Quirófano de la Memoria

Clemente Calvo

We arrive at the Memory Operating Theatre after bypassing various test tubes, pipettes and other scientific equipment. In there, the fragmented images and words that are part of memory will mend themselves back together into unpredictable narratives. In this reverie Clemente Calvo exploits the resources of flat and barefaced images and crashes them together into visual micropoems, paying tribute to the legendary audiovisual experimental handcrafters.

In this video Calvo confronts different writing systems, whereby paradox and puzzlement suggest contradictory meanings. He plays with the relative clarity of the different elements in order to create impressions, collages and texts that reconstruct the memories of poetically juxtaposed moments. The provisional nature of memory is hereby questioned, as these memories seem to be the result of the dreams that the anesthesised mind processes together with her most recent memories.

The soundtrack recreates a suffocating atmosphere (mixing the sound of air with that of drums), and visually, the overimposed strobe effect duplicates the trace of the previous frame. These dissolving frames, traces or echoes of the image, are at the same time reproductions of reproduction itself. Calvo creates subtle labyrinths that are linked together in the surrealist worlds of micropoems such as: “burnt forest reappears”, “quiet revolution against infections” and “enjoy to your bones”. This video is a form of mental surgery that results in a plurality of mental stimuli within which each fraction constructs the unit.

Calvo’s work in video is part of his personal exploration of the hows and whys of the formal and poetic nature of film, which he develops through artisanal means, like a clockmaker. Quirófano de la memoria adds to his archeological research into the history of formal experimentation in film. As opposed to previous videos of his like Pintando el Celuloide (in which he literally paints on the celluloid film to later project it) or Videolightwork one (which captures light traces at night), this piece is based on the principles of illustration, photography and printed text. It is about the characteristics of the analogue image and attempts to prevent us from forgetting its achievements in the times of digital recycling.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Quirófano de la Memoria
  • Direction: Clemente Calvo
  • Production: Clemente Calvo. 2007.
  • Duration: 00:09:35
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Original format: DV-Cam
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: NTSC - PAL
  • License: Creative Commons