Roda Lume by E. M. de Melo e Castro

Open “Roda Lume” by E. M. de Melo e Castro

E. M. de Melo e Castro has written poetry in different physical media – in the same way as “peso pesado do átomo” [atom’s heavy weight] (Castro 2006) – such as paper, textiles, canvas, wood, metal, stone, plastic, early opting for a dematerialization of word and image, something that became apparent, from the outset, in the pioneering videopoem Roda Lume [Wheel of Fire] (1968). This dematerialization of the artwork was taken as a guideline for the retrospective exhibition “O Caminho do Leve” [The Way to Lightness] (2006) at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, in Porto. Melo e Castro states:

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“Rhythmus 21” by Hans Richter, et. al.

“Rhythmus 21” by Hans Richter, et. al.

This nonverbal piece juxtaposes a single dancer with Hans Richter’s 1921 Dada film. In this film white, black, and grey rectangles move in and out of the screen, shrinking, growing, and changing shapes. The dancer’s movement cast shadows upon this surface as she spins, poses, reaches out with her arms and legs in ways that make me wonder whether she is interpreting letters upon this stage and screen. Is she writing on these spaces? If so, her letters are not the static things we’re used to inscribing on a page or word processor. These are letters that feel at home on a time-based medium, such as the stage and this film by Richter. And in good Dada tradition, they are freed from meaning.

Choreography: Shelley Hain
Film: Hans Richter (1921)
Music: Sue Harshe
Dancer: Danielle Delong