The program Comment ça va? borrows its title from the eponymous film by Jean-Luc Godard (1978), and has been developing throughout the past editions of the LOOP Festival. It presents documentary films that manifest a remarkable capacity to traverse history, recover truth and capture reality, not as their ultimate goals, but rather, as tools and potentialities of forms, that undertake a journey and forge a path through complex political geographies. The selected works incarnate a number of proposals that revisit some of the topoi of contemporary art, as well as narrative possibilities that fulfilling the calling of “stories that demand to be told” (to borrow from Paul Ricœur in Temps et Récits I).
In Comment ça va? Jean-Luc Godard filmed an exchange between the editor of a communist and trade unionist newspaper and his colleague, a left-wing militant, as they put together an article designed to reveal the processes involved in producing their daily paper. The pair disagree on how information ought to be handled, and in particular on how two specific images should be used and captioned. The first image depicts civilians and soldiers in conflict during Portugal’s “Carnation Revolution”, and the second image a clash between strikers and French anti-riot forces during a protest. While the film succeeds in exposing the complex ideological tensions and dissent that divided France’s Left, through editing and the film’s movement, it also dissects the rhetorical dimension of news making.
Resonating with a variety of hypotheses on reality, history and intimacy, contemporary video practice is not a transcendental field in and of itself, rather, it is an undefined territory in which artists venture (as they do with photography, drawing, digital media, or object-making). In engaging with these themes, several video works displace them in order to explore their utopian scope, such as for instance, with the appropriation of diverse cultural sources culled from mass media and the perspective of the network-based internet as context; human time and individual self-fictionalizing; uniqueness and intimacy reformulated in the scale of common time and between public and private space; unique representations of the self that establish a dialogue with the edition of the image, as montaging, fragmenting and referencing the filmic space become its prime motivation. Since the last century, the emergence of the document in the production of knowledge has modified the status of memory. Indeed, images provide memory with a support and a portal for reflection, leading the gaze towards both the object of memory and the memory of the object, acknowledging the ambiguity in their articulation. Moreover, the document has given rise to types of assemblages and montages that act as the basis for the elaboration of stories and forms of historicization. The creation of archives raises at once, questions on History and on personal, individual stories. Such is the nature of the document: a use value for the re-appropriation of subjectivities, of forms of historicity, through the multiplication of narrative hypotheses.
João Pedro Rodrigues & João Rui Guerra da Mata. Onde fica esta rua? ou Sem antes nem depois (2022, 88 min)
Joris Lachaise, Transfariana (2023, 150 min)
This programme is supported by a grant from Acción Cultural Española (AC/E).