2048, Galeria Graça Brandão, Lisbon

2016.Jun

MIGUEL SOARES 2048
June 24 – July 30

Galeria Graça Brandão Lisboa
Rua dos Caetanos, 26
Lisbon

Inauguração | Opening
24.06.2016
das 19h00 às 23h00 | from 7pm to 11pm

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(scroll down for english version)

Faz este ano quinhentos anos a primeira edição de “Utopia” de Thomas More, relato de um viajante português descrevendo uma ilha ficcionada onde pareciam ter sido resolvidos os principais problemas da sociedade de então.

No projecto agora apresentado na Galeria Graça Brandão, Miguel Soares simula momentos num hipotético futuro próximo, pegando em certas ideias retiradas da “tradição utópica” portuguesa (Camões, António Vieira, Pessoa), da teoria das Três Idades de Joaquim de Fiore, da utopia de More, ou ainda de elementos da escatologia de algumas das principais religiões, fundindo-as com ideias mais recentes como a da Singularidade Tecnológica (Stanislaw Ulam, Vernor Vinge, Ray Kurzweil), ou a da Hipótese da Simulação (Trilema de Bostrom) que terá raízes anteriores, na Alegoria da Caverna de Platão, por exemplo.

A progressiva automatização e substituição do trabalho humano pelo de máquinas poderá um dia libertar o ser humano, tornando todo o sistema económico, político e até a própria ideia de Estado desnecessários?

A Singularidade Tecnológica sugere que entre 2040 e 2045 o futuro desenvolvimento da Inteligência Artificial poderá dar origem ao início de um movimento exponencial em que máquinas constroem outras máquinas cada vez mais perfeitas, numa progressão que escapará à compreensão imediata do ser humano. Pouco depois, em 2048 será o centenário de “1984″ de George Orwell. Segundo esta proposta de Miguel Soares, apresentada através de uma animação vídeo e um conjunto de imagens, este movimento criaria uma espécie de “máquina do mundo” capaz de cuidar e alimentar cada ser humano e gerir os recursos do planeta.

Será o capitalismo e a competição apenas uma ferramenta, a única, para chegar a tal porto? Poderia esta sucessão de eventos dar origem a um salto evolutivo no ser humano, permitindo por exemplo, a cada pessoa encontrar a sua vocação natural?

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This year is the 500th anniversary of the first edition of Thomas More’s Utopia, the account of a portuguese traveller who describes a fictional island where the major problems of the society of the epoch seemed to have been resolved.

In his project at Galeria Graça Brandão, Miguel Soares simulates moments of a hypothetical nearby future, borrowing certain ideas from More’s Utopia and Joachim of Fiore’s Three Ages, as well as from the Portuguese “utopic tradition” (Luís de Camões, António Vieira, Fernando Pessoa); together with elements taken from the eschatology of some of the main religions, assembling them with the more recent ideas of Technological Singularity (Stanislaw Ulam, Vernor Vinge, Ray Kurzweil), and the Simulation Hypothesis (Bostrom’s trilemma), which has ancient roots in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

Will the progressive automation and replacement of human labour by machines be capable of setting the human being free, rendering obsolete the entire economical and political systems, and even the conception of State?

The Technological Singularity suggests that between 2040 and 2045 the future development of Artificial Intelligence may originate an exponential event in which machines build other, more perfect machines, in a progression that will evade human beings’ immediate understanding. Soon after, in 2048, it will be the centenary of George Orwell’s 1984. According to Miguel Soares’ proposal, articulated around an animation video and a set of images, this movement will create a sort of “machine of the world” capable of looking after and nourishing each human and managing the resources of the planet.

Is capitalism and competition only a tool, the only tool, to reach such goal? Could this succession of events generate an evolutionary leap in the human being, allowing for each person to find, for instance, their natural vocation?

