Monday, February 8, 2016

Oporto apresenta # 39

Roda Lume Fogo by E. M. de Melo e Castro

U-matic video transferred to dvd, b/w, sound 2'43'', 1986

In 1962, The Times Literary Supplement published a text by the experimental poet and textile engineer Ernesto de Melo e Castro. The article focused on the most innovative word experiments that were being made on the other side of the Atlantic. For poets such as Dom Sylvester Houédard and Ian Hamilton Finlay this was the first contact with the Brazilian avant-garde and its concrete poetry movement, but above all it provided much needed motivation for the formation of a germane branch in the UK.
Seven years later our textile engineer and renown experimental poet took a second radical step towards the dissemination of concrete poetry in Europe. When invited onto a poetry show on Portuguese national television, Melo e Castro used the occasion to release what is considered the first video-poem. Roda Lume, which loosely translates as "Wheel of Fire", “Circle of Light” or “Spin Flame”, was a short animation, depicting a synchronised succession of geometric lines, words and improvised vocalisations towards a new "liberated syntax".  
In 1969, two million monitors hosted Roda Lume as a stage for an embryonic language in continuous mutation. The broadcast poem appeared as a UFO, invisible to the fascist censorship radars that allowed its transmission unaware that it contained a transversal radicalness; the video acted as a wheel of fire against social and artistic conformism, and in this context as a call for a later revolution. Unfortunately Roda Lume was lost or might even have been destroyed by that same national TV station. In 1986, Melo e Castro attempted to reconstruct the poem based on photograms and a precise score. The version presented at Oporto is Roda Lume Fogo, in which the poet added the word "Fire" to the title to distinguish it from the original.
"Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas"  anonymous roman poet
Saturday  February  13, 10.30 pm
Oporto new entrance: Calçada Salvador Correia de Sá 42 , 2F, Lisbon

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Oporto apresenta #38

Black Video 1 Projections 
by Aldo Tambellini
Video 1/2'' transferred to DVD, b&w, sound, 18', 1966

To date, few artists have used film as an effective political weapon. For over four decades, Aldo Tambellini's Black Films stood as a flag against segregation and injustice. In the sixties, while his films such as Black Plus X or Black TV were traded as ammunition between leftist groups, he began manipulating the  cathode ray tubes of TVs in a most unorthodox fashion.
It is with caution that Oporto takes up the task of projecting one of these video works. We will present it big and loud, so powerfully that no brain will be indifferent to the energy bursting from it. This Black projection will transform our beamer-machine into that much needed weapon which kills fascists. 

"A continuous flame purifying the metal of social vision."
Askia Touré

Friday October 9, 10.30pm

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Oporto apresenta #37

Calculated Movements  
by Larry Cuba

16mm film, b&w, sound, 6', 1985. 

Back in the sixties when computers were about to make their colossal breakthrough in the territory of art, Henry Flynt coined the term concept art for a new art-form based in mathematics. For digital pioneers such as Stan Vanderbeek, John Whitney or Larry Cuba, the computer was "the supreme mathematical instrument", a new media meant to trigger aesthetic intuitions. Tonight we will present what could be considered a pure form of conceptual work (by Henry Flynt's standards). We are screening the 80's digital masterpiece Calculated Movements, a vectorial animation created by Larry Cuba while programming the wireframe structure for the infamous Star Wars' Death Star.

"A nursery for emergent concepts."
Alexandre Estrela

Friday March 6, 10.30pm

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tempo perdido no porto #2

Tempo perdido no porto #2
Pedro Henriques

Friday, Feb 13, 10.00 pm

In 1933  the prominent union leader M. A. Santos, takes refuge in a merchant sailor's union, currently Oporto, to escape the fascist police. In return for the generosity of his companions, who sheltered him for an extended time, Santos covered the hall with murals depicting mythological figures, boats anchored in the harbour and shipwrecks in the Tagus delta.
After a one year residency at Oporto, it is now time for Pedro Henriques to generously share with us the work he conceived here. On friday February 13, Henriques will present a sculpture exhibition that mirrors the time lost in this space.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Oporto apresenta #36

Minimalize: Video-Dance Nr1  
by Walter Verdin
Video b/w, stereo sound, 11'27'', 1981

It's hard to explain how a successful pop artist, embraced by stardom, suddenly devotes his life to unglamorous work. In the early 80's, Walter Verdin was hit by success, as a member of one of the most interesting bands to ever compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. Shortly after having represented Belgium with "Pas de Deux", Verdin became a video practitioner adopting video as his sound instrument. For many years he devoted himself to a new field called Video-Dance, creating a pioneering body of work that revealed an acute and unstoppable sense of rhythm.
Oporto is delighted to present an early example of video-dance. "Minimalize" is a danceable manifest, a witty recipe on how to optimize your life, your family, your work, your art.

an eternal scroll for optimum life
Alexandre Estrela

Friday, Oct 10, 10.30 pm

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Box Theory, 19/07/2014

Oporto apresenta #34 and #35

The Box Theory by Owen Land
Video transferred to DVD, sound, 15'36'', 1984 

In the text, Land O' Lakes, Land O' Snakes, Mike Kelley confesses his early sexual arousal by the kneeling Indian girl figured on the Land O' Lakes butter box. The children's game of folding the printed image on the butter box, revealing what looks like the girl's breasts, triggers a latent eroticism, making the candid Native American into an almighty evil priestess. 

