By Ivonne Sheen
This is a second entry about short films which deal with experiences around memory and perception, and that took part of Oberhausen’s International Competition. The following short films develop diverse approaches to these topics.
Hacer una Diagonal con la Música (UK, 2019) by artist Aura Satz is an minimalist portrait of concrete music pioneer, Beatriz Ferreyra. The film achieves to address the world view of a sound master, from her creative practice. Satz sets her camera close to Ferreyra as a study on her gestures and creating a sense of craftswoman work, which involves a process of perceiving sounds from objects such as a cracking door, or everyday sounds such as the bark of Ferreyra’s dog. The music compositor is a fascinating character that Satz approaches with little intervention, just to pay attention to her magic and passion. Hacer una Diagonal con la Música could be a testimony of someone’s perspectives on music, coming from an avant-garde movement during the 50s and 60s in France, which is fundamental for contemporary music. At the same time, this film shows Beatriz’s adaptation to new technologies, but keeping her longtime inquiries.
As part of their serie of short films together about black student’s experiences and history in the University of Virginia, Kevin Jerome Everson and Claudrena N. Harold ’s Hampton (USA, 2019) portrays the feelings and rituals of a gospel choir returning from a triumphant concert in Hampton roads. The film has a hybrid approach that unifies a dreamy perspective with a documentary one, by focusing in the emotional states that gospel involves. Their voices sound from beginning to end, meanwhile we witness their rituals and routines when gathering together to take part of a concert. The main character is a boy whose performance is accentuated with the contrasted cinematography, setting an atmosphere of intimacy that complements the collective energy that they create when singing together. Music is a common thread for the scenarios that are not alined chronically. This film adds a musical experience to Kevin Jerome Everon and Claudrena N. Harold’s pursuit of creating a testimony of black student’s memories in the UVA.
Another short film that reflects on memory and perception is Aquí y Allá (France, 2019) by Argentinian filmmaker Melissa Liebenthal. In the same line of her past films, the artists develops a naughty essay around her identity and spatial memories, meanwhile she lives abroad, away from her original city Buenos Aires. She simulates an exploration in her family’s migratory background, her own memories and her current context, through the usage of the most common geolocation technology, Google Maps. There’s an intension to reveal the futility or errors that this simulated geographical images have, but from an ironic pedagogical discourse and also as a metaphor for digital ephemerality.
Melissa Liebenthal estreches the digital representations of her personal geographical references, into their lowest definition, prints them and then cuts them with a laser cutter, resembling their pixels, to finally blown them away with a fan. Even though there’s a critical and interesting point of view, the film turns out to think around the same ideas towards the end, creating a circular reflection, and misses details of the peculiar significance that her family migratory and hers testify, as fruitful fields to reflect on the links between identity and place.
Hacer una Diagonal con la Música
Director: Aura Satz
Director: Kevin Jerome Everson & Claudrena N. Harold
Aquí y Allá
Director: Melissa Liebenthal