Lighted by a Searing Light, 2018
HD video, b/w, sound, 7'43'' (loop)
Variable dimensions

«Light is presented as a force of nature that can be the bringer of both life or death, but also a metaphor for something that can overpower and subjugate a subject.  The truth is that we cannot stare at the sun, its incandescence burns our eyes and blurs the image of what we are trying to perceive. The blindness induced by the images, the bubble of light that comes and goes, all denounce this enthralment and reinforce the video’s circularity (in loop). The sound we hear is a great argus bird (Argusianus argus), whose song defines the duration of the video and corresponds to a cycle of thirty-eight calls. The bird’s name refers to the hundred-eyed giant in Greek mythology, Argus Panotpes, the “all-seeing”. Argus was Hera’s servant, and his defining task was to guard Io from Zeus, who had fallen in love with the nymph.  Zeus sent Hermes to free Io; he sang Argus to sleep and killed him. Honouring Argus service, Hera had his hundred eyes preserved forever in the feathers of this sacred bird. (...) AnaMary Bilbao’s video operates between the proximity convoked by sound and the distance managed by vision. Similarly, it also tells us about a process of physical and psychological distances where will and reason alternate. The song sang on the shade, the mesmerizing sun and the fascination of the intensity of its light propose a continuous dance between who controls and who is controlled. This register is based on the constant transformation that underlies action and passivity, attraction and threat. AnaMary Bilbao offers us a perspective that oscillates between a place of shadows populated by the echoes of a wavering presence — which, nevertheless, desires to affirm itself — and a space of clarity where there is the risk of seduction, exposure and hazard. This dilemma, which is present throughout the video, is transformed in the confrontation at the last instant, mesmerizing us. The process ends as the roles switch, and the dominator becomes the dominated. In that moment, in the vortex of the struggle between what we desire and what we avoid, reason submits to will and everything goes back to the beginning, only to be repeated once more.» By Sérgio Fazenda Rodrigues, «Lighted by a Searing Light» (2019) (find the full essay here)

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