In The Box Theory, Owen Land, the uncanny American structuralist, king of the absurd and a religious addict, recreates the image of the Indian girl, holding the butter box with the image of herself, to produce an ad-eternal video zoom. This operation generates a vertiginous and hypnotic mise-en-abyme centered on the female body. This moving mantra raises the figure of the girl to the status of medieval icon – Our Lady of the O – a fertility goddess from the prodigious and polysemic land Of Land.

"An infant hymn for fertility's hum."
Alexandre Estrela

Saturday july 19, 10.30pm

Spacy, 19/07/2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Oporto apresenta #34 and #35

Spacy by Takashi Ito
16mm film, sound, 10', 1980-1981

Takashi Ito is the ultimate film virtuoso, one of the last filmmakers whose obsession for sequential photographs and motion controlled camera movements matches the accuracy of a computer.

Spacy is the quintessential spacial film. The action takes place in a multipurpose gym where a camera moves along the boundaries of various court lines. On its way it  encounters images that trigger infinite regressions. The movement of the film accelerates into an insane geometric maelstrom revealing an infinite fractal structure that exhausts not only the space, but above all, the viewer's act of perception. 

"That blank arena wherein converge the hundred spaces."

Hollis Frampton

Saturday, 19 July 10.30pm

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oporto apresenta #33

"Land"by Maarten Ploeg 
Commodore Amiga file transferred to video.Colour, stereo sound, loop, 1992
In an old edition of Enciclopédia Luso-Brasileira, the entry word computer (then called ordenador) is illustrated  with a vector-based drawing of a face. It shows the first computer-generated drawing, depicting the kind face of a samurai. That funny looking picture can be seen as the computer's first attempt at a self-portrait, a clear demonstration of its highly complex level of self-determination.
Maarten Ploeg was a multi-talented genius born in the flat lands of Holland. Trained as a visual artist, he was part of the punk music scene in the late seventies (Soviet Sex, Blue Murder and Astral Bodies), as well as a pioneer in computer art and in the art of TV piracy. He was co-founder of PKP TV, a channel that hacked regular broadcasting and of Park 4DTV (, a still operational art platform.
For years he produced bright and colorful abstract paintings, halfway between geometric landscapes and bi-dimensional portraits of computer beings, a personal research into digital foolishness as a way to humanize computers.  But it was with the help of a friendly Amiga computer (the Commodore Amiga 4000) that he finally found a medium that matched his multiple skills. Ploeg's computer videos are kinetic paintings embedded in mesmerizing sound, windows to a deeply immersive universe, an "O.K. World", where computers fulfill their destiny as emotional and melancholic entities.
"Towards the emotional digit."  Alexandre Estrela
This session would not be possible without the precious help of Ryu Tajiri, Peter Mertens, Rogier Van Der Ploeg and a large team of friends who share his memories and work.
 Friday, June 6, 10.30 pm  

Grimoire Magnétique, 31/01/2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Oporto apresenta #32

"Grimoire Magnétique"
A musical video-poem by Joëlle de La Casinière

Video U-matic transferred to digital, color, sound, 26', 1982

There was a time when humans still believed in video as a valid poetic medium and television as a means  for the outreach of art . Back then, poets happily abandoned their pens and notebooks, painters abandoned brush and canvas for the promised horizons of the video fields. 
But then came the dark ages and art was expelled from the broadcast schedule. However, some artists maintained their faith in a poetic video core and in its democratic assumptions. Joëlle de La Casinière is a writer that belongs to a community of such believers,who still see the medium as prime poetic substance.
It is hard to find a work as committed and joyful as La Casinière's. Her videos are a  collage of vibrating moving images, from all sorts of backgrounds (found, pop, kitsch, home and computer…) woven together to create a new language embedded in pulsating energy. 
Grimoire Magnétique, in La Casinière's words, is not a film, a show or a book. It is neither a video-game or an opera. Rather, it's a multilayered magnetic tapestry, of  colorful sound and image, the illuminated story of the life and death of the Persian mystic and revolutionary Sufi, Hallâj al-Mansûr.

"A triumph of the electronic image over universal gravity"
Words taken from Nam June Paik

Friday, January 31, 10.30pm 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Basis of Make-Up, 16/11/2013

Oporto apresenta #31

"The Basis of Make-Up I-III"
by Heinz Emigholz
16 mm film transfered to video, color, sound, 90', 1983-2005

The Basis of Make-Up I-III is the  primal soup that stands behind Heinz Emigholz abundant body of work. This  life-size film compilation, depicts  two decades of notebooks in an unstoppable flickery  flow. A blend of collages,  workaday writing  and  filming  is intersected by elaborate drawings halfway between medical and technical illustrations which somehow encapsulate the author's highly personal time and vision.

