"Sensing destruction, workers in theatre, artists, writers, choreographers and canaries like them are fleeing in panic. Looking for shelter, they’re running to cinema. The film studio is the last stronghold of art. Sooner or later long-haired quacks of all sorts will come running. Artistic cinema will receive a tremendous reinforcement, but it won’t escape… We will explode art’s tower of Babel."
Dziga Vertov, On Kino-Pravda, 1924.
Moving images have the unquestionable capacity to sculpt reality by manipulating space and time using a language of their own. However, as a highly democratised artistic expression at the service of the dominant mode of production, narrative cinema has often failed to fulfil the Vertovian desire – to explore the cinematic eye as a new human-machine confluence with countless plastic possibilities that, unlike the human eye, are not veiled by language. This quest for a Kino-Pravda has been somewhat passed on to video and experimental media. Still, cinema’s power to make aesthetically possible the politically impossible in a grander-than-life manner resides beyond the thematic but in the medium itself.
‘MEXI-KINO: Explode Art's Tower of Babel’ is a three-day film screening programme that acts as an invitation for meta-cinematic reflection of a political nature through fiction and non-fiction, short and long features, and narrative and non-narrative contemporary Mexican production of moving images. Furthermore, it is a call to revisit the Vertovian Kino-Glaz, or Cine-Eye, and reclaim film’s subversive potential, opposing models of passive spectatorship where our minds are objects of ideological manipulation. It is also a pledge to think of cinema as a site of political possibility where, by being aware of the medium and its reach, we can open to feeling and imagining different political realities; a place where by the mere act of feeling we resist the discourses that encourage us to look away from injustices and inequality.
The films and works presented in the exhibition convey this eloquently, though in their own language – demonstrating how politics and aesthetics always inspire, inform and complement each other. But more importantly, they prove that cinema, as the ‘last stronghold of art’, must surrender its power to the never-ending genesis of moving image spectatorship.
Curated by Alejandra Arrieta
Featuring the work of Mexican artists and filmmakers including Cremance, Antonio Arango, Israel Martínez, Damián Cano, Mauricio Calderón, Claudia Covarrubias, Pablo Delgado, Sabino Alva Pulido, Laura Plancarte, Jorge Lorenzo, Gregorio Rocha, Andrés García Franco, Carolina Platt, Abraham Escobedo and more.