Variaciones ensayísticas: «Pal. Altoviti ´07» y «Yo me lo creo»

ESSAY VARIATIONS I want to welcome all our viewers of Instituto Cervantes
to this series named Essay Variations
in Modern Spanish Audiovisuals. It’s a result of a collaboration
between Instituto Cervantes and a Research Project named Essay on Modern
Spanish Audiovisuals, which is a project
funded by the Spanish Ministry that focuses its activity,
for the past two years and a half, on the School
of Information Sciences, the Communication Sciences Department and the University
Complutense de Madrid. Today we have two films
in the fourth session of the series. We last discussed “Sé villana.
La Sevilla de Diablo” by María Cañas and “Felices Fiestas”
with Víctor Moreno. Today we have “Yo me lo creo”,
directed by Terrorismo de Autor and “Pal. Altoviti ’07” directly jointly by
Samuel Alarcón and Bárbara Fluxá. I would like to thank all the writers for being here today
and discuss their films. -Hi, Bárbara.
-Hello. How are you? Thank you for joining us.
Samuel, how are you? Hi. -Gonzalo, José Luis. Directors.
-How are you? There’s something I would like
to ask all of you now. When was your beginning? The first project, the decision
to make audiovisual creations… Like you, Bárbara.
I don’t know if it was before your work as a teacher
and a researcher, which I know is
also your field. When does it all begin?
Let’s start with you. My case is special because
I started with plastic arts, so there never was a choice
to become a film maker, as I still haven’t made the decision. It was simply the curiosity of
working with a different language. Especially with this piece, it was a coincidence
of sharing a space with Samuel, thanks to the scholarship
of the Spanish Academy in Rome, that brought together
our individual languages. Combining my view from plastic arts
and his point of view of film, we made a joint piece.
I then continued… That wasn’t the first time
I made a video project and I have continued
making more video. I don’t call them short films,
as it’s not what they are. I like to say I work with
audiovisuals as I work with… -Video art.
-Yes. I prefer video art. The film industry
is completely new to me and I feel strange
using that terminology. What about you, Samuel? I studied Audiovisual Communication in the Complutense University.
I had Norberto as a teacher. I’ll never forget that famous
book of Villafañe-Minguez that they taught us was
important to keep in mind. I can’t add much
to what Bárbara said. I started with documentaries and started with projects
with myself as the reference and as the main centre. I slowly shifted and changed to
the Spanish Academy in Rome, which was a artistic space as there were different projects
in plastic arts, researchers… So, I felt intrigued by
the new video creations and, although how the work
is displayed is completely different, even though documentaries
have changed from theatres to TV. Video art projects
are shown in museums and galleries. I had to find the balance
between Bárbara’s work and… It was a discovery for her
as well as for me. That was the initial point. The film viewers can see
in this series, “Pal. Altoviti” is more than a meeting point
and a collaboration of you both, but a starting point
for both of you in the audiovisual industry, right? It’s been 11 years, right? Yes. 11 years. Yeah. In my case, it was my first project related to video art, but I discovered that
it wasn’t a language for me. Nonetheless, it was
one of the first things I did. In your case, I believe
there is a connection point related to a personal context. We can talk about that later, but, as individuals…
or maybe it was mutually agreed because you share a friendship
and have worked together. When did it all start?
