Stories

 

“Marco loves Soraia”. These words were carved on the bark of a plane tree with a pocket knife. I don’t know who Marco is, but his statement will last longer than the time he will come to share will Soraia. It is but the dread we feel when facing our own finitude that leads us to record our passage through life. So that the memory of our histories doesn’t pass away with us. Words and images. They are all we have left to prove that we have existed at some point. In the Bible – written, Chris Marker states, in order to save mankind from oblivion – the world starts with words. The Japanese warn us to use them with caution: words, once spoken, are just like arrows shot, they don’t turn back.

Our first memories are shady, blurred. But it is with those same remote memories that we create the preface to our individual history. It’s curious, it is said that the older we get (or the closer we get to the epilogue), the better we can remember where it all started, the more clear our past becomes. Meanwhile, we just recall, without telling apart, with indeed some justice, what we have seen from what we have imagined, what we have experienced from what we were told.

The series Stories is set in this balance between reality and fiction. Words and images. Words, despite belonging to concrete fragments of people’s childhoods, tell stories that time has made uncertain. Here, images are not shown in the scientific, optical and mechanical, accuracy that the camera (another “memory box”) was designed to capture. Words and images. We are invited to come close to read the former but to step back in order to observe the latter. We continue this ongoing cycle of what is remembered and what is forgotten. I hope Marco still loves Soraia.

 


Valter Ventura
for the exhibition/catalogue "Stories"
Carla Cabanas e Margarida Gouveia
Lisbon, 2008