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Not Waving But Drowning

Videoart, 2023 - 1’15”
Digital | Color | Sound | English with subtitles

Recorded with a VHS camcorder (Brazil, 2001) / Post-production in Spain (2023)

*Work available under request: pedroborbamendes@gmail.com

Synopsys:

 

A young boy recites Stevie Smith’s famous homonymous poem, which is reinterpreted and illustrated through personal archival footage to portray a child's struggle with his disability.

Statement:

 

This work experiments with an "aesthetic of trauma" - in an exercise of resignification where an objective record of a mundane situation - a boy swimming in a pool - turns into a more “accurate” representation of what was beneath the surface: a trauma evoked by distortions in sound and image that (re)construct the subjective realism of a body in tension with itself.

As suggested by the title of the work, this video art appropriates the poem "Not Waving But Drowning" (Stevie Smith, 1957) to construct a visual poem, using Smith's text as narration/internal monologue.

To represent myself, I invited a child from my family to recite the titular poem. The use of their voice serves to create an auto-fictional author-persona through a suggested connection between the narrative voice and the visual body, in an exercise of impossible self-insertion that represents the re-appropriation of the situation as a way to confront personal trauma.

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