“Territorio” (2016), Alexandra Cuesta, 66’, Equador, video, color, courtesy of the filmmaker.
The gaze and processes of rotation and retroactivity of the gaze are central to the philosophical and epistemological reflection of the 20th and early 21st centuries. From the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty’s perception to Viveiros de Castro’s amerindian perspectivism, to Sartre’s phenomenological descriptions, the thinking of the perceptive and cognitive models is combined with a reflection on the relations between subject/observer and object/observed. The possibility arises of overcoming the conventional binary framework of epistemology and the models of vision of hegemonic European modernity.
Seeing Being Seen: territories, frontiers, circulations reunites a set of latin american filmmakers movies, where the treatment of dynamic notions of “territory” and “frontier” – and the underlying principle of circulation – it’s based on a mobility and look-back system. This system calls into question the dual and hierarchical relationship between the observer/observed, subject/object, human/nonhuman categories that structure the dominant epistemic and representative model. Through the experimental cinematographically forms, the three movies of the program figure sensory situations of observer exposure while looking at the other, a “see being seen”copresence experiences close to a model of corepresentation that exceeds the subject/object binarism. The activation processes, agency and circulation of viewpoints (humans and nonhumans: machinic, animals, vegetables, minerals) go through the works of the program. All of them outperform the colonial representations of landscape, nature and human figure, in a framework of reciprocity and de-anthropocentralization, fundamental aspect in a period of iminent ecological catastrophe – and of threat to amerindian people.
Ecuador’s poetic-political cartography of Revolución Ciudadana, Territorio (2013), by Alexandra Cuesta, describes the experiences of gaze and the representative act in which the subject of representation is invested by the vision of represented objects.
Film + Artist Talk
7th march of 2020, 5 PM – 7 PM
Território (2013), Alexandra Cuesta, 66’, Equador.
Filmed in Equador, the trajectory begins in the ocean, crosses the mountains and reaches the jungle. The film constructs a temporal experience where the still camera depicts images of geography and people waiting to be observed. The film’s path draws a human cartography that strives to strike an impossible balance between the traveler’s alien gaze and the committed familiarity of someone who returns home temporarily. The work develops as a series of fragments. Life is portrayed in front of the camera and each shot retains its frame. Just as Walter Benjamin describes the long-term exposure effect of the early days of photography as the experience of models within – and not outside – of the moment, in Territorio, the duration of each plane invites the subject to slowly grow in image with the subject over time responding directly to the presence of the filmmaker.
The work of Ecuadorian filmmaker Alexandra Cuesta combines the tradition of experimental cinema with documentary practices. The director investigates the reciprocity of the look in the audiovisual representations. Images often depart from the public sphere to underline the poetics of common experience.
Cuesta’s films were exhibited at various festivals, museums and cultural institutions such as FID Marseille, The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Viennale, BAFICI, Cinéma du Reel, FIC Valdivia, Fronteira, Image Forum Tokyo, Anthology Film Archives, Bienal de Cuenca, Courtisane, New York Film Festival, Havana.
MFA in Film and Video by California Institute of the Arts and BFA in Photography by Savannah College of Art and Design. Laureate with the Guggenheim Scholarship in 2018.
Raquel Schefe is a researcher, director, programmer and lecturer at Sorbonne Nouvelle University – Paris 3. PhD in Film and Audiovisual Studies at Sorbonne Nouvelle University – Paris 3 with a thesis dedicated to Mozambican revolutionary cinema, she holds a master’s degree in documentary cinema from the Universidad del Cine de Buenos Aires and graduated in Communication Sciences from Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She published El Autorretrato en el Documental (2008) in Argentina, as well as several books and article chapters in Portugal and abroad. Assistant Professor at Grenoble Alpes University, Professor at Universities, Partis Est – Marne-la-Varllée, Rennes 2, Universidad del Cine de Buenos Aires and Universidad de la Comunicación, Mexico City and guest researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a postdoctoral fellow at FCT at CEC/University of Lisbon and at the University of Western Cape and co-editor of La Furia Umana.