I have the year 2012 in mind and a clear context,
which was the 15-M movement. I mean, I know
you had met before, but… Explain to viewers of the series
how this all began for you? We both had a background
in the audiovisual industry, each one of us having
our own conventional experience, so we decided to take that, along with short films
and other projects we made, and work in that direction and deciding to do thing
a little more differently. We came together in 2012
with this new project. The first one was “Los 400 golpes”
if I’m not mistaken. I believe it’s a tribute to Truffaut and to the movement we know
today, which we can discuss later… Yes, it also originated
with a documentary project or a fictitious documentary
given there is a part of fiction. I’m talking about the idea
of Terrorismo de Autor of making individual pieces
and uploading them online. The project’s idea was to make
a movie about all this. about characters
inspired by the French, trying to adapt the movement of 1968
to what happened 6 or 7 years ago. We began facing difficulties
to launch the project, particularly when it came to
looking for a producer who will love your work,
your ideas, and your sensibility, so, we agreed that it didn’t
make sense to make it a film and that the pieces
could work on their own, as it was part of a story of fiction. The “Frenchified” activists
were participating in actions, so, they made small pieces
of videos and loaded them online. We decided we would not
follow that strategy and that the best thing would be
to “Frenchify” ourselves as well and become characters, that lead to us producing
and making those pieces. The next question is for everyone. When we try to
explain audiovisual essays, which is complex to define, Josep Maria Català said that it is its own definition
that singles out audiovisual essays. Besides some characteristics
we are pointing out now, such as the structure in dialogue, as we can see in your film,
in my opinion, quite obvious, there is something else
that you all share that’s interesting, which I why I raise the question. Art, or in this case, the creation
of a video as a form of intervention… In your case, there is a clear
image of activists at the beginning, using it as a tool of intervention
for aesthetics, ideologies, or, in your case, to bring awareness. Do you think art can change reality? Or… I remember a conversation
about this with Rafael Azcona in which he said, from
a nihilistic approach, it can’t. Art to him was something else. Reality has one path
and it could be stubborn. In you case, in both your projects, there is a clear image of activism, or, at least, in the first part. For those who haven’t seen your work,
I suggest Artistas de todo a un euro that brings together all your work. Is it a drive you can’t resist? Or do you think audiovisual creations
can really change things? I’m not sure. Until recently, I had hoped
or wished that it could, but in hand with other matters
such as education. But, lately, I confess
I’ve become pessimistic. I don’t know who said that art can only awaken
those who are already awake. So, I’m not sure. I doubt
a lot talking about this issue, considering art a motor
of change or social transformation. What we can say is
art and films can make a small difference. I question and wonder
of its real potential, of a piece of art as a motor
of change of a reality. The same thing happens
in your case, as you adapted the film
we are discussing today. In your dissertation
you mention working with art, memories, landscapes,
and man’s intervention. I think it’s in “Pal. Altoviti” and it’s a subsequent subject,
a palimpsest- Seeing the influence of Pasolini
in your film and the letter, I think there are constant ideas. Do you believe there is
room for awareness, in your case regarding
the environment, in this paradigm of having to take
a second look at nature? A common topic for you. I am a bit of an activist and I must say I do believe
art has the ability to change reality. It might not do it
to a large scheme of things and maybe not
as directly as a march can do it. It’s more about changing
the smaller things… our day-to-day
or as individuals. Creating awareness
can happen individually, on a long-term basis
and creating a deep thought. But, I do think the point
with our viewers, at least for me, is to lighten up
the small spark of awareness. In the long run, I think it can. In the short term, a lawyer
would be more efficient, but in the long term,
extended over a period of time, I think that, in reality,
culture is, in general terms, key. There will be the collaboration
of other sectors. Arts has its own space
and it’s a touchy issue. There are different powers to face
that can be complicated. I would like to talk a bit
about your films, but first I would like to discuss
something I find interesting and is directly related
to what we are discussing today. In your radio program called
“El cine que viene” in Radio 5, which is about to turn
5 years old, as you started in 2013. That’s right. It’s our 5th season. It’s an interesting program
that I always recommend and your stream it online too, for any of our viewers
who would like to listen to it. I wanted to ask you something
I have asked others as well, because you are working
directly with other authors. What is your take
on the current situation? Are we reaching
new groups of people? A bigger group than those
who watch these films outside of the common
areas, a bit more creative? What’s your view on this? Well, to answer
your previous question if art could… if it could transmit and if it can achieve things.
I am much more optimistic than what has been said here today. I think that, as any other
conversation we can have, ideas transmitted from
one person to the other as well as your own idea
can help understand and help promote thinking. Art is like a monologue, but it’s a conversation
with its entire surroundings. It’s freedom of speech,
freedom to create. When conditioned, it can’t be art. The more we express, the more
freedom we have to create, we can change reality. Another thing is talking
about direct results, which carries a different set
of constraints, such as what people see.
We have the media, the different industries’
interest in cultural products, but I think it’s like a factory
of messages in a bottle. Film makers I usually interview
in my program “El cine que viene”… Well, I still haven’t had
Terrorismo de Autor, but they are on the list. They usually talk about snipers and other war terminology,
but, if we leave that behind, we can talk about creators
that have a message for the world and just with its existence, for me, it’s a contribution
and a relief. After the 15-M movement,
or a little before that, we have seen how
audiovisual work has changed: there are alternate options
in the same industry, options other than
what’s selected by a producer, an exhibitor, or a director,
giving way to a new film. We can reach the great public
by making these films, which is something
we didn’t have before, making freedom of speech bigger and giving way to a great
variety of films. Do people watch them all?
