Dissecting the video-essay: “Perreo as a spatio-temporal re-configurator”
Reggaeton took over the planet. Latin music had never been so popular, so present in the global arena, so influential.
But, is the world ready for a formal, scholastic study of the phenomenon? Eduardo Makoszay Mayén seems to think it is, and his video-essay on perreo is an in-depth exploration of the subject.
The general aesthetics of the audiovisual piece are an attack on the senses, noisy and in your face. It’s hard to break through it. You have to ignore the bootie shaking on the screen to be able to follow the complex argument, or at least I did. It’s worth it, though. And definitely intentional. It seems to help to drive some of the points home.
The essay itself is a wild ride. It goes from Rudolf Laban’s “kinosphere”—the complete spacial orbit available for an individual body—to ideological perspectives and theories, to a working definition of the malleability present in the passage of time—more change accelerates it, less change condenses it. All of which is barely related to the subject at hand, but by sleight of hand ends up making a case for the thesis the paper is trying to prove.
To help you digest it, let’s dissect it:
First of all, a definition: Perreo is the generic name given to reggaeton dancing. It’s also the name of the gatherings in which reggaeton is played all night long. When you go to those parties: “vas a un perreo.”
The video info box states:
“The main idea of this video essay is to think perreo (reggaeton dancing) as an activity that – through sexual explicitness – diffuses the division between internal and external experience, between private and public. And therefore, perreo is a collective socio-cultural activity that transgresses the subjectivation of the modern individual.”
At the 5:30 second mark, the essay quotes Araceli Masterson’s book “Ecuadorians in Madrid,” a quote that seems to condense the premise:
“… Reggaeton, which draws much of its body imagery from sexual intercourse, further challenges Modernity’s distinctions between the public and the private, the mind and the body. Thus reggaeton musicking, specifically it’s dancing, becomes a shift paradigm in our conceptions of the self and our interactions. Coming from a striation of the body which is always rigidly ordered and mechanized through full time labor, academic indoctrination and “free time” in front of a computer.
Reggaeton dancing is a specific physical-sensual way of accessing worlds and building worlds that transgress western spatiotemporal hegemony. Time and synchronization integrate areas of nonverbal communication previously ignored…”
And just after that, in the weirdest part of the video, the quote keeps on going while an Instagram video is played at the same time. It creates chaos, confusion, and destruction.
About the author, the channel provides the following information:
“Eduardo Makoszay Mayén is a filmmaker, researcher and cultural practitioner from Mexico City. His films, which oscillate between documentary, philosophy and ethology, have been exhibited by festivals like Ji.hlava IDFF, CPH:DOX, Open City London and Black Canvas.”
Check more of his work out → https://vimeo.com/eduardomakoszay
Are his arguments valid? Did he make a solid case for reggaeton dancing as a form of rebellion against modernity’s standards? Is perreo a spatio-temporal re-configurator?
Let’s discuss it over at Infinite Conversations.