Apr, 2015: Anita Serrano

  1. Work
  2. Presentation
  3. Interview
  4. Opinion
  • Anita Serrano Barcelona: a Portrait of the City

    2014 | 5’ 40’’ | Video | HD

    Realization, sound and editing: Anita Serrano
    Footage: filmed YouTube images

    A portrait of the city of Barcelona.

  • Anita Serrano Weak or No Signal

    2013 | 5’ 28’’ | Video | HD

    Realization, sound and editing: Anita Serrano
    Footage: filmed television images

    Watching TV for a week through the lens of a video camera.

    Wondering which source projects most images in my everyday life, I record, for a week, straight from a TV screen using a digital camera: news, adverts, reality shows, documentaries, talk shows, series… The video camera screen acts as a filter that allows me to modify my point of view as a viewer. I reorganize the materials, documenting the week with recorded and selected TV contents while I split and analyse the images and the medium.

     

  • Anita Serrano A Life in Technicolor

    2013 | 9’ | Video | DV-PAL

    Realization, sound and editing: Anita Serrano
    Footage: filmed television images from the film The Quiet Man

    Re-editing a film after a TV estrangement.

    In a zapping session, inserted like a collage between a news item and an advert, I find a scene from a famous film by John Ford, recontextualized, stripped of its original narrative justification. I set to re-editing the film in keeping with the shock produced by the scene viewed on television while zapping.

  • Anita Serrano An attempt to describe myself in a minute

    2013 | 1’ 53’’ | Video | HD

    Realization, sound and editing: Anita Serrano

    A possible self-portrait.

  • Anita Serrano Había una vez un pueblo

    2012 | 43’ 12’’ | Video | HD

    Realization, sound and editing: Anita Serrano
    Production: Cal Gras, artist’s residency programme (Avinyó, Barcelona)

    Once upon a time there was a village is a journey through the urban transformation of a small village in Catalonia with a group of elderly local women. Planned as an archive, the film is a visual and sound collage that explores the spaces in which memory takes form through the process of remembering.

    The film is the result of an artist’s residency at Cal Gras (Avinyó, Barcelona). For a month I shared recipes with the group of elderly women in order to arouse their memories:

    “[…] I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate, than a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place. […] And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which […] my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of real or of lime-flower tea. […] And once I had recognized the taste of the crumb of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-flowers which my aunt used to give me […] the good folk of the village and their little dwellings and the parish church and the whole of Combray and of its surroundings, taking their proper shapes and growing solid, sprang into being, town and gardens alike, all from my cup of tea.”

    In Search of Lost Time. Swann’s Way, Marcel Proust, 1913

 

Anita Serrano. I live and work in Barcelona.

I make experimental pieces using various types of materials, both my own and found: sound, films, magazines, postcards, maps, diaries, photographs, objects, games, conversations, memories, etc.

I operate in the audiovisual medium (videographic, cinematographic, animation, moving image) as a textual space in which I can try out different narratives using these miscellaneous materials.

I’m interested in the stories that underlie or emerge from them, their formal characteristics, the languages that construct them, where they come from, the contexts I find them in, the imaginaries they project, their reception, the possibility of combining them and resignifying them by means of editing, undermining their original meaning and proposing other possible readings.

I studied Spanish Philology at the University of Barcelona, Photography at the Institut d’Estudis Fotogràfics de Catalunya and Animation at Fak d’Art Institute.

 

http://anitaserrano.net

 

ANITA SERRANO

 

Anita Serrano presents a sample of her critical, reflective body of work. Although she studied animation, she feels more at home with sound than vision, due to the capacity that sound has to awaken our imagination. She is keen on recording and collecting soundscapes, audio files that form the basis of some of her video works, something that is not common in the video world. This type of artists can surprise us with the parallel importance they give to sound, never completely subordinate to the image, never purely at its service. This is the case, among other works, of her Retrato de Barcelona [Portrait of Barcelona], diametrically opposed to official portraits of the city (like the shameless video clip directed by José Corbacho, Living Barcelona). It is the product of a sound composition, reminiscent in form of certain of the tactics employed by Los Ingrávidos, the collective recently featured on the screens of Pantalla CCCB, works with a different tempo to commercial cinema, not to mention television.

The work of Anita Serrano is a good example of the variety of unordered influences to which younger generations are subjected (including the hotchpotch of the omnipresent TV that accompanies us from birth). But as a faithful viewer of the films shown at Xcèntric, she leans towards experimental, slightly off-centre cinematography. Found film has its place in this sample of her work, featuring tough guy John Wayne (perhaps the Hollywood actor I most loathe), creative work also influenced by literature (Serrano fondly quotes Georges Perec). Listening to recorded reality is “almost like reading a book”, she says.

Biographical chance is perhaps one of the driving forces of her work, and some pieces demonstrate an interest in the domestic, with just a touch of narcissism that she shares with other audiovisual makers. In the interview, she mentions as inspiration for her sound pieces the work of Pierre Schaeffer and Hildegard Westerkamp, artists and theorists also interested in the problems of sound pollution. (I dreamt of a small guillotine fitted in a car, like a magician’s contraption, that cut off the arms of a driver who was too fond of honking his horn—a horn that happened to awaken me from that dream.)

Hildegard Westerkamp writes: “So far you have isolated sounds from each other and gotten to know them as individual entities. But each one of them is part of a bigger environmental composition. Therefore reassemble them all and listen to them as if you are listening to a piece of music played by many different instruments. Be critical and judge if you like what you hear.”

With her videos, Serrano looks at the effect on our imaginary of the continuous exposure to screens and images that are created and recreated, to fragmented noises and musics, and the influence they have on our world. Perhaps the saturation of images we endure is drying up our imagination. We often hear it said that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, but, as I have said on several occasions: no picture says this simple thing in such a straightforward way. Nor should we forget that the evocative power of music and sounds, or of smells, is incomparably greater than that of sight, the sense most closely linked with the so-called higher faculties. Because humankind does not live on these faculties alone.

 

Félix Pérez-Hita (Video artist and cultural critic)

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