Thursday, December 6, 2018

Tempo Perdido no Porto #4 - Daragh Reeves

Un Borghese Piccolo Piccolo - Daragh Reeves
Video projection on drawing, variable dimensions, 2004, VHS transferred to digital MOV, colour, sound, 122’

According to the Greek legend, the Sphinx was a merciless female creature, half human, half lioness; a guardian of temples that devoured anyone who failed to answer her riddle, until one day Oedipus took the beast's life with the correct answer: HUMAN.
During the winter of 2001, in a skyscraping bar in Tokyo, the artist Daragh Reeves received a tipoff from a friend of a friend about a rare and unmissable Italian film. This would turn out to be the first in a chain of events along a mythical path that would lead to the resurrection of the Sphinx. 
Two years later, now in Milan, Reeves stumbled upon a street vendor offering a single item for sale on his rug, a worn out copy of the now legendary Un Borghese Piccolo Piccolo. Sourcing the last surviving VHS player in Berlin, Reeves watched, laughed and cried at the tragicomic misadventures of public servant Giovanni Vivaldi. But let down by his pidgin Italian, he mailed the tape to England to his Roman grandmother, Mara Russell-Pavier (Nonna) for a full translation.
Back in Amsterdam, returning to his residency at de Ateliers, Reeves telephoned his grandmother to request a strictly impromptu translation and recorded her voice over the phone lines while she watched the film for the first time. Nonna’s narration of the film is an outstanding performance as it unveils the dark plot with great detail and elegant humour at a merciless rate. 
Unwittingly, the artist was only halfway through a trail of cues. During an exhibition installation, while projecting the film in a trance induced by his grandmother’s voice, he started tracing in black paint momentary forms appearing within its scenes. His doodling on top of Vivaldi’s mundane bureaucratic world slowly roused a cine-archeological being. As if rubbing a magic lantern, an unexpected critter began to emerge from the shapes he made: a chin coming from an elbow, a tail from a parking car, a cigar from a dropped ballpoint pen… “a shesepankh" as ancient Egyptians would call it ( “a living image” ). Thus the Sphinx found its way back into existence again – lying on the screen, simultaneously predicting and remembering the film and its own totality from its timeless standpoint.
Oporto has recreated, for the first time on canvas, the original 2004 mural, which will be reunited with the film on Saturday. A movie poster was also developed with the artist which doubles as a screen to summon the sphinx in the comfort of one’s own home.
Oporto’s first screening in 2007, presented The Fountains of New York,  recalling the intrepid daily life of the young artist in a portrait of a city that no longer exists. Un Borghese Piccolo Piccolo could be considered the follow up to this saga as within the film-based doodle, the sphinx retains all the bittersweet struggles of the artist during his Amsterdam period.
A self-fulfilling prophecy. Æ 
Saturday December 8, 10.30pm
This presentation is part of Reeves’ current one month residency “Tempo Perdido no Porto” hosted by Oporto that also includes the show Toucan Watch, on view at Galeria Madragoa
Calçada Salvador Correia de Sá, 42, 2ºF Lisboa

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Jornadas Lúcidas # 2 - Addictive Light

Slides de Cavalete, Ângelo de Sousa
One hundred 35 mm slides, color, 1978-79

Nobody Here, Daniel Lopatin 
Track from the DVD-R - Memory Vague 
color, sound, 2'05'', 2009

Although television has dropped to unprecedented levels of quality, we can all agree that it is impossible to shut or even extinguish the channel. Humans are addicted to the continuous flow of RGB light, regardless its content. A clear sign of this addiction is the recent shift from incandescent light to LED in public and private lighting around the world. Soon the planet will be fully led by Red Green Blue frequencies which, like television, will draw humanity into new levels of dependence and isolation.

In 1979, after winning the first prize at the Venice Biennale, Ângelo de Sousa was invited by the artist Floris M. Neusüss to participate in a traveling art exhibition. The participants were chosen for their conceptual use of photography. Ângelo decided to present an automated sequence of slides whose composition and color was created through the superimposition of Red, Green and Blue filters. According to the artist, the piece "Slides de Cavalete" [Easel Slides] was much like his other geometrical paintings, but instead of paint, it used the same additive light process television does. The contrast between the slideshow and the other pieces in the exhibition could not have been greater. Despite its degree of sophistication the curator was always reluctant to present the diaporama and left it isolated outside the main showroom, most likely for fear of cross-contaminating the black and white photographs with television frequencies.  

In this Oporto special session, Jornadas Lúcidas #2, we will present the infamous piece "Slides de Cavalete", with a newly restored set of slides. This automatic light painting will be projected along the video "Nobody Here", an "earworm" created by Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) mashing a youtube sequence from a jurassic videogame (Taito's Laser Grand Prix) and a looped sound clip from Lady in Red by Chris De Burgh. This ever moving rainbow road is here to remind us that TV will continue its image stream regardless of human presence.