"An image vortex where Ideas fall"
Alexandre Estrela after Ezra Pound

Saturday, November 16, 10.30pm 

From the Age of Recklessness, 23/03/2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Oporto apresenta #30

"From the Age of Recklessness"
by Klaus Wyborny
16 mm film transfered to video, color, sound, 70', 1994

Oporto is finally presenting the  seventy-minute-long autobiographical film by Klaus Wyborny. In this film the film-maker, a former quantum physicist, talks about memory and traveling along with history and geometry, all seen from his adventurous past relationships. The film is an eternal flow of memories presented alongside a cocktail of extremely dry humor and melancholia. Wyborny approaches film as a scientific experiment in fiction and truth, and his goal is to capture (with a special camera device) the untenable flux of life in order to trigger the untenable flow of memories.

"Instructions on death avoidance and the eternal energy flow"
Alexandre Estrela

Saturday, March 23, 10.30pm 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Oporto apresenta #29

 Analog video, color, sound, 53', 1993

Voyage to the Centre of the Phone Lines borrows its title from Jules Verne’s science-fiction novel Voyage au centre de la terre from 1864, in which a German professor explores volcanic tubes that lead him to the earth’s core and to an 1860s understanding of our planet’s geological development. ‘Voyage’ usually denotes faraway travel by sea, and Auder uses ‘holiday’ images of beaches, sunsets and verandas, already stamped with that vintage VHS look, to illustrate a sound track entirely consisting of excerpts from cordless and wireless telephone conversations between unnamed, unknown people. We all know eavesdropping is supposed to be bad, but even if we put up some resistance at first we cannot help being sucked into this maelstrom (another word that Jules Verne liked) of religious and financial speculation, parental despair, gleeful psychobabble and frank erotic revelation. Auder is usually right about what captures our attention and what constitutes unadulterated human interest.

"floating words in echo world"    
Alexandre Estrela

Thursday, October 4, 10.30pm 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Oporto apresenta #28

"A Fire in My Belly"
by David Wojnarowicz
Film In progress, 1986-87. Super 8mm film transferred to video (black and white and color, silent) 

It’s quite common to see in experimental filmographies, footage migrating from project to project. David Wojnarowicz’s body of work is also haunted by footage that he constantly recycled from film to film, unveiling in each new montage a raw malaise."A Fire in my Belly" is an unfinished project, based on Mexican indigestible footage. The film is a violent stream of oppressive images, that Wojnarowicz exorcises, unleashing its dark energy. This silent film, presumably edited to the sound of Diamanda Galás, has been blasting the most sensitive and reactionary ears, leaving at its passage/screening a necessary open wound. 
David Wojnarowicz (1954.1992) was an activist, writer, an accomplished painter, performer, a transgressive filmmaker and above all a post-modern martyr.

Shadows from a flaming tongue."
Alexandre Estrela
Saturday, April 28, 2012, 10 pm

Courtesy of The Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York and The Fales Library,Special Collections/ New York University

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oporto apresenta #27


by Henry Hills

16mm film, color, sound (optical), 15', 1985

The mechanical specificities of film made it by far the most adequate medium to reveal cities’ inner rhythms. In the early 20th century, a film genre coined City Symphony vividly captured on celluloid the core of cities like Berlin, Paris, Odessa and Oporto. Pioneer filmmakers such as Ruttman, Sauvage, Vertov and Oliveira were able to translate and synthesize the urban struggle towards modernity, while channeling it towards a highly subjective mechanical ballet.

The film "Money", composed by the synesthetic genius Henry Hills, might be the last of the City Symphonies. The film is a concrete collage, a masterpiece that unveils New York City’s ultra fast inner currents, fueled by the lack of money and the creativity of its inhabitants. From the remainings of a city destroyed by financial crisis, Henry Hills builds up the ultimate mechanical view of his town.

“Rapid movements for the listening eye.”

Alexandre Estrela

Saturday, January 21, 2012, 11 pm

Monday, November 14, 2011

Oporto apresenta #26

"Bleu Shut"

by Robert Nelson

16mm film, color, sound, 33', 1970

Robert Nelson is a celebrated film-maker that turned down the glories of the avant-garde for the joys of backyard projectionism. His films are ironic constructions, open questions made for the pleasures of gathering. “Bleu Shut” fits right in the so-called tradition of participatory-film. The film is an experiment built around a guessing game, where the act of “seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees”. *

*title of book by Robert Irwin

“On the cognitive mechanisms of boat-naming and its effect on the uncertainties of the real.”

Alexandre Estrela

Friday, November 18, 2011, 10.30 pm