In his 1937 poem, “Limbé” Léon Gontran Damas called for the return of “my black dolls” as an antidote to the “big bottomed puppets” that stereotypically represented blacks in mass culture. Yet, the seductive photo-realism of Hollywood films continues to “pull our strings” and influence not only how people of color are perceived, but also, how they see themselves.
By using puppets I engage audiences more actively in a willing suspension of disbelief that leaves them more conscious power to decide whether they would like to make the propositions they see on screen into daily realities or not. Using low-tech equipment and puppets to challenge conventional modes of mimesis and representations of minority cultures allows me to concentrate the value of inexpensive materials to create positive representations of diverse cultures.
Indeed, questions of identity are a common thread in my digital narratives and because I am francophone, French language and culture are frequent flavors in my work. Western epistemologies divide mind and body into a hierarchized dichotomy and privilege intellectual activity over physical expression but as a trained dancer, I embody temporal and spatial relationships where other people usually don’t so I make videos that challenge photo-realistic mimesis because I want to present a different way of seeing.