domingo, 7 de novembro de 2010

"(...)The great Czech-born philosopher Vilém Flusser once mused on the difference between a screen wall and a solid wall – for him, the convenient key (like so many mundane, everyday phenomena, of the kind that Gomes also alights upon) to understanding our civilisation and its discontents. The solid wall marks, for Flusser, a neurotic society – a society of houses and thus ‘dark secrets’, of properties and possessions. And of folly, too, because the wall will always be razed, in the final instance, by the typhoon or the flood or the earthquake. But whereas the solid wall gathers and locks people in, the screen wall – incarnated in history variously by the tent, the kite or the boating sail – is “a place where people assemble and disperse, a calming of the wind”. It is the site for the “assembly of experience”; it is woven, and thus a network.

It is only a small step for Flusser to move from the physical, material kind of screen to the immaterial kind: the screen that receives projected images, or (increasingly) holds computerised, digital images. From the Persian carpet to the Renaissance oil painting, from cinema to new media art: images (and thus memories) are stored within the surface of this woven wall. A wall that reflects movement, but itself increasingly moves within the everyday world: when I was a little child and once dreamed of taking a cinema screen (complete with a movie still playing loudly and brightly upon it), folding it up and putting in my pocket so I could go for a stroll, I had no idea it was a predictive vision of the future, the mundane laptop computer or mobile phone.

For a long time, cinema has seemed to be inextricably wed to the solid walls of halls, theatres, cinematheques, and now hi-tech home theatres. Wed to dark rooms and their Gothic dark secrets, to assemblies and pre-programmed public events. Our Beloved Month of August, in its own, remarkable vision of an ‘expanded cinema’, a cinema of multiple panels or screens interacting in space and time, frees the viewers’ minds and lets their emotions roam: through documentary and fiction, through music and travelogue, through drama and comedy, through the plaintive directness of eternal pop culture and the Baroque convolutions of modernism and postmodernism. Of course, it is literally not a museum installation, not a new media piece. It’s an old-fashioned film that gets projected from start to end in a linear fashion, that truly takes you on the passionate journey that every, lesser movie promises to do – but also manages to multiply that journey and the entry-points that we, as spectators, take into it. "

Adrian Martin

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