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Lose the Accent Chiquita!

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Lose the accent

Lose the Accent Chiquita!: theorizing from the flesh

By b.p. beretta
Abstract

Lose the Accent Chiquita! is a performance/video installation presented as a series of loosely linked vignettes that looks at the traces of moments in the life of a Puerto Rican woman. This multi-faceted autoethnographic expression confronts the past and present and shapes them into an overarching narration about Caribbean colonial influences on cultural differences, language, racism, displacement, assimilation, gender, and identity formation. The carnivalesque-like show challenges the audience by evoking and provoking the audience’s senses in order to participate and engage in a more direct way and offer an alternative way of looking at theory associated with postcolonial issues.

​But what is my motivation after 30 years of looking into the mirror and confronting the dueling shadows of cultural identity? Perhaps it is the racialized embodiment that has kept us, the colonized, from resisting the dominant culture. I have ventured into an alternative approach in illustrating the theoretical frames of the effects of colonialism. By embodying and fleshing out these themes of postcolonialism through performance and video installation, we can come within reach of a tactile understanding of what it means to live the experience of colonialization. Frantz Fanon, in talking about one of his lived experiences in Black Skin, White Masks, state that when he arrived in Lyon people in the street pointed to him and shouted, “Look! A negro!” He says of the experience:
“I came into the world imbued with the will to find a meaning in things, my spirit filled with the desire to attain to the source of the world, and then I found that I was an object in the midst of other objects.”

Because of such experiences, the colonized becomes aware that there are differences and begins to internalize a self-deprecating view of themselves resulting in the affirmation of a Manichean colonial discourse.

Lose the Accent Chiquita! is a performance piece dealing with postcolonial issues and desires but it is also a declaration that the “Personal is Political, Punto!” It is my hope that this presentation adds to the continuing theoretical discourse and inspires others to use artistic expression to document the challenges and successes in discovering their cultural uniqueness as it relates to the past.

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Written by Benilda Pacheco Beretta

July 30, 2010 at 7:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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