CCA Wattis, San Francisco

Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts / 360 Kansas Street
CA 94103-5130 San Francisco

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TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2008: RECEPTION AND PREMIERE SCREENING OF A NEW FILM BY BEATRIZ SANTIAGO MUÑOZ COMMISSIONED FOR CAPP STREET PROJECT 2008 Reception 6 to 7 p.m. Premiere Screening, with an introduction by the artist, 7 p.m., Timken Lecture Hall

Founded in 1983, Capp Street Project was the first visual arts residency in the United States dedicated solely to the creation and presentation of new art installations. Twenty-five years on, the Wattis has reevaluated the selection process for participating artists and the parameters of the project. For the 2008-9 Program, 16 curators internationally were each asked to nominate 3 artists, who were then invited to submit a proposal. After meeting with a jury to review the submissions, the Wattis selected the Puerto Rico-based artist Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, nominated by the San Juan-based curator and writer Julieta Gonzalez, to be the fall 2008 Capp Street Project artist.

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz's films and videos have the appearance of straightforward documentaries. However, the seams of the narrative's construction, whether manifest as artifice, play, discomfort or humor, are consciously evident. Santiago collaborates with non-actors, whether haphazard associations formed as people cross her path, or more trusting relationships built over months, and invites them to act-out on a personal level narratives that exist in the collective memory or as official histories. Non-scripted and improvised, Santiago removes her protagonists from the accepted, codified, structure of their lives and the society in which they are living, in order to effect social and political change.

Some of the incidents Santiago invites them to play out are real – the murder of Toño Bicicleta, a famous killer and rapist shot by police, or the violent eviction of 300 families from a squatter's village; others are imagined – a horse race, the death of a tight-rope walker, even a natural catastrophe. However, as much as Santiago's work focuses on bringing the political and historical to an emotional and personal level, it is also concerns itself with aesthetics; she cites the experimental feminist films of the Belgian artist Chantal Ackermann as influences.

Santiago's Capp Street Project (the artist is in residence September 2–December 13, 2008) takes as its starting point the anarchist and radical left individuals and groups that are active in San Francisco. This research will culminate in a new film produced over her residency, which will be presented on Tuesday, November 25, 2008, in the Timken Lecture Hall at CCA.

Santiago was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1972, where she continues to live and work. In 1997 she received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois. Santiago is Guest Curator of the 2da Trienal Poli/ Gráfica de San Juan: América Latina y el Caribe (April 18 to June 28, 2009). Her work has featured in the group exhibitions Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York (2007), Slash Fiction, Gasworks, London (2007) and 24/7 Wilno – Nueva York, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius (2003). Santiago's Capp Street residency will be her first project on the West Coast.

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Beatriz Santiago Munoz