At least they are there. Maybe, as José Luis was saying, the person who is awake
can access such films, but, who isn’t awake? In a way, the creators are awake too. Why wouldn’t we
wake other people too? One day, it will be overwhelming the amount of options
allowing us to think outside the box. The fact is there are options
and many more channels, besides this digital festivals
and new platforms. There is certain awareness
in the institution, the university and I think… we can, at least,
feel there is something there. I think it’s important. We feel catered to, but,
it might be a little too late. Who cares, right?
We mustn’t complain. Institutions, particularly academic ones
should be above all that and I think it should be essential
as it’s something we all celebrate. I hope other universities… It started in Barcelona
with Pompeu Fabra university launching these types of
initiatives with documentaries. I would like other universities,
not only Complutense, but all universities to join because it is real and
we mustn’t lose track. Let’s get into the titles
to introduce them to the viewers, so I’ll ask you about the name. In this case, it’s a remake
of the movement of May of 1968, with the French “filmtracks”,
the Dziga Vertov Group, Godard, the Nouvelle Vague… It’s also very ecliptic, philosophical,
with different ideologies and techniques… With that, how is the title born?
Did you think of alternatives? I think Terrorismo de Autor
stands out on its own. How would you explain it? Is it related to “An Author’s Death”
by Roland Barthes? I know you liked the writer.
Can you tell us more about your name, the masks?
Anything you want to explain. It is basically what you just said.
The first idea, I think came from… Well, it originated prior to that, with the film we discussed before, but it is basically that. We started our first projects
with the idea of being anonymous and collecting the stories
of previous activistis. We updated it and shared it online
instead of other forms of streaming and used masks
of historic characters. It was a way of gathering
the testimonies of those ideas and make them current. It was an idea of being able
to be all the writers and none at the same time. Like “An Author’s Death”.
That’s where you focus using black and white?
With a female voice-over in French? Yes. It all became like a game and it became part of masking on top of more masks. It was partly playful and part of it was related to the theme. When we put the pieces together and realised what we were doing. You could say the project
got bigger and bigger and started adding more layers, as you said, it’s ecliptic and made with absolute freedom
and absolute desire. It also was related to
the anonymous space. We had never envisioned,
at any point, the project to transcend the Internet world. It never was…
It was never the goal. It wasn’t the budget
we were using or expecting the films
or pieces to be viewed on screens. It was something almost natural. We grew with the project
and with Terrorismo de Autor and started seeing doors open
to different spaces and opportunities other than YouTube
or Vimeo, you know? The idea behind the masks
is related to being anonymous and the idea we formed
ourselves, at a first glance, because it didn’t make sense
on the Internet or for us. It was also a way of giving
a mysterious feeling, as the project has a very specific context.
The context changed the same way we change
according to the times we live in. We also transform and see how strategies that
could be useful before… that leads to the form of
a remake or an adaptation, which is why
the French theme is present, using French as the film’s language,
the use of black and white… the whole aesthetic to an extreme can be restricting, because
it’s… you make it like a suit, you are the tailor, but
it can be irritating and it can restrict your moves. That’s basically it. Following what you mentioned,
I wanted to ask you both… I think that suit
you are talking about, that you both wear, that loyalty to principles… You later realise that…
Well, you have to let go as it can be limiting.
In your work “Yo me lo creo” I see a turning point
to go a step further, searching for something
and entering personal grounds. Tell us a bit more about this. I believe that it is based
on a project for theatre, I’m not if it’s called “Valientes”,
and becomes a sequel. Tell us more about that
and if you see a future… Talk to us about this
and that turning point in “Yo me lo creo”, your work,
and your audiovisual history. How does the project come up? Well… it had started
as a piece for theatre called “Valientes”,
in which the first half with a performer on stage representing a type of TED Talks
that turned into something else, and the second half was
a screening, displayed differently with several screens. It was later that we saw
that individually it could work very well
on a screen. In regards to the turning point, I must say it’s true that
we started walking away from the game that was restraining us,
with the remakes and such, but it also was related to
other themes we were discussing that had to do with abandonment,
pain, or even madness. That’s when we met Antonio. Ruiz, yes. We met him with other
we knew from the neighbourhood, but had never really
spoken individually. There was a certain idea
that it would work for our project. In the case of “Pal. Altoviti. ’07”, I understand you had a scholarship
for a project in Rome… -We both did.
-So, you both were there. Yes. That’s where we met. So, how is the idea born?
How do you meet? How does it start? You have, I believe, the flooding
of the river, of the Tiber river, the reconstruction of dykes.
