Creature features and disaster flicks delight some folks and terrify others. Bego M. Santiago’s Little Boxes is riffing off the universal fear that low-budget sci-fi and B-movie horror films generate by turning each visitor into a Godzilla-like presence. “The entertainment industry trivializes and simplifies cultural conflict,” she says. “The causes that may lead to the destruction of a culture are varied: natural forces, war, the wrath of God, etc. The monster is a scapegoat that simplifies and focuses complex problems.”
To get the effect she was after, Santiago developed a narrative with five different “responses” that the mini crowds could have towards the giant spectator and filmed these at a studio in Berlin. These include hanging out when no one’s around, moving into a “fear area” when someone comes close, starting to run, hiding from a new “attack,” and escaping in groups. (The eponymous, satirical background tune was just used for the video, and wasn’t part of the on-site exhibition. “The song has conceptual relevancy because it defines conformist, middle-class attitudes, and the commodification of consciousness,” Santiago says.)
Scrolling through Little Boxes on Santiago’s site from the bottom up reveals how the project progressed. Santiago used the early clips to find financing for the real deal, which was recently on display as part of Elas Fan Tech–Galician for “Women Making Tech”–at NORMAL, a space for cultural innovation at the University of Coruña.
It’s tough not to crack a smile while watching, but the underlying themes–collective anxiety, political influence on public discourse–are way heavier than the lighthearted result.