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Skyway ‘10

2010.Aug

Neptune
curated by: Mário Caeiro

Aug, 26 – 28, 2010

Dawny posterunek policji / Former police station (ul. Bydgoska/Kujota)
Toruń, Poland

exhibited works:
SpaceJunk beta 1.0
Place in Time
wabane
Window

related links: skyway.art.pl

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Categories : exhibitions   exhibitions  solo
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Geolux, Centro de Artes Visuais, Coimbra

2009.Apr

solo show
curated by:  Albano da Silva Pereira

April > June 2009
Centro de Artes Visuais
Coimbra, portugal

list of works:

video

prints

other

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A exposição ”Geolux” de Miguel Soares surge no contexto do programa que o Centro de Artes Visuais – Encontros de Coimbra tem fomentado de divulgação da obra de artistas portugueses a meio de carreira com projectos pensados especificamente para esta instituição.

Com um percurso iniciado no princípio dos anos 90, Miguel Soares (Lisboa, 1970)  tem vindo a desenvolver um trabalho que se centra em preocupações relacionadas com a tecnologia e a criação humana (onde a ficção científica tem particular relevo), a relação entre arquitectura e design, assim como a ecologia e a geografia. Existe paralelamente uma constante pesquisa em torno das questões de percepção e dos processos de criação de uma imagem.

Utilizando uma miríade de referências que vão da arte conceptual à música erudita, da ficção científica à tecnologia mais avançada, na presente exposição Miguel Soares apresenta um universo visual que gira em torno da Geografia, da Geologia e da Luz. ”Geolux” reúne obras com diferentes preocupações e temáticas datadas entre 2006 e o presente e apresentará dois vídeos inéditos que propõem, com base em composições musicais criadas pelo artista, uma animação 3D que foca a reacção de objectos abstractos ao som.

Se aparentemente as suas obras propõem sistemas paralelos, quer sejam artificiais quer sejam fictícios, na verdade, a sua intenção é a de propor uma nova forma de conceber a realidade e de alterar a percepção desta. Neste sentido, as suas obras sugerem um novo modo de pensar e de ver o mundo.

A obra de Miguel Soares tem um lugar singular na criação contemporânea portuguesa. Diversa e profundamente criativa, é capaz de simultaneamente apresentar situações de uma enorme simplicidade, como aquela em que mostra os locais onde o artista conceptual Bruce Nauman expôs no ano de 2007 (Jumping Nauman, 2007), ou lâmpadas de jardim transformadas em planetas através do simples manipular da abertura do diafragma (Planets, 2008) até à morosa e complexa desconstrução do Concerto de Brandeburgo e a criação de uma nova música que comprova o autismo do seu interprete mais famoso Glen Gould (untitled (Playing with Gould playing Bach), 2007).

Miguel Soares foi o vencedor do Prémio BesPhoto 2007 e o seu trabalho de vídeo foi alvo de uma exposição antológica na Culturgest nesse mesmo ano.

Albano Silva Pereira

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Categories : exhibitions  solo   texts
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Miguel Soares, 3D Animations and Video Works 1999-2005, Culturgest, Lisbon

2008.Oct

Miguel Soares
3D Animations and Video Works
1999-2005
Curated by: Miguel Wandschneider

opening October 17th, 2008, 10PM
11.30PM: Tra$h Converters DJ set
October 18, 2008 > January 4, 2009
Culturgest, Lisbon

list of works:

Miguel Soares (Lisbon, 1970) has been producing work since the early 1990s that reveals a fascination with futuristic utopias, technological innovations and the iconographic universe of science fiction. Initially, this fascination took the form of appropriating and manipulating pre-existing photographic images, as well as using references and conventions from the field of equipment design, firstly taken as a referent at the level of the photographic image and then transposed to the formal conception of the works. In the second half of that same decade, much of the artist’s activity resulted in the production of highly interactive sculptures and installations, which represented characters, environments, situations and objects belonging to hypothetical science fiction worlds. It was during this phase that the artist began to use video as a medium for projecting animated images, working at first with pictures drawn from computer games and then with other images created in 3D from graphic elements available on the Internet. In the first few years of his career, his work met a positive critical reception, but it was with his 3D animations that it reached full maturity. It is precisely this facet of his work that this exhibition now seeks to illuminate.
Miguel Wandschneider

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images above: courtesy of xana.

images below: courtesy of miss dove.
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Exhibition catalogue by Atelier Carvalho Bernau

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Some Remarks on the Work of Miguel Soares

Miguel Wandschneider

Both Miguel Soares’ work and his artistic career, since he first burst onto the artistic scene at the beginning of the 1990s, can be contextualised in generational terms and, more specifically, he can be seen as part of a constellation of artists from the same generation who mostly studied at the Lisbon School of Fine Art. As frequently happens with each generation, in those first crucial years when people’s aesthetic and ideological stances are defined, and at a time when their careers have not yet become individualised, these artists shared a series of values, attitudes and concerns that established a territory of affinities and provided them with concerted strategies of action. Deeply imprinted on the practices of this constellation of artists, and clearly evident in Miguel Soares’ work, were the rejection of the traditional disciplines (and painting in particular), a fondness for references originating from a globalised contemporary cultural landscape, namely both the mass culture and the youth cultures with which they identified, and, with varying degrees of political intentionality, an interest in questions and themes related with the contemporary world. At stake was not only their openly declared reaction to their experience (traumatic for many of them) as students at a stiff and somewhat stuffy art school, where they were closed off from artistic contemporaneity[1], but also their total lack of identification and their clear demarcation from the modes of production that had shaped the artistic scenes in the course of the 1980s. It is perfectly obvious today that, in keeping with the dynamics to be noted in the international context, the generation that emerged in the first half of the 1990s played a fundamental role in accelerating and consolidating an artistic paradigm shift that had been in progress since the 1960s and which we can briefly classify on the basis of two factors: on the one hand, the loss of hegemony (which does not mean a loss of relevance or legitimacy) of the traditional disciplines as a framework that can be used to integrate artistic practices; on the other hand, the opening up and externalisation of artistic practices in relation to the most diverse systems of cultural and symbolic production and fields of reality, definitively surpassing the modernist canons and their conception of art as an autonomous activity with its own reference system.

Miguel Soares’ oeuvre, built up over the last twelve years, identifies him as one of the most idiosyncratic Portuguese artists, with one of the most singular and obsessive universes of the last two decades. From a very early date, his work began to reflect his fascination not only with the imagery and iconography of science fiction, but also with the artificial atmospheres in which life unfolds in the technologically advanced societies and with the vertiginous pace of modern-day technological development, which plays such a decisive role in mediating and transforming our experience of reality. Such fascination has inevitably laid down the limits of what, at least so far, may be identified as the thematic hard core of his work, albeit with very diverse variations and without this being allowed, as has so frequently and rather hastily been supposed, to exhaust the questions and subjects explored by the artist. In 1992, when Miguel Soares held his second solo exhibition, this fascination of his was already perfectly recognisable. One might, for example, remember the series of eight photographic diptychs presented at that exhibition, juxtaposing reproductions of sepia images, dating from the 1950s and 1960s, of vehicles (car, propeller, plane, flying saucer), with colour images of domestic interiors in the 1960s, equipped and furnished according to the aesthetic patterns that have since endured as a memory of the interior design of that time. In this way, the artist drew our attention to the fact that the growing enhancement and generalisation, throughout the 20th century, of the house as the locus of social and, in particular, family life was accompanied by the euphoric desire for, and increasing possibilities of, mobility within the territory and the conquest of space. One could also refer, in passing, to the set of furniture-sculptures that he presented at his next solo exhibition, two years later: each of these pieces (bookshelves, sideboards, filing cabinet, bed, television stand and screen) incorporated a light box with a manipulated photograph of a terrestrial landscape over which UFOs can be seen flying. Appearing simultaneously as both furniture and sculpture, both utilitarian objects and works of art (vaguely evoking the tradition of minimalist sculpture and, in particular, certain sculptures by Donald Judd), these pieces reflected, in an ironic and undramatic fashion, the already mentioned loss of autonomy of the art that the modernist paradigm had advocated, as well as the closely related phenomenon of the aestheticisation of everyday life, which is omnipresent in contemporary societies.

