Gigi Otálvaro-Hormillosa

writer, performer, psychogeographer

Memory and White Love (1998)

gi struggle with horns_bigger

Memory and White Love: Commemorating Queerness and the Centennial Anniversary of American Conquest (1998) was Otalvaro-Hormillosa’s first full length performance which premiered at Brown University in May of 1998, as part of her honors thesis. Later that year, she performed excerpts at venues throughout San Francisco, including the Luggage Store Gallery, Southern Exposure Gallery, The Forum at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Art, the Elbo Room and the Justice League, among others.

She then co-produced a reworked version at Bindlestiff Studio with Teatro ng Tanan, a community based Filipino/Filipino-American theater and cultural arts organization that was based in San Francisco’s SOMA district at the time. Self-directed, researched, written, choreographed and performed by Otalvaro-Hormillosa, “Memory and White Love” explored a fragmented body’s voyage through history and constructs relating to race, gender and sexuality. Text, movement, percussion, ritual and sound functioned as vehicles through which the central transformative character attempted to reconcile her queer, colored, gendered subjectivity in her confrontation with the ghosts of America’s colonial history of imperialist expansion in the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century. Some characters that appeared include the Minstrel Pervert, Mapplethorpe’s “Man in Polyester Suit,” the American soldier, the native dogeater, and Shakespeare’s Caliban, to name a few. Her intention was to challenge the dualistic nature of societal perceptions about race, gender and sexuality and to reveal the intersection of various structures of oppression.