Order and Progress – Laureana Toledo

Laureana Toledo’s,  Order and Progress (2013-2018), is a sensitive film which highlights the destruction of an environment and cultural change brought about oil profiteering. Its linear structure discloses the hell which has erupted from the industry that has overshadowed the once beautiful environment of the Oaxaca valley, Mexico, where Laureana spent much of her childhood.

I was lucky enough to experience this film on an evening when Laureana and cellist Natalia Perez Turner gave an exhilarating live performance of the accompanying score, followed by an enlightening talk and discussion with the audience.

Sometimes more dramatic sometimes more jazzy, the live score changes with each performance as the musicians respond to the film’s content and narrative. Cellist Natalia Perez Turner and Laureana Toledo provided the unpredictable score using percussion instruments compiled from bottles, glasses, rocks and a filing cabinet,

There was a certain fragility to the live performance on the night due to the unpredictive nature of the percussion objects. Inevitably objects break or fall over which add to the uniqueness of each event.

The sounds from the everyday percussion objects work perfectly with the silences within the film. And the human voice in Zapotec at the end brings a slightly joyous feeling to the film’s final moments of the film.

Laureana confesses that during a live performance it is difficult not to give away the building emotion of the film as it plays. The recorded score is very different from the live performance and Laureana feels it is too optimistic.

A renowned Mexican artist, Laureana Toledo’ expresses her creativity through photography and works with film, music, performance and text. She pays particular attention to imperceptible or transient moments of everyday experience.

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