RUBEN ORTIZ TORRES and KEVIN POWER
Plus MONICA CARBALLAS screens videos by contemporary Latin American Artists
Tuesday, November 8 at 8 PM
White wine will be served!
No reservations needed!
White Wine Press is a subsidiary branch of Smart Art Press and publishes original texts by artists under the condition that they do not write about their own work. So far it has published fourteen essays in a spanish/english bilingual edition. The last three titles have been by Helio Oiticica (Brazil), Ruben Ortiz Torres (U.S.A), and Tonel (Cuba). The first, Oiticica dealt with the Samba and experimental art, the second, Ortiz Torres's libretto for an opera based on a narcocorrido, and the third discussed Cuban cinema produced during the Revolution. White Wine Press is now editing a second series under the imprint of Pisueña Press, Conversaciones en la Cabaña, that consists of lengthy interviews conducted in a cabin in the mountains behind Santander. The first three are with Ticio Escobar (Paraguay), Juan Enrique Bedoya (Peru), and Mondongo (Argentine).
On this occasion we shall be discussing two texts with Ruben Ortiz Torres: the first, the background to and performance of the opera, The myth of Camelia la Tejana; and the second, an ironic commentary, written in old Castillian prose, of one of Ortiz's trips to Mexico.
Carballas will screen contemporary videos by Latin American artists, "ON NARRATION: 3 LATINAMERICAN VISIONS" includes Edgar Endress (Chile), Undocumented (2005), Video DVD, black & white, sound, 9 min; Ignacio Alcántara (República Dominicana), El Jardín de Doña Ramona (2004), Video DVD, colour, sound, 15 min.; Henry Eric (Cuba), Cuentos Cortos (2006), Vídeo, colour, sound, 60 min.
ON NARRATION: 3 LATINAMERICAN VISIONS
The three artists presented in this program are audiovisual narrators, although each one of them uses a different strategy.
Henry Eric exploits the life story of his protagonists through their own words to enter into the unnarrated narratives that form part of the texture of Cuban society – stories that have been systematically denied by the State such as the petty crimes that accompany delinquency on the streets, homosexuality, or the experiences of war veterans and victims of the International missions in the wars in Angola and Ethiopia. Henry Eric´s intention is not to propose a judgement, nor to situate himself in any kind of intellectual bipolarity either pro or contra the Revolution, but rather to affirm that the History of Cuba still has to be told and to ask who will tell it and how.
Ignacio Alcantara makes use of animation techniques that mix painting drawing and small animated figures as his creative medium. Autobiography forms part of his story telling but from a different optical point of view. The separation of his family as a result of emmigration is shown poetically with a touch of nostalgia in “El Jardin de Doña Ramona”. In “Do-e-Mi Sin” he turns to the separation of a couple as a metaphor to illustrate the permanent situation of conflict that exists on the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic; and in the short video “El Doctor y el Chivo” he refers to the scars and traces of the Trujillo dictatorship that are still presents in Dominican society.
In “The Memory of Snails” and “The Lure of Gestures” Edgar Endress turns to the reconstruction of a story by means of his own memory. In both of these works he proposes a journey across time and space to recall his childhood, deeply marked by the Pinochet dictatorship, in a village in the south of Chile. The first involves a narration that takes the form of a story with an intense charge of contained violence; in the second the story is told through the lives of typical characters from his village, although the background to the story continues to transmit a dosis of tension. In his video “Undocumented” he exploits a different strategy that consists of, through an article he’d found in a newspaper, reconstructing the story of a person on the move, who walks across the country without any real direction and without papers until his wandering is brought to a halt on the fronties. It might well be argued that in this work Endress has put into images Agamben’s figure of the Homo Sacer.
Walter Benjamin stated in his essay, “The Narrator”, that: “the act of story-telling will continue across time. Not in its “eternal” form, in its magnificent and secret warmth, but in brutal and daring forms about which we still know very little.” Every society needs its own narrations and thesse three artists have attempted to do so through their video works.