“Territorio” (2016), Alexandra Cuesta, 66’, Equador, video, color, courtesy of the filmmaker.
La Libertad (2017), Laura Huertas Millán, 29’, Colômbia, França, EUA
Seeing Being Seen: Territories, Frontiers, Circulations 2022
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.
Matriarchies have assembled around the backstrap loom, a weaving Pre-Hispanic technique preserved for centuries by indigenous women in Mesoamerica. La Libertad unfolds like a weaving of figures and gestures constituting this labour, circulating between a domestic space, an archeology museum and a cooperative. Various communities and ecologies entwine around handicraft — tracing, echoing, articulating, expanding liberty.
The gaze, its shift and the reciprocity of perspectives are central to the philosophical and epistemological reflection of the last century. From Merleau Ponty’s phenomenology of perception to Viveiros de Castro’s Amerindian perspectivism, passing by Sartre’s phenomenological descriptions, the thought of perceptive and cognitive models is combined with a reflection on the relationships between the observer and observed. The possibility arises of overcoming the conventional binary framework of the modern dominant visual and epistemological formations.
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.
Laura Huertas Millán
Laura Huertas Millán is a French-Colombian filmmaker and visual artist, whose practise stands at the intersection between cinema, contemporary art and research.
Selected in cinema festivals such as the Berlinale, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Rotterdam International Film Festival, New York Film Festival and Cinéma du Réel, her films have earn prizes at the Locarno Film Festival, FIDMarseille, Doclisboa and Videobrasil, among others. More than twenty retrospectives and focus of her work have been organised around the globe, in cinematheques such as Toronto ́s TIFF Lightbox, Harvard ́s Film Archive or Bogota ́s cinematheque, and leading film festivals as Mar del Plata and Rencontres du Documentaire de Montreal.
In the art field, her latest solo exhibitions were held at the MASP Sao Paulo, Maison des Arts de Malakoff and Medellin ́s Modern Art Museum. Her films have also been exhibited and screened in art institutions (Centre Pompidou Paris, Jeu de Paume, Guggenheim Museum NY, Times Art Berlin) and biennials (Liverpool, FRONT Triennial, Videobrasil, Videonnale). They are part of private and public collections (Kadist, CNAP, Banco de la República de Colombia, CIFO, FRAC Lorraine, and others).
Huertas Millán holds a practise-based PhD on “Ethnographic Fictions” developed between PSL University (SACRe program) and the Sensory Ethnography Lab (Harvard University). She works as an educator in academic and alternative spaces. Since 2019, Huertas Millán is part of a research-based duo with curator and writer Rachael Rakes on critical anthropology and the aesthetics and politics of the encounter.
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.