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PORTUGUESE VIDEO ART | Videolab Project

Following an invitation by Fonlad Festival and ArtvideoKoeln, Videolab Project created a special session dedicated to contemporary Portuguese videoart. The works of such artists as António Olaio, Fernando José Pereira, Francisco Queirós, João Pombeiro, José Maçãs de Carvalho, Margarida Paiva, Paulo Mendes, Susana Mendes Silva and Vasco Araújo portray the creativity and interdisciplinary character of Portuguese art and demonstrate the diversity of Portuguese contemporary video production.

1.
Curators Pedro Almeida biography
http://and.nmartproject.net/?p=3741
& Sergio Gomes
biography http://and.nmartproject.net/?p=3743

Curatorial statement
Videoart is the freest communication form in what concerns the moving image. Through this unique, transversal and transdisciplinary art we discover the diversity but also the uniformity of all art forms. This continuous dialogue helps videoart develop and progress.
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Artists:

1.
Antonio Olaio
biography http://and.nmartproject.net/?p=3598

Title of work
“I Have Seen The Light”
The strong link to performance art led António Olaio to music, in a kind of short circuit between art and pop culture. In the origin of this video is one of the songs he did with musician João Taborda, where the lyrics are indicative of how he explores conceptual relationships in his artistic work. I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT Walking on the street I like everyone I meet Walking in my home with my telephone Walking on the beach I feed the little fish For my heart is just like a lullaby I hate the sight of blood and children’s cry All your worries are illusions All your troubles are confusions Send your heart to Lord Send your heart to love Send your heart to mine I have seen the Light Let me show you the way I’ve seen the Light Let me show you your way I’ve seen the Light. Music: António Olaio & João Taborda

2.
Fernando José Pereira
biography http://and.nmartproject.net/?p=3600

Title of work/
“permafrost (barentsburg)”
Short film set in the Northern-most human settlement in the world: the Svalbard archipelago, Spitsbergen (only 800km to North Pole). The video focuses on the Russian town Barentsburg, situated at the latitude of 78º N. The video shows both fascination for this utopian untouched landscape, and on the other hand the dystopian condition of abandoned places, almost ghost towns, lost in time but imprisoned in its own economical net that sustain them until now, not in a documentary way but as a fiction, the usual way for the gaze of the artist in his approach to reality. Barentsburg is a coal mine town; with coal from the arctic greatly appreciated by our energy industry, this is also the cause of both economical progress and ecological disaster. It is a closed circle: the coal that is exported by Barentsburg and consumed by the European south countries is one of the main causes for the climate changes in the arctic that affect them primarily. The town reflects all this subjects on the almost abandoned amazing buildings showing us a decadent and dystopian view but at same time a fascinating image of an already gone idealistic way of thinking the idea of the city.
3
Francisco Queirós
biography http://and.nmartproject.net/?p=3602

Title of work/short synopsis (max 300 words in English)
“Peter Pan”
single channel sd video . dvcam; pal (576i); 4:3; colour; sound

4.
João Pombeiro
biography http://and.nmartproject.net/?p=3604

Title of work
“Schizo”
Manipulating a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959), the artist reflects on the randomness and apparent schizophrenia of our contemporary society. Just by erasing the plane that is pursuing Cary Grant from the scene, the artist makes the actor appear to run and duck away for no reason.

5.
José Maçãs de Carvalho
biography http://and.nmartproject.net/?p=3606

Title of work/
“To President (drinking version)”
A famous popstar comes back to make a toast to a large number of politicians of our time.
6.
Margarida Paiva
biography http://and.nmartproject.net/?p=477

Title of work/short synopsis (max 300 words in English)
“Erase”
Erase is an image-poem that touches on themes such as loss and displacement. Distant sounds are counterpointed with images of walking ghosts in a white landscape.
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7.
Maria Lusitano
biography http://and.nmartproject.net/?p=3608

Title of work/
“The man with excessive memory”
Through images captured on journeys, a narrator existing within subtitles narrates the story of a man with hypermnesia (an excess of memory) and the strategies that he uses to deal with his absurd situation while floundering in a world of fragmented images where any spare time is filled with projects devoid of sense. One thus seeks to question the current human existence within millions of images and information in our current times.
8.
Paulo Mendes
biography http://and.nmartproject.net/?p=3610

Title of work/
“Undersound (Revisão de Os Verdes Anos de Carlos Paredes e Paulo Rocha)”
The distended sound of the music Carlos Paredes composed for the film Os Verdes Anos (1963) by Portuguese filmmaker Paulo Rocha establishes a counterpoint to a scene in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point (1970). The beginning of the music coincides with the explosion of the house, a scene that represents the imaginary rebellion of the main character in the film against the triumph of capitalistic/materialistic values in American society during the utopian sixties. The images in this scene are connected to the representation of a provincial everyday life in Os Verdes Anos, whose plot alludes to the clash between country life and the city, with its claustrophobic and despairing spaces which insinuate a slow death.
9.
Susana Mendes Silva
biography http://and.nmartproject.net/?p=3612

Title of work/short synopsis (max 300 words in English)
“Polaroid”
The short video work “Polaroid” moves Susana Mendes Silva’s explorations from the realm of detachment and disembodiment to dematerialization. A figure gradually but inexorably emerges from the pure white void of a developing photograph. Susana Mendes Silva seems to bleed into being, and it happens almost too quickly to savour the gorgeous exposure of colour and texture. We are inescapably left a step behind, struggling to grasp the exact moment when the image first forms, when it seems to be fully formed, and when it actually is. At the end, we are denied eye contact with the figure, and, in a way, the void remains. James Westcott, “Disembodied Fragments” in Life-cage, catalogue of the exhibition, Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art

10.
Vasco Araújo
biography http://and.nmartproject.net/?p=3614

Title of work/short synopsis (max 300 words in English)
“Duettino”
“Duettino” is a video where a man plays a text with two characters; the text is from the opera “Don Giovanni”, a duet between D. Giovanni and Zerlina. This man, who isn’t defined, transmits passion, anguish and loneliness, because in the film you only see that person and the surrounding environment, like a love/hate relationship between this man and the environment.