What is the context? How is “Pal. Altoviti” born? It originated with the coexistence between Samuel and I
and our expertise. The scholarship of the Academy
of Rome is divided by fields, which is the common ground
I can see here today. There’s the division
of genres, right? There is an idea
of breaking those genres. In that sense, that is
what Samuel and I did. They give you the scholarship
in your field, whether it’s film, plastic arts, and even within
plastic arts it’s subdivided into photography, painting,
drawing, etc. So, with his knowledge and mine and thanks to our daily interaction we realise we are both worried or… rather, we were interested in
the rivers role in a city. He had worked with water before and had seen floods, while I… for me it had been a topic to discuss society’s
relationship with nature. If we look at the history
of the Tiber river, the city is surrounded with
information and stories and it’s always present. There’s the notion that
the Tiber flooded Rome from the very origins
of the historic city. Walking down its streets
you can see signs that say, “In the year such and such,
water reached this point”. Just like layers.
A cultural palimpsest. That’s right. Of all the floods,
there’s one I can’t recall the name… It had a specific name. Anyway,
it was beautiful to see. They used to mark them, like the marks on a door
when a child grows taller. This was like that. So, in this aim to control
flooding in the Tiber, at the end of the 19th century,
the Pope, whose name I don’t know… -Which ever one it was at the time.
-The last one of the 19th century. Well… he says they must
come up with a technical solution, but a real technical solution. Whatever corresponded to the time,
with strong industrial solutions and strong engineering technology. They decide to build these walls,
and the so called Muraglioni would help prevent
Rome from flooding, but this would destroy
a wide range of historic figures and the city’s connection
to the river. This was important
not only for waste reasons and, let’s say, environmental
reasons, per se, but because of the
commercial and financial reasons and the connection
from one side to the other. So, this intervention
turns the city into a border, a limit mark, dividing one side and the other,
as well as the Tiber river itself. It turns into a dangerous
place with corruption. We even witnessed a murder. It’s a place that,
given its secluded location, anything can happen there
because it is hidden. So, that’s when…
The city has documented everything and has this idea
of preserving its history, like an obsession of preservation, taken to the extreme in this project. That’s when they hired
the Alinari couple to photograph all the buildings
they were going to break down due to the construction of walls,
one of them being Pal. Altoviti. So, Pal. Altoviti was a building of the renaissance
with amazing murals inside, that would be destroyed. But, as part of their obsession
to preserve Italian culture, they are able to save the murals in one of the most important rooms
called the Vasari room and put it back together
identically in the Palazzo Venezia. This is what happens in Rome. You have a space that is
destroyed due to construction, but you can visit it
in a trip through space and time by going to the Palazzo Venezia. Suddenly… you find yourself
in the Altoviti palace in the Vasari room. That is what we did by telling the story
behind urban challenges through the recovery
and fiction writing about the flood in the Vasari room. So, Samuel, what you do is imagine the area
taken over by water. I won’t say much about the end
because it’s quite… No. It’s interesting to see.
There are static scenes and intriguing sounds. How did this work technically?
How do you work with…? -That’s the fun part.
-That sounds interesting. It’s the fun part. I think that… We must remember that
we started working together because the MACRO Museum in Rome had a collaborative exhibition for scholars from the different academies
that were in Rome at that time called “Trying to Land” and it tried to include
video projects of scholars. That’s what brought us to start working
and then we started to… With that fabulous book
called “Qui arrive il Tevere”, which signalled the marks
displayed around the city, so we… The fun part was
to mimic a flood because getting those images
at that time… I mean, it was 2007 and high definition video was
being developed, it was expensive, and we only had PAL cameras. which was the system we had
until only recently. Its resolution was low and
we couldn’t make special effects. -We were broke.
