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Lugar común

Francisco Ruiz de Infante
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This video centres around the incapacity of the dead to remain in memory, and, more specifically, around the place where they will remain forever subject to different eventualities. The images, as well as the spoken word, respond to different attempts at recuperating these abandoned being out of invisibility. Nostalgic memories and feelings about those who existed before us are presented in “Lugar común” as a necessity, a meditation exercise.

In presenting the journey through an abandoned cemetery, Ruiz de Infante manages to enact a plea against oblivion, against the invisibility of those discretely buried under our feet, who go unnoticed by life, transformed into numbers that hide their singular adventures. There are many of them, but that doesn’t make any one of them less important. Who were they before? And how have they been forgotten? These are simple and important questions, crucial for finding them back a place among the living.

From the intangible solidity of a fountain to the cemetery itself, the piece traces a journey among common places within the world of the ungraspable: by recuperating images, constructing sentences coming from different voices, and directing specific sentences towards the reconstruction of the act of remembering, the act of rescuing sites and beings back from their invisibility. By letting the disappeared ones speak, the video explores the concept of everyday memory within the context of the intimacy of the shelter of death turned insignificant.

The simplicity of the video reaches its dramatism by means of the poetic text, both the recited and the written one, and of the subtle changes in the music; a murmur that is visually resolved by the lines (black signs of mourning) supporting the text, which limit and hide parts of the image in an attempt to fix the figures beyond their disappearance; recordings that are slowed down and then joined together with visual noises, of the spaces between abandoned graves and of past lives and blind men hidden away, over a soundtrack that is in constant tension. Based on a decadent mis-en-scéne and a sober montage with only functional effects, Ruiz de Infante indexes each sequence under a concept: memory, ruin, blindness, invisibility, lineage, burial, to the end. “A place is what we step on at every instance. Places, however, do exist because memory and words name them.”

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Lugar común
  • Direction: Francisco Ruiz de Infante
  • Production: C.I.N.T. del Ayuntamiento de Vitoria-Gasteiz.. 1991.
  • Duration: 00:12:30
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright