By Mónica Delgado
That the ninth edition of (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico complemented its program with the Le Paradis expo at Luis Seoane’s Fundation in La Coruña, and at the same time, displayed a selection of works under the title La Imagen que Piensa (The Thinking Image) about the work of visual artist María Ruido, allowed for a lecture about the relation of official history, subjective and personal memory as present motives in this essential filmmaker’s work.
In La Memoria Interior (The Interior Memory, Spain, 2002), a film that could be seen in the opening session of Le Paradis expo, María Ruido maintains a line of conceptual search about how to treat the methodological questions towards the construction of historic imaginaries from memory and its absences. This is one of her first approaches to this topic, next to Cronología (Chronology, 1997), where she inquires on the lack of participation of these new historical subjects, men and women who have been at the margin of history. This is why the title of this video, a little over thirty minutes, alludes to the evocative matter used by Ruido, to then pose a mechanism of collecting information and formulating analogies, in this registry of a recurrent out of field.
This parallel story that the filmmaker picks up in La Memoria Interior is focused in the recovery of some testimonies from her own parents, who migrated to Germany at the end of the 50’s and stayed there until the late 70’s, in the latter days of the Franco dictatorship, to work in metallurgic factories as non-qualified workforce as part of a migration policy of the state. This change of space and migration of entire families, produced not only a feeling of alienation, but also brought the possibility of building a community through friends and family meetings away from Spain.
For Ruido, more than the data of over two million Spanish people working outside in those years, what one has to keep in mind is where the history is being written from, a history that makes its subjects invisible, in this case the thousands of workers which transformed the panorama of a migrant country. It’s an interesting point of view, especially if we think about the current change in Spain, which has turned into an immigrant country, where invisibilization of its historical subjects is doubled because of the state policies or strategies that rule them.
La Memoria Interior, which picks up some quotes from Goethe’s Faust, Marc Augé’s Oblivion or Chris Marker’s Immemory and gathers archival scenes of newscasts, with brief images from Eisenstein’s October, becomes a method of analysis of a certain reality, which finds in interpersonal dialogue a way to establish nexus between several topics, beyond the theme of memory, which is the filmmaker’s leitmotiv. The work alienation, the workers’ situation, the migrant policies, even the economic growth through remittances, all are included in this tale that starts with a trip to Germany of Ruido herself, where her voice guides us in this intimate journey, looking for these subjects that are marginalized from history. For example, in a certain passage from the film, Ruido indicates that “between 1963 and 1966 my mother packed chocolate in a factory near Hamburg, however, she never knew the Baltic ocean”, but also signaling that her mother didn’t take her to Germany as a child, leaving her with her parents in Spain (a sort of accusation). Thus, this interior memory talks about the recovery of the maternal environment, in a trip that includes some visits to the factories and interviews to supervisors and workers.
Thus, (S8) with this film and the showcase La Imagen que piensa, that belongs to the SINAIS program, including different works from Maria Ruido like Plan Rosebud 1 / Escena del crimen (Scene of the crime, 2008), Plan Rosebud 2/ Convocando a los fantasmas (Convening ghosts) o El ojo imperativo (The imperative eye, 2015), brings us closer to the work of this remarkable video artist, who defends a particular universe of intimacies through time.
Script and directing: María Ruido
Camera: María Esteirán, María Ruido
Voice over: María Ruido
Editing: Jonathan Díez
Production companies: Hangar, Ministerio de Educación y Cultura