Single channel projection.
Mirror, crocus bags, wooden frame, wooden benches, iron nails, concrete, topsoil.
On its surface, Ca(r)milla appears to be an excerpt from a documentary surrounding the daily life of the owner of a small landscaping business in Carapichaima, Trinidad and Tobago. However, the business is quickly revealed to be a front–the owner, played by my own mother Camilla, is a hybrid of a vampire and a soucouyant with her true trade being the import/export of Caribbean soil throughout the region and its’ disporas. Second only to blood, soil–specifically the soil from the place where a vampiric creature had their most formative life experiences– is critical to the potency of a vampire’s power and its overall ability to survive. Camilla, then, facilitates the possibility for a vampire to travel freely without restraint. The video is a braided essay featuring the voices of both Camilla and that of Dr. Patricia Vincent, a disgraced vampirologist with an explicit focus on vampirism in the Americas and the Caribbean.
As I developed the thesis for this film, it became clear that there were two narrative imperatives at work: 1. a desire to play with and/or subtend tropes such as monstrosity, Caribbean folklore and desire that have long served as sites of comfort and 2. using fantasy a method to stave off the anticipatory grief that now inundates the relationship between my mother and I in the wake of my grandmother’s passing in 2021. The inevitability of loss and the application of a queer lens to grief and faith spill forth and alchemize the edges between fantasy and reality. At its core, this video is a wish.
The Soucouyant- Camilla Gopee
Dr. Vincent- Ishara Agostini
Investigator- Kearra Amaya Gopee
Direction, Camera, Editing- Kearra Amaya Gopee
Colour- Kya Lou
Sound design- Akeema-Zane
Title animation- Maya K. Ramesar
Photographs courtesy gallery Albany and Marc Tatti.
This work was supported by Sweat Variant and the Foundation for Contemporary Art.
Copyright © 2023 Kearra Amaya Gopee - All Rights Reserved.