Guadalupe Arango Ramos - Orfilia shut up!

5:32, 2011, Experimental
Orfilia, Shut Up!

In certain circumstances and in certain contexts the outside world forces you to be silent, cancelling your social voice and role, because you are different, you are an immigrant and people have their prejudices. These prejudices are related to the way you speak, they way you dress, the way you live, the way you are... in other words: society cancels you because of your immigrant identity. With this burden on her shoulders, Orfilia develops a dysphonia, a disorder of her voice that does not allow her to produce sounds. Without HER voice, she now takes the opportunity to watch, to observe and analyze the hostile world that has silenced herstory, until finally she is able to overcome this barrier, escaping from her own loneliness, fear and frustration.

Many women in different countries -not only in Third World countries- are still silenced by patriarchal and hegemonic groups. This silence, that in the 19th Century used to take place inside private spaces, now takes place in the public sphere, where women have become part of a silenced workforce. Humiliated and subtly subjected, women lose their voices and with that the confidence they have in themselves.

Every situation has its limits, and when it finally comes for Orfilia, she decides to resort to her inner strength and to speak again. This Galician woman talks to our present from different historical periods of the Spanish immigration movements in the twentieth century. From Galicia, Spain, from Rabat, Morocco, from Sidon, Lebanon, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Orfilia represents a character and a story that can take place in any part of the world, where women have been denied their right to become speaking subjects and where their immigrant identity has been assaulted by the prejudices of the other, the Native, who has turned them into the subaltern.

DirectorGuadalupe Arango RamosProducerGuadalupe Arango RamosWriterGuadalupe Arango RamosCameraGuadalupe Arango RamosEditorGuadalupe Arango RamosComposerDysphonia by The Next CommuterCrewActress: Lorena Varela (Orfilia)
Soundtrack: Dysphonia by The Next Commuter (Hans Thomas)
Research advisors: Gabriela Aquino Dehesa and Fanny Arango Keeth

CountryPeruSubtitlesEnglish and GalicianEdition2011 Screenings2011
Festa Major de Gràcia.Sala Diógenes. Barcelona, Spain
Videos: Kalanca and Working papers.
- The Streaming Festival. Vídeo: Soleá. Program Screen Control. The Hague,
The Netherlands.
- B.A.N.G Festival. Bang Festival third edition. Video: Curling me up!
Barcelona, Spain.
- ARTERIA. ARTERIA. Contemporary Art. Vídeo: Kalanca. Huesca, Spain.
- BAC 10.0 FESTIVAL. Barcelona, Spain.
IV Internacional Festival of Video Art
“Mass- media Women – Mujeres mediáticas”.
Vídeo: Working Papers.
AwardsXIII Salon Young Artist of the Community of Madrid.2006

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Who is Guadalupe Arango Ramos?
I am a Peruvian multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary artist living in Spain now. In order to create and produce the stories and performances you see in my videos, I observe the environment around me and conduct anthropological and social research.

What is Orfilia, shut Up! About?
Orfilia, Shut UP! Is a story about an immigrant woman who is silenced by society. This woman can speak; however, people choose not to listen to her because either they do not want to or they consider her as a second class human being. When you lose your voice, you lose the ability to express yourself and you resort to paper, pencils and pens to write down what you want to say. In this process, you lose time to communicate with others… your answers are late and the social environment around you clusters and discounts you as individuals think you are handicapped and they need to shout at you. They do not realize that this silenced woman is trying to validate her presence, her existence and her identity in the immigrant environment—one that is confusing her as it turns to be exclusive and not inclusive of the difference. The symbolic silence that Orfilia suffers becomes physical and she is diagnosed with functional dysphonia. In metaphoric terms, social dysphonia can also address women’s failure to communicate under stressful situations when they are considered “subalterns”. In her appealing article “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (1988), Gayatri Spivak explores the context of political domination, economic domination, and cultural erasure that the “Subaltern” experiences in the postcolonial context. This is the context in which Orfilia becomes mute, until she finally embraces her inner self and identity and speaks again. No longer a subaltern, she will never allow anyone to silence her.

How did you start with film? And do you have an educational background in art or film?
I started with film when my projects required me to address the three-dimensional and moving artistic expression. The canvas was no longer enough to artistically communicate the richness of the natural, historical, social and cultural environment and its changes. I still draw my sketches for new projects, with notes about the colors and the atmosphere I want to use and create. I have an academic background in fine arts.

Could you explain how you work, what themes or concepts you use and what is important to you?
I write down ideas from what I perceive, hear, witness and observe around me. The topic that has caught my attention for the last five years is how immigrant women write herstories (Yes, Herstory as reads the title of American writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s novel).
I prefer to conduct interdisciplinary research and have had the fortune of working with specialists in anthropology like Gabriela Aquino Dehesa and in literature, translation and postcolonial studies like Fanny Arango-Keeth.
Both of them have provided constructive feedback for this new production Orfilia Shut Up!, which is the first of five interconnected videos.

How long do you usually work on one project?
It depends on the type of project I am developing. For this particular one, I started my research in March and finished it in August. I filmed and recorded the images and sounds in September. I am still producing the videos now. So, in this case, it takes like six months of full time work to produce a five minutes video.

Do you carefully plan the production process or do you work more intuitive?
I start with a plan but when I produce the video, I let intuition work its way a little bit.

How does the title relate to the work, and how do you find a fitting title?
Roland Barthes states that titles are indexes. They symbolically direct our interpretation of a text. I always place the title of a video at the end… to close the visual imagery. However, in this occasion, the title starts the video since Orfilia is silenced only in the first part of it. Orfilia is a German name that means female wolf and also, is the name of my great aunt, who was the sister of my paternal grandmother, a revolutionary woman that was quite visionary for her times.

Where do you get your ideas or inspiration from?
From ordinary life… from real persons I meet at the bus station, subway, supermarket, public phone booths, etc. I always travel with a notebook and take notes in order to recreate stories. When I want to intensify the power of the “speaking subject”, I ask the person to give me permission to use her story. I hate to be disrespectful or intrusive.

How important is sound in film, and if you use sounds, do you create your own or use existing?
Sounds--or the lack of them--determine the atmosphere for a video sequence. In Orfilia, Shut Up! Hans Thomas composed the soundtrack specifically for the project. He named his composition Dysphonia.

How does content relate to the form of your work?
My artistic work is almost always content base, especially in my video projects.

Did the web changed your view on art, or your career?
The web has given all of us the possibility to explore diversity, singularity, identity. It has also given us the opportunity to address inclusion.

How influential is the reaction to your film by the audience?
I normally have two test groups that I create with friends and colleagues. It depends on the intended message of the video to group my spectators. I generally ask them about the emotions that they feel, the impact of the topic and how it was addressed, and finally about the metaphorical elements that I always include in my videos. From this testing, I have a feeling of what the audience will experience. I review the spectators’ comments with detail when the media where the video is reproduced allows me to do so.

What is your next project about?
Currently I am still working on the other five projects that belong to this sequence. They all relate to how immigrants have to validate their identities in the new country they live in.

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