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Bea Santiago uses video as a way of inviting people to think about their surrounding and its politics. Through play she has organised re-enactments of popular events amongst her local community, such as in Archivo (2002), which continually unsettled the meanings and resonances of the events while documenting the personal and collective memories of her community. Other recent projects include an intervention in a packaging factory (Fábrica Inútil, 2002), where in response to Bataille’s economic theories she began to explore waste of time, materials, energy and all that the factory produces but which is not considered a product. Her work culminated in series of videos documenting and celebrating 'uselessness'. The work examined social relations and traditions through the use of cast-off and remnant materials to set the stage for cookery, wrestling, napping, and dancing.

Her work often focuses on activity within institutional structures, and encourages people within them to begin an alternative conception of themselves and their histories in relation to it. Re-enactments, by the mere presence of the camera, are made humorous, dramatic, self-conscious and highly idiosyncratic. The camera, she observes, ‘…has the dual purpose of both documenting and provoking a performance,’ and her project works to enable a more active and vivid awareness and involvement in the spaces and communities that surround the participants.

Bea has been involved in several projects including Women in the Director's Chair, an organisation promoting women's, girls' and transgendered filmmaking, and M&M Proyectos in Puerto Rico. Her residency and projects were supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foudation and the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriquena.

A. Listens

During her residency at Gasworks, Bea worked with Five Bridges in Vauxhall, a non-maintained school and charity who work with 14-16 year olds with emotional behaviour difficulties.

The project took place over a course of three months, where she familiarised herself with the school and the students. She took several different approaches aimed at developing discussion about how they relate to their surroundings.

A. Listens was shown at PR.04 in Puerto Rico.