From 1972 to 1981, Robert Gardner conducted a Boston television series that became a reference and a cult show for the experimental cinema community: Screening Room. The program, which welcomed some of the most relevant avant-garde filmmakers of that time, offered not only in-depth interviews with the guests, but also the opportunity to discover their work. Today, in 2020, Screening Room remains a source of inspiration. Gardner’s legacy, in combination with the spirit of the times and the possibilities brought to us by technological advancement and the internet encouraged us to develop a show that will be broadcast on streaming. Camera Obscura, which also follows the steps of Janine Bazan and André S. Labarthe’s Cinéastes de notre temps, is a creative endeavor – an interpretation of Gardner’s show with a bold aesthetic and in an innovative format in tune with our times. The show, which will bring to the audience an-in detail presentation of the creative processes of a selection of filmmakers, is also an invitation to discover their work, as it will feature chosen excerpts of their creations. The name Camera Obscura is a reference to the optical device that inspired painters and anticipated cinema centuries before its creation – a box-like, unlit construction where a ray of light coming from the outside projects, through a small hole in one of its walls, a moving image that is seen on the surface opposite to the opening. The (S8) aims to be that ray of light, travelling from wave to wave on its way to project its images on the wall of any room in the world.
Diaspora. Longed for landscapes. A constant revision of one’s identity. Collage. Palpable materials. A record of processes: the piece is the process. Written word; wordplay. These are some of the ever-present elements in the film work by Valentina Alvarado Matos, a Venezuelan creator based in Barcelona who has developed –in just a few years– an incredibly personal and distinctive imagery with pieces in which cinema is intermingled with fine art techniques. Alvarado uses super 8 and 16mm as a continuation of her paintings, collage pieces and pottery works, creating seemingly simple miniatures filled with potent, meaningful images. This episode of Camera Obscura will be devoted to Alvarado’s work, with special attention to her BAICC residency –a collaborative initiative made possible thanks to the combined efforts of (S8), Toronto’s LIFT, and AC/E.