In those years, Miguel Soares’ work was still heavily marked by the circumstances of his artistic education – between 1989 and 1991, he studied photography and attended, at that same time, a course in equipment design, chosen less as a vocation than as an escape from the teaching of painting or sculpture, which he saw as a dead end. From 1995 onwards, the use of photography as a medium lost its central importance, although it did not disappear from his work, even reaching the point of its recently earning him the distinction of winning the BES Photo Prize. Design also lost importance as a field of references for him, even if his earlier questioning of its status and of works of art that simultaneously exist as functional objects reappears, with renewed effectiveness, in Celulight (1999), a set of lamps made from the recycling of the brightly-coloured plastic packages produced at that time by the Portuguese mobile phone companies and thrown away each day in large numbers.

What is more interesting for the purposes of this text than simply noting that, in his early years, photography represented the principal medium of his work, is to emphasise the fact that the use that he made of it was systematically linked to the re-use and manipulation (digital after 1994) of pre-existing images. In fact, Miguel Soares was one of several artists from his generation who adopted different strategies of appropriation in the creative process with absolute naturalness. It was not long before his own acts of appropriation began to include mass-produced consumer objects, images and sounds from computer games, graphic features and images taken from the internet and musical themes (used on the soundtrack of many of his videos and 3D animations). Like so many artists of his generation, Miguel Soares was aware of the legal impediments to re-using, for artistic purposes, materials that had been produced and distributed within the field of the cultural industries, a question that became an urgent one in the 1990s with the dissemination of the video as an artistic medium and the consequent proliferation of works that took film and music as their sources for appropriation. It was precisely this question that, in 1994, he touched on in his first video, Copyright Law. Consisting of a cascade of hundreds of images spliced together from television and video cassettes, and having as its soundtrack (and exempted from copyright) the work Crosley Bendix discusses the Copyright Act (1992), by Negativland, the video was conceived as a visual illustration of that passionate manifesto issued in defence of the free access for artistic purposes to images and sounds that are circulated through the mass media, subject to severe restrictions imposed by the cultural industries under the protection of purely economic interests. The images were edited using two VHS recorders, employing cut and paste procedures that were analogous to the composition technique recurrently used by the group – the sticking together of fragments of magnetic tape that had been cut with a razor blade.

In the second half of that decade, Miguel Soares’ activity was to increasingly take place outside the clearly demarcated and stable disciplinary parameters. A significant part of his work, in that period, took the form of sculptures and installations, made with mass produced materials and simple technological devices, which represented characters, objects, atmospheres and situations belonging to hypothetical worlds from science fiction. For example, in Vr Trooper (1996), we come across what we suppose to be a futuristic station used for observation or surveillance: a robot with a military appearance, seen through a surface of red plexiglas and under strobe lighting, makes rotating movements inside a metal cylindrical capsule, itself standing on turf. Immediately afterwards, in Heaven’s Gate (1997), the artist sought to recreate the collective suicide of the members of a religious sect (whose name was given to the title of the piece) at a ranch in San Diego, in California, when a comet passed through the sky in March 1997. The installation simulates several bodies, either asleep or dead, that can be found lying on shelves, covered by purple satin sheets and wearing trainers of the same brand. The sheets gained greater volume under the effect of the air blown into them by electric fans connected to movement detectors, after which they returned to their former state of rest. In this way, the moment was suggested when the members of the sect, in accordance with the belief that led them to commit suicide, were teletransported by a space ship to another planet. In turn, Beep (1998) constructs the image of a flying saucer emitting a red light in a circular movement, as if it were reconnoitring the surrounding space – the sculpture reacts with light effects both to the sounds that it picks up and to the sound that it produces, static noise interrupted every minute by a beep. This piece attained its greatest expressive force in the space of a former water tank in Madrid, where it was presented for the first and only time.

