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THEATRUM ORBIS TERRARUM (2013)

Three-channel HD video installation, 16:9, color, stereo sound, 26 min. sync in a loop; DVD, 4:3, black and white, silent, 5 min. loop on TV monitor, Portugal
HD video, 16:9, color, Dolby 5.1 sound, 23 min., Portugal
Support: The Macdowell Colony, Screen Miguel Nabinho, Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea – Museu do Chiado, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, DGArtes, DuplaCena, Festival Temps d’Images Distribution: Agência da Curta Metragem

“I can't look at the sea too long, otherwise I lose interest in what happens on land."

Festivals/Screenings (selection)
2017 - Proyector International Video Art Festival, Spain
2017 - SESC, Art for the World, AQUA, curator Adelina von Fürstenberg, Brazil
2017 - Chateau de Penthes, Art for the World, AQUA, curator Adelina von Fürstenberg, Switzerland
2017 - daadgallery - Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD, Germany
2016 - Vdrome, Italy
2016 - Museo Universidade de Navarra, Spain
2016 - Scanorama - Salomé Lamas Focus, Lithuania
2016 - Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur - Salomé Lamas Person in Focus, Switzerland
2016 - Arco.Lisboa - Art Fair, Portugal
2016 - Europe on Screen - Workshop, Indonesia
2016 - Union Docs, USA
2016 - TABAKALERA – Artist of the Month, Spain
2015 - Darb1718, Egypt
2015 - Panorama of European Cinema - Salomé Lamas Focus, Egypt
2015 - Curt’Arruda - Salomé Lamas Focus, Portugal
2015 - Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève - Salomé Lamas Focus, Switzerland
2015 - NexT International Film Festival, Romania
2015 - Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves - Exhibition Salomé Lamas: Parafiction, Portugal
2015 - Galeria 111, Portugal
2014 - Porto Forum do Futuro, Portugal
2014 - Nouveau Cinéma de Montréal, Canada
2014 - Femina, Brazil
2014 - Arsenal, institut fur film and videokunst e.V. – Salomé Lamas Focus, Germany
2013 - Escola Superior de Artes e Design, Portugal
2013 - Proyector International Video Art Festival, Spain
2013 - Rome Film Festival, Italy
2013 - Doc Lisboa, Portugal
2013 - Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea – Museu do Chiado, Portugal

Internet: Doc Alliance
DVD Edition:Shellac Sud DVD, EXTRA, Terra nullius : Confessions d'un mercenaire May 2015, France
Harvard Film Archive (HFA) / Harvard University - collection, USA

Maps of sand, boats capsizing on the seas

Notes on Theatrum Orbis Terrarum by Salomé Lamas

In the sixteenth century the Padrão Real hung from the ceiling of the Map Room in the Casa da Índia. It was a secret map, guarded from the eyes of foreign spies, which was changed and reworked with the comings and goings of each expedition. Aided by scientific equipment to measure distance, the navigators dreamed up the representation of the expanses that they had covered. When at sea, they looked up to the heavens and gauged their path by the stars, hands drawing in space fictional lines that carved territories. Upon returning to shore, they took the map that had previously belonged to others as their own, erasing divisive lines and constructing new borders. The map that they followed has been lost over time, and what remains of it is a stolen copy, made from memory by one of the cartographers in order to outwit enemies.

Maps are imaginary lines projected in space, visual representations of territories that have been traversed. They create spaces for navigating, utopias and dystopias, fictions created and broken by memory. Like the colourful banners that bear the title of the exhibition, drawing homographs in the air, maps devise coded messages that are then exposed to the entropy of the elements. The spaces dreamed up in Theatrum Orbis Terrarum act as a map made of memories that sketch out their own territory, constructing and reconstructing the minute borders existing between the three screens.

The water line initially serves as a separation between what exists below and above the level of the sea. But when the ruins of a sunken village come into contact and collide with the rocks on display in the museum, the images begin to question the chronological time that divides the different surfaces, and what was previously buried in time and space starts haunting the elements that are above. Objects that belong to different moments of the line of time overlap, inserted into a contiguous space. They move into the spaces between the screens, breaking the projected lines that divide them. The historical period to which they belong becomes as ephemeral and malleable a substance as the hazy, cloud-like ghosts that are summoned to the images. Theatrum Orbis Terrarum pits chronology against stratigraphy. It proposes an anachronous, geological time that expands and contracts; a landscape where the linearity of progression crumbles between porous layers. These rocks dissolve in water, where the words of those who try to order and catalogue history are lost.

“When I look at the sea... I lose interest in what is happening on land,” says the visitor to the museum, having turned into a shaman. The atlas that the installation draws creates an island, a piece of land in the high seas. You can reach it by boat, following maps that lead everywhere, and take you from everywhere to places that do not yet exist. With a proper name yet no fixed place, the boat drifts between being self-contained and existing in the space between each port. In civilisations that do not have boats, “dreams dry up, adventure gives way to spying and pirates are replaced by the police”. Theatrum Orbis Terrarum creates a territory where we can imagine another kind of geography, formed of chance and contingency, with sailors on land, and lands adrift.

Joana Pimenta

Michel Foucault. “Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias”, in Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory, edited by Neil Leach (London: Routledge, 1997), p. 336.

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