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Her films and videos combine experimental film traditions, documentary practices, and visual anthropology. Often, her images depart from the public sphere, and investigate the reciprocity of the gaze in time based representation. Documenting the invisible, discerning the familiar within the unfamiliar, her work highlights the poetics of the common experience. As film scholar and critic Nicole Brenez states, Cuesta’s cinema has the capacity to unveil, within Merleau-Pontian terms, “the astounding ‘gloria’ of the ordinary”. Some of the ideas she explores include the construction of place, instances of displacement, structures of time, and cultural diasporas.

She was recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship and residency (2018).

Her most recent film Territorio (2016), premiered in the Official Selection of the FID Marseille Film Festival in France in 2016. It has screened at numerous festivals, museums, and galleries, most notably the Viennale International Film Festival, The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles MOCA, First Look Festival at the Museum of the Moving Image, BAFICI, Bienal de Arte Contemporáneo de Cuenca, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and the III Fronteira Festival Internacional Do Filme Documental E Experimental in Goiania- Brazil, where it received a Special Jury Award. Most recently, Territorio was selected among the 25 best Latin American films of 2017 by Cinema Tropical.

“Alexandra Cuesta’s experimental films and videos are poetic documents of people and public spaces. Her newest work, Territorio (2016), is a series of portraits of the people of Ecuador photographed in their environment. Progressing as a series of fragments, life plays before the camera while the subject of each shot holds a pose. Just as Walter Benjamin once described the effect of the long exposure times of early photography as teaching ‘the models to live inside rather than outside the moment’ such that ‘they grew as it were into the picture,’ in Cuesta’s film, the duration of each shot invites her subject to grow slowly into the image over time even as they respond directly to the presence of the filmmaker.” – LA Filmforum

The event program includes:
Territorio (Territory) (66 min., digital video, 2016)

This Series is co-sponsored by the Cinema Department and Harpur College Dean’s Speakers Series.

Free & open to the public