Thursday, October 29, 2020

Jornadas Lúcidas *6*

Jornadas Lúcidas *6* - Oh BLUE!

We're too sad to tell you that Oporto is coming to an end.

Our last and longest séance is a listening session dedicated to the supra-sensitive BLUE LIGHT.

Oporto has specially prepared an audio interpretation of K4 the BLUE square, the ecstatic rhapsody from 1917, written in one blow by the genius 1 José de Almada Negreiros. Issued as a K7/cassette (two channel recording, 46' 44'', 2020), starring the voices of the British-European islanders Lotte Allan and Adrian Dannatt and an original soundtrack by Von Calhau, bearers of the square tattooed in blue.

For the first time available to English readers the BLUE square will also be published in its original pamphlet format. Inside it, K4 is announced by a graphic collaboration between Ernesto de Sousa and Carlos Gentil-Homem (silkscreen print, 53.5 × 75.5 cm, 1971), designed for the ever upcoming, open and in progress, mixed media installation Almada, Um Nome de Guerra.

Running on the Portuguese predisposition for sadness, we'll follow with Derek Jarman's final masterpiece, the IKB monochrome classic, BLUE (stereo sound, 79', 1993), so you can shed a tear for our ending without shame. For those who don't meditate or sit cross-legged, this is a much needed guide on how to become a light body towards the immaterial.

Jornadas Lúcidas  6 Oh BLUE! 
Oporto cries its Swan Song, on the weekend of
The Faithful Departed of the socially distant year of 2020 
For the last time, at Cç. Salvador Correia de Sá, 42, 2º Frente,
1200–399 Lisbon. 

lighter towards the end Æ

*This session will be repeated from Saturday 31st October to Tuesday 3rd November, 2 sessions per day, starting at 7 and 10 pm. Each session has the total duration of 3 hours but you can book to see the pieces separatelyThere is a limited capacity of people per session.

To make the reservation for the first daily session (from 7 to 10 pm) go to:

To make the reservation for the second daily session (from 10 pm to 1 am) go to:

As usual, entrance is free.*

This session was made possible thanks to the support of the estate of Almada Negreiros, Ernesto de Sousa's estate, Rodrigo Bettencourt da Câmara and DGartes–Governo de Portugal.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Jornadas Lúcidas *5*

Jornadas Lúcidas *5* - Cosmic Light - Three Astronauts of the Void

Lumidyne paintings by Frank Malina 
VHS recordings of light experiments by Vasco Lucena 
16 mm film by Nicolas Schoffer on a swinging screen 

Frank Malina

Lumidyne paintings: Message II, 1962 (124 x 84.5); Two Figures, 1956 (103.5 x 66.8); Red Craters, 1971 (123 x 84); Scorpius A (Constellations Series), 1962 (28 x 28).

Vasco Lucena

VHS 19 (colour, sound, 180' 26'') and VHS 17 on a Sony PVM-14M2MDE Monitor (colour, sound, 43'52''), 1990's

Nicolas Schöffer

Kyldex 1, 1973 (16 mm, colour, sound, 12’)

Among the first candidates to man the ships of NASA’S space missions, were race car drivers, surfers, chimps and, the strongest contenders, trapeze artists. The intense acrobatic training allowed them to juggle with humor, the lack of gravity and the psychological pressure of space travelling. But the circus soon lost its leadership when the army saw itself running against the ticking clock of a communist moon and the potential for new territory to control and conquer.Soon enough, a group of aviators full of testosterone and blind bravery, “The Mercury Seven”, won their place in the Appolo capsule. Although they were trained military test pilots, the aircraft was controlled remotely by a team of scientists on the ground. These space workers reclaimed their right to the helm and the hatch, the tiny bay window from where they could marvel at the “Blue Marble”.  