Oporto would like to thank:  Miguel Sousa and the Estate of Ângelo de Sousa, Sérgio Mah, Joana Silva and the Conservation Department of Nova University, Lisbon  -  Daniel Lopatin, Eliza Ryan, Nelson Gomes, Software and Warp Records

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Jornadas Lúcidas *1A journey devoted to reflective, entoptic, raw and cooked light
1859, Fred Worden

Digital video, colour, silent, 11', 2008

Information, Hollis Frampton

16 mm film, b/w, silent, 4', 1966

In the groundbreaking publication "Metaphors on Vision" Stan Brakhage wonders about which rays pass through the retina still unretained by the mind. It is common knowledge, that film and video reveal only a small part of the light spectrum when bringing a picture to existence. The camera's lens function as a barrier, filtering the necessary light to create an image while dispersing all incomprehensible and, who knows, noxious outbursts of energy.
For an orthodox structuralist filmmaker, as Brakhage, the use of lenses in the making of film is questionable, as all light should arrive pure to the viewer's retina. In the 1960s, while the experimental film crowd was acquiring a taste for raw and uncooked light, in film's industry all manifestations of uncontrolled light, such as lens flares, were still being avoided and seen as camera errors that shed light on a poor cinematography. 

It was only in 1969, that the Hungarian director of photography, László Kovács, allowed, for the first time, against all advice, lens flares to appear in a feature film. During the film Easy Rider the Sun's rays cross the barrier of lenses generating colourful flares, revealing the presence of the glass itself, giving a true sense of reality. 

Twenty years later, John Knoll, while working at the launch of Photoshop, developed a digital Lens Flare plug-in. This artificial lens reflexion, soon became the effect that every science-fiction film needed to reclaim truth. 

In the video “1859”, Fred Worden presents the anatomy of a digital lens flare. The filmmaker dissects a 30 frame instant of light intersecting a lens, unfolding in a series of singular reflections. Each circle of light pulsates independently, echoing a series of events that, occurred in the year 1859: the publishing of Darwin's Origin of Species, the birth of Pierre Curie, Georges Seurat and Conan Doyle, the largest recorded solar storm and the first time solar flares were noted by the amateur astronomer Richard Christopher Carrington. 

For this Oporto session we will screen “1859” together with  "Information",  Hollis Frampton’s earliest surviving film. This short enigmatic piece  features a single lightbulb recorded using multiple exposures. The blaze casts light onto the black screen, moving to a silent score, in a mesmerising rhythm that can only be coded.

"If only the sound of the sun would reach the earth.  
T. Batista

Friday, May 18, 10.30 pm  

Monday, April 23, 2018

Oporto apresenta #48

Standish Lawder
16 mm, color, sound, 16 min, 1972

Two Soups 
Fake Goulash/ Rain Soup
Recipes by Endre Tót, 1974

The  Portuguese proverb  “in April, a thousand waters", predicts that we are facing a month of tempestuous changes. It is not by chance that spring rain is often seen as an omen of change and revolution. In the movie Regen (Rain, 1929), Joris Ivens struggles to capture the essence of rain. During the two years spent filming rainy Amsterdam, he found a natural resistance of the elements to be captured on film. Slowly, Ivens began to draw a parallel between the rain, the wind and the strength of the masses, that is only revealed in times of storm.

"If one controls the weather, one controls the world" is a lapalissade that became tangible when Wilhelm Reich was arrested and died for the invention of a cloudbuster, a machine that could induce rain through the reconditioning of primal energy. Reich’s giant ray-gun contraption appears in Kate Bush and Terry Gilliam's video Cloudbusting ( 1985), charging the sky with its orgone rays. Reich was the first to subdue weather to human will and his cloud nebuliser was soon seen as a real threat to any state in the world. Although his invention was abandoned in rural America, his plans circulated widely. We dare say that its effectiveness can still be seen in the clean skies above Russian and American military parades, a clear sign that the clouds were secretly emptied before the tanks marched.

In 1981, James Broughton and Joel Singer moved to Sri Lanka to build an artistic community rooted on sincere pleasure and comunal joy. During their stay, they developed a way of harvesting, with film, an allegedly sexual energy latent in the rainforest. While re-projecting their films, they realised their audience embraced the energy unleashed by the flicker light, engaging in unbounded h appiness. 
On April 25, a date that will always be celebrated as a good day for a revolution, Oporto will exhibit the flicker film, Rain dance, by Standish 
Lawder and while the screen collects energy, a rain soup will be prepared following a recipe by Endre Tót. We hope that this rain feast will strengthen our community by promoting the joyful rise of the dark cloud, the spring of all nonconformist rain.

The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plane.

Wednesday, April 25, 10.30 pm  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tempo Perdido no Oporto

Tempo perdido no Oporto
Exhibition of Oporto’s ephemera - Screening of Les Komas Peteux by Alain Baptizet- Printing session by Mike Goes West - The Red Mermaid by Gonçalo Pena  - Communal meal with João Simões

Built by a former merchant sailor union, this small theatre has been kept in its original state as a moored ship with the smell of bilge, covered with maritime murals, wooden decks, ring buoys and secret passageways. But now and then, it becomes a safe ‘port’ for night sessions of experimental films and videos, small exhibitions and occult meetings. 

