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Convent

Sally Gutiérrez
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The convent that provides the setting for Gutierrez’s piece is the backdrop and main character in a video pervaded by a constant tension between its different elements. In contrast to the quiet and gentle appearance that the site provides, looking as if it was not of the present time, Sally Gutierrez fills the site with constant movement and agitation.

In the sequence of shots and scenes with which we are presented, we see different characters, sometimes alone, and other times within a group, who are in a state of constant movement, walking through the different rooms and other parts of the convent. In the voice-over, the characters describe that which they are afraid of. Amongst the fears we hear, there are abstract ones such as the infinite, life, etc, as well as more everyday and immediate ones, such as medical surgery.

Whilst the viewer hears these explanations, the characters on screen never cease to move around the convent, something which causes a certain dissociation between the text and the image, generating a tension in the video. This aspect of the piece, this tension, is reinforced and at the same time masked, by the fact that the setting where it takes place is a convent: an ecclesiastic space which despite being a symbol of tranquillity, is also an architectural trace of the power of the church, a symbol of economic and political power capable of provoking and inflicting its own kind of fear amongst the population.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Convent
  • Direction: Sally Gutiérrez
  • Production: Sally Gutiérrez. 2003.
  • Duration: 00:04:20
  • Languages: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Original format: Mini DV
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright