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BATERIA

Articles

BATERIA

Olivier Ponsoye

About the project

In 1898 was constructed in Havana, Cuba, Batería No. 1, a fortress designed to protect the east coast of the city from a possible attack of The United States. The fortification was never used and stayed abandoned. It has been a while since Batería restarted its functions, but this time protecting Cuban gay men from the hostility of the Cuban heteronormative society.

One of these gay men is Armando José, a man who uses Batería not only as a place to have sex, but also where he can make friends, socialize, to be himself. He goes almost every day and spent there more time than in his own house. He has his own private room, the only one with windows. He had cleaned and made more confortable his own space; a place that even without doors no one else can enter. Armando José dreams with the fortress being reconstructed, clean, painted with bright colors and turned in to some kind of Gay Paradise, where gays and friends could come and have fun with safety. However, the reality is quite bitter: the place is dark and unsafe, and abuses, attacks and murders are commons.

Armando José tells stories about love, fear, violence and sex. Meanwhile, a camera follows the traces left by the men who go to Batería. We are talking about a camera that lives Havana and its socialist monuments and buildings, cross the tunnel and goes through bushes and junkyards until finally arrives to the darkness of Batería. Once we get there we will go with the camera through dark corridors, empty and humid rooms and staircases that take us to places where we can see the see. In the way we will find oxidized military guns pointing to nowhere, abandoned objects and stories written and painted on the walls, that remind us to the primitive paintings found in old caverns. The space itself seems to be telling stories about these men; about the way they made this place their own refuge.