Parálisis Sobre el Estado de Terror

Jacobo Sucari

Parálisis - sobre el estado de terror is a creative documentary about systems of archiving and registering; about the function of the image in the construction of one's own past. The main characters of this video essay are the interlocutors of the public memory: witness, researcher, archive and narrator. The personal historical context is articulated by these intermediaries. This is a work of unmasking.

Premised on the task of thinking the image, Jacobo Sucari applies in Parálisis - sobre el estado de terror the research done for previous work about the creation and manipulation of images. This time he immerses himself in the transformations between the image as an archive and the techniques of representation. The main idea developed by Sucari is that the archive of the image, as a document, exists for its use. It is a register of truth (which is relativized in the course of the video) that is set in contrast to the personal archive: memory and its expression, the testimony.

Memories of experiences, documents and films, operate under the social context that generates historical memory. Parálisis - sobre el estado de terror is a visual essay about mediation, its  manipulation, and its implication in problems about the interpretation of mental images. Working from a personal visual archaeology, Sucari recovers films, slows down their rhythm, and revisits old burnt stills in order to generate in the viewer different levels of understanding, information and reading. In the images’ arrested instants and prolonged times, he explores the archived faces on the edge of death, and interrogates them. The images, decontextualized and amalgamated through various elements such as the spoken word, music, the editing or the framing... allow him to re-actualise the value and use of any image. In addition, the arbitrary use of images by the user-institution is made evident. The work also makes reference to the utopic desire for the power to manipulate and modify history, a utopia that today, with the digital tools available, can be reached by anyone. This video thus examines the concept of history, a dynamic and changing history.

Sucari, echoing Adorno’s phrase: “Every cultural document is also a document of barbarism”, researches the archive of Nazism’s horror; and archive, in which memory plays a double role: it fixes the collective experience of a possible horror and nourishes the personal memory of punishment. The archive is dramatised as the individual threat of punishment and of becoming part of the catalogue of horrors.

On the other hand, by means of the collage of contexts and times that he offers, Sucari tries to activate the spectator’s identification; he wants to make of the archive our present memory, and warns us that what once occurred, can always occur again. These visual collisions are presented as generating new maps for a critical knowledge. At the same time, the artist proposes the archive, in appearance, only old paper , as a weapon and memory of a power that returns. One of Sucari’s objectives in this piece is to make history current, suggesting that it is to be lived. He plays with the trace of time in the photographs of a Barcelona that interprets today’s aphorisms as time past, regarding today’s images as the future’s archives.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Parálisis Sobre el Estado de Terror
  • Direction: Jacobo Sucari
  • Production: Jacobo Sucari. 2001.
  • Duration: 00:46:30
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Original format: DV-Cam
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright