© Johann Lurf


© Johann Lurf


© Johann Lurf


© Johann Lurf

CAPITAL CUBA

by Johann LURF
2015 / 35mm / color / silent / 1S / 12' 00

In Cuba, a country where the sea is omnipresent, there has been a constant urge to represent this characteristic in art. Fantastic as well as historical and naturalistic visions have led to an abundance of images that are largely inspired by the relationship between the sea, the city, and its inhabitants. Capital Cuba (12 min, 2015), the film presented by Austrian artist Johann Lurf at the twelfth Havana Biennial “Between the Idea and the Experience”, uses certain locations within the area of the Havana bay as a platform to explore said relationship with the innovative spirit of experimental cinema. The artist plays with the qualities of cinema parting from a structural discourse that equally stimulates the creation process and the perception of the resulting images.

Seemingly with the freedom of not having a predefined plan, Lurf slips into a travel routine. From inside the small ferry that connects Old Havana with the town of Casa Blanca, the camera abandons traditional panoramic representations but instead seeks to present us with glimpses of a very complex whole. The different shots of the industrial activities around the edges of the bay confront us with a reality that is both contradictory and in the process of transformation: a scenario which is played out between currently developing operations, a gradual degradation, the neglect of the port’s infrastructure, plans for the future recovery of the maritime border. In Capital Cuba these circumstances are revealed in the details: in the mystery behind the constant movement of the waves, the city's reflection in the sea; in the opposition of CAPITAL and MACHINE; names that at the same time identify a ship and the ruins of the old breakwater of the customs building; in the space separating two shores or the engine noise connecting them... But while there are different ways to read the architecture of these images, the structure and formal configuration of the film are focal elements for this artist.
Through the movement of the camera and the consistent editing this material gains a distinctive momentum, a rhythm and an “internal melody” defined by the cuts. The repetitions with their subtle variations require the audience to watch very closely and they highlight the structure of the work. Capital Cuba offers a new perception of space which we do not just see but also feel. The spacial experience is supplemented by a physical one, in a gesture which defines the projection as an “event” and the dark room as its home. Thus this work does not restrict itself to the screen but reaches out into our minds as a continuous act of reading and interpretation. It unsettles and interrogates us the same way it does with any attempt to interpret it.

Yalicel Gabeira (Translation: Teresa Kuhn)

3 PRINTS IN DISTRIBUTION


distribution format 35mm
screen 1,75 (1,77 ; 16/9) (single screen)
speed 24 fps
sound optical sound
rental fee 48,00 €

distribution format DCP on server (SMPTE 2K)
screen 16/9 (single screen)
speed 25 fps
sound silent
rental fee 48,00 €

distribution format DCP on server (SMPTE 2K)
dimensions 3D
screen 16/9 (single screen)
speed 25 fps
sound sound
rental fee 48,00 €