José Manuel Palmeiro
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Images of leisure -in and out of focus travel pictures to the sound of news fragments (“fascism” is a recurrent word)-, ads for beaches, names of various countries, possible tourist destinations (although the names of the countries don’t correspond to the images in the magazines), “and... the sun”, the king goes hunting and... (break for commercials) Girl with a gun, press ads, camera movement on old films, and the inevitable Marilyn.

With Sonora, Palmeiro takes a certain distance from his previous incarnation as a blind follower of instincts, obvious in videos such as Tailors, C.H.A.O.S., Nylon, Whisky... or Anitia. In this piece he returns to basics: camera on hand, he explores the pages of magazines. The contents prolong the ideas suggested in previous works about the relaxing effect of the utopias promised in glossy magazines. Compared with these, Sonora is a lullaby.

Within a soft visual drowsiness, mental drifts along well known, and longed for places - remote vacation destinations - take place. The promising colour photographs in glossy magazines and travel brochures, which appear amongst out-of-focus images, create a longing for these ephemeral paradises. Out of the fog, images start coming into focus - to once again, as soon as we can make them out, get out of focus - and follow each other in a link of associations. The continuous thread created by the various destinations, intercalated with images of desire and advertising questions - of minimal documentary value - avoids any palpability. We are witness to processes of recognition and insanity amongst sleepy dozes, in which the video itself participates by dissolving the content into media nothingness, such that what is seen at each moment never looses its mystery. Palmeiro moves from the tourist sites and the places given in the newspaper headlines, to advertising images and later to the image of the king of Spain with friends, carrying shotguns, standing in front of a dead wild boar. By appropriating that which is exaggeratedly banal, clichéd, contemporary and folk, Palmeiro is able to manage an escape into that which is distant, strange and always exotic, considered from the commodity of one’s home, from the perspective of a still flatterer. This piece suggests a process of taking distance and of relativising that which is unknown, different, uncontrollable. It displays the impact of experimenting with strangeness in order to generate a thought influenced by the audiovisual media as much as by memory.













Technical datasheet

  • Title: Sonora
  • Direction: José Manuel Palmeiro
  • Production: C.H.A.O.S. Macro Tr. 1995.
  • Duration: 00:03:30
  • Original format: Betacam SP
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright