72 x 48 inches
Projection, Audio.

How could it be wrong to love one’s own image?

AMOR IGUAL is a video installation in which two separate videos of my former partner Alina Vazquez and I kissing our reflections are edited together in order to create the illusion that we are kissing each other.
The intention within AMOR IGUAL is to transform a conventionally white gallery space through the projection of a women of color literally falling in love with their own image in various ways. The video itself presents the idea of decolonization through the rejection of typical western plot lines and tactics within films. The projection drags on in slow motion for a unconventionally long period of time with no climax, therefore rejecting the comfort and commodifiable nature of western film tactics. The audio of the mirror being kissed within the performance becomes indistinguishable and defamiliarized. The odd audio paired with the uncomfortably long projection creates a representation of Queer Latine bodies who cannot and will not be turned into a commodity. The kissing within the projection was not choreographed and instead was developed at the discretion of each performer. Alina and I were shown in a true moment of self-love, through intimate shots which heavily contrast typical “lesbian” pornographic cinematography. The only editing done to the videos,which were filmed in one take, is the slowing down of sound and audio, as well as the addition of a split screen.
I am very interested in the effect that translation has on language and meaning. “AMOR IGUAL” translates directly to “same love”, however, when used within Spanish language, the phrase does not have a same-sex connotation. Instead, the phrase “AMOR IGUAL” means to love the same amount or to love equally. Sameness, is a word that I have chosen to use when discussing the presence or presentation of objects or bodies which are identical and therefore can be used to comment on the LGBTQ experience. For example, kissing one’s own reflection is thought of as BOTH Queer and narcissistic. Whether Sameness is found in a same-sex partner or in one’s own reflection, loving one’s own image, is looked down upon. The concept of Sameness negatively affects the LGBTQ community. The belief that LGBTQ people are narcissistic, and that LGBTQ couples look the same, invalidates LGBTQ relationships and is homophobic. To assume that the core of LGBTQ relationships is self-obsession instead of love for another is a harmful micro aggression that is often ignored but perpetuates homophobia. The concept of loving one’s own image comes to mind when discussing Queerness and self-love but, more importantly when talking about race.
The concept of Sameness is inherent within racial discussions. Historically, POC are conjugated into generalized groups by white oppressors. The generalization of people is the first step in their oppression. Once a group of people lose their individuality and are perceived as identical to one another, their perception becomes dictated by stereotypes, which allows for unfair treatment and systematic oppression. The echoes of centuries of the oppressive homogenous perception through which governments and societies view POC is still visible today. White people do not believe it to be racist or oppressive for them to think that specific racial or ethnic groups all look the same. Therefore, the concept of Sameness is present in racial relations and is used to generalize and degrade POC.
These conversations of Sameness further affect Queer POC because of the intersection of oppressed identities. Therefore, I’m interested not only in discussing POC’s self-love as an act of self-decolonization, but also in exploring the transformation of POC’s self-love when paired with LGBTQ identities. Depending on your identity, loving your own image takes on various levels of courage and bravery because of internalized colonial ideologies. However, when we do break free and decolonize our minds and bodies, we commit the revolutionary act of true love. LGBTQ POC self-love and same-sex love is revolutionary.