Bocafloja is a multi-disciplinary artist. In May 2017, he visited Innsbruck for the first time to present the documentary film "Nana Dijo" and to perform his music. I got the chance to talk to him a discuss his projects.
Natalie: Thank you for coming to Innsbruck to show us the Cinedocumental ‘Nana Dijo’ and to perform here in Innsbruck. Your next stop is Vienna and then Brussels. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, about your tour and your work?
Bocafloja: My name is Bocafloja, I am a multi-disciplinary artist. I do music, film, design and photography. In a way my body of work in general is very focused on the analysis of colonialism, body politics, race and I am very happy to be here.
Natalie: The documentary that you presented is called ‘Nano Dijo’. What is the documentary about and where was it filmed?
Bocafloja: It is a collection of narratives in first person. It is primarily focused on deconstructing identity in the context of Latin America, especially focused on the black experience, on how it was historically erased in order to fortify Latin American Nationalism. The documentary was filmed in Uruguay, Argentina, Honduras, Mexico and the United States.
Natalie: I remember when watching the documentary and speaking to you afterwards that you used a different perspective. So it was not always this frontal interview. Why did you decide to do that? Or was it automatically the way it appeared.
Bocafloja: I believe that the aesthetics when it comes to art are able to portray a very specific discourse. So I think that in the case of documentary film making, there is a tendency of visualizing the journalist kind of documentary or very anthropological perspectives in which there is constantly an object of study and that person in the context of the frame when it comes to film is very frontal and traditional in that way. So we tried to let the body itself tell some story, so the angle and the aesthetic is quite different to what other documentaries show.
Natalie: You have already shown the documentary in different countries. How was the reaction of the people after seeing the documentary? Did they ask a lot of questions? And did you notice a difference regarding the questions they asked or the reaction of the audience?
Bocafloja: The reactions are very different because it is a reflection of how race politics operate locally. Even when the colonial experiences and the systems of white supremacy or like the oligarch and you know the power structure is quite similar or even like in some cases the same, just a replica. The way race politics operate in each place is different. People have like constant different reactions, in some places people are more used to having this kind of dialogue, so conversations. In some places it is like some kind of taboo discussion. That happens to me quite heavy, because in lots of cases it opens up a lot of trauma and pain that we carry as colonised people. So it has been a quite interesting journey, to exchange ideas and opening up dialogues with the community.
Natalie: At the moment you are filming or you will be filming another documentary? What will that be about?
Bocafloja: The new documentary is focused on black and brown masculinity. And kind of like the intersectionality between colonialism and the impact that that process generated on masculinity. So we are dealing with issues like hyper-masculinity, patriarchy and again it is going be focused on two main characters – one in Cuba and one in Mexico. But these settings are foaming the type of approach we have as filmmakers.
Natalie: You also told us that you sometimes have Spoken Word Workshops. What are the workshops like – in English or Spanish and what kind of people come to your workshops – are they from different cultural backgrounds?
Bocafloja: It depends on where I am located at the time. I guess like the majority of the times I do it in the United States because I live there. And the background of the people is usually black, brown people, usually collage age. The workshops, in a way it is more like an interactive dynamic, a mix of a conversation, a lecture and we also create poetry together. Kind of bringing the idea that poetry is not this experience that is or should be isolated or exclusive for people with resources or access or people with a lot of privileges. I believe poetry as a tool for survival in several forms, it is like a healing experience, and also a very useful tool when it comes to understanding politics from a whole different perspective, participating and being socially active through art, it is an artistic expression. I use different topics and mainly focus on how artistic creation is coming from the peripheral experience, certain marginalised bodies and what are the motivations and goals as artists.
Natalie: Thank you very much. I do hope you come back to Innsbruck and perform here again.
By Natalie Mair on May 6, 2017
Watch the documentary 'Nana Dijo': http://www.emancipassion.com/film/