FILIPA CÉSAR · VIDEO SCREENING
Tempestade em copo d’agua. Filipa César
13th of June, 7:30pm
To articulate what is past does not mean to recognize ‘how it really was.’ It means to take control of a memory, as it flashes in a moment of danger. (Walter Benjamin)
In the framework of the exhibition "Tempestade em copo d'agua” dedicated to the work of women artists from Portugal, Mirat Projects presents two short films by the renowned artist and filmmaker Filipa César. We look forward to seeing you next Wednesday June 13, at 7:30 p.m. at Mirat Projects (C / Blanca Navarra 8, 28010).
Based in Berlin, César (Porto, 1975) combines archive and narrative, collective and intimate history to produce new forms of agency in the present. Since 2011, she focused on the early militant cinema of former Portuguese colony Guinea Bissau. Led by African liberation hero Amílcar Cabral, a collective of local filmmakers (Sana Na N’Hada, Flora Gomes) documented the years leading to the independence of Guinea Bissau in 1973. After a military coup in 2012, N’Hada and Gomes gathered the decaying reels of this early militant cinema and brought them to Berlin. Filipa César put together a large digitization project to save the footages from complete disappearance, thus preserving and passing on their subversive message to the postcolonial youths of the neoliberal world.
Juxtaposing past and present, Conakry tells us about an independentist exhibition curated by Cabral right before his assassination. Two narrators recount a decolonial History that has been missing but is to be reactivated today, in times of political struggle.
MINED SOIL (2012-2014)
In 1952, Amilcar Cabral wrote a thesis in agronomy on the erosion of the soil of Alentejo, the poorest region of Portugal. Significantly, for Cabral the phenomenon could not be confined to natural causes but also involved social and economic concerns. Erosion was more deeply rooted in capitalism in general, and in the social inequality of the landowning structure in particular. Portugal’s wounded soil became the breeding ground for the revolution that Cabral would later lead in Guinea Bissau.
Today, once again, Filipa César makes the cinematic autopsy of the soil of Alentejo. In 2011, the Canadian gold-mining multinational Colt Resources struck a deal with the government to explore for gold in the region. Countless test drillings were claimed to show “impressive degrees of gold”, feeding the gold rush fever of Portuguese officials. In turn, Filipa’s camera mutely scans the dirt samples. Is she looking for the residues of socio-economic and environmental damages as Cabral did 50 years before her? The cinematic pan makes a fuss of the ground and its apparent inertia.
Uncovering the roots of a past revolution, César’s film plants the seeds of one that is yet to come.
Text by Jade de Cock