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PANGEA, Video HD, 50:28 min. 16:9


Pangea is an extension of my practice as a painter. My interest for printed images still remains, by the narrative built from different contexts, by the fragmentation of the image, by the color and by the will to bring for the same plan, different realities, even paradoxical. This work only differs from my pictorial practice, by its means of presentation - the video.


Although is presupposed that a work in video needs a video camera, in the case of Pangea, almost all the totality of the image capture is done through a photo camera. Up to here, the whole process is the same as the one I use for the completion of a painting: the dialectic between painting and photography images happens through an array of images from various sources, such as newspapers or magazines.


Pangea, whose name derives from the supposed primordial continent began to be structured since 2007. Deriving from the recurring theme of my painting and previous collaborative projects - including New Body (2002-2003) and Written Paintings (2003-2005) - Pangea reflects two distinct realities, which in their origin, are part of the same reality / society, but that the political and economic power tends to separate, privileging one over the other.


The project coexists in the same space (screen) these asymmetries: the ideal image and the closest image to the real. Ie, the image of the ideal face that each country wants to show of itself in the postcards / tourist images, which are just that: idyllic images, ideals and pre-selected images, can even be a paradox, because show the part if it were the whole. In turn, newspapers, although subject to numerous different filters and manipulations - as we know - tend to show what the postcards hidden. In principle, they are a kind of "diary" of a nation which is revealed everyday through the image and writing. Pangea intends to make a comparison of the two "self-portraits"; one truer and the other more ideal. It is given particular importance to the written word, because all the papers are written in different official languages.


The work includes 26 countries of the five continents; developed countries, underdeveloped and emerging. The sound of the video is comprised of the national anthems of each of the 26 countries. To this end, I invited singers coming from those countries to interpret, a capella, the respective national anthems. I chose only female vocals, to achieve a more uniform sound and by foreseeing that, in some countries, women have more difficulties in collaborating on the project for political reasons - which turned out to be a reality. In this collaboration, the symbolic weight that the anthem has as the ultimate symbol of a nation, remained, but the song gained new dynamic through the richness of the interpretations.


All the work is carried out with pre-existing material, based on a chaotic mass of pictures, names and references in the bustling melting pot of globalization. In this sense, Pangea is primarily the result achieved by the way the elements - the promotional and informative images available in the global culture (whose original purpose was other than to integrate an art project), are interpreted, rearranged and recontextualized according to my particular vision. Rather than seeking to be original, the meaning of this work was established to align in a new way the separated elements by proposing my singular vision of this time.


Martinho Dias

April, 2015

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