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Rosa barba
From Source to Poem
Experimental film | 35mm | color | 12'0'' | Italy / Germany | 2016
"From Source to Poem" is an invitation to think about the spaces in which history and cultural production is preserved in order to be passed on to future generations. On the one hand, it pursues Barba’s research initiated with "The Hidden Conference" (2010-2015) “a three-part film work exploring museum storages and whose title refers to imaginary conversations taking place between artworks inside these invisible spaces” on the other hand, it is a reflection about the obsession of preserving any output of western culture in any possible medium. "From Source to Poem" shifts the focus from artworks into archival storage: Shot at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center of the Library of Congress in Culpeper, Virginia, and at an enormous solar power plant in the Mojave Desert in California, it juxtaposes images from the largest media archive worldwide with a study of rhythm, and images of cultural with those of industrial production. The film exposes the preservation of cultural outputs, but also their digitisation for the future. A vast number of the archive’s holdings are sound material; a sonic memory which is recovered and mixed in the soundtrack as a mean to set in motion otherwise unlikely dialogues. Filmed and screened on 35mm film, the work itself is preserved in one of the most durable archival forms.
Rosa Barba’s work is a subtle interrogation into and co-option of industrial cinema-as-subject, via various kinds of what might be understood as “stagings”—of “the local,” the non-actor, gesture, genre, information, expertise and authority, the mundane—and removals from a social realism within which they were observed, and which qualifies them as components of the work, to be framed, redesigned, represented. The effect of which her work contests and recasts truth and fiction, myth and reality, metaphor and material to a disorientating degree, which ultimately extends into a conceptual practice that also recasts the viewer’s own staging as an act of radical and exhilarating reversal – from being the receiver of an image (a subject of control) to being in and amongst its engine room/s, looking out. (Ian White)