Laura Huertas Millán (Bogota, Colombia, 1983) is a French-Colombian artist and filmmaker whose work explores themes such as ethnography, exoticism, political history, ecology, and science fiction. Her films have been presented at the official selections of the Toronto Film Festival, Locarno, Paris (Cinéma du Réel), Turin, Cartagena, Havana, Mexico City (FICUNAM), Brazil (VideoBrasil), Portugal (Curtas Vila do Conde), among others.
In recent years, Huertas Millán has devoted her attention to the development of a series of “ethnographic fictions,” a film genre in which ethnography, through images, combines several forms of observation, analysis, representation, and interpretation of reality in order to create new narratives. La libertad [The freedom], 2016, a film that belongs to this genre, presents a collective portrait of the Navarro family. Belonging to a community of backstrap loom artisans from Santo Tomás Jalieza, Mexican region of Oaxaca, the Navarro—like many other families in the region—are the heirs and preservers of a Mesoamerican pre-Hispanic textile technique. The camera leads the viewer in a patient, slow, and observant manner, through the daily, domestic, and work life of each of the characters. The Navarro share their ideas about work, marriage, money, and often make reference to freedom. What is it, how does it manifest, and how is freedom achieved in this small community of weavers? Through testimonies, we realize that freedom is not an abstract concept, but rather the result of a set of decisions, acts, and affects, in which manual and creative labor play a fundamental role. Huertas Millán’s La libertad doesn’t pretend to illustrate or translate, but to explore diverse semantic possibilities through images and testimonies that allow the creation of new forms of knowledge and representation of reality.
Video room: Laura Huertas Millán is curated by Maria Inés Rodriguez, adjunct-curator of modern and contemporary art at MASP.