Conceived in the spirit of clandestine messages that queer people in Puerto Rico would leave in late-night music videos during the 90s and early 2000s, “Here [Epilogue]” presents the story of “Cüirtopia”, a supposed archipelago free from imposed norms of gender and sexuality. The scrolling text over a framed view of the island of Vieques proposes fact and fiction, history and storytelling; documentation and blunders as queer methods within architectural discourse.
An investing art film, HERE [Epilogue] intrigues you with its straightforward imagery of waves easing into the shore of a tropical island; in fact, the sounds of these easy crashes are all we have as we read the scrolling text at the bottom of the screen. The interesting framing further intrigues you as you wonder about the choices made by directors Anna Ulrikke Andersen and Regner Ramos. Yet the text is where the heart of HERE [Epilogue] lies, reading at first as an explorer of this island of open sexuality.
As the text scrolls on, we fade in and out from viewing our archipelago as if slowly blinking. Also, fantastic lines come onto the screen, “God doesn’t walk around the garden; God is the garden”. The minimising of the visuals allows us to focus on the words, as if the wind blowing on the palm trees, the waves and airplanes flying by are present as just noise, to help elicit a relaxed, meditative feeling to what we are experiencing.
As an art film, it works incredibly well; as a short, there are a few issues with it. For one, the text scrolls by just that bit too slowly, and you find yourself waiting for the next part of the sentence to appear. Also, it is clear that HERE [Epilogue] is a part of a grander exhibition and, on its own, while highly meditative has you feeling as if you are missing something or not experiencing the whole presentation. After some research, there is a prologue attached to the exhibition, and maybe, if we had seen glimpses of the said exhibition (to find more information go to https://www.cuirtopia.xyz/)
From looking at the project, it is truly something to browse and include yourself in. Currently, it maps out significant places in Puerto Rico where at least one person has been at an important moment in their life as a queer person. But imagine this expanded across the world, a place where stories of locations can be shared to help those needing solace or those future generations knowing they are not alone. It seems like a magnificent project, and when you watch HERE [Epilogue], your understanding of it all becomes more apparent.
In the end, that is the point of the film or at least what I take from it, that a place where people can just be themselves without fear exists. The hope of seeing where you belong and your position in that place, yet also in there is the realisation of how hard it would be to find such a place, that even if we tried to make a place like this for ourselves, it would be almost impossible and so, in the beautiful final words of HERE [Epilogue] we dream:
“There, a dot in the map; somewhere, across boundaries, through currents, out of reach, between tides and archipelagos: Cüirtopia.”
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