Kinetic artist Nicholas Schoffer said that “Human beings live between two prisons: the skull and the atmosphere”. Frank Malina managed to escape both. In the thirties, this brilliant physics student with unusual illustration skills met at a science fiction encounter, two reckless pyromaniacs with whom he shared the dream of traveling deep space, Ed Forman and Jack Parsons, later the leader of Aleister Crowley’s esoteric cult OTO. The impressive results they’d achieved with kitchen chemistry and backyard rocket launches led Malina to invite the pair to join his teacher’s, Théodore von Karmán, Caltech laboratory, attempting to fulfil “The Other World” Cyrano de Bergerac imagined three hundred years earlier in his first science fiction story. 

The work at this new center of rocketry research, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (today NASA), successfully  propelled rockets beyond the atmosphere  but also enabled the invention of the JATO engine which allowed planes to take off from aircraft carriers, a key element for the United States to enter World War II. In the fifties, still in the aftermath of the war, JPL’s links with the army became unbearable to Malina so he traded the American desert for the City of Lights, giving up on his stellar scientific career to become a full-time artist. 

In Paris, Malina sought for a sinestesic approach to art and started by translating Jazz’s free rhythm into vision. Studying pattern perception, he equipped his paintings with small motors, electric lamps, wire networks and hammered glass, to achieve very slow light compositions which seem ever-changing to the viewer. His light paintings set up an arena for the sharing of technical, scientific and artistic knowledge and are simultaneously a window into the “invisible worlds that surround the stars” (Vasco Lucena).  

To make this long story longer… while researching NASA’s esoteric past and the feats of the “suicide squad”, a post-it on a desk with the handwritten name MALINA caught the attention of a friend who knew someone with the same name living in Lisbon. We knew one of Frank Malina’s sons, Roger, ran an art and science lab in Texas, while directing the renown art and science journal Leonardo founded by his father. But we didn’t know that his younger son, Alan, was part of a rowing team that could be seen three times a week on the banks of the Tagus.  

On this session of Jornadas Lúcidas, devoted to “Cosmic Light”, Oporto is honoured to present the work of three escape artists who broke away from the prisons of the skull and the atmosphere. 

Four Lumedyne electric paintings by Frank Malina from the collection of his son Alan. 

A 16 mm film by Nicolas Schoffer with shots of his sculptures, manipulated through a series of handcraft fresnel lens, mirrors and glass filters, made for his cybernetic luminodynamic experimental show “Kyldex 1”. 

And finally, previously featured at Oporto apresenta #11, Vasco Lucena’s light experiments reappearing in two different VHS tapes made for sharing with close friends and neighbours. VHS 54, records several tests with combinations of vertical grids; and VHS 26, a compilation of machine generated luminic compositions, part of which were erased  by an episode of the Mexican soap opera “Marimar”.

I don’t know if it was a dream or if I heard that when the voice is silent, you hear the spirit. If that’s so, I could almost believe that my images were the reflection of my silence. Vasco Lucena, Lisbon, 1986

Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th, October 2020, 4 sessions per day, from 7 to 10 pm  

To make a reservation to come to this event go to:

As usual, entrance is free, but there is a limited capacity of ten people per session.*

This session was made possible thanks to the support of the estate of Frank Malina/RCM Galerie, Alan Malina, Vasco Lucena's close friend Fernando Ribeiro and DGartes, Governo de Portugal.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Oporto apresenta #49 Klaus Lutz

