london

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, La Cueva Negra (The Black Cave), 2013, HD video, color, sound, 20 minutes.

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz

Gasworks

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, La Cueva Negra (The Black Cave), 2013, HD video, color, sound, 20 minutes.

The Hippomane mancinella, or manchineel tree, indigenous to Puerto Rico, is among the most poisonous plants on earth. One notorious example of its terrible powers was recorded in the nineteenth century, when dozens of German sailors ingested its fruit—also known as the “little apple of death”—and died horribly after enduring excruciating pain from internal bleeding. We are told of this tragedy in Beatriz Santiago Muñoz’s Farmocopea (all works 2013), a willfully amateurish 16-mm film featuring images of Puerto Rico’s lush island landscape accompanied by subtitles about its bizarre flora. In Santiago’s narrative, we discover that the island’s government eventually set out to eradicate the lethal tree. This effort resulted in irrevocable ecological damage—a devastation of the natural landscape only hastened by the concurrent construction of superhighways, hotels,

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