Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Is This On?

by Cathy de la Cruz

Cathy de la Cruz

"Is This On?" is an audio/visual representation of the structure of Elena Passarello's Let Me Clear My Throat essay collection through the form of film collage. By collaging together a large quantity of film and music clips analyzed throughout Passarello's book, I pose questions to readers about how cultural familiarity with a topic can help or hinder engagement. This process gave me enormous respect for the undertaking it must have been for Passarello to research and absorb the material before and during her writing. This filmmaking process of interacting with Passarello's source material allowed themes I had noted while reading the book to emerge more clearly: nostalgia, the performance of authority, loss, sacrifice for art-making and creativity, a love for the energy of musicianship and live performance, a fear of being unable to perform, and the haunting power of what it might mean to physically not have a voice. Passarello's book is organized meticulously into sections; my film collage explores what happens when the sections begin to intrude onto one another.

Cathy de la Cruz is a filmmaker who has most recently taught filmmaking to youth in both Los Angeles and Stockholm. She is also a writer who has published work in the Rumpus, Essay Daily, xoJane, and more. de la Cruz completed an MFA in visual arts at the University of California, San Diego and will soon hold an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona in Tucson.