The artist rereads the piece Marca Registrada, by the Brazilian video art pioneer Letícia Parente (1930-1991). Made in 1974, the video features the artist from Bahia as she embroiders the words “Made in Brazil” onto the soles of her feet, which fill up the screen in a large close-up. To Luiz Duva, a maker of videos, documentaries, video installations and performances – aka live images –, the goal here is to create a counterpoint between Parente’s historic performance and the deconstruction of the video’s narrative as a consequence of its manipulation. Working with a low-quality copy of Parente’s video, Duva chose to emphasize the action of time, sampling one of the drop frames (damaged frames with horizontal stripes) and reinserting them hundreds of times throughout the video.
Deconstructing Letícia Parente: “trademark”
By means of live manipulation of premodified images on musical exercises of electronic improvisation, the artist and VJ revisits the work “Marca Registrada”, by Letícia Parente (1930-1991), a pioneer of video art in Brazil. Made in 1974, the video shows the artist from Bahia embroidering the words “Made in Brazil” on the sole of her own feet, which occupy the screen in a large close. For Luiz Duva, a video, documentary, video installation and performance author — the Live Images —, the focus of interest is to create a counterpoint between Letícia’s historical performance and the deconstruction of the narrative in the video which results from its manipulation.
Letícia Parente graduated and had a doctor’s degree in Chemistry before setting out for art. A disciple of Pedro Dominguez, Hilo Krugli and Annabela Geiger, participated in the most important Brazilian video art shows in the 1970’s, in Brazil and abroad. “Marca Registrada” echoes American ar- tists from the same period, such as Vito Acconci, Joan Jonas and Peter Campus, whose work consisted, as it was observed in those days by the expert in art of the 20th century Rosalind Krauss, in positioning the artist’s body between two machines (the camera and the monitor) to produce an instantaneous image, such as that of a Narcissus looking himself in a mirror.
“Firstly the sensation, which freezes the spine, of seeing a foot being sewn. Then the agony of an eye that decodifies the action, but does not understand the reason. (...)That was how I saw ‘Marca Registrada’ years ago. That was how it came to me months ago when I was looking for a little action to incorporate in a new work. The chance made me enter the domain of live manipulation of images. The chance put ‘Marca Registrada’ in my laptop. I just had to give a hand and collect the pieces, connecting things that were circulating around me for a long time. My initial curiosity was the deconstruction of the narrative that occurred in the live edition. No matter how I abstracted from it, it, the narrative, always returned. It imposed, if not on my eyes, but on the audience’s eyes that experimented the immersion. Other questions emerged: how could the ambience of an image contribute to its understanding? How could we have a kind of narrative which would be spatial in relation to the position of screens? I wanted to investigate images and sounds to create a third language, not the summation of those two. For me, that was vital”, says Duva.
The artist worked with a precarious copy of Letícia’s video. He opted to reinforce the action of time, sampling one of the drop-frames (damaged frames which cause a horizontal trace on the screen) and reinserting it hundreds of time in the video. “Thus, I could ‘touch’ these drop-frames as if they were parts of the deconstruction score”, he explains. As the basis of live manipulations in the performance, he used jams by LCD, a known group of electronic improvisation in São Paulo circuit with participations in experimental music festivals in Spain. “ It would be my improvisation on an improvised basis”, he says. Composed of Paulo Beto, Eloi Silvestre and Miguel Barella, LCD makes weekly spontaneous creation jams, without any rehearsal. These are exercises of balance and search of space for the chance which turn into CDs with no edition.
Conception and undertaking: Luiz Duva. Soundtrack: LCD group (Paulo Beto, synthesizers, samplers kaos pad and electronic bass; Eloi Silvestre, invented electronic instruments Mac Performa and Apple II; Miguel Barella, processed guitar and processed Casio microkeyboard). Equipment: projectors, three screens, sound system.
ASSOCIAÇÃO CULTURAL VIDEOBRASIL, "14º Festival Internacional de Arte Eletrônica Videobrasil": de 22 de setembro de 2003 a 19 de outubro de 2003, p. 272, São Paulo, SP, 2003.