I Scream, Therefore I Exist


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Reinaldo Arenas wrote the line, ‘I scream, therefore I exist’ in his memoir, Before Night Falls. He was referring to his commitment to rage, write, think, live and point out injustice, even if costly. His line is especially poignant, as this devotion to truth cost him his freedom throughout his life. He was imprisoned for his writings, and eventually had to leave his country as a political exile. Arenas peppers the tortuous scenes in Cuba with paragraphs about his love for the ocean. While swimming in the sea he feels free, light, peaceful and happiest. The duality of these experiences painted in the book are a metaphor for life’s infinite simultaneous possibilities and the capacity of human condition.

This series of videos is inspired by arenas’ line. When one screams underwater, those above cannot hear and are oblivious. For the videos, I went into bodies of water and screamed under the surface of the water while simultaneously capturing the scenes above the water line. The video frame is bisected by the waterline- the sobering scream below and the unaware world above. The pieces metaphorically represent the freedoms and pleasures of life and it’s concurrent realities of injustices. I am interested in how people can have completely different realities existing at the same time.