Cineclube EA · Overcoming the forms of the outer world - part 1

Tuesday, June 6, 2023 - 18:30

Auditório Ilídio Pinho

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06 ABR · 18:30 · free entrance
Auditório Ilídio Pinho

Program Overcoming the forms of the outer world - part 1

Film program created by Matthew C. Wilson, artist in residence at the School of Arts in 2023, made in partnership with the Porto city council InResidence program.

Program 1

Fluids and capital flow. Images and liquids leak. Meaning slips amidst all sorts of bubbling up. Reproduction -- or its denial -- as a process cascades across image, capital, labor, ideology, human, and animal. The first program in the series is sensorial and bodily, yet deeply engaged with the social structures and social relations drawn both from history and projected into speculative futures. The body and the image are deeply entangled -- from the material basis to the (shifting sexual) politics of the gaze. It is worth remembering that one of the earliest prototypically modern spaces of (visual) spectacle was the operating and dissecting theatre.

An Industry and Its Irreplaceable Medium (2022) - Zachary Formwalt
Reproductive Exile (2018) - Lucy Beech
For a Life Long Disease of Copper (2021) - Alice dos Reis
Sight Leak (2022) - Peng Zuqiang
Qualities of Life: Living in the Radiant Cold (2022) - James Richards


An Industry

An Industry and Its Irreplaceable Medium (2022) - Zachary Formwalt

What lies hidden at the origin of the moving image is the body of a dead animal. Photographic film is held together by gelatin, derived from the bodies of slaughtered cows. So whenever we look at film, we are effectively looking at an animal we are structurally exempt from seeing, since it constitutes the very medium in which the images themselves are suspended. By directing our attention to this blind spot, An Industry and Its Irreplaceable Medium simultaneously directs our attention to the blind spot of the meat industry, and finally capitalism at large, a system that persistently hides the industrial products and processes that remain at its base. If animal remains are found at the origin of film, they are equally there at the beginning of capitalist mass production: the very same slaughterhouses where cows were disassembled to become the bonding material of film, inspired Henry Ford to invent the automobile assembly line.


Reproductive Exile (2018) - Lucy Beech

Reproductive Exile, 2018, explores the user experience of biomedical pharmaceuticals derived from urine. The film tracks the experience of a cross-border patient in the commercial surrogacy industry where we encounter this “reproductive exile” on the road, in her car, obsessed with a machine called ‘Eve’—a scientific prosthetic assigned to her a personalized organ model who she confides in while swabbing, driving, and injecting herself in a seemingly endless loop. Occupying an uncomfortable space between reality and fiction the film slips between a road movie and film essay, linking research on the cultural social and economic agendas of the assisted reproduction industry with the experience of the films disoriented  protagonist. In a drug induced hallucination she imagines her inner body flooding - mirroring a medical state referred to as ‘third spacing’ which is an exaggerated response to excessive hormones in which fluids collect between cells that in a bodily space not normally suffused with fluids. In this state of overflow the protagonist imagines her body conflated with human and nonhuman others that facilitate her fertility treatment.


For a Life Long Disease of Copper (2021) - Alice dos Reis

Sprung from the artist’s own family history, For a Life Long Disease of Copper extrapolates the media of essay-film and sci-fi drama to both recount and fictionalize their grandmother’s life story as a worker at a pharmaceutical factory in Lisbon during the 1960s and 1970s where, among other pharmaceuticals, she fabricated the company’s first birth-control pill. The film is a fictional interview with the artist’s grandmother, played by a digitally aged version of the artist themselves. Occupying very entangled personal, biographical, historical and political positions, dos Reis asks (and answers) some questions about their grandmother’s life as a pharmaceutical factory worker. The film was originally presented in an exhibition accompanied by a series of additional, interrelated works.


Sight Leak (2022) - Peng Zuqiang

“The moon, the sometimes dark street, trees, it's warm […] at last, a certain eroticism possible (that of the warm night).” When Roland Barthes visited China in 1973, he jotted down some notes that would become part of his Travels in China (Carnets du voyage en Chine), an underplot of desire in his imagination of the country. Barthes did not publish these writings during his lifetime, and his unsettling judgments about China are refracted in Peng Zuqiang's work as fragments of dialogues on class and looking, responding to the reflections on the same matters elicited alongside Barthes' sense of eroticism. The local tourist in the film travels through different spaces and gatherings, seemingly never looking at anyone, yet silently looking at someone, turning towards a certain collectivity in the know. A possible subversion of a homoerotic foreign gaze.


Qualities of Life: Living in the Radiant Cold (2022) - James Richards

Featuring Daily Photos and Observational Photos (both, 2000–2007) by Horst Ademeit (1937–2010), and an extract from Hemlock (2022) by Leslie Thornton, 2K, colour, stereo sound, 17’29”. Courtesy of the artist, the Estate of Horst Ademeit, and Fondazione In Between Art Film.

The work is a material and metaphorical endoscope that records and compiles domestic still lifes, detritus, and civic sewage systems into a poetry and music suite to look closer at the private and public dimensions of decay, hygiene, and contagion. Over its stanzas, it focuses with granular attention on the different materials it collects, as if involved in the anamnesis of a self, a body, a house, a city. The film entangles the macro with the micro scale across nonlinear discourses, from the millennial evolution of bees’ social structure—a footage originally filmed by artist and often collaborator Leslie Thornton—to the brief analysis of a body through an MRI scan. One of its guiding forces is a series of images from the archive of Horst Ademeit, whose obsessive, multi-decade imperative was to register the detrimental impact of radiations (or invisible, “cold” rays, as he called them) on his body and his surroundings. In another stanza, various erotic, narcotic, and nostalgic remains from Richards’s apartment and studio are gathered, scanned, and animated into mental conglomerates. Throughout the film, objects and subjects, bodies and images only solidify for a moment before smearing their borders, drifting into something else. Voices and percussions developed with musicians and actors rhythmically emerge and submerge, causing novel interferences. The film poses a survivalist dilemma, or maybe a trick, in the subtly mundane and infrastructural dimension that it traverses.


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