Maria Manuela Lopes (PT) Platonia

Installation, 2014

The title is based on a temporal interpretation of the functioning of the passage of time as dependent on memory and the experience of a “timeless realm“ as in Julian Barbour’s Platonia.

We live in an unsettling position between the need for and the possibility of archiving a lot of our experiences digitally and the unnerving control of the archive, seduced by the possibility of neuro-enhancement. Memory and time are intangible and unexplainable experiences crossing borders from personal to social, and touching many disciplines. We depend on memory to be able to learn and interpret the world around us. And yet at the same time our memories are subtle, faulty and subject to change. The seductiveness of recording devices and the frail nature of human matter, allied to the reconstructive capacity and plasticity of the brain, elicits a desire to explore intangible understandings of experience and perception. The time-based nature and light dependence of the installation deals with intensity, duration and completion as key elements in establishing the quality of experiences and the scientific understanding of time.

Spaces, places and objects hold presences, experiences, wishes and memories that are constantly reshaped. By interweaving metaphors of memory (such as Proust’s telescope) during history, with personal archival elements and public natural imagery, as well as the understanding of time acquired through optical instruments and physics, my work creates a suspended moment where images of different scales and contexts are simultaneously both creating and evanescing.

By presenting images of a family archive the work hints at a shared personal passage of time. Thus by interlacing those with small clips from specific scientific movies and other peculiar everyday life recordings Platonia responds to the impalpable presence within a given moment. The personal and mundane become something that is interwoven with the social and natural world to the point of becoming something different, suspended, repeated, like time.

The black mirror reflects the exhibition space, sculpting and distorting all its stories, while the apparent linearity of the projection room is often broken by a strong strobe light and the consequent imperceptibility of the outer space; almost as a need to reset and form memories of moments and experiences that have already been lived through

Maria Manuela Lopes (PT)

Maria Manuela Lopes is a visual artist and researcher based in Portugal and the UK. Her current practice is transdisciplinary and based on issues of memory and self-identity informed by life sciences and medical research and presented in the form of time-based installations, occasionally including biological materials. Lopes has studied fine arts – Porto, Portugal and did an MA at Goldsmiths, University of London in London. She has a doctorate from UCA Farnham/Brighton University UK, working with representational strategies of Alzheimer’s disease in a neuroscience laboratory. She is currently involved in a post-doctoral project that extends the PhD project into a wider cultural scenario questioning memory practices and human enhancement in a techno-heightened society. Lopes is also assistant-director of two residency programs: 1) “Artists in Labs” Ectopia – Lisbon, and 2) Cultivamos Cultura, a residency program in Alentejo.

Author's contact: maria@manuelalopes.com