Marco Pando: reconstructing the cinematic fabric as performative experience



This programme brings together seven films by Marco Pando made between 2003 and 2016. Educated in Lima and Amsterdam, Pando raises the concerns immigrants, as well as showing strong ties with cinema culture, as his family were the owners of the first cinema in his home town of Cajamarca. This also led him to create interventions in the moving image.
The technique used in the first films consists of scratching celluloid fragments (the leader strip for inserting the film to be projected in the cinema) that are first painted and placed horizontally so that each one creates a frame in the animation. Being highly artisanal work, there are elements that also arise spontaneously as he works on the material, and these give a near performative character to the work. Pando’s work was transferred to celluloid by The Eye Film Institute (Netherlands), thus recovering the “materiality” lost in the process of digitalizing and editing his animations. The final result is a hybrid film between digital and cinematic; this produces a construct impossible to define in a single way, as it also includes “pre-cinematic” elements, such as drawing by hand, and it maintains the traces of the strips of celluloid used as recycling material, thus creating a kind of mise en abyme of the film material.
In Pando’s work there is a certain nostalgia for the loss of the ritual of going to the cinema, especially in the provinces where cinemas have been sold or converted. In End of Cinema, the author reconstructs images of the façades of old cinemas that ran on coal to power the projectors. In turn, The King of the Hills was an installation in which the film of the same name was projected by Pando himself inside a tent that imitated the shape of an old cinema.
Although the nostalgia is perceivable in this artist’s work, there is no desire to keep the filmic material separate from any process that impinges on its “purity”. On the contrary, the production of his first films reflects the interchangeable character of the supports. One could perhaps draw a parallel between the migration of the supports and the geographic migration evoked in films like Tourist Hitchcock, King of the Mountains, Butterfly of the Border or The Boat.
The performance in which Pando begins his role as projectionist is prolonged in films like The Boat and the recent 8 Hours Work and—less explicitly—in the animated film White Lung City, where the author’s alter ego tours the city of Lima, drawing the outline of a lung. In The Boat and 8 Hours Work, Pando moves the fantastic, confusing, irrational and highly dreamlike aspect of his animations to the production values in the field of live images.

6’ 30’’ | 35mm | Color | Stereo

2007 - 2008

Screening format: High-definition digital video

Netherlands

End of Cinema

During the 1980s economic crisis in Peru, many cinemas closed down for want of an audience. This occurred at the same time as the appearance of VHS and other home video formats. This animated film presents, by way of visual memory, twelve old cinema façades that reflect their particular architecture. The stop motion animation was produced by using recycled cinema coal, which was used in the past as an energy source for projecting 35 mm films.

5’ 34’’ | 35 mm | Color | Stereo

2006

Screening format: High-definition digital video

Netherlands

King of the Mountains

The longing of many provincials to go to the city is reflected in the music of Lorenzo Palacios Quispe (Peruvian cumbia), known as Chacalón or “the Chicha Pharoah”. The singer became an idol, and his lyrics became part of the popular memory of provincial migrants living in Lima. The video is based on the cartoon of Lorenzo Palacios Quispe, which contained simple, fun drawings of this popular icon. By scratching on pieces of the celluloid with a knife and colouring with felt-tip pins, the images of this cartoon were transferred onto fragments of 35mm celluloid to turn them into an animated story. This was originally presented as an installation, using an old Russian-made projector and accompanied by Chacalón’s songs.

9’ | 16mm | Color | Silent

2008

Screening format: High-definition digital video

Germany

8 Hours Work

During a month’s residence in an abandoned building (Plattenbau) in Hoyerswerda in eastern Germany, the author created a performance titled 8 Hours Work, as a show of solidarity with coal miners. The performance consisted of remaining standing for eight hours, holding a red carnation in his right hand. This flower (rote Nelke in German) is the symbol of the German Socialist Party, and in the context of the performance represents the balance of forces and conflict of powers between east and west.

5’ 20’’ | 35 mm | Color | Stereo

2003

Screening format: Super 35mm

Netherlands

Tourist Hitchcock

In this animation, Alfred Hitchcock wanders the streets of Cajamarca and lima. He is seen posing or taking photographs like in tourist postcards. He visits spaces that have had political connotations because of protests or terrorist attacks. In Cajamarca, Hitchcock is seen chasing the author, who then hides in the old family cinema. Hitchcock is shown in this work with a knife, an analogy with the tool that Pando uses to work on the celluloid. In the final scenes, Hitchcook is chased by young petty thieves who take the form of birds, taking another symbolic element from Hitchcock’s films.

2’ 40’’ | 35 mm | Color | Stereo

2005

Screening format: Super 35mm

Netherlands

Butterfly of the Border

The vignettes that make up this animation reflect the issues of the voluntary exodus that many people experience in crossing the border from Mexico to the USA. The personal experience of a relative of the author’s is used as a starting point to represent, by way of metamorphosis, the personal and collective implications of this move.

6’ 32’’ | 35 mm | Color | Stereo

2006

Screening format: Super 35mm

Netherlands

The Bug Man

The cockroach is an insect that survived the Jurassic era and is resistant to exposure to nuclear radiation. The beetle, which fascinated the ancient Egyptians, is related to the idea of transformation and rebirth. The symbolic transformation of the bug man that moves from the city to the countryside can be seen as a process of survival and rebirth of one insect into another (from a cockroach to a beetle), but also as the sociocultural transformation of a citizen into a political candidate. The idea of transformation, associated with Kafka’s work, refers to a desire of the author to transform himself.

3’ 40’’ | 35 mm | Color | Stereo

2009

Screening format: Super 35mm

Netherlands

White Lung City

White Lung City tells the story of the author’s alter ego, “the man with black lungs”, who tries to avoid the environmental contamination produced by the smoke from the factories and the rubbish on the streets in Lima city centre. The mapped perspective of the city shows the outline of a lung that the character leaves on it.

9’ | 16 mm | Color | Silent

2009 - 2010

Screening format: Super 16mm

Netherlands

The Boat

Historically, the boat was an element that symbolized the adventure of discovery of an unknown paradise, hard to access. In contrast that this idyllic vision, this performative work symbolizes in an abstract way the journey of thousands of immigrants to the lands where the first colonization plans were laid. For this project, the author collaborated with immigrants living in the Netherlands, who symbolically moved as a group, forming the outline of a boat, from the shores of the North Sea to the city of Amsterdam, to then make their way back to the starting point.

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