-We didn’t have a budget either, so we depended on
our own resources to make it. That’s when we thought of
simulating a flood in the most creative way possible. We tried everything:
we filmed in pools, in underwater tanks, we tried installing pools
in different locations… But, none of those ideas
were good enough for us. What we were able to do
in the Palazzo as Bárbara said, we had the fresco paintings
made by Giorgio Vasari, which were also allegories and honors
to the city’s water. -It was a celebration of…
-Rome’s origin. The origin of Rome, nymphs of water. There were many elements
to celebrate water. Vasari, who besides being an artist, was knowledgeable and
popular in architecture. Therefore, these paintings
are of great value as it’s one of the few samples
left of Vasari in fresco. Then you could find everything. So, the river started going down and we started to see
the solution to this was to work with river water and using it in images
in the Altoviti room, which they were renovating
in the Palazzo Venezia. They had installed a scaffold
to restore the ledges of the room and that allowed us to be closer
to the fresco paintings on the ceiling, to film them and start putting together
the images for… We used water from the river. I am very proud of saying
what the film cost, which was zero. The project
is a creative and artisan piece and you realise it is noticeable
in the way it was made. I don’t think we have to reveal
the tool we invented for this: it was fun, but it was made with parts of the installation
we had in the academy. It is really artisanal work. I mean, with a little machine
and a camera. You see that
when you watch the film, but you don’t pay attention
because how it’s made stands out, as well as the story behind it,
with that mysterious sense seen at the beginning
in the first images. I like that. I also like that, while we were working
with a 40,000 Euro grant, to have pieces made on no money, and made with care
and hard work, is also great. I tell this to my students. It proves that it can be done and that with will and creativity
anything can be done. There are other ways about it. To talk about the process, I would like to discuss
what you do in “Yo me lo creo”. It may seem something simple at first but is often the wrong idea. There’s an idea of separating
image from the dialogue. I would like you to describe
the process, even if I have previous information you gave me. You record Antonio in his house for several days
with a tape recorder, putting a fixed image
of his face in the background. I think that, when people see it, they will understand what
we are discussing. It’s interesting, simple, yet very interesting.
I know that, in some cases, people who analyse
audiovisual essays… I even went to ask
other colleagues… Some people think he is an actor
and that there is a script. He is a man speaking freely,
as you can hear when he talks… Tell us more about this. How do you decide to use the voice? Tell us if you did record him
and how it all happened. I think it’s very interesting
and effective and I think… I really enjoyed it. That came up, on one hand… due to Antonio’s difficulties
to speak directly to a camera. It seemed something very complicated and uncomfortable for him. We agreed that the best way was to separate the image
from his speech and his testimony.
As it usually happens, you make the decision
and surprises can come up To our surprise…
We had a specific vision for the film. I’m talking about the origin, which is a project for the theatre, but we wanted to have
a listening challenge. A listening exercise because
we had just finished another exercise, but it was more sophisticated,
in something like a TED Talks interpreted by a performer with a sophisticated dialogue. We decided we needed to stop and create a situation that would
promote a listening exercise or an activity to look into
deeply Antonio’s eyes. He only is staring
at the audience, looking at us. In his testimony, he said
something about a painting by Antonio López that represents or
is supposed to represent his death, saying something like…
It’s not the painting. You are not looking
at the painting, or you looking at the piece,
but it’s the piece looking at you. That allows direct interaction
with the viewers. They are looking at Antonio, but they also are compelled to look at themselves. There are other issues like the surprise we got recently.
We weren’t upset, but worrying about Antonio, something in which he insisted on was to, please, above everything else, not make him seem an actor. Begging, before anything else, his dialogue to seem real and that everything he discusses is true. That’s why he was initially worried and felt certain
lack of trust towards us wondering what the final result would be and what he would look like.
That is what worried him, especially concerning his dialogue as… It was his own.
So, you let him speak freely and gave him some guidelines
if he lost track, but letting him say whatever he… That actually happened. We had several ideas
and topics to discuss and, when we offered collaborating, and he invited us to his house,
we realised it would be impossible. He was inspired and started talking. In fact, he told us at one point, “You’re not getting out of this.
If you want me to talk, I’ll talk and you will listen”. So, we got that feeling of saying, “Damn, we will have to listen” when it was all a little frightening, after we had to put it together
and edit hours of conversations. We tried to convey that…
It’s like listening to what happens if… In reality… The people
will have to see it. I think it is a direct way
of calling out… You were saying that
people might leave the room. I didn’t feel uncomfortable. Maybe because of where I live,
I thought that, what he was saying, sounded extremely familiar,
but not as well structured or with as many film references. The truth is that this man
has a wide range of vocabulary. I think it might be caused by
the fixed image of this man, that is your clear characteristic.
Maybe people think… If you listen to him
and to what he is saying… If you only pay attention to the audio,
that man transmits… He is politically incorrect at times,
but has a great range of vocabulary. Maybe it’s the still image
of his face. Do you think
that is what seems strange? Maybe that’s what makes
people think there is a script. It could be that. I don’t know.
I’m sure that, if there is… What I’m about to say
may seem a bit much, but, if you have just a bit
of sensitivity, when you listen to his tone, how he says things, even if what he is saying
is raw and violent at the same time as
sweet, funny, ironic… He has a range of tones all of which are his own. Maybe behind the idea of wondering what’s behind the face, many can think…
There are people, people who know us
and how we work, how we do things… maybe that can make you think… We tend to play with
hidden meanings and there can be
a system behind it all. The idea of creating a script, a game,
or a trap, when it’s not the case. Shifting to the themes,
even if they are not degradable… What is the format, the theme of…
In “Pal. Altoviti”, for example, I’m not sure, but I think it exposes a valid meaning you bring forth. After having reviewed
your own work and with the point of view
that only time can give you… I see topics regarding
environmental dangers, human intervention, and other topics that are
very present in your work. Are there new elements or anything related to expiration? From my personal view,
when I saw the film I also spotted a mythological
theme, which took me to historic storylines,
cosmogonies, eschatology, and the constant presence of water. I immediately thought of
Mesopotamia, the Epic of Gilgamesh, the lake of Estigia in Greece, Lethe and the human paradox, which you already mentioned. The human being is able
to change its entire ecosystem, leave its planet and self-destruct. It also is very short-lived.
I thought art was… Tell me a bit more
about the themes you covered or wanted to talk about and
tell us if there’s anything new. Besides all that, the project,
in an obvious way and after spending
six months in the city, was focused on telling stories: stories about it history, I mean. The notion of remembering
and preservation of the Italian culture, or the general Mediterranean culture. In Italy it’s almost institutionalised and no way to avoid it. They have a way of putting anything
or any story into a museum. So, putting that together with…
A palimpsest in a space related to its environment
and the city itself, but it also is temporary, historic and has to do with
how stories are told. In fact, that’s what museums are:
sarcophagi of memories. That’s when you find yourself
in the Palazzo Venezia and you enter the Vasari room,
but, what are you really seeing? Can you see everything
that happens in the painting? The shift in location or the urban planning issues, or beyond what the paintings
represent, if that is what you mean. What seems interesting
to me is the abstraction, the open interpretation of
the meaning that allows participation, as does the rest of your work,
and viewers’ active participation. I mean… the viewer
is able to complete… We see it in many expressions. It’s minimal. You mean that
it doesn’t give many details, right? Yes. I mean I t is open and that
in a certain moment… That’s what happened to me. It made me think of
Friedrich, Böcklin, or Chirico. For example, one of Böcklin’s
paintings that I really like and did a piece on,
“Isle of the Dead”, is… In truth it’s the entire piece
and up to the last scene, which shows the device and mechanism. We are seeing Renaissance art through a natural means. We are under water and with
the living things that come with it, everything it includes, which is
something we can’t control. We can’t control nature. It stands between us and art because we look at art
through nature. That’s all it is.
Then you have the length. The length of the film…
I remember my school was a little more concise
about cutting it back. Bárbara gave it that… the sense of calm you need
when being in water. I think she brought to the project the expertise on
how we needed to stand and how to handle
the natural elements or how to play with the water. That’s what it really is about. It really is an audiovisual painting
in the sense that it’s plastic art and has a pictorial feeling in what it is trying to show and in the way we are describing it. The water element is made up
in an aesthetic way. It’s a piece that,
on one hand, is open but, on the other, is beautiful. There is that suggestiveness, but there also is plastic beauty placed intentionally, if I may add. I think the presence of water is…
well, the example of art and water. It’s a paradox
of human beings’ potential as well as of its expiration. Even the arrogance we have
when treating the environment, as you mentioned already,
and talked about anthropocentrism and… We are a part of it, nonetheless, despite having an expiration date. There’s a double meaning.
That’s what I thought of. Art is palpable in that piece.
The art is threatened by water. Water gains power in the piece
and wins over art. Art is simply there.
It can’t be moved or changed. On the other hand, water is timeless. I liked the idea of the Tiber
because it had an ironic sense. We have that technical power that we have proven to hold. It’s obvious if we look at the
Three Gorges Dam in China. That is amazing. We have an incredible power
to transform the planet, but then nature comes to play and climate change
messes everything up. It tells us we are not so powerful and that it can defeat us. That’s what I liked
about the Tiber, as it always had… In fact, after building
the walls in Rome, 3 or 4 years later, there was a flood. The water surpassed the walls,
so they were useless in the end. I liked that… the irony that
nature can suddenly show, saying… We might thing we’re
powerful, but in the end we are not. You have mentioned changing
the scientific and artistic paradigms behind how we treat or how we handle
the environment, to bring awareness to… I think you had a conference on this, where you discussed precisely this, which is something affecting us now
from a scientific point of view. Yes. There are movements
around environmental sciences. It’s like… transdisciplinarity, which is what I see you
have been discussing as well with the notion of
mixing languages, interests… In the end, we are talking
about the same thing that is to remove the notion
of a specific genre or the authority of a field. Not only fields, but talking
about humans and their weaknesses as well as mentioning society as an entity that creates pathologies and excludes groups of people that, somehow, are left outside the system. You talk about madness, loneliness… These are all important topics
we see in “Yo me lo creo”. I recently read that almost 50%
of the population suffers some type
of mental illness at one point. We live in a context of… contexts
that gives way to certain pathologies. We see, for example, big cities where we bump into each other but people feel lonelier than ever. I don’t think this
dramatic sense is new. It’s in Arthur Miller,
Tennessee Williams… I would like you
to tell us a bit more about it and talk about hiding madness,
living in a politically correct world, with an increasing pressure
to be politically correct and refrain from
living outside the norm. That madness that overcomes…
the problems, having to hide madness… I think it’s very interesting
and makes us wonder, in my opinion, of what happens when…
whether you leave the theatre or not, which I hope people don’t leave…
Tell us more about that. For us, madness was a key topic, as well as the notion of pain. When we analyse
what Antonio is saying about his relation to madness, which is something that
conquers and changes him, we can say that it was
an opportunity to change. As you see in the film, he has his own tricks and mechanisms to go through his madness with… I don’t want to say easier,
but allowing him to overcome it. So he… What he tries to transmit is… Hearing you talk about mental illness, it is true that it is alarming,
and that is just it. It is an alarm that something…
It’s a symptom that something isn’t right. It’s another interesting
point of view. If something isn’t right and it’s making my alarms go off, we go back to the value of listening. Listening to… To see what… There is something out there. In Antonio’s case, he understands and faces it, which is something
we don’t usually do when we face pain or when there is something
we don’t know what it is or sounds strange.
That happens everywhere: not only with pain, but
with the idea of making a mistake or allowing our own mistakes.
We don’t allow mistakes, we don’t want to fail,
we don’t want to feel hurt… We work towards
building an ideal picture. It’s interesting to see
Antonio’s point of view when… he thinks of
destroying that ideal picture. When he reaches rock bottom
or we hit rock bottom, something is open and
we can open a figure that is… let’s say new. This new thing is the transformation. A turnover. Antonio realises that the line diving what is normal,
or sanity and madness is not very clear and
it’s unclear who is sane and who is mad. He makes his own diagnosis and says he’s a hybrid: he has one foot in madness and the other foot in our world. He is then able to establish
a dialogue between both worlds. He’s the type of guy who thinks
the rest of us are going crazy because we hold on
to something perishable. We introduce the idea in a quote at the beginning of the film,
as said by a psychiatric group, that says that it’s a question
of falling or not into… -You mean the mad?
-That’s right. In any cohabiting system we have, some fall and other don’t. Those who fall shall be the mad. The film starts with a quote: “Only the mad
and children tell the truth”. -That’s your quote.
-That’s my quote? -You mean in a written text.
-Of course. -Foucault said that.
-Right. I’ve completely blanked on the text. It said something like…
In our cohabiting system, some fall while others don’t. Those who fall are called the mad. Oh, right.
When we listen to him… He talks about fiction and reality.
It’s all very interesting. He says that fiction and film
are sending us messages. He’s a big fan of films.
Fiction sends us messages. -Messages.
-And we can’t see them. -The messages.
-What’s real and what isn’t. This is like what I said before regarding art and stories and how they can make a difference in how we assume, believe
or take on these messages. That’s what he tries to say. The difference between them…
between a psychotic person and us is that he does believe
in the messages in films, stories, or whatever it may be. Therefore, he is Kirk Douglas, Steve McQueen, Burt Lancaster,
or Marlon Brando. Marlon Brando, like many
of the other characters… He introduces the dialogue
of “Viva Zapata!” as an example of the revolution. That’s when you introduce a… You use fragments of films
and your structure or sections I think is done to
follow the dialogue or to make it more dynamic… and avoid the same image
of his face over and over. Is that the reason?
