The video explores aspects of oppression and resistance through references to the piñata game. An old Latin American game, where succession of blindfolded, stick-wielding people try to break the papier-mâché piñata figure in order to collect the candy/toys inside of it, the piñata figure has a complex history. It was allegedly brought to Italy from China by Marco Polo and later introduced to Latin America by the European colonizers, where it was used as a pedagogical tool in the ‘Christianization’ of the ‘natives’.
Today, the piñata has become part of popular culture and is used to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas. In the video, the viewer sees a blindfolded male figure trying to hit a piñata figure shaped as a human body dressed in a military uniform. When he manages to hit, the strokes are brutally violent. After a couple of minutes, the video slowly fades to black, leaving the viewer to ponder what happens after.
Shot in black-and-white with no sound, the video brings to mind images and memories of the Latin American 1970s, with its many coup d’états, dictatorships, accounts of torture and killings, and resistant uprisings. However, this history is ideologically contextualized by the appropriation of the piñata figure, which simultaneously points to the era of colonization as the institutionalization of these oppressive forms of violence and the subsequent forms of resistance, cultural translation, and hybridization that were to accompany the de-colonization of Latin America. With these dual references, Notion of Conflict, Dance of the Piñata not only raises important questions about resistance to oppression, but forces us to consider our own position in relation to this.Learn how to rent this work