Noé Martínez: Hacer cosas con palabras (Doing Things With Words)


Filmmaker Noé Martínez (Michoacán, 1986) joins us for a program of new short video works interspersed with vinyl field recordings from the ongoing project Hacer cosas con palabras (Doing Things with Words).

"The difficulty of imagining an alternative to colonialism lies in the fact that internalized colonialism is not only nor is it primarily a government policy, as was the case when colonialism occurred through foreign occupation; it is an incredibly vast social grammar that runs through socialization, public and private space, culture, mentalities and subjectivities. It is [...] a way of life and coexistence that is shared alike by those who benefit from it and those who suffer from it. Class domination and ethnic/racial domination feed off each other, and so the struggle for equality cannot be separated from the struggle for the recognition of difference. In this aspect, the challenge of postcolonialism on this continent has a foundational character."
—Santos Boaventura de Sousa

Hacer cosas con palabras (Doing Things with Words) is a long-term project by Noé Martínez (Michoacán, 1986) that explores the use, learning and promotion of non-Western languages spoken in Mexico as a decolonizing experience, employing music and sound productions as a principle of enunciation and identitarian recognition.

Martínez begins with documentation and records of his Huastec family, using it as a jumping off point for an exploration of the cultural forms, transformations and modes of consumption of indigenous languages in their community context and in the urban environment of Mexico City. Through a memory exercise that investigates ethno-musical productions from the 1960s and 70s, the artist explores and questions the diversity of linguistic identities in the urban context, a product of migration, in order to confront their marginalization in the present.

This process-oriented project consists of a small collection of vinyl music and other field recordings, with the goal that they act as triggers of collective memory in the present among a variety of contemporary agents and the general public in order to create a space for reflection and consumption and construct new social grammars that incorporate all of Mexico City’s ethnic diversity.


Book Launch & Screening


The dual launch of Bricks from the Kiln #4 and peak picture pixel pile will include a screening of Werner Hertzog's 45 minute made-for-TV documentary The Dark Glow of the Mountains. Both publications are thematically relevant to Herzog's film about the 1984 journey of mountaineers Reinhold Messner and Hans Kammerlander, the first climbers to summit the Himalayan Gasherbrums without aid of stationary camps or oxygen.

by Werner Hertzog
1985, digital projection, 45 min

About the publications:

Bricks from the Kiln #4
Edited by Natalie Ferris, Bryony Quinn, Matthew Stuart & Andrew Walsh‐Lister
More info here.

peak picture pixel pile
By James Langdon
Edited and designed by James Langdon and Jacob Lindgren

This is a crossover event with Inga, an independent arts bookshop located in the same storefront as filmfront (1740 W. 18th St.) Visit the bookshop Sundays 11-4pm and Mondays 1-8pm (with the exception of the last Sun./Mon. of each month).


Louie Bluie


Presented in partnership with Chicago Film Society and the Jazz Institute of Chicago as part of their 50th Anniversary.

Terry Zwigoff’s first film follows Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong as he hangs out, plays music, and, anecdote by anecdote, recounts his life. There’s the time a drunk undertaker’s daughter told him he wasn’t Louie Armstrong, he was just “Louie Bluie,” originating the film’s titular moniker. Or the time Armstrong’s father became a preacher, gave up string instruments as the devil’s music, and thus unintendedly prompted young Howard to start playing. Born in 1909, Armstrong played 22 instruments and, by the time the film was made in 1985, was among the last members of a fading generation of black string musicians. Told to the camera in between musical numbers played live for the film by Armstrong and longtime bandmate Ted Bogan, Armstrong’s story is remarkable both for its charm and for its evocation of a grim and not-so-distant Jim Crow past. Armstrong’s life was a story of joy and music, but it was also inseparably a story about the challenges a black man faced moving through white spaces. From well-heeled white events in LaFollette, TN, to rough-and-tumble white immigrant dives in Chicago, Armstrong used music not only to survive but to thrive in highly adverse environments. Sometimes wrongly credited at 75 minutes, the film has always clocked in at a brief hour, according to Zwigoff due to his own erroneous belief at the time that the film could get a TV release if it was kept to sixty minutes. (Capsule thanks to Julia Reinitz)

Preceded by: Assorted Musical “Soundies” – 10 min – 16mm

by Terry Zwigoff
1985, 16mm projection, 60 min

Special thanks to Chicago Film Society for projection. 16mm print from Terry Zwigoff with permission from Janus Films