Oporto apresenta #49 Klaus Lutz

Titan, 2008
16mm, b&w, 9'26'', silent

Caveman Lecture, 2002 
16mm, b&w, 8'21'', silent, projected on a balloon

DMT is a hallucinatory substance that can be naturally found in plants and mammals. Subjects on high doses of DMT often report encounterings with “little people” from an unspeakable world. 
These self-transforming machine elf entities, as ethnobotanist Terence Mackenna called them, come to teach the psychonaut an alien colourful language generated by luminescent rotating machines that sing, in helium-pitch, a world of objects into existence. 
Klaus Lutz’s DMT-free work also evokes a connection with a distant world. In most of his films a small creature of light, the artist’s avatar, defies gravity following a scripted set of codes chalk drawn in a black sky, reminiscent of the blackboard from when Lutz was a primary school teacher. 
These drawings are both the structural lines of an archaic space station and the master chart for this traveller’s journey in which astral landscapes are entangled with personal memories. 
In his experimental documentary “The Beauty of My Island”, Frank Matter builds an intimate portrait of his friend Klaus Lutz, the last of the Manaháhtaan Shamans. Matter records Lutz’s prosaic actions, like going to the film lab or cycling around the island, along with the complex and necessary rituals for the shooting of each film and its presentation. 
Matters’ camera also captures the magical transformation of Lutz’s tiny East Village apartment into a boundless dark chamber. At the entrance of a spirit world Lutz and the hermit Xapiri, like the Amazonian would call it, backchannel in a secret language of their own. 
After years of correspondence, Oporto is finally able to present two of Lutz’s installations that cannot be presented from afar.

Friday 25 to Sunday 27, September 2020, 4 times sessions per day, from 7 to 10 pm  

To make a reservation to come to this event go to:

As usual, entrance is free, but there is a limited capacity of ten people per session.*

This session was made possible thanks to the support of DGartes and the estate of Klaus Lutz.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Oporto Offscreen #1

Oporto Offscreen #1

The success of any meal lies in the true nature of the ingredients, the mastery of the cook and, of course, the setting. But some would say the most crucial step is the choice of the guests. A 1964 short educational film by the Eames designer duo effectively explains the applied science behind the-art-of-dinner-planning. The goal: to siege the table with a human chain as strong as possible. The almighty host approaches the seating chart with the skills of a military strategist, studying the guests' profile to predict the flow of interactions and neighbouring alliances. The seats fall into place. The host, sitting among the guests, stays in command of the entire meal. 

This surefire recipe is unknown to a party of artists, philosophers, actors, musicians and pet owners that for years have wined and dined around a table where they had to find their natural places. At the centre of the cherry wood table, polished with oil and honey, taking up most of the space there's a collection of things, exotic spices and teas, rare wines, herbal infusions, all bottled in the most common glass.  This still life, lit in the dimmest Flemish light, is the secret to the success of each dinner, the leitmotiv to familiar stories, that newcomers get introduced to by the most experienced diners. João Simões hosts these remarkable dinners at his kitchen, not far from Oporto. Always standing by the stove,  he helms the swirl as an admiral, scripting the night with a menu that often includes cow heart, monkfish liver and octopus eggs.  

Out of sight, screened by the heavy wooden shutters of Simões' lean studio space,  rest two other tables made from splitting a Peter Zumthor design. One holds the Rega Planar record player, a NAD amplifier, a pair of carbon cone Celestion speakers, a vintage MacBook Pro computer and  a selection of records curated over time. The other is cluttered almost to excess with piles of first edition books, gifts and machines of a dying species, organised in sympathetic disorder: a dedicated poem by Jean Dupuy with GOD upside down, a Live in Your Head catalogue with a hand-painted cover by David Medalla, a garbanzo bean rainstick gifted on his wedding by Alison Knowles, Simões' three walnuts with shells that ridge in 2, 3 and 4 parts and his drawing of a line crossing the turn of the millennium, a Warhol deflated silver cloud, Henry Flynt's unpublished study on the so-called emotion and spirituality in art… 

These objects are constantly re-arranged in a provisionally definite place on the desktop. The shifting topology of this hamlet is a way of revisiting all time friends and creating new fictions by proxy. 
Among the piles is a rolled silver-print taken by Jeff Perkins in 1969 while touring around the desert corners of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah with Guy de Cointet. On the lookout for red buttes and mesas of Monument Valley, they discovered a film crew shooting a Western. 

