Eugeni Bonet

Multiple passport photographs overlap one after another on a screen divided in two. The black and white of the super-8 picks up black and white faces from a shop window, the exhibition of multiple portraits from a photo shop. The look of an era from its inhabitants, required by the bureaucracy to fix their personal image.

The identity card photo, whether it is an identity card, passport photo, swimming pool photo, library photo, etc., institutionally defines each citizen. It is a document whose possession or lack of possession implies opposing categorisations of one's actions and responsibilities, or uncertain repercussions for misuse and abuse of one's rights. A portrait (looking straight ahead, at the camera) that never pleases those to whom it belongs, as it conveys their discomfort at being classified or bureaucratically captured with the face of the instant and the circumstances in which the photo was taken.

Photomatons unfolds different layers composed of grids of passport photographs, a palimpsest of rigid faces that amalgamate punctually, but always in movement, enhancing their anonymity, their alienation through chaos. The matrix layer was made for the collective film En la ciudad... (In the City...) (1976-77). (1976-77) and this is multiplied according to the number of projectors, the speed, the projection surface and the sound, "always seeking an abrasive and cacophonous plus of aggressiveness and sensory discomfort". Accelerated conversations, sound stress that implements that of the images, traversed as if it were an anxious search for someone known or missing. A frenetic exploration, like that of a line on a list or an aggressor in a line-up, which implicitly obliges the spectator to pay attention to the different faces that make up the massed thickness of gazes.

The screen divided in two indicates the possibility of projection on different surfaces, and the open capacity of multiple screens in a panopticon of portraits crowding the space, as if it were a multitudinous memorial. A document of an era, of what faces and photographic ornaments were like, in 1976 and in Barcelona. A city reflected and also included among the overlaps where the memory is made present by the graffiti of 20-N, of a year without a dictator, without Franco.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Photomatons
  • Direction: Eugeni Bonet
  • Production: Eugeni Bonet. 1976.
  • Duration: 00:05:10
  • Original format: Super 8 mm
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: NTSC - PAL
  • License: Copyright