a selection of video art from Portugal
curated by Paulo B. Menezes
WOW.09 / Ethiopia @ 2nd Addis Video Art Festival – 24 December 2017 – 04 January 2018 – Addis Abeba /Ethiopia
WOW.18 / USA @ Torrance Art Museum Los Angeles/CA – 21 July – 14 December 2018
Paulo B. Menezes
Born in Portugal in 1976, he became interested in arts in childhood, particularly in cinema, which would lead him to cinema, literature, music and to, later on, continued practices in several areas. Later, he published experimental music through the Plancton Music label , studied filmmaking, created video art and experimental cinema and, more recently, curated video art and experimental cinema programs through Oblíqua / Videoarte & Cinema Experimental.
If there’s a moment in which art should (must) take its stand and action towards a future that is already on the verge of a complete breakdown, it is, more than ever, now. Few of us who lived-thought in the 1990’s would have predicted such disastrous new millennium: the continuation, and creation, of new wars to feed the army industry; natural resources menaced by corporative greed in detriment of all forms of existence; third world extreme poverty, appalling social injustice on a world scale; media manipulation by economical powers/lobbies to such an extent that only a small group of independent media continues publishing relevant facts dependent of individual donations, together with human/ecological activists; individualist narcissism growth combined with an empathy decline; unemployment due to business misuse of technology, one in plain colluding with political powers in an unimaginable raise of right wing parties/voters that, at the end, only reflects the lack of memory of the lessons that the XXth century gave us and of how previous colonists prefer to condemn through the oblivion of problems they’ve (we) created themselves and which are now coming back as a result of what, and how, the exploitation of their own species were conducted in a time in which people thought that different skin colours represented different species who only resembled themselves. And so we’re here in what we have in common, our refusal to let things be what they are now.
curated by Paulo B. Menezes
Marta Alvim (Portugal) – The death of an owl, 2012, 9’45”
Rita Macedo (Portugal) – Implausible things, 2014, 9’00”
Inhabitants (Portugal) – Beams of Cathodic Rays Shooting, 2013, 7’35”
cul:pa (Portugal) – The fox, 2015, 5’39”
Marta Alvim is a visual artist, screenwriter and experimental filmmaker.
Her work marks the passage from inner dimensions to the outside world.
Aiming transformation and exploring Man’s relationships with knowledge, spirituality and the natural world, her work strives to find new power relationships in modern day society.
Through the use of film, photography and other expanded works she explores the convergences between matter and thought, often addressing dream, ethics and behavior in unconventional storytelling.
Influenced by philosophy and exploring the shifting boundaries between fact and fiction, Alvim’s work seeks to look into existence and the complexities of animality.
The death of an owl, 2012, 9’45”
The film/visual poem is shaped as an existentialist treatise on the inflections of the human condition. It depicts the final letter from an owl who, freed from his bodily restraint, writes us from an afterlife place.
By exorcising his own memories of a past earthly existence, the owl confronts and challenges us to an intimate self-projection exercise by giving us back his mental images, as if in a hall of mirrors. The Death of an Owl dwells on impermanence, the tiredness and artificialism of everydays routines, relations of power, unrest and emptiness, conceived as a warning, an appeal — aiming the collective conscientiousness — to a praxis that might guide us, at last, to set ourselves free from our own shackles.
Rita is a portuguese filmmaker and video artist currently based in Berlin. Her work dwells upon the possibilities of micro narrative, and non narrative filmic objects.
Her works has been shown in several festivals and galleries around the world.
Implausible things, 2014, 9’00”
IMPLAUSIBLE THINGS is a laboratory of images. It deals with found footage and materials that are scattered and random by nature.
It started with a box that was found by chance, filled with old 16 mm films – the raw material for what was to come. New paths and possibilities emerged, as the old meanings were lost, abandoned and replaced.
Each of the parts presents distinct formal aspects and operate within different realms of logic, resulting in a heterogeneous tapestry of audiovisual threads, an non-hierarchical assemblage of moving image, sound and text.
Consisting entirely of original text and soundtrack, IMPLAUSIBLE THINGS is set as a sort of mise en abyme in which repetitions, redundancies and loops distort the idea of linear temporality and intransigent reality.
Inhabitants is an online channel for exploratory video and documentary reporting. We produce and stream short-form videos intended for online distribution, with each episode focusing on a different topic. We have collaborated with institutions such as Haus der Kulturen Der Welt and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin), Museu Colecção Berado (Lisbon), Contour8 biennale (Belgium), and are currently collaborating with TBA21 for a video series on Deep Sea Mining. We are actively engaged with both artists and political agents on the ground, and are open to any inquires and suggestions.
Beams of Cathodic Rays Shooting, 2013, 7’35”
It is the summer of 2013. Inside an empty news studio, a teleprompter rolls messages on its screen narrating the events that led to the closing of the Greek public television network (ERT) as a consequence of the European crisis and its austerity-ridden economy. It reads: “ERT may have been the last television channel to ever broadcast, the first and last television signal to be interrupted.” With the shutdown, 2,700 ERT employees were sacked. ERT’s ending was broadcast live, an its last report was an image of the people that had gathered outside the station, protesting against its closure.
At the center of the Troika and the New Democracy government’s decision for the shutdown was “No Comment,” Euronews’s idiosyncratic news section presenting footage devoid of commentary. A European Union joint media project, Euronews was created in 1993 and is funded by EU public broadcasters as well as private shareholders. Allegedly, Greece was unable to pay its dues, pushing its government to shut it down.
With Syriza in power, ERT has since reopened. However, the crisis persists and is perhaps more entrenched than ever across the EU’s media channels. And so is the difficult political responsibility of representing the complexity of the crisis, the propaganda war, the veiled interests that hide behind it.
Cul.pa its a collective and collaborative association between two artists, José Batista Marques and Paulo Menezes.
José Batista Marques is a fine arts and sculptor artist, lives and works in Lisbon. He is graduated in fine arts and he as won a several fine art prizes. Paulo Menezes is a cinematographer and film director and he works in Lisbon. Paulo was a degree in cinematography and film by the film school of Lisbon, E.S.T.C. Cul.pa is the concentration of this two distinctive arts in one line of thinking. Is there any art in the future? What is art now?
The fox, 2015, 5’39”
Credits: Paulo Menezes / José Batista Marques
If in the absence of a primary and perpetual need to kill, the hunter still exists is because it proves that the universal touches the unconscious and the desire to support or see the world and the existence through Death. The tragic art of hunting the deer will ever recover the lost unity? Maybe so. It is the tragic art, which manifests the essential life of the world, because it reveals the being and the truth, key to the investigation of the true nature of reality. The nature of reality is the tragic phenomenon, while attribute of a fundamental ontological principle. It is an instinctive form of knowledge because after all, according to Nietzsche, as actually happens in life, the tragic view of the world blows “life and death, the rise and decay of all that is finite.” It is recognized, however, that rarely and occasionally appear “the great hunters” who deal with the horror of the world and the existence and that even so blithely accept this becoming of life. You treat those who do not invent or perceive lies while defending against the threat and terror of becoming, and do triumph before Life on the reason.