Jeff's picture shows two guys in a dry landscape, one of them de Cointet. Out of the shot, John Wayne recalls spectacular horseback chases on the set of John Ford's American West. Seeing Ford in action was definitely enough food for thought for any aspiring metteur-en-scène, if it hadn't been for the site of a steaming plate of beef jerky and beans on the catering table. The starving artist, standing in the blind spot of the one-eyed director, patiently awaits an invitation to join the crew's lunch break.

Oporto, Lisbon

Thursday , Dec 19 , 9 pm join us for this Off Screen session followed by a hearty Western meal supervised by João Simões. 

Oporto :  Calçada Salvador Correia de Sá 42 2F  Lisboa

This session was made possible thanks to the support of DGartes

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Jornadas Lúcidas #4

Jornadas Lúcidas  #4 - Soltec

Sunstone  by Ed Emswhiller 
video, colour sound  3'55'', 1979 

Sun Flowers by Rose Lowder
16mm film, colour, silent , 3'00'', 1982

Salt Garden by Rose Lowder
16mm film, colour, sound, 16'11'' 2010

Patents  by Father Himalaya, Hellmuth Costard and Pedro Bandeira and reconstruction of Hellmuth Costard's structure for Sunmachine #1

There is no record of men taller than 170 cm in Portugal before the year 1911. At the point, the only man to stand closer to the Sun was Manuel António Gomes, a Portuguese Jesuit, also known as Father Himalaya. We don’t know if it was his colossal height of 200 cm that shaped his shadeless mind, but, since his formative years, he dedicated himself to shedding light over most eclectic subjects: astronomy, agriculture, chemistrybiology and military theory with a recurrent interest for the study of the Sun as an endless source of clean energy. His research led to the manufacturing of solar machines that could follow the movement of the Sun with clock-precision while channeling its power. 

His pioneer studies in alternative energies guided the construction of the Pirelióforo: a 1300 cm tall metal structure carrying an 80 m2 parabolic surface covered in tiny mirrors, able to concentrate solar rays into a single beam with the unprecedented temperature of 3800°C, basically a giant solar oven that could melt any terrestrial material. With this invention, Himalaya wanted to diffuse an inexpensive tool for the production of nitrates, a key element to the later manufacturing of fertilisers, as well as of explosives. In 1904, the device was exhibited at the Louisiana World Fair in Saint Louis, awarded with the Grand Prize and a diploma signed by Theodore Roosevelt himself. It was perhaps the military potential of the invention that made the U.S.government invite Himalaya to tour the country presenting his work in several scientific institutes. An opportunity that Himalaya seized to develop further studies into the Amerindian cultures and naturopathy. On his return to Louisiana, he saw his invention vandalised by children who, lured by the flaring engine, stole and scattered its 6117 small mirrors. Realising he couldn’t find financial partners for such a avant la lettre project, he left the country abandoning the remaining metal structure on site.   

In the late 1960s, Helmuth Costard, the tallest enfant terrible of the New German Cinema, was expelled from the Oberhausen Film Festival for his film depicting a talking penis. Disappointed with the festival board prudishness, Costard devoted the following years to another passion: the invention and building of precision devices for film cameras. In 1970, he developed a system that could synchronise several cameras in order to shoot Football as Never Before, a solipsistic movie that tracked the movement of English soccer star George Best during the complete course of a 90’ minutes match. This synchronised multi-camera system led Costard to do more studies on precision engines, such as solar machines that could chase the Sun and, a decade later, to build affordable solar panels out of recycled objects like beer cans. These Sun-tracking projects were prototyped and tested in the desert landscape of Almería, in southern Spain, where their remains remain until today. 

In 2011, Pedro Bandeira, a 170 cm tall architect known for his utopian projects, joined forces with his engineer brother, Filipe Bandeira, to design a rotating house. Their idea was to have the house move according to the trajectory of the Sun in the spirit of Father Himalaya. After some practical testing, they decided to add to the automatic rotation a manual control that could be accessed through a microwave button installed in the living room. The house could rotate for thermic reasons as for other purposes like having more light to read, cook, think... Eight years after the first bureaucratic battles, the building rotates on the top of a hill in the village of Banhos Secos, in Coimbra's district, as an architectural landmark of energetic efficiency, nominated for the 2019 Mies Van der Rohe prize.

