What should be done with the stones extracted from quarries? They can be used to erect massive monuments to power and glory, like the one Salazar erected along the Tagus River to celebrate the conquerors of the Portuguese Empire. Or they can be arranged horizontally in small black and white fragments to draw all kinds of shapes and figures. Ellie Ga puts this opposition at the heart of her film, and she clearly chooses her side: that of the pavement workers in Lisbon and their disappearing craft. Quarries forms a diptych with Gyres (FID 2020) and uses a similar method: the screen is like a three-part light table, the artist’s hands and voice are her tools for a performance of choreographed thought. The movement of images that come, go and slide away are juxtaposed ¬– or superimposed – to the tempo of her speech. Everything is flattened, entrusted to the navigation of thought or to a simple statement of facts expressed in a monotone voice – like the hands that calmly deal out the images – or like Jorge the pavement craftsman, who organises black and white paving stones. While Gyres sailed on high seas, carried by ocean currents, Quarries focuses on human hands and their use of stones across the ages. In Quarries, Ellie Ga’s unique art becomes even clearer and more concise. More emotional as well, because of the way it links impersonal scientific research and personal drama. Ga transforms her relationship with her brother, who became a paraplegic when he fell from a window, into the chorus of the film, like a starting point that the story keeps coming back to. The hands of Homo sapiens sculpted by its tools, her brother’s disabled hands, the fork that falls from the pavement master’s worn-out hands. What is Ellie Ga doing? She is creating a counter-History: the spirit of resistance to the glory of power, force and conquest is expressed in her care and tenderness for weakness, mistake and oversight. How precious is that?
Original version : english
Subtitles : french
Script : Ellie Ga
Photography : Ellie Ga
Editing : Ellie Ga
Sound : Ellie Ga, Mikael Lundh Soundscraper
Production : Ellie Ga.
Filmography : Gyres, 2020.
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