Illustrated Atlas of periphery II
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In this second stage of our Ilustrated Atlas of the Periphery, we will see how periphery lies not only on the borders but that it can also be found in the underground, in the floating world of the internet, or even in a sausage. We go on drawing the lines of our map.
The mole, by Alberte Pagán
From the geographic periphery. I always thought that this house, where I use to write, in this little village of peripheries come imposed. Where is the centre, by the way? In other times, in different arts, it was Paris, and then New York. You should be there if you aspired to go down in history (and art market too) of painting. And what about the cinema? If we mistake art for industry, as someone blind does, the centre should be situated in Mumbai, maybe. If not, the centre is here, in Barbanza, Tanger or in A Coruña´s jail these days. Peripheric cinema, excentric, alternative: to much names for something that should not have one.
Barbanza, was the centre of the world, my world. Sometimes I prefer to be a mole (ok, peripheral) that makes wholes in the perfect grass of developments, because although grass covers the land, the land belongs to everybody.
I prefer underground, clandestine art that destroys the shapes and formalities that we accept just without thinking, without asking ourselves: a hypodermic shot that goes into our bodies and our conscience; places and exhibition models from where you can fight against capitalistic greed that make all so dirty (money is devil´s excrement); and some ways of independent, free, alternative creation that allows us a possibility of discourse. Discourse is a right of speech which is really subversive: speech is a political act. As much in my village as in Washington.
Alberte Pagán is a galician filmmaker and screenwriter. He has published several articles and books, he has also organized exhibitions about experimental cinema. He was the curator of Eugenio Granell´s cinema section in the first edition of our festival.
Elective affinities by Elena Oroz
To explain what periphery means (or even what it may mean) involves, first of all, to assume there is some kind of centre that, in metaphoric terms, it almost always,worked as a centrifugal point which not only pushes out what doesn´t fit in the center but always makes it invisible. If we take this duality to the field of cinema, certainly we could deduce another set of binaries that have been traditionally used to define two separate playgrounds: commercial / independent; industrial / amateur; popular / arthouse; genre /author. And one more, fiction / no fiction (including documental and experimental cinema because I woudn´t know which of those two categories work or has worked as a periphery of peripheries).
Clearly, nowadays, those divisions are neither so clear or so strict or so productive. Not even unique. Besides, these categories often overlap creating confusing spaces intermediate zones. In short, dealing with contemporary audiovisual we can not talk about an unique center but we should talk about different strong points, and these points create their own periphery and their own relation of inequality and indifference to strange things: not only with format but also with cinematographic genre, production´s country or director´s sex…
However, there was a key element that set itself up as hegemonic center. It was the movie theatre. And not only because for a long time it was the place used for the legitimate exhibition (if you paid for the ticket, of course), but also because other elements were configurated for its service: from state organizations to mass media. If movie theatre was the first handicap (by format, where you can not see 16mm or video films; or by film´s length, if we want to show only two examples), the machinery of cinema put more difficulties: press and critics only paid attention to premieres, financial support were only for 35mm films, or after their cash -flow results, festivals worked only to be a showcase… Even the label “film director” was only obtained for those who had completed (At last!Some of them said) a feature-film (needless to say only fiction films), even though they already had made a bunch of short movies..
However, at least our experience as viewers no longer corresponds to pyramidal and hierarchical model. Not only because our access to cinema is less and less linked to a perfectly equipped movie theatres where we have to pay to entry, but also because some films are produced in YouTube, in websites like The Auteurs, or you can see them in the creator´s or institution´s web page, through the rapidshare download, or even after buying some pirate DVD´s. And, of course, in festivals and exhibitions such as (S8) that we already can´t name as a waiting room, but directly the movie theatre (and something more) full of much more stimulating audiovisual production. So, what I find most interesting nowadays is how at the same time forums were multiplying but it happened a big dissolution between the canon and the authority which dictated it. Communication no longer occurs in a vertical and unidirectional way (from critic to reader) but operates as a network using a “favorite system”; through a Canadian magazine, or a forum of experimental cinema, or an Argentinian blog, or facebook and recommendations or clips that hang our friends there, or a retrospective of a particular author in an American festival, for example, is how they articulate our particular itineraries cinematographic today. Affinity system is no longer local (the classic from mouth to mouth), but global. I have tried to maintain this spirit as an amateur critic, reviewing a video of a friend that seems fundamental to me, asking an American director to make a film that a programmer recommended me, writing about a freelance writer just because I’m excited to know her and I thought someone in this country should do.
I think that periphery is no more as we understood, because there is no clear center. And that is this system of networks and affinities which, who ever we felt peripherals, we must enhance and strengthen. It is not just to establish a space of resistance, but to build one that is livable.
PS. Just after writing this piece, I entered into Facebook and through a friend I’ve come to the last piece of Marcel Hanoun that he made with a tiny home camera and it is hosted on the website of the French Cinematheque. It is called L’Age de Bronze.
Elena Oroz is a producer, writer, teacher and critic in the magazine mainly Blogs &Docs who co-directs with M. Martí Freixas. Collaborated in the first edition of (S8) in the organization of the Centre.
La periferia, por David Domingo