Acts Imposed by Force

Gabriel Zea / Bogotá, Colombia — Jan 17, 2020

At the end of 2019 in several cities around the world and especially in Latin America, powerful demonstrations took place demanding their governments to listen to people’s request to build better and egalitarian societies. That’s how videos of streets packed with people armed with signs, whistles, gas masks, hoods and pans while signing chants or just walking flooded the news around the world.

In the specific case of Colombia, the demonstrations have taken different forms, from traditional massive walking through the streets of the city to concerts and open classrooms in parks around the city. Some have been violent, but many others have been peaceful. It is key for the movement to watch out for how it is portrayed by the media; that’s why the forms of resistance have been changing to creative ways to express discomfort that doesn’t involve violent disorders.

The means of protest are changing, but the ways to control the crowds aren’t evolving with these new and creative forms. Since December of 2019, several members of the riot police have been deployed throughout the city to repress and dissolve the manifestations. The methods used by the members of the police are in some cases extremely violent: harming people in the streets by shooting rubber bullets to the demonstrators’ faces, not following the international protocol for the use of gas and other guns, making extrajudicial arrests, using verbal and psychological violence among other questionable practices. Nowadays, it is a regular practice to record with smartphones and other devices what is happening in the streets. Hundreds of videos documenting the brutal actions of the police corps flooded social networks during the protests, changing the narrative imposed by traditional media which oftentimes supports the views and ideology of the government.

Acts imposed by force is a project that wants to address the issue of the physical violence that were used by riot police during the demonstrations that took place last December in Bogota. The idea is to create a video performance in which dancers will execute movements inspired by the imposed movements on the corps of demonstrators while being assaulted by the police. The source material to create the score for the performers will be the videos shot during the protests. From the raw material, the bodies of the policemen will be erased to leave only the body of the attacked person, to focus on how the body moves under the physical action of the police. These small actions will be video recorded and stored on a webpage that will create an algorithmic montage of the clips that will create a video as long as the spectator wants to watch in the browser.

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