Thursday, November 7, 2013

Artist Margarida Sardinha Talks About Her Newest Work, London Memory multi+city

Margarida Sardinha is a Lisbon-born independent artist who studied, lived and worked in London for ten years. An encounter with Ms. Sardinha has the mesmerizing effect as of touching a lodestone. Her 2011 film HyperLightness ad absurdum won the laurels of Best Experimental Film at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, Great Lakes Film Festival, Creative Arts Film Festival & Bridge Fest (Vancouver) and Best Spiritual & Religious Film at the Directors Circle Film Festival as well as honors, awards and recognition at more than 20 addition film festivals worldwide.

My first impression of her new film London Memory multi+city was nothing short of a staggering awe. (You can watch the trailer at the end of this interview) The film is a heartbeat of seething, breathing currents simulating the movements of a symphony, visual and tonal synthesis, flow, currents and echoes. Watching this film was perhaps the most exhilarating experience I've had this past year, comparable in impact to the multi-city Sigur Rós Valtari Experience or the Holy Fool collaboration at Sacred Heart a year ago.

EN: When you say “The city becomes the archetype of Nemesis” I assumed you were referring to London, but is this not the nature of cities in general? Can you elaborate on the idea behind this statement?
MS: “When you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life…” so said Samuel Johnson, and like Marco Polo in Invisible Cities he is conveying the fact that London contains (like Venice) every city within itself and if one were unable to appreciate it then it means he/she is unable to value existence itself. So to answer your question, yes, “my London” as Marco’s Venice becomes the symbolic city that is never mentioned and forever memorable for it comprises every other city inasmuch as every other city comprises it.

EN: For people who are unfamiliar with the philosophical underpinnings of your work, what is the take-away you expect these viewers to experience?
MS: London Memory multi+city is a walk down memory lane – not only of philosophical and artistic notions but a recollection of simple moments like cycling around London or going for coffee with the one you love. Incidental moments, as Jung put it, are pictured as symmetrical instants of holistic completeness, as if everything falls into place at a given time and place (London in this case). This emotional mirroring is my attempt to trigger the viewers to tune into their own memories. Thus as mentioned by Bergson to convey the impossibility of the analysis or creation of concepts through recursive points of view – reductionism – for it will always fail to give the true feeling of walking in the street of the city itself and the zeitgeist of its collective unconscious at a given synchronistic instant.

EN: Is there a sense in which this work is a form of self-portrait in that it conveys a stream of consciousness encounter with the influences of your ten year London experience?
MS: Doubtless, that is precisely what the 25 minutes optical illusion experimental film forms. Memory thus appears as a mirror of the mind being the reminiscence of time and space reflected. The holistic transcendental synthesis of a pure past over ten years lived in London by me renders itself in a stream of consciousness through the works of those Londoners who influenced me at the time, such as Howard Hodgkin, Virginia Woolf, John Latham, Anish Kapoor, Sri Aurobindo, William Blake (to name a few) as a geometric-sonic abstract continuum. London personifies the ideal description of a long-lived, loved or imagined city.

EN: Is your work an attempt to explain your understanding of realities of consciousness or an attempt to capture your current understanding? What is the driver… to explore your responses to your London experience, or to teach viewers things you have learned thus far in your life experience? (Are you a lens, mirror or instructor?)
MS: In this case you are speaking of the role of the artist and therefore a bit out of the scope of the work so it is sufficient to say that the artist is an incidental person and therefore a lens and a mirror. I wouldn’t consider him/her instructor for that is somewhat pretentious and moralist. Regarding understanding and consciousness at a specific moment we all know how they both incessantly vary and therefore I find it important to overcome duality of thoughts and emotions in order to find Oneness. Duality, whose structural process embodies dogma, organization, simulation, derivation, fragmentation, pluralization, deconstruction, assimilation… suggesting the ratio of multiplicity being to duality as duality is to illusion, further doubled within ubiquity being to illusion inasmuch as symmetry is to the mirror - the concept of duality as being a twofold impression (Maya) of the same substance and opposites as ideological correlates. Hence, dichotomy emerges as a fractal symmetrical and illusionary phenomenon through which human consciousness commences to understand oneness besides its derivative ever evolving multiplicity. Thus, by converging into the union of mind effected opposites such as original & copy, objective & subjective, time & space, male & female, cause & effect, light & dark, heart & mind, harmony & chaos, spirit & matter, random & determinate, individual & collective, motion & inertia etc. the whole surfaces as far greater than the sum of its two parts and polarity as a simple differentiation within which we are able to define and categorize its pluralism. Consequently in the film this gestaltic re-enactment of coincidentia oppositorum is implicitly analogous to the holism of Bergson’s duration through a myriad of overlapping afterimages that create an illusionary sequence merging single immutable geometric solids and random impressions.

EN: Time and space probably do not permit you to answer how each of the Londoners you cite influenced you, so let's begin with two… In what ways were you influenced by Virginia Woolf and William Blake through your span of time there?
MS: As dynamic symmetry and poetical-sonic repetition act as a metaphorical bridge to the union of dualities that interested me and thus the inversion of polarities becomes possible symbolizing a sacred marriage between several dual manifolds such as depicted by Blake’s “To see a world in a grain of sand,
 And a heaven in a wild flower,
 Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
 And eternity in an hour.” So does Woolf’s Orlando. I was mainly interested in going further and beyond the inevitable logico-mathematical paradoxes implied in self-referential meta-dualism and seek union in love as Shakespeare describes “So they loved as love in twain, Had the essence but in one, Two distincts, division none: Number there in love was slain.”

EN: If Hodgkin, Woolf, Latham, Kapoor, Sri Aurobindo, and Blake were considered branches of one tree, what are the leaves and fruit of this tree? And what is the root system that feeds it?
MS: Hodgkin’s crystallized emotions, Woolf’s momentary variegated viewpoints, Latham’s epiphenomenon of time perception, Kapoor’s space illusion, Sri Aurobindo’s candid dispersal of Maya and William Blake’s mysticism comprise a rhizomatic root system where limitless experimentation of a subject matter reveals its immense diversity in oneness. This tree’s leaves and fruit would be akin to London itself being such a fluid phenomenological cluster that can only be perceived by intuition’s capability of grasping the absolute and has always tested the limits of its concepts much sought by religions and several thinkers alike.

Watch the trailer:

Visit her website:

London Memory multi+city:
Written and directed by Margarida Sardinha
Voices, Margarida Sardinha and Stephan Brennan

Images from the film:

"Memory is the hand holding symmetry, Duality of the soul’s asymmetric inverse..." 
~M. Sardinha

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