Nº1 - December 2018

Solar Quadrant

Luis Lechosa (visual artist) – 22:07

Time was fragmented.

The light divided the nights from the days. The stars helped cultures of antiquity to divide these natural intervals of rotation of the earth in hours. Twelve for the nocturnity of chaos and danger, and twelve more for the sun’s divinity and the life it generates. The hours thus fragmented our time from all times and we turned back to look at the sun.

But the hours were not enough. The precision of life required minutes and seconds; and then frames. Twenty-four per second between the light that strikes through the film and the darkness of space, which together generate the illusion of movement.
Kurosawa, in a brave cinematographic act, during the filming of his film Rashômon (1950) dedicates the first direct gaze to the sun from a film camera. His ally in the
cinematographic innovation is the shadow of a leafy forest in the way of the woodcutter.

The risk that the Japanese filmmaker assumed was of his device being left to burn inflames, this risk allowed the portrait of the sun a posteriori by authors and authors of diverse sensitivities.

The photosynthesis under the branches does not remain isolated in Kurosawa’s
courageous observation. As a counterpoint, Nathaniel Dorsky immerses us in his sensual world by recreating himself in the intermittent reflections of the sun on the water that in turn, projects an equally leafy but silent forest. His deep sense of introspection connects with the gaze through the branches of Stephen Broomer filling the forest with a luminous spirituality.

Already in the city, Jennifer Reeves looks at the sun with certain agoraphobia. Between urban noises and buildings, she seeks an emotional experience that escapes from the social fabric in which she finds herself. Reeve’s sun is one that waits for the clouds to stop covering it, generating a texture of nostalgia. Among the buildings of Tokyo in Sans soleil, Chris Marker, places a red sun in a lost place of memory that’s either personal or global.

Naomi Kawase by the poetry of her images, frames the sun in a window. Its rays appear inside the house and it’s exclamation denotes an admiration from it’s deep and sensitive intimacy. In a more physical way, but also from her window Sarah Pucill reflects on the materiality of the blinding light experienced with her body and the space of her apartment.

The voice of Eric Pauwles emerges with the blindness of his camera’s diaphragm
referring to the cinema as “the only place where you can look at the sun and death to the face”. It includes elements that take us into the complex inner world of the author, who faces the death of his mother. Like Bill Viola in The Passing, Pauwels takes a journey marked by the process of separation and configuration of one’s identity. However, the video artist is abstracted within the beauty of his solar image devoid of narrative, but which places the star in a void of darkness, according to the loss of his father.

Cinema, or art since it’s inception, has traveled through self-referential paths. The looks of two authors like David Perlov and Guy Sherwin look at the sun from the window of a car. The first one looks at the horizon, returning to his town, stopping his camera in the sun, defining it as an optical illusion, full of self-knowledge. Sherwin, also from the car, makes an interesting memory exercise by placing himself in his daughter’s point of view with the title “look – the sun is coming with us” in Messages.

From the deck of a ship, Jonas Mekas wonders what the images he has recorded for his children will mean in the future. And there are others who also contemplate the solar star when it falls on the horizon of the sea. It’s remarkable the dialogue that’s generated between Eric Rohmer and Tacita Dean about the green ray that both portray with celluloid.

They all looked at the sun carefully, sometimes focusing on a flickering frame of Rose Lowder, sometimes staring into the long skies of Hutton or Benning. Inside the room, the cosmos was watched without his presence. The sun was already on the screen, its rays coming from the projector, it’s brightness from the film and the gaze of a camera. In the Solar Quadrant all those looks are united in one. Time started and was fragmented by looking at the sun.

Footage:
Rose Lowder. Bouquet 7.
Stan Brakhage. Creation.
Igman Bergman. Tystnaden.
Éric Rohmer. Le rayon vert.
Jonas Mekas. As I was moving ahead occasionally I saw brief glimpses of beauty.
Chris Marker. Sans soleil.
Akira Kurosawa. Rashômon.
Jennifer Reeves. The time we killed.
Stephen Broomer. Spirits in season.
Naomi Kawase. Katatsumori.
Larry Gottheim. Mouches volantes.
David Perlov. Diary.
Paul Clipson. Feeler.
Nathaniel Dorsky. Variations.
Eric Pauwels. La deuxième nuit.
Andrei Tarkovsky. Solyaris.
Joris Ivens. Une histoire de vent.
Peter Hutton. At sea.
Guy Sherwin. Messages.
Werner Neues. Diwan.
Bill Viola. The passing.
Tacita Dean. The green ray.
Sarah Pucill. Blind light.
James Benning. Ten Skies.