The Stamp Gallery’s current exhibition “Project 35: Volume 2” features several videos selected by curators from around the world.  One of these videos, entitled “Pacífico”, is a fascinating piece that was inspired by Brazilian artist Jonathas de Andrade’s experiences and travels through Latin America (video selected by curator Pablo León de la Barra).  The video begins with a captivating and vivid stop-motion sequence that portrays the beautiful Latin American landscape.  The artist uses a variety of materials and textures along with bold colors to construct an almost dreamlike, whimsical sequence.

An image from Pacífico by Jonathas de Andrade.

An image from Pacífico by Jonathas de Andrade.

After several minutes, the video cuts to images and narration from the book “Chile Ayer/Hoy.”  The narrator describes scenes happening in Chile, alternating between yesterday and today to show contrast.  There are images of violence and turmoil, but also images of peace and joy.

Again, the video returns to stop-motion, showing an imagined earthquake that causes Chile to split away from South America and become its own island.  There are also sequences of narration over images of maps and landscapes that describe real events such as the 2010 Chilean earthquake.

An image from Pacífico by Jonathas de Andrade

An image from Pacífico by Jonathas de Andrade

The video is captivating, to say the least, but you’re probably wondering at this point (as I was) – What does it all mean?  In a 2014 interview, the artist describes his inspiration for the piece.  While traveling through Chile and Bolivia, De Andrade found many cultural differences and viewpoints, particularly regarding the 19th century War of the Pacific.  This was a bitter war between Chile, Peru, and Bolivia over territory and resources that ended in 1904.  De Andrade wanted to use the video to depict a fictional solution to the fighting and territorial disputes, which was an earthquake that would force the physical separation of Chile.

However, during the making of the video in 2010, an actual massive earthquake rocked Chile.  De Andrade decided to compile images and audio from the earthquake and its aftermath to integrate into the video.  The result is a surreal, almost haunting combination of fiction and reality that creates a powerful viewer experience.  The interlacing of vivid cartoon-like animation with powerful real-world images and narration can be jarring, but it also leaves you with a lingering reminder of the profundity of imagination and the coldness of reality.

Written by: Nick Freas



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