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Video, variable dimensions

Capturing moments in flight
and converting what is captured into a commentary
has become the way I experience and process
what I come across

I am especially interested in the moment
in which the essence of a situation is revealed,
I rely on attention
and a state of alertness,
and on serendipity,
to be able to capture it

Julia Barco´s videos

FOCO, Centro de Cultura Digital, CDMX, 2015
Text by Mara Fortes

Considering the current state of the moving image (in light of the proliferation of technologies and digital platforms, which, on the one hand broaden the creative possibilities of audiovisuals, and, on the other, reduce them to simple informative vehicles) Max Le Cain advocates a cinema which recovers the heterogeneous and expansive impetus of film. He concludes: “movies should not be about ideas, but rather be ideas.” Perhaps the constant bombardment of miniature and atomized content in the digital world, has obfuscated the gesture of a small, potent cinema which dislocates the grand cinematography of the industry and the mass media apparatus, when it speaks, looks, thinks, or questions from another stance. Julia Barco´s work stems precisely from this generous and incisive gesture, which seeks to capture the immediacy of experience, placing it in relation to a subjective reality and a critical consciousness, always attentive to historical and social processes. It is a also a cinema which does not put aside the perceptive possibilities of the moving image, recovering its tactile, sensual, musical, and visceral aspects, in order to adjust our senses and activate intuition.

This selection gathers some of the most representative “mini” documentaries of her career: encounters, journeys, impressions, annotations, thoughts framing the realities eluded by Historical parameters –History with a capital H, because it is the official history, the most sterile and monolithic version of the architecture of a country, deprived of the experiences and memories of those who are not part of the official history, and, nevertheless, are weighed down by it. Small postcards which travel between external times and spaces, transmitting the intensity of a moment, at times, the look of an uncomfortable tourist, at others, a resounding denunciation of the official discourse´s omissions. In Barco´s cinema, diverse latitudes (Germany, Colombia, Peru, Vietnam, Mexico…) converge in the invention of her own geography, anchored in an intimate and personal experience of the place, and in a constant exploration of identity. The camera often points “out of frame” to discover quotidian violences, the wisdom of the unperceived, the memory of the landscape, the echoes and frictions between versions of reality, suggesting that these histories, these rhythms, these voices, also run through the veins of our present. And that looking is never a passive act: it always leaves a mark.

“Barco, feels the world in its multiple dimensions in her art, in which “what is personal, is political” and the aesthetic sense of reality makes the quotidian extraordinary".

Margarita Dalton, Mexican writer

“…her videos are a cumulus of impressions gathered from journeys on streets and boats, festivities and temples which reverberate in ones heart and mind, in order to understand (oneself in) the world".

In Julia Barco´s work, these voyages become increasingly abstract internal journeys, in which she seeks to detonate small grenades inside each spectator, in the way that in his book, “Las Semillas del Tiempo”; Juan Carlos Botero structures mini-narratives which Hemingway discovered in 1923 and Botero named “epífanos”. Thus, in a brief, fragmented manner, like a blink, the video artist affects our perceptions of a dividing wall between cities, the thighs of Zapotec women swinging continuously in the heart of the Isthmus or sensual glances into the domestic sphere.

Angelica Abelleyra, Mexican writer.
Mujeres Insumisas, La Jornada Semanal, Sunday July 7th, 2009, edition 744