Veneno Puro

Xavier Villaverde

Some octopus, a few bottles of “ribeiro” wine, ambient sound and hyper-design. In an immediate future the border between what is real and what is virtual will be blurred; to enter the screen could lead to being the victim of a monster. Or, as in 1984: “A girl, a boy, some desolate spaces, Magritte, King-Kong. It could happen to you tomorrow. Slight touches of a New York style in her look. This girl is... Pure Poison!” This is a nightmare about loneliness in the cyberworld’s daily life.

Veneno Puro was a landmark in Spanish video. It coincided with the appearance of the Galician “movida”, becoming its standard-bearer within artistic circles. It is also one of the emblems of Spanish postmodernity during the 80s and represents a rupture from the video that had been made within the country up until then. This encouraged changes in the definition, concepts and aims of audiovisual experimentation, from video art to video creation, from a conceptual and social inclination to a formal investigation of technology.

The deconstruction of cinematographic fiction presented by Xavier Villaverde is consistent with the creative exaltation of those years. According to its author, Veneno Puro is about “a woman who watches Cooper’s King Kong, while someone watches over her movements and the house she is in is invaded.” The obsessive desire for innovation and the paranoid fear of the exterior, masked as the main character’s boredom, are neutralised by the myth of the possessive beast. A constant coming and going of searches, getaways   and surveillance of the main character trying to soothe her anxieties through new attitudes and behaviours is portrayed here, turning design into an allegory of pure poison. In the end everything will depend on its flexibility, innovation and capacity to respond.

Xavier Villaverde redesigns the image and the environment through electronic intervention. Both the angles and framing of the shots, as well as the changes in tone and colour, aided by the rhythm of the editing, attempt to generate a psycho-thriller-type tension that updates Brian de Palma’s, Polanski’s or Iván Zulueta’s obsessions. For a contemporary gaze, his aesthetic appears to be dated, although this type of image is capable of representing today’s cyberpunk model. Pure Poison can be seen today as a sketch this type of novel’s avatars before the appearance of The Matrix. But this video is a point of reference in the paradigmatic turn within video practice, from art to television formats such as music videos and advertising.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Veneno Puro
  • Direction: Xavier Villaverde
  • Production: Vídeo Trama S.A.. 1984.
  • Team:

    Script: Alejo Rusmore y Xavier Villaverde

    Sound: Xavier Villaverde

    Camera: Carlos Amil

    Artistic Direction: Pgbllas

    Light: Antonio Simón

    Cast: Rosa Fernández, German Coppini, Moncho Lázaro.

  • Duration: 00:27:53
  • Original format: U-Matic
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright