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The Idea of a Place: Videos on Latin America

1 april, 1998 - 25 april, 1998 /
Sabatini Building, Auditorium

How should Latin America be represented? Where is it? Can it be reduced to some geographical limits? Or can its space be reproduced in other spheres, like the U.S., where Latinisation is a trend that will reach its apogee in the 21st century? The Idea of a Place is a video programme that focuses on Latin America as a space/location, an ‘absolute place’ that is the sphere of authentic nomadism, directly confronting contemporary concepts of space and location, as well as the possibility of the production/reproduction of images using technology to represent both fact and fiction. Anna Bella Geiger (Rio de Janeiro, 1933) in Mapas elementales nº 3 (1976), Louis Hock (Los Angeles, 1948) with the work The Mexican Tapes: A Chronicle of Life Outside the Law, (1986) and José Gabriel Fernández (Caracas, 1957) in Hotel Arizona are some of the artists featured.

Drawing on the conception of Latin America as a consequence of a trip, and transcending that, The Idea of a Place also evokes the tradition of travellers who, for five centuries, have visited the continent and approached it using different styles and genres: chronicles, reports, travel diaries and essays, statistics, philosophical studies and treatises on geography that include impressions about spatial displacement, combining the imaginary with reality to produce a mosaic of information. In accordance with this tradition, some directors like Edin Vélez (Puerto Rico, 1951) in Memory of Fire (1994) and Gianni Toti (Roma, 1927-2004) in Tupac Amauta (1997) have created a distinct narrative form that requires mobilising a strong dose of imagination to transmit to far-off viewers personal and social situations that go far beyond the pure and simple narration of facts.

The ‘idea of a place’ provided by the artists participating in this programme, from the connections that exist between them and their individual lands, hurl information into a collective warehouse of myths, cultures, histories, places and space. Today, the overextension of ‘place’ and the possibility of being everywhere at the same time has also displaced spaces and sites within art discourse. In The Idea of a Place, Latin America is a concept that can be duplicated anywhere, even in the imagination, creating a new representative space where the legends of subjectivity and narrative - along with the dissemination of information - coexist in distance and proximity, which is at the same time contiguous and disperse.

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