Milton X. Trujillo
I am a chronically ill artist and community memory worker raised in Corona, living here for 24 years still stuck as an illegalized person who for now holds DACA, having migrated from Quito, Ecuador as a result of displacement from my homeland. My artistic practice is attached to the conditions of my life as an emotional journey. I practice filmmaking as a way to make peace with migration, especially as it relates to documenting and engaging collective processes in my community in diaspora here. Through this practice I process intimacies with place, memory and imagined temporal landscapes. This serious and intimate thinking-through is part of a grounding to return us to right relationship with land and our non-human relations.
I am in a consistent and creative relationship with the lives, places, people and beings I film in Corona, Queens. My communities are made up of working class immigrant families of different kinds, of elders in diaspora and youth. As a community worker with this artistic practice, I consider this work to be memory work, important to me because it deals directly with what histories and territories are visible, invisibilized and exploited as the beings involved in different ongoing processes are relegated to societal margins, policed, surveilled and caught in extractive relationships to power and labor. Memory work, as a collective and communal practice is part of what creates a communal sense of self-determination and shared commitment to liberate our territories and bodies. My artistic practice is the way I can emotionally make peace with shared histories of displacement and experiment with different visions of possible futures and symbols.
To be able to see and document my community grow, learn, teach, engage their surroundings to change them and bring back ancestral knowledge, love and struggle to survive and thrive as we are threatened by disappearance is a calling to do memory work.
Filming as observing and reporting the world is a political practice where ethical considerations are translated as personal and collective boundaries that historically have been violated, and where such violations now stand as rules of engagement with documented subjects who also have extractive and oppressive relationships to policing and surveillance powers. Filming and experimenting with layers of our inner lives, struggles and local embodied experiences is not just a process of documenting a time and place, or of engaging creative work, but really a communal practice of history making where we are told there is no history.
Featured Image: Flood in Progress, 2021. Video Screenshot. Courtesy of the artist.
CARE COSMOLOGIES AND UNDERSIDES, 2021. Courtesy of the Artist.
FLOOD IN PROGRESS, 2022. Courtesy of the Artist.