El Trozo Productions is a film collective based in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Jerez is a small city in Cadiz, a province to the west of Andalusia. It is famous for its large 'gitano' (Spanish gypsy) community, flamenco puro (pure flamenco), sherry wine and horses. Rebecca María Morris directs, edits and produces films about the local community, collaborating with other artists living there. She has made a series in coordination with photographer and videographer Matteo delred. Their first collaboration is a series called 'En Casa de Mercedes', which follows Mercedes, a flamenco artist living the flamenco lifestyle in Jerez de la Frontera, featuring some of the other flamenco artists in the city.
En Casa de Mercedes
Reza por Nosotros (short)
This is San Miguel, a barrio in Jerez de la Frontera.
This film juxtaposes footage from Semana Santa (Holy Week) in April 2019 with footage from April 2020, the empty streets in the time of quarantine for the coronavirus pandemic.
It is a meditation on the art of praying. I grew up in a secular culture where we had lost the idea of faith - for many good reasons. My mother was told she had a black soul when she was five and the nuns that taught her traumatised her with tales of hell. My father grew up in Glasgow at a time where Catholic was a dirty word. There was a hell of a lot of violence and a mad hatred between Catholics and Protestants that still exists.
Praying is a practice that we often fall away from and then return to. In difficult times I can’t help but be drawn to it. What is mesmerising for me is that it’s the human voice and nothing else.
Some people might call this practice, ‘blind faith’, but for me it feels more solid than the devotion so often displayed to the real God I grew up under, Capitalism. Capitalism implies that spirituality, pausing, meditation is a thing of the dark age. Why pray when you can be instantly gratified with sight, sounds, touch, taste and smell - always, constantly, intensely?
The film is a testament to the simplicity of the human voice, connection, repetition, sentiments, feelings and ideas that are immaterial. Ideas that no one is excluded from. The quick, money, boom, bust, of the world we live in is so quickly gone, in a flash, the rug pulled from under our feet.
The idea is that if we stop and listen, it’s possible to hear trillions of others thinking with us, vibrating with us. It is out there, and if you care to, you can hear it, and you will be heard too.
Nuns praying at a chapel in Jerez de la Frontera
Street sounds and call to prayer in Whitechapel, London, 2018
Woman spontaneously singing in a church in Whitechapel in London in 2017