On our 4th Lucid Journey, Oporto will dedicate the session to the Sun, its energy and technology. We will exhibit the Sun-tracking projects conceived by Father Himalaya, Pedro Bandeira and Hellmuth Costard under the radiant light of two films by Peruvian artist Rose Lowder and a video by American 3D pioneer Ed Emshwiller. The session will be held under the presence of a hexagonal solar panel made with 2037 bright Heineken tin cans, built according to the plans of Hellmuth Costard. 

Friday, July 26, 10.30 pm  

This session was made possible thanks to the support of DGartes , the Estate of Ed Emswhiller and  Central de Cervejas 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Jornadas Lúcidas # 3

Jornadas Lúcidas #3-Mirrors with Accent

Mirrors by Pinto Pereira 1992
Au Bord du Lac  by Patrick Bokanowski
16mm film, colour sound Michèle Bokanowski, 6', 1993 
Trypps #7 (Badlands)  by  Ben Russell
HD video, colour, sound 10', 2010
The Birth of the First Image (production of a mirror) 
a re-enactment of Manuel Alvess' performance, 1976

On January 3rd, 1968, artists Billy Al Bengston and Ed Ruscha, in their best suits, met at a restaurant in Beverly Hills to exchange business cards they had designed for each other. The photograph of this ritual taken by mirror-master, Larry Bell, is in itself a mirrored composition with the artists facing each other and holding the card of one another. Drawing the card was to some extent an exercise of identity appropriation. 

Ruscha's card design used the blackletter Cloister, which became a trademark in his later paintings, while Billy Al approached the task conceptually and played with the pronunciation of Ed's name. Ruscha sounded like Russia, something to duck from during Cold War as it could hinder a young artist in ascension. So he wrote Rew-Shay, a name that inherited an accent reminiscent of French sophistication. What began as a joke, is to this day a phonetic practice imposed by ED Rewshay for himself and the art world. 

In 1976 a man with a heavy moustache engaged in the performance of making a mirror for a small group of art connoisseurs. This mirror's first image was the inverted face of its creator, the expatriate artist Alvess, who had recently added an extra S to his surname for a certain "air de Paris".

According to some Eastern traditions, when buying an antique mirror of unknown provenance, one should discard the mirror and keep the frame, as mirrors work as image and energy casters, constantly absorbing the life of its surroundings, as if life was an unfathomable part of the light spectrum. Older mirrors have a lot of character, and there are even notorious ones that for their dark emissions have to be kept in isolation in museum catacombs. Mirrors with past experiences also carry the accents of their times. The mirror of Alvess has undoubtedly a Parisien accent, while Gerhard Richter’s rimmed mirror "Spiegel" carries a strong Saxonic parlance. No one knows in which language the god of the Smoking Mirror spoke to Robert Smithson on his Mexican desert trip. We just know that the voice of Tezcatlipoca, coming from the cars' darkened rear mirrors, asked him to forget the soothsaying obsidian mirrors and use new mirrors to collide the mythical past and the present. 

On the evening of the 17th of May we are displaying in Oporto a collection of such rare objects: the shaped light mirrors made by the northern architect Pinto Pereira, careful compositions embedded in glass that reflect the infinitude of the cosmos as well as the mundane gesture needed to tie a tie; the film Au Bord du Lac by Patrick Bokanowski, whose warped mirrors trap the feeling of a hot summer day and a cool breeze by the water; Ben Russell’s film Trypps #7 (Badlands), an intimate portrait mirroring the psychedelically induced inner state of a girl; the homemade mirror by Alvess’, attempted by Belén Uriel, and Oporto’s 16mm projector lens, silvered on the suggestion of the artist João Maria Gusmão.

(programme sponsored by DGARTES)

Friday, May 17, 10.30 pm