Peter Snowdon

Peter Snowdon esteve em Coimbra no passado dia 18 de Maio para assistir à sessão inaugural do "Transnatura Videolab 2007", da qual fazia parte o filme "Two Thousand Walls", o seu mais recente trabalho. O texto do artista inglês, que o Videolab se orgulha de apresentar, é um relato poético sobre essa sessão. / On May 18, Peter Snowdon honored Videolab with his presence in the first session of "Transnatura Videolab 2007", during which "Two Thousand Walls ", the English artist's latest work, was one of the films screened. The following text ilustrates Peter's poetical reflection on that session.

Corpo Formal: A Moreton Bay Vision

It is a rainforest plant and in this environment more often grows in the form of an epiphytic strangler vine than that of a tree. When its seeds land in the branch of a host tree it sends aerial, 'strangler' roots down the host trunk, eventually killing the host and standing alone.

We set the screen up in the shade of the serial killer -- figueira estranguladora. A vast white square of synthetic fabric. Tiny stones and seeds showed through wherever it touched, however briefly, the ground. Then attached with the most wicked press studs I ever saw to two slender extendable metal rods, which flicked out like the wooden rulers which the carpenter used to carry when he came to my parents' house when I was a child.

How could you hold up so much whiteness with just two flimsy rulers? Sergeui ran up a ladder and started tying the screen to the gatepost with a piece of string.

I felt at home here. I went down to stand by the fountain, trespassing without knowing it on the centre of the vegetable world.

When they turned the projector on to line it up, I could see the hands of the strangler waving at me through the canvas -- as though the film had already begun.

Later, Paulo showed me one of the perfectly drawn circles which its roots leave behind as they descend into the ground. "That used to be a pine tree," he explained, "before he hugged it too close".


I remember bodies that opened onto other bodies, colours that opened on to other colours, blacks that were no longer black, whites that were no longer white.

I remember the sea in a subway, the Vatican in a doll's house, skin like the surface of an undiscovered planet.

I remember the party-coloured bicycles hurtling along the gunmetal grey streets of the incomprehensible city, so far from our Eden, and yet so innocent, wonderfully speeding to their desperate nowhere.

All I could see was cars. Leaves and cars. But it is the bicycles I remember.


Seventy-five people strayed through the arches of the aqueduct as the sun collapsed. The evening released them into the garden like spores from a dying plant. They floated there, refusing to be rounded up, to recognise anything as directive as an 'event'. Seating experimental film lovers is like herding cats into the parlour to be milked.

Seventy-five people collected on the steps below the greenhouses. They smiled into the darkness. They looked like they trusted the strangler. Not me. I sat to one side, as far away as I could get.

The frogs belched rhythmically in the fountain below, and the figueira lobbed its small inedible grenades at our ankles, landing them with treacherous precision, their tiny explosions fair warning of the external combustion that lay in store.

The films played like a string quartet on a cliff top, as the the roar of arranged and ungovernable nature rose towards them, sometimes lapping at their feet, sometimes crashing over them, drowning them, as high as houses, as wild as what remains of our hearts.

So how, when Olga rose at the end and asked me to say something to the audience, and everyone turned round -- how should I or anyone have been surprised to find that there was no trace of me left where I had been sitting? All that remained was a coil of sullen root enclosing the empty circle where my body had once been, and the faint memory of a smile lacing the cool night air.

Peter Snowdon, Coimbra-Brussels, May 2007

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