TIME UNDER SIEGE. CONTACTOS (PAULINO VIOTA, 1970)
One of Jorge Oteiza’s most curious photographic illustrations of his book Quosque tandem…! (1963) juxtaposes two views of the San Sebastian fishing port. In one of them, the boats are sitting in a line on the wharf, one after another in the more or less random order in which they were taken out of the water. In the other they are floating at regular intervals, harmoniously moored in the inner harbour of the port. Oteiza uses these two images to illustrate a coupling of what he considers to be antithetic spatial and temporal processes that ground the aesthetic experience: what he calls “informalism” –those who left their boats on the wharf were concerned with time and left them in disarray because of this– and “formalism” –those who moored their boats geometrically in the harbour were more concerned with place, site.
Using this image of everyday life extrapolated into the aesthetic realm, we will be presenting what might be the most Oteizan film in the history of Spanish cinema: Contactos, by Paulino Viota, made fifty years ago. Makers of the film have explained that Oteiza’s ideas were decisive in Viota’s work; but what we will be analysing here is not only the role that general ideas of formalism and informalism played in it, but also, particularly, the fields these two approaches work with: place and time; which in this case would be Madrid in “May 1970”, as stated in a subtitle of the film.
Centro Cultural Doctor Madrazo
Casimiro Sainz s/n
Manuel Asín. Film coordinator at the Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid. As a curator, he has programmed film series for the Filmoteca Española, MNCARS, Xcèntric-CCCB, Zinebi, MUN, Instituto Moreira Salles, etc. Asín has published articles in Caimán Cuadernos de Cine (where he is a member of the editorial team) and El viejo topo, Blogs & Docs, Cahiers du cinéma España,Trafic, etc. He has written prologues and edited two books on the films of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet: Escritos (2011) and Hacer la revolución es también volver a colocar en su sitio cosas muy antiguas pero olvidadas (2016). He was the director of Intermedio, a distributor of books and DVDs Intermedio (2011-2015). Asín has made a middle-length film, Siete vigías y una torre (2005) and a number of short films produced by the Oteiza Museum.