Director: Filipa César
Born in 1975 in Oporto (Portugal). Lives and works in Berlin.
Selected personal exhibitions:
2011 — Labor Berlin 5: Filipa César — Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
2009 — Filipa César — The Four Chambered Heart — Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon
2004 — Filipa César — “Berlin Zoo” — Kunsthalle Wien Project Space Karlsplatz, Vienna
Selected group exhibitions:
2010 — 29th Bienal de São Paulo — Bienal de São Paulo, São Paulo
2008 — International Triennale of Contemporary Art — Re-Reading the Future — International Triennale of
Contemporary Art (ITCA), Prague
2002 — Expect the World — moi non plus — Sparwasser H Q — Forum for Contemporary Art, Berlin
Courtesy of Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisboa
Just before the Portuguese Revolution of 1974 an architect Alvaro Siza set out a creation of The Social Housing Project Bouca, which has been incorporated later in large-scale program initiated by state organization SAAL (Mobile Local Support Service), constituted in post-revolutionary period. The project was finished only in 2006. According to author’s original approach to design that he named a simplification principle, the massive dwelling complex project became an example of elegant and laconic architecture without any decoration and eclectic features associated with poor quarters. Bouca Project was an example of public architecture in the way it had been deemed at the dawn of modern times. Due to complicated political situation and the fact that aesthetic and functional approaches turned out to be too innovative, SAAL’s initiative received ambiguous reaction of the public. Critics pointed out, sometimes in a very harsh form, the lack of expressiveness and extreme plainness of the project. The idea of renovated district became one of the revolutionary symbols and a bright example of people’s self-organization skills that helped to initiate the construction works despite many opposing factors such as rejection and even threats of right forces giving aggressive response. But in the end the project was suspended in 1976 and brought back to life only in 1999.
Porto, 1975 was filmed by Filipa César as her interpretation of historical events, including Siza’s project significance for a display, presenting Portugal at the Architecture Biennale in Venice. César’s method can be defined as interdisciplinary academic research that requires detailed material analysis and deep intervention into the context. But the artist also wants to create a certain optical mode, that will fill her works with complex, partly mythological atmosphere. Its nature is very anthropological and reconstructs the view of a person who finds himself in an isolated world and reveals past events via hidden contextually bound narration.
Local events in this case have a huge hermeneutic value compared to the whole historic picture. The artist introduces not the object itself to the centre of conceptual field, not even the fact of revolution, that the whole world had its eyes on, but a little-known fact, a demonstration in support of dwelling complex construction. Indirect reconstruction method gives the movie a special narrative flare. This is a story of the complex and events connected with it, taking place in the lost memory dimension. The unceasing narration, forming a metaphorical ring by its last frame, quarters occupation, referring to the very first one, helps the artist to create a synthetic film story in a special mode of never-ending repetition, like an accidental flash of forgotten moments in one’s memory.
Architecture being a peripheral research object (the artist is mostly interested in history of events) preserves the status of a material archive not only delivering a message from the past, but being direct and maybe the most true piece of that reality. By ingenious text integration into the movie (the audience will hear only a phone message of a character sharing his memories) César makes a forced narration shift from the present to the past, placing final emphasis and triggering a whole set of associations, memories and spontaneous, mostly emotional evaluations.