La Vida de las Piedras

Clemente Calvo

This is a very interesting piece, in which Calvo manages to blend a poem that he himself wrote with images of his own rock collection. He creates in this manner a suggestive visual poem that celebrates rocks and fossils for containing the history of life.

In this work Calvo continues his inquiry into the poetic possibilities of the image. He creates a video-poem that instances a reflection about the temporal dimension of live matter. In this manner, and using the rocks as the central theme of the piece, he pushes us deeper into a particular poetics of time. In order to do this, he presents us with a piece much rawer than his previous ones, a piece in which the textures of the tape have been worked on to a lesser degree, but in which he nevertheless manages very successfully to blend in the written text with the images.

Here, fossils are treated as live registers of preterite beings, of forms of life that have been encapsulated into a medium that can be exhibited at any moment. Contemporary temporal narratives, in which the rhythms of reading and life are determined by speed and frenzy, fall hereby into disarray. Calvo forces us in this manner deeper into a different space-time, within which the act of contemplation will determine a different tempo and cadence, in which the past bursts into the present in the shape of a rock. There is something in this video which makes us think of Walter Benjamin and his “Thesis on the philosophy of history”, but in this case, the angel of time has been replaced by the petrified remnants of the life of others, memories buried in the soil that are pushed into the present by a sudden tectonic movement.

This work is an excellent example of the effort that the artist puts into researching the film medium as a poetic space for visual development.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: La Vida de las Piedras
  • Direction: Clemente Calvo
  • Production: Clemente Calvo. 1996.
  • Duration: 00:04:06
  • Original format: Mini DV
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: NTSC - PAL
  • License: Creative Commons