Cara Buchanan
film, choreography
unsettling colonolialism body colonolialism

“It appeared so long, since I had been a schoolbo there, that I wondered the place was so little changed, until I reflected how little I wa changed myself. Strange to say, that quiet influence which was inseparable in my mind from Agnes, seemed to pervade even the city where sh dwelt. The venerable cathedral towers, and the ol jackdaws and rooks whose airy voices made them more retired than perfect silence would have done; the battered gateways, one stuck full with statues, long thrown down, and crumbled away, like the reverential pilgrims who had gazed upo them; the still nooks, where the ivied growth of centuries crept over gabled ends and ruined walls; the ancient houses, the pastoral landscape of field, orchard, and garden; everywhere—on everything—I felt the same serener air, the same calm thoughtful, softening spirit.”

Dickens weaves an undertone of pervasive white domestic femininity through David Copperfield with Agnes, an angelic guide and David’s eventual wife. Examining this character as an emblem of settler-colonial values, this film seeks to counter and “unsettle” the narrative through an exploration of the relationship between body and land. Through video journals, I interrogate a sense of personal disconnect from the Wa:k (The Mission San Xavier del Bac) site, centering this location as a portal into the unknown, the uncomfortable, and the unsettling. Overlaying videos collected from Wa:k and my “home” spaces in Tuk’ son are videos associated with my origins in Massachusetts. These interwoven images redact and highlight one another to reveal relationships (or the lack of them) between the artist and the land in remembered places, unknown places, the present, and the past.

Cara Buchanan is a sophomore undergraduate student at the University of Arizona and is originally from Gloucester, Massachusetts. She is currently studying Environmental Studies and World Literature.

(No)Return © 2022 Produced for Big Book Field Studio © 2022