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2 June 2017: Refracted Spaces: Theatre of Optics


Gasworks and Margarida Mendes present Theatre of Optics, a ritual projection of moving image works that dwell on the electrical grid and its spells, exploring how the rhythms and anxieties produced by the infrastructural properties of light elicit expanded sensorial perception.

A reading by Filipa César and Louis Henderson will precede the screening.

Rhythm in Light, Mary Ellen Bute, 1935, 4 min, B/W, 16mm
Opus I, Walter Ruttman, 1921, 11’10 min, Colour, 35mm
Opus II, Walter Ruttman, 1921, 3’20 min, Colour 16mm
Opus III, Walter Ruttman, 1924, 3’20 min, Colour, 16mm
Opus IV, Walter Ruttman, 1925, 4 min, Colour 16mm
YANTRA, James Whitney, 1950-1957, 8 min, Colour, 16mm
Water Panics in the Sea, Laleh Khorramian, 2011, 14 min, Colour, Digital
The Flicker, Tony Conrad, 1966, 30 min, B/W, 16mm

Part one of Refracted Spaces, a research seminar convened by Filipa César and Louis Henderson for Gasworks. Developed as a way to expand on their research for Op Film: An Archaeology of Optics, the event situates the work presented in the exhibition in a wider context, incorporating the critical perspectives and practices of various other thinkers, researchers and artists.

Together with Zach Blas, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Ana Naomi de Sousa, Olivier Marboeuf, Margarida Mendes, Rachel O'Reilly, Roque Pina and Lorenzo Pezzani, the artists will discuss the themes of their exhibition in relation to topics ranging from indigenous sea-navigation methods and cartographic law to forensic research of the Mediterranean refugee crisis; from aesthetic strategies of nonlocality, opacity and obscurity that interrupt optical surveillance to systemic racism embedded within technological developments; and from the materiality and ontology of blackness and black light to afrofuturist narratives of submarine resistance.

The seminar includes a conversation between Filipa César, Louis Henderson and Roque Pina, the protagonist of their film Sunstone and the keeper of the lighthouse at Cabo da Roca, Portugal – the westernmost point of continental Europe.

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