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Grimanesa Amoros - La procesion

4:17, 2007, Video Art
The forces of life and death are often seen as opposed and our own fear of dying renders us incapable of understanding their interconnectedness; however, death as an integral stage of existence is impossible to ignore. Destruction necessarily precedes creation; we are all bound in a continual--material if not spiritual--cycle of death and rebirth. The ritualization of death, as evidenced in religious and funerary traditions such as the procesiones of Peru, imposes order on what seems to be an arbitrary and chaotic process--the earthly end of a human being. When I was a child, my mother used to take me to see the procesiones Del Senor de Los Milagros; masses of people dressed in purple wound their way through the streets of Lima, evoking images of waves, of forces of nature. The disorderly individuals of the crowd seemed to dissolve in the midst of the ritual.

A different sort of order permeates La Procesión --a rhythm of emergence and decay. The dominant motif of the video is water--a life-giving and destructive force. Water is also associated with the idea of a state of flux; Greek mythology has souls passing over the river Styx in transit from the land of the living to a watery underworld. The disembodied faces of the film also float in a state of ambiguity and transition, oscillating to the rhythm of the waters current. They decay into skulls, which dissolve into an explosion of new faces. The final image of the film conflates the paradoxical themes of life and death--a woman appears lifeless under the waves. The crest of the water obscures the view of her eyes. We barely make out a flicker of the lids, and we are left asking is she alive.

The imagery in La Procesión is purposefully subtle. The mere suggestion of so grave a theme as death is apt to evoke reflection on the part of the viewer. The restrained, calm quality of the visuals is enhanced by the soundtrack, which was created especially for the video by the composer Omar Jon Ajluni. I want viewers to see their own experiences reflected in this video and to realize perhaps some of their deeper, more unconscious attitudes vis-à-vis the visage of death.
DirectorGrimanesa Amoros

CountryUSAEdition2008 Compilation program (2006 2014) 3/3

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Interview

Who is Grimanesa Amoros?
Grimanesa Amorós is an interdisciplinary artist with diverse interests in the fields of social history, scientific research and critical theory, which have greatly influenced her work. She often makes use of sculpture, video, lighting and sound to create works that illuminate our notions of personal identity and community. Amorós utilizes her art as an agent for empowerment to involve viewers from all different backgrounds and communities. Born in Lima. Lives and works in New York City and Peru.


Your film is about?
The forces of life and death are often seen as opposed and our own fear of dying renders us incapable of understanding their interconnectedness; however, death as an integral stage of existence is impossible to ignore. Destruction necessarily precedes creation; we are all bound in a continual--material if not spiritual--cycle of death and rebirth. The ritualization of death, as evidenced in religious and funerary traditions such as the procesiones of Peru, imposes order on what seems to be an arbitrary and chaotic process--the earthly end of a human being. When I was a child, my mother used to take me to see the procesiones Del Senor de Los Milagros; masses of people dressed in purple wound their way through the streets of Lima, evoking images of waves, of forces of nature. The disorderly individuals of the crowd seemed to dissolve in the midst of the ritual.


How did you start with film? And do you have an educational background in art or film?
When I had over 20 years of experience in painting, I felt the need to explore new media. I studied at The Art Students League (1984–1988) and Private Ateliers in Lima, Peru (1981–1983).


Could you explain how you work, what themes or concepts and what is important to you?
The initial inspiration for my work could come from anywhere. After I have the idea for new work, I begin a process of research which includes working with new materials. I employ different techniques depending on the project. Culture diversity is always important to me. I’m very interested in exploring my own culture and others.


How does the title relate to the work, and how do you find a fitting title?
A different sort of order permeates La Procesión --a rhythm of emergence and decay. The dominant motif of the video is water--a life-giving and destructive force. Water is also associated with the idea of a state of flux; Greek mythology has souls passing over the river Styx in transit from the land of the living to a watery underworld. The disembodied faces of the film also float in a state of ambiguity and transition, oscillating to the rhythm of the water’s current. They decay into skulls, which dissolve into an explosion of new faces. The final image of the film conflates the paradoxical themes of life and death--a woman appears lifeless under the waves. The crest of the water obscures the view of her eyes. We barely make out a flicker of the lids, and we are left asking is she alive.


How does content relate to the form of your work?
The imagery in La Procesión is purposefully subtle. The mere suggestion of so grave a theme as death is apt to evoke reflection on the part of the viewer. The restrained, calm quality of the visuals is enhanced by the soundtrack, which was created especially for the video by the composer Omar Jon Ajluni. I want viewers to see their own experiences reflected in this video and to realize perhaps some of their deeper, more unconscious attitudes vis-’-vis the visage of death.


How important is sound in film, and if you use sounds, do you create your own or use existing?
Sound is very important to film, it help creates atmosphere of the film.

The imagery in La Procesión is purposefully subtle. The mere suggestion of so grave a theme as death is apt to evoke reflection on the part of the viewer. The restrained, calm quality of the visuals is enhanced by the soundtrack, which was created especially for the video by the composer Omar Jon Ajluni. I want viewers to see their own experiences reflected in this video and to realize perhaps some of their deeper, more unconscious attitudes vis-’-vis the visage of death.


How do you finance your projects (by yourself, sponsors or subsidy)?
Sponsors


Nowadays everyone with the right equipment can create videoart, good, bad or ugly?
Good, we see a rise of Independent films and experimental ones.


What possibilities of the web are yet to be explored? Which dangers do you see ahead?
Encoding video to HD standards. The new features of next generation Web. How video content will be handle.


Video broadcasting platforms on the internet, why or why not?
Yes and No. Yes, if you don’t know how to stream video from your own website or have one at all. No, you will lose some video control of your videos, like getting watermarked or loss of quality and other restrictions.


In what category would you place your work; cinema or art. And is there a difference between those?
Art, my films are short and very conceptional.


How important is the reaction to your film by the audience?
Very important. Its always interesting to see what others think.


What is your next project about?
I just finished a series of sculptural pieces, "Auora", "Sparkling Aurora", and "Huevos". Videos, "La Procesion will be shown at European New Media Festival and "Remolion" will be shown at Lumiere III.

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