Ritual and Repetition

Bernie Roddy
March 1, 2007, 12:20 am
Filed under: Ritual and Repetition


The Great Confinement, 2004
2:45 min excerpt – Full Running Time 9:15
Bernie Roddy – Chicago Illinois


The Great Confinement (9:15, 2004) was made during a period in which I was living in Texas and often on the road with my friend Beatriz Flores Gutierrez. We used to drive between Northern Texas and Mexico City, along the Mexico-U.S. border, and to film festivals in Austin and Hot Springs. During this time I had a doomsday outlook on life and lived as if I had no future. The excerpt here collects together public expressions of my sense of internal imprisonment, a feeling resulting from what I was learning about the prison industry, capital punishment and immigration. The work was shot on VHS and transferred to digital video editing. At this time I was also reading Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punishment, teaching philosophy, and sensing various ways in which teaching tends to produce docile, efficient workers. In the excerpt there are a couple lines of audio. In one of them I am reflecting on one of our road trips to the border to provide medical aid to migrants crossing by foot. Altar is the Mexican town where many begin their passage north. The full video records a drive between Texas and California through truly incredible country. We took many hikes and detours. In the way, this was an effort to an express solidarity with individuals in prisons other than those constructed for the mind, an expression made manifest in the desert, on the open road, without respect for discipline.


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