Chris Hinojosa: Kameha-MIJA!


Emoji summary: 🕳☁🤸‍♂

There is something between the body // rhythm // choreography // something between this triangle of points, where imo I think a sensuality rests. The body as silk, luxury and gas.

Baseline drops, body moves // // // elbows and wrists

There’s a film I watched a lot as a kid; called Taal. It’s a pretty typical n also kinda lowkey meta Bollywood storyline, small village girl catches the eye of a rich boy. She’s a musician, he is enthralled by her voice. After they fall in love, it spirals. He leaves her, rejects her at the advice of his family & she becomes a star in her own right - sings on stages in front of thousands. He returns to her now she’s ~good enough~ I guess. But one song towards the start of the film has always stuck with me. She’s running through the fields in her village with her sisters in the rain; they’re singing and dancing in tandem, in sync and it’s the title track of the film (which to me, doesn’t rly make sense, bc it is at best a throwaway moment in the film that only acts as a vehicle to propel the story forwards with a bit of spicy drama at the end). As they dance & sing, they are unaware that they’re being watched by this weird rich boy; and in that, their dancing then turns from something beautiful, felt & intuited, into something for someone else’s secret consumption. It becomes an unknowing performance, that they haven’t consented to.

The words they’re singing reverberate through this;

​~taal se taal mila // your rhythm meets mine~

The implication of this translation, is that when these rhythms meet each other, they fall into sync, or there is a friction that rests between them. What to do when rhythms match and fall in with each other?! What to do when they sync up, contradict or conflict?! I couldn’t think about anything else while I was watching Chris Hinojosa’s Kameha - MIJA!. This same expansion of body in space, the same hard edge where self meets sound. The videos are ~simpatico~~ :: rhythm as a body falling in and out of place. Body as movement and rhythm in sync with sound as a heavy kind of synthesis. Deadpan vogueing down Deptford high street - a linear reclamation of public space. Although I say simpatico, they’re not parallel; Chris’s performance moves beyond her consent to perform. The viewer is the camera is a voyeur is an interrupter and we are all intruding. But her eye contact doesn’t waver. It’s an intense confrontation that reads as a kind of sensuality. Bc power; there’s a blurrier line about where that rests in this video work. Where the song from Taal has the same set-up, its format relies on an assumed ignorance (or, like,,, an assumed obliviousness to the gaze of Other People). But Kameha - MIJA! Is positioned as if we’d never dare to look away. We are just here, and there’s a delightful kind of friction; a softly-felt but still intense and unspoken confrontation because of it - we’ve moved past consent and into: ‘what do you do when they won’t leave’. Or, what do you do when you look up and they’re there, and it’s unexpected but ok bc look: I’m in charge.

There was a rly nice sentence that’s also stuck with me in this vice article about what perfume is perfect for you, based on your star sign (lmao). When talking about what suits Sagittarius and Pisces, it says ‘Jupiter rules Sagittarius and Pisces, and it’s the planet of expansion, so one could imagine a perfume that billows around a person or is even overpowering. “It’s really interesting to think about this question in relation to feminism and the idea of taking up space,” Zappas says. “This is why I love perfumes from the 80s like Opium, Poison and Paris—they were totally unafraid of doing that [whereas today there are many light, timid perfumes on the market.]”’ n I think I feel that too in this work; this feeling of envelopment; as Chris performs, she billows out past her own skin. Like perfume, like gas, like reclamation; public space is not just inhabited by the body you rest in. It’s a space that can be inhabited by the abstract or the unspoken. I wonder if people who aren’t marginalised into smallness realise this? If the tangible anxiety and power-play of public space even registers in their periphery. I wonder if they read this moment as special or fragile as well as raw heavy and forceful. Because it is - there’s a balance to the delivery that is precarious and deliberate.

What do you do with yourself when you are watching a body expand beyond its limits and its lines; how do you position yourself next to that as a viewer? Is there any possible way to match your rhythm to hers? The anxiety that surrounds the site of my body: as a fact/as an object/as a possession/as a pastime - I feel like I am not the perfect realised viewer for this work. It holds a kind of glamorous aspiration for me right here right now. I want to release myself past the lines of my body, past the corporeal limits and bleed out of the edges like this performance does.

Baseline drops // // // body moves / / / I have always thought of anorexia as a state of alchemical transformation, and this is the same saline flavour. We are the same pioneers on the same frontier, I think one is an inverse one is convex. Where I have, at times, caved in to a smallness in a longing to slip by, what if I expanded beyond myself rather than shrinking away from my container? Match your rhythm to mine, power-pose, you can watch or be watched. (I think Manet said it first but worst, what do you do if she looks back). (What do you do if she doesn’t shrink at the touch of your gaze). (What if: she expands).