Beatriz Santiago Muñoz

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and later went on to study film and video in Chicago. Her documentaries often blur the boundaries between fact and fiction, deeply concerned with the documentarian’s desire for truth and the artist’s aesthetic concerns. To her, the camera is a tool with a two-fold function, both revealing and fabricating reality. Actors transcend the limits of their identities and realities in reimagining historical events Muñoz documents, alluding to the possibility of social and political transformation as they rewrite history and their role in it. Through her work, she explores artifice, authenticity, and narrative, and how these shape our understanding of history and identity. Her work also captures the ironies of postcolonial conditions in the Caribbean, alluding to material, local, and symbolic histories, documenting specific communities and public sites.

Biography Source

Muñoz's Works

In Fábrica Inútil, or ‘Useless Factory’, she restages a series of events surrounding layoffs at a factory in Puerto Rico. The video begins with a tragically banal scene of factory bosses emotionlessly announcing layoffs, but progresses to more fanciful and buoyant images of workers gathering to observe the sunrise and participate in wrestling matches etc. The artist turns her sharp critical eye on the social injustices of global capitalism and also intimates utopian alternatives through her imaginative play and connection to natural beauty.

In La Cueva Negra, or ‘The Black Cave’, Muñoz explores the Paso del Indio, an indigenous burial ground in Puerto Rico that was discovered during the construction of a highway, and eventually paved over. Using interviews with local residents and archeologists involved in the excavation, the artist’s video offers a reflection on the origins and meanings of the site, which, in the process, becomes an allegory for the island;s convoluted history. The camera tracks two teenage boys wandering through the area, their freedom of movement and sense of curiosity symbolizing the romantic but ultimately misguided desire to find and preserve paradise.