Catarsis Fragmentada

Denisse Ariana Pérez

2021

"Catarsis Fragmentada" is a video and photographic piece that follows a queer teenager, Ricard, who had just lost his mother to COVID only a couple of weeks after she had been diagnosed. She was his biggest comfort, his biggest support, his home. He was not able to be with her during her last weeks as she was in confinement.

Ricard told me that since the death of his mother, he had not been able to cry.

His mind had processed what had happened, but his body had not. He said he could feel the heavy weight of his eyelids from the tears he had not yet released. I wanted to give him more than just images, I wanted to provide him a process, a ritual, with the hope that he could release what was there to be released.

We divided the ritual into three sections, one of celebration, one of release, and one of liberation. In the first section, he selected her favorite garments, which still smelled like her, and carried them on his bare shoulders, to feel the weight they still carried, and the roof they still provided for him. For the second section, he wrote a letter to her which is the basis of the video piece. Once done reading it, he released it into the water along with her energy and spirit, letting her go, letting her flow freely into a new dimension, into liberation. I asked him to scream, but he couldn’t. He never could before. I asked him to speak to me as if I were his mother. And then, he did. And then, he wept. Finally.

Through this piece, I wanted to explore combining two important elements of my life, photography, and ceremony. Spiritual, energetic ceremonies that can provide some form of catharsis and emotional release to others. In this process, I became both facilitator and photographer and questioned if catharsis can fully be documented. Because, while being documented, it would inevitably be interrupted in some way, leaving it fragmented.

The video can be watched here:

https://vimeo.com/670277140

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