Play-Doc LAB


by Marta Andreu

Five years have gone by since our laboratory of the filmed portrait began. The journey has taken us from the portrait-through-encounter to the portrait-through-memory, and from there to the portrait-through-others, and beyond that to the portrait-through-landscape. And today we reach the conclusion and the portrait becomes a mirror.

What is there of each one of us in the film portraits that we make? How much of our own gaze is reflected in the eyes of those we look at? To what extent is recounting the lives of others also to talk about our own. This year, as we were saying, we reach the end of the line. Just as everything has a day on which starts, so too one day everything runs its course. But sometimes (if not always) what is met with at the end of a journey is the very thing that justifies our first starting out.

The reason why we began this project has to do with the belief that to look at the one before us is to recognise ourselves in them, because in the end the other is always in front of us, and what the presence of the other always does is remind us of our own presence. That first act by whoever holds a camera in their hand in order to capture what he or she sees is closely connected with the sharing of that vision, and with the discovery of what the other also sees. And in that discovery, one finds oneself and from it all one learns to look at oneself by looking at others.

The participants in the laboratory have each been able to recognise themselves in the others (from both behind and in front of the cameras). They are also recognised by everybody else, that is by us the spectators, through the distinctive signature each participant has left on the whole process. The lives fixed on film that are the result are now before us, and there they continue to be and to live. Today we say goodbye to the experiment with that mirror that will go on speaking about who is looked at, but also about who does the looking. Above all, the mirror speaks of the distance that there has been and that there is (or perhaps equally that there is not) between the observer and the observed. This distance extends inevitably also to those of us close to those moments of encounter and mutual exchange, who have afterwards been placed in front of the resulting images that, after careful selection, are given back to us for presentation, different but alike.

Of all that has passed, five portrayals will remain, brief but not less important for that, five revisits, five shared years, moments of which were wound together and put on record but which will never pass again.

Once again, countless thanks.

Later, by and by, further on, around the bend . . . .who knows? . . . . but that there will be something you manages to see more clearly as a result.

It will continue...