Experiencing Interruptions?

rhythm and (p)leisure

Converted from an 8-channel video installation, this single-channel film traces the artist’s familial paths of migration in Central America. It examines the notion of "productivity" and how the meaning of that word changes depending on how the body is racialized or gendered, and what task that body is performing. Numerous video portraits of both family and community members performing various tasks of labor are placed side by side to question what bodies are afforded leisure, and question whether it's possible to reclaim ownership of one's own body. There is no dialogue but instead a visual and aural tour of working-class labor that speeds up as you transition from the countryside to the city. Using piles of discarded clothes and wooden pallets, the installation alludes to the global circulation of people and communities offering up their bodies and labor – and by extension – the circulation of culture(s) and how it is consumed, appropriated, repackaged, and resold. In elevating the value of immaterial labor, the work ultimately challenges prevailing negative depictions of immigrant and working-class communities, while blurring the line between work and leisure.

  • Francis Almendárez
  • Francis Almendárez
  • Artpace, San Antonio
  • Anthony Almendárez
    Sound Design and Editing
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    36 minutes 32 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 30, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    18,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    El Salvador, Honduras
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Francis Almendárez

Francis Almendárez has participated in exhibitions and screenings in the USA and abroad including the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts; Artpace, San Antonio; Aurora Picture Show; Blaffer Museum; and El Museo del Barrio. Almendárez is the recipient of a Houston Artadia Award (2018), and the Carol Crow Memorial Fellowship from Houston Center for Photography (2018). He has been a participant of the Artpace International Artist-in-Residence program (2019), and the ICA Moscow Summer School (2015). Writing on his work has been featured in publications including D Magazine, spot Magazine, Artforum, ARTNEWS, Glasstire, Y.ES Contemporary, and The Dallas Morning News among others. Almendárez was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and is currently living and working in Houston, TX where he teaches photography and art as part of the faculty at the University of Houston, Houston Community College, Houston Center for Photography, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He received his MFA in Fine Art (with Distinction) from Goldsmiths, University of London and a BFA in Sculpture/New Genres from Otis College of Art and Design.

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Director Statement

Francis Almendárez is an interdisciplinary artist who traverses the intersections of history, (auto)ethnography, and the arts. In attempt to make sense of and reconstruct identity, he uses them as tools to address memory and trauma, specifically of im/migrant, queer, and working-class bodies of Central American and Caribbean diasporas. Being the product of a family of intergenerational im/migrants and having to frequently re-locate due to financial instability, he attempts to transform spatiotemporal dislocation and intersectionality into agency, resistance, and autonomy by vocalizing and embodying the experiences of the marginalized, disenfranchised, or liminal Other. His work, ranging from video installation to performance and text, incorporates music and storytelling, and brings to the foreground time, labor, and rhythm. Combining personal narratives with those of his grandmother, Almendárez uses the biographical to collapse and juxtapose past, present, and future, subtly touching upon underlying, overlapping, and recurring themes from (post)colonialism to migrant labor to gender roles and motherhood. Working from the vantage point of both insider and outsider, he observes, he listens, and he collects. Then, he transforms the material from the personal to the political – and finally – to the poetic, in the effort to re-present and re-historicize alterity, and provide an alternative to the dominant Western narrative.