01_SafetyBlue / Performance
Safety Blue is a performative work that weaves together past and present histories regarding women, labor, and oppression in the US-Mexico border. At the heart of the project is my mother’s anthropological research archive from the early 1980’s on the working conditions of women
workers in maquiladoras1, particularly in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez.
The archive documents the adoption of maquiladoras as a new global industrial model, one in which most of its labor force were young migrant women, a shift that led to an even greater asymmetry between Mexico and the US. This archive gives voice to young women workers who, until then, had historically been invisible. Despite its geographical focus, it mirrors how —across the global south — women’s bodies have become political territories in dispute crossed by colonization. Safety Blue is an amalgamation of women’s voices and histories spanning over 40 years. Through a transdisciplinary approach that combines video, choreography, and lecture performance, this project weaves both intimate and global narratives that bring the body forward. It urges us to rethink and contest how the bodies of women workers continue to be shaped by labor, productivity, and capital.The narrative is set against the history of modern progress, viewed through the lens of industrial production models, revealing the slow and often invisible violences these women sustain. Despite the harsh conditions, the project is motivated by the recognition and recuperation of collective forms of resistance that are enacted from the body, and by the possibility to reorient history and construct new senses of truth.
1 Manufacturing plant that imports and assembles duty-free component for export, it entails labor intensive activities.
A fundamental concept of the project is the body as territory since it directly deals with the violences exerted on it. Given this, the performance is develope as a multidisciplinary collaboration, the incorporation of choreography allow us to narrate from the body and develop corporeal awareness and sensitivity. Many of the acts of violence that this project touches upon remain invisibl for most people, due mainly to a lack of sensitivity and understanding we as a society have towards our bodies. We cannot register something as being violent if we don’t even see it in the first place. In this sense, Safety Blue is a call to action, if not for others, for ourselves, for those who participate in the project, a space to work from and within the body, from sensible places that can helps us reconnect and articulate new truths. It challenges the prioritization of written history by foregrounding instead the creation of new bodily narratives. Additionally, this has been an opportunity to work closely with my mother and her life experience around this archive. As such, Safety Blue has become an intimate space to practice care and experimentation among various women.
Documentation by Guillermo Arias and Paulina Cervantes. December 17, 2023, Festival Cuatro X Cuatro, CEART Playas de Rosarito, Baja California, México.
Performance / 2023