I can not think linear as an artist since so much of the past repeats itself and so much trauma still stays. Being raised in a small town in the United States as a Black Puerto Rican girl was an act of rebellion. Although I was struck with alienation and vexation, this landscape was a stimulus for my curiosity in political organizing and the rhythm of critical consciousness still carries onto my films, writings and paintings.

Culture Control is a two-part video series that investigates how film is used as a tool for manipulating our perception of ourselves and others. Exploring Another World: Influential Anthropology is the first mockumentary video in the series where I invited my co-workers and roommates to act as scholars, historians and anthropologists to orally tell stories or facts about indigenous cultures with bias. Through strange kitsch video techniques such as a repetitive motif of bookcases as the background and tacky scrolling transitions, the video shows the ridiculousness prejudice of entitled Latino and Black people towards non-Western medicine practices and animalistic belief systems. Tina Is Here to Help is the second part of the series. After reading bell hooks, I reflected on how the strength of Latina and Black women is exploited on the big screen and within our society. In the style of a television infomercial, I pose as this “strong female character” cliché in the form of a dance instructor wearing a sports bra and ripped spandex shorts. I instruct the viewer in the ways of seducing a man with flirtatious dances. After filming Culture Control, I was eager to see a multi-faceted black woman on the screen so I decided to write a screenplay.

Ekzein is the experimental film afrofuturistic series I made with this formal script. The origin word for Eczema is “ekzein” and it means to boil over in Greek. In the first part of the series, the movement is boiling like the red kettle at the end. I asked two Black women activists I know to play two fictional cosmic sisters who are fighting to defeat a pharmaceutical company that sells a skin bleaching product called Ekzein. The second part of this series is entitled Cosmic Call. There is a slightly more eerie tone to this surrealist film with a cool color scheme of aquamarine green and darker lighting. In one scene, my father improvises a short monologue about his native ancestry. Another scene has a chant circle about land worship. Since there is an erasure of Blacks being a part of country living, I placed the cosmic sisters prominently in the rural landscape, my hometown of Walden, New York. This project inspired another iteration which is A Call to Cosmic, a surrealist futurist play and film production which criticizes society’s attachment to the pharmaceutical industry and skin lightening products.

Other current projects are the nomadic video screening initiative Hot Cabinet, the Cell painting series and two recent videos including Tal Vez en un Sueño and Rain in St. Albans. A couple of years ago, I created Hot Cabinet, an initiative that makes video art and experimental film accessible to non-artists with popular themes, collaborations with community centers and lively performances. The importance of movement and vibrance seeps into my paintings - depicting the imperfections of my body such as skin cells and discoloration. Using hot pink and slime green paint markers, I sometimes personify the cells and other shapes drawing legs, eyes or ears as a way of adding dark humor to the painting.

A recent video project I have been working on is an exploration in what it means to be Black and Puerto Rican. These experimental films Tal Vez and Rain in St. Albans use edited low resolution video footage such as a phone camera recording my Great Aunts funeral or a VHS tape of my fifth birthday party.

Investigation as a form of rebellious curiosity has led me to the peculiarities of where I was born and what I was taught to know and unlearn and finding things to still cherish in the process.