography of formats -the social associations that images evoke, such as how super 8mm evokes intimacy, handheld of home movies, and video of immediacy and surveillance-, but also with the changing nature of revolutionary praxis, what’s often referred to as political and activist art. I developed a dialogue between overloaded categories, such as political, oppositional and subversive art, to encourage reflection, not only about the efficacy of artistic forms of resistance, but also about the very nature of political art.

I am interested in material culture, the transnational, critical theory and postmodern geography, using such notions as discursive diasporas, geographies of exclusion, and structural violence. My research and practice engages with the disappearance of personal and collective memory and how, through political and activist art, novel configurations of memory can be re-instituted.