EL CONTRATO Lecture Programme. Second talk: Catarina Simão*


“Staging a Decolonisation Process: Cinema Denying its own Present”

“The future of cinema needs to emerge from the denial of its own present.” These were the words of Mozambique’s Information Minister at the first African Cooperation Cinema Conference in 1977, and it was precisely the idea of “cinema denying its own present” that made Mozambique so appealing to film directors like Jean-Luc Godard, Jean Rouch and Ruy Guerra in the late 1970s.

Since 2009, Catarina Simão has worked on recovering the remaining footage collection of the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo), kept in the Maputo State Archives. Through a series of presentations, screenings and conversations held at a variety of venues, she discusses these visual narratives from a viewpoint going above and beyond the initial backdrop against which they were made, detecting their potential for creating new versions of the history of pictures.

This talk aims to structure a dialogue between the images of the Mozambique footage archive and texts written in conjunction with curator Leire Vergara. Using different examples, Simão attempts to recover the ambivalent and/or contradictory relationship between the ideology-based official programme and the work of a group of intellectuals who intrude on the cinema industry of an African country that had recently emerged from a war of independence.

Catarina Simão is an independent Portuguese artist, architect and researcher. Her areas of research and collaboration include installation, video, cinema curating, radio programmes and participative workshops. In 2009 she began the project Fora de Campo/Off-screen Project – Mozambique Film Archive in Maputo, which combines research work with artists’ presentations, conferences and lectures. This project has been shown at the Manifesta 8 Biennial in Murcia, the Andalusian Centre of Contemporary Art in Seville, the Serralves Museum in Oporto and Africa.cont in Lisbon. In 2012 she collaborated with the Living Archive programme at the Arsenal Cinema in Berlin. Fora de Campo/Off-screen Project – Mozambique Film Archive has recently been presented at the Sweet Sixties conferences and the Home Works 6 Biennial, both at the Ashkal Alwan Centre in Beirut. Catarina Simão has also written texts and publications on subjects such as film archives, political imagery, education and emancipation and the artistic practices that make this process central. At present she is collaborating with the Portuguese publishers GHOST on a project for reading and indexing theoretical texts written by artists in contexts of conflict.

Venue: CAC at AlhóndigaBilbao
Free admission

*This programme of talks is part of EL CONTRATO [The Contract], a collaboration project with AlhóndigaBilbao.
( http://www.alhondigabilbao.com )