Or is it to make it less static? I guess it is. It adds some rhythm,
but I can’t remember the initial idea. But, it was a way of supporting,
mainly with his painting, which is the first image
because it is very relevant and we thought it was important
to keep it present. The other section are… The first part talks, particularly,
about the movie “The Bridge” because we thought it was
an important example. This gained more sense
represented on a stage, as the device
was installed in two screens. One of them had the size
of a standard cinema screen, where we had a close-up of Antonio, and the screen was a structure with the same size of a painting frame that displayed the fragments
we were talking about. What stood out was that Antonio, when the parts of films were shown, his close-up changed. We saw the side of his face while Antonio was watching
whatever was on the other screen. It helped to give the idea
that he believed the messages, which is something
we can’t portray in the film. Before we conclude, I think
was have discussed many topics, I believe it’s best to go
watch and enjoy these films. Before we go, I would like to ask if you are working on anything.
I know Samuel has a movie I will ask you about now
and told me about the other day… Tell us if you are working
on something or have finished. In your case, Bárbara.
Tell us before we close out. I’m working with salt marshes. I’m working on the cultural
landscape of salt pans, as part of a project in Alicante
with a BBVA Foundation scholarship. They gave me money for this one. It’s nice to have money to work. When will it release? Next year. By around 2019
it will be finished. It’s also a video installation. There’s… I’m working with
the director Raúl Alejos. There will be multifunctional screens,
sculptures, and all that. Again, the transformative effect
of time in space, hidden spaces…
Is any of that present? -Yes.
-Oh, right. That is always present. -Do you have a title ready?
-It’s called “El capítulo del mar”. “El capítulo del mar” for anyone
who follows you or is interested… Samuel, you told about
a film you are releasing soon in the Seville film festival,
which is called “Oscuro y lucientes”. “Oscuro y lucientes”. There’s Goya and…
Tell us about this movie. Well, we’re premiering
the movie in a few days in a type of screening
with a special display. That’s what the festival calls it. It’s a feature film as a documentary,
an original creative idea documentary about Goya’s death. It holds many common points
with “Pal. Altoviti”, despite how long it has been,
such as the idea of space, where history has taken place.
This is the main story… As the material we use
to make the film. I hope people like it. It will also be in theatres, so, a new aspect is
making a film for the people for anyone to go watch it. Well, all films
are made for the people, but this time it’s easier to go see it in different theatres
of Madrid, for now. I hope to screen it in more cities
so people can go watch it. Did I hear you say something
about life after death or…? Yes. It’s a biography of Goya telling the story… after the moment he dies
or a few days before his passing, up to his final burial in Madrid. It’s quite an adventure
going through various graves, different characters
are present in his death… I thought it was a good way
of talking about Spain and how Spain treats its culture. I hope I can see it. I saw the trailer
and I’m looking forward to watching it. I hope so. José Luis, Gonzalo.
Gonzalo, José Luis. After taking off that suit that you carried in “Yo me lo creo”,
has it taken you somewhere new? Are you working on anything? Do you have something in mind? Well, funnily enough,
we have a project that is also related to death and, in a way, was pushed by, besides our own interests, the work we did with Antonio. It’s a project that started,
for you to have an idea, and is still changing…
It started with a title called “G20:
la muerte probablemente”, but has gone on
to be called “Esto” (“That”) That’s what it is. “That”. Like the notion that
it can’t be named or represented… The hidden side, right? It’s still a fresh project and we have some funding, but, we mostly are anxious
to start discovering and learning how
a project like this one can come to life. In the beginning,
it was all building theories about death, politics,
the existence of zombies, the idea of death
as something melancholic, that can’t find its place or is lost because it knows that humans
are more dead than alive. That the storyline.
It sounds good, but… Well… not too good. -True. It sounds… terrible.
-Coherent. It sounds coherent
and very smart. That is what we were trying
to get away from and tried to make it
relatable and life-like. That’s where we are and
I think we’re on the right track. I hope we can all watch it.
To conclude, I would like to ask, for those who haven’t seen the films “Pal. Altoviti” or “Yo me lo creo”, to give us a label,
a summary in a sentence, something that you think defines… Three sentences or
a brief presentation. Tell us what “Pal. Altoviti”
and “Yo me lo creo” are about or what viewers can expect. I would say it’s a lesson about
listening and resilience. I think that is
what we were going for. I think it’s very clear in the film. And in your case… I would say it’s a sensory
trip through time. That’s great. Fantastic. -What do you say.
-OK. -Yeah? You agree?
-Agreed. I don’t have anything to add.
It has been a pleasure. Likewise. Thank you all.
It’s been a pleasure, Bárbara. Likewise. -Nice talking to you.
-Thank you. José Luis, Gonzalo,
I’ve learnt a lot today. I want to suggest viewers
to go watch these films and hope they enjoy them. Thank you very much.
Thank you all.

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