Since 2007, the Oporto sessions have built up a loyal group of hardcore fans, followers of a continuum of indigestible art pieces, eccentricities and anachronisms that require a reckless taste for discomfort.  

For the programme to exist with its erratic consistency there was always a restricted group of people who lost their time at Oporto. Rather than turning it into a “cante jondo” venue to solve our financial and ideological problems, we decided to celebrate the work done by our companions to structure each séance.

On Sunday, December 10th at 20pm, we will be exhibiting graphic material from every Oporto session, from the awarded posters to the collectable flyers and publications. In the Oporto tradition, we will screen a documentary previously planned for an Occult session, that was lost in the mail. Once more by popular demand a new commemorative poster will be screen printed. We will also present a new mural to replace one unfortunately lost 14 years ago. Finally, we will drown ourselves in food and wine.

Oporto's entrance: Calçada  Salvador Correia de Sá 42, 2º F Lisboa

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Oporto apresenta #47

The Vinegar Syndrome
Three contaminated films by Ed Emshwiller

- Totem (16mm cellulose acetate film, color, sound, 16’, 1963) 
- Chrysalis (16mm cellulose acetate film, color, sound, 22’, 1973)
- A Film With Three Dancers (16mm cellulose acetate film, color, sound, 19’, 1971)

To date, there is no serious study of the origin of William S. Burroughs' decaying voice. One might think that his monochordic tone was due to a risky life of rampant drug abuse and bad alcohol. But if we listen carefully, we can find the cause of this abnormal tone in his own words. 

For years, Burroughs argued that language is an opportunistic virus that comes from outer space, which inhabits the human larynx and controls all actions of the subject. The more we hear the strange flow of Burroughs’ hypnotic voice spreading his sour humour, the more it is evident that he is infected by a hedonistic being, lodged in his deep throat, melted into his vocal chords, forcing him to live under alien desire.

Acetate films are also subject to extraneous contamination. The first reports on this life form that feeds on images came in 1948 from the National Archives of India, and since then there has been a worldwide struggle to contain this epidemic. The first symptom of infection is a strong smell of vinegar, as the film releases acetic acid when under attack. Then the acid eats away the color, initiating an irreversible process of decay that ends in the complete vanish of the image.
Recently, Oporto acquired three films by the iconic filmmaker and Science Fiction illustrator Ed Emshwiller (also known as Emsh). Unfortunately, they all suffer from Vinegar Syndrome. Knowing that the deterioration process is fast and cannot be reversed, we will screen the reels before insulation in a cold film archive. To prevent further contamination, the projector will be cleaned and disinfected after the session.

On Mother- Vinagre and its offspring æ

Saturday,  Oct 21, 10.30 pm
Oporto entrance: Calçada Salvador Correia de Sá 42 , 2F, Lisbon

While Darwin Sleeps / Circle of Light 06/10/2017

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Oporto apresenta #46

While Darwin Sleeps  by Paul Bush
35 mm film transfered to digital sd file , color, stereo sound, 5', 2004 

Circle of Light
Soundtrack by Delia Derbyshire and  Elsa Stansfield for Pamela  Bone's 35 mm diaporama, (prod. Anthony Roland) color, stereo sound 32' 1972

"One day, on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare beetles, and seized one in each hand; then I saw a third and new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so that I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my mouth. Alas! it ejected some intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as was the third one."    Charles Darwin

According to Money Mark, the famous keyboard repairman, there is a strong correlation between the sound of the crickets and room temperature. In the song, Insects are all around us, he demonstrates  that the singing rhythm of insects can be a mathematical indicator of the thermal variations of nature.
Delia Derbyshire was an electronic creator whose artificial music was a constant presence on the BBC in the sixties. After creating the futuristic sound effects for Doctor Who, setting a new sound for TV, she ventured into the open fields to make her first direct recordings. Circle of Light sums up years of research. In this soundtrack, which was originally played with Pamela Bone's multiple photo exposures, nature was captured and framed according to Delia's electronic keyboard weaving a unified artificial ecosystem. 
Paul Bush's film While Darwin Sleeps follows Darwin's fixation by beetles that was somehow the starting point of his quest for a unifying principle in Nature. This film describes an important collection of entomology showed at an above human speed. The animation reveals an ontological "meta-bug" that transmutes according to a creative algorithm.

On Friday October the 6,  the last warm night of Summer we will be exposed to the mathematical laws of the planet while listening to the acoustic  frequencies spoken by geometrical insects, birds, and arithmetical keyboards and knobs .

Friday,  Oct 6, 10.30 pm
Oporto new entrance: Calçada Salvador Correia de Sá 42 , 2F, Lisbon