During this period, Miguel Soares used a rudimentary video card (the Creative TV Coder of Windows 95) to record sequences of images and sounds created from the manipulation of computer games. The two works of this nature that he produced, Your Mission is a Failure (1996-97) and Barney Online (1996-98), different versions of which were presented in those years, open up the imagery of science fiction, already perfectly recognisable at that time, to the iconographic universe and aesthetic codes of computer games and futuristic cartoons, foreshadowing the 3D animations to which he so intensely devoted himself from the end of that decade onwards. Your Mission is a Failure records a series of performances by the artist in the virtual environment of some computer war games (including MechWarrior 2, Dark Forces, Doom, Descent 2 and Duke Nukem 3D). Recorded in real time, these performances relate various specific actions dissociated from the logic of these games, such as, for example, continuously dying (hence the title of the work, which corresponds to the message of the computer game Command and Conquer when the player fails in his mission), becoming immortal, exploring and going beyond the frontiers of the scenic space of the games, or making music with the respective sounds. The fragmentation and pasting together of images and sounds that have been decontextualised from the narrative plot inherent in the games, as well as the playful exploration of the possibilities and limits of the games outside the protocol and objectives that they propose, arouse in the spectator a feeling of strangeness that is exacerbated by moving from the virtual environment of the computer to the wall of the exhibition space, where the videos are projected in large formats. In a second and shorter version of this video, the crucial importance of the sound in creating this feeling of strangeness was reinforced by positioning in the centre of the projection a psychedelic light box (reused from a solo exhibition in 1996), which reacted to the sound through a sensor.

In the videos made from computer games, Miguel Soares found a way to bring to his work what at that time was one of his favourite recreational activities, having reached the point of spending several hours a day playing and interacting in front of the computer. Even more flagrantly than in the previous video, Barney Online provides an eloquent testimony to the crossover between artistic practice and a certain playful activity that is accompanied by an aesthetic investment. In the case of this latter video, that activity also involved participation in a reference group with repercussions on the construction of the artist’s personal and social identity, in the context of a youth subculture with specific codes, values and rules. This video subjects the spectator to a cascade of violent images and sounds that we recognise as having been taken from one of these computer games in which, in order to survive, the character/player has to annihilate the enemies that keep appearing in his path as he moves along a labyrinthine bunker. The video joins together excerpts from the virtual performances of a character (Barney), embodied by the artist, over roughly two years in the Internet game Quake TeamFortress, as a member of the largest and oldest clan (he got to be one of its leaders) who in Portugal, as in many other countries around the world (most of them numbering between 10 and 40 members), dedicated themselves daily to playing this game, establishing their own rules for the admission of members, as well as for the organisation and functioning of the clan. The brief messages that run along the upper strip of the images provide additional clues about the nature of the events and situations that are documented, but these remain obscure for most people, who are not familiar with the codes that are only accessible to those who have been initiated into the game. The decontextualisation of the images and sounds is, in this case, also largely dependent on the fact that the performances took place, not during the playing of the actual game, but in situations of convivial interaction with members of his own and/or other clans. What is imposed on the spectator is the hypnotic flow of a display of colossal violence. This video confronts the spectator with a cascade of violent images and sounds that we recognise as having been taken from one of these computer games in which, in order to survive, the character/player has to annihilate the enemies that keep appearing in his path as he moves along a labyrinthine bunker. The video joins together excerpts from the virtual performances of a character (Barney), embodied by the artist, over roughly two years in the Internet game Quake TeamFortress, as a member of the largest and oldest clan (he got to be one of its leaders), who in Portugal, as in many other countries around the world (most of them numbering between 10 and 40 members), dedicated themselves daily to playing this game, establishing their own rules for the admission of members, as well as for the organisation and functioning of the clan. The brief messages that run along the upper strip of the images provide additional clues about the nature of the events and situations that are documented, but these remain obscure for most people, who are not familiar with the codes that are only accessible to those who have been initiated into the game. The decontextualisation of the images and sounds is, in this case, also largely dependent on the fact that the performances took place, not during the playing of the actual game, but in situations of convivial interaction with members of his own and/or other clans. What is imposed on the spectator is the hypnotic flow of a display of colossal violence.

From the mid-1990s onwards, and with even greater emphasis towards the end of the decade, when a completely new generation began to emerge, a growing number of young Portuguese artists adopted video as a medium. In fact, video offered an extremely attractive alternative to the traditional media, proving itself to be particularly effective for artists who were interested in broaching and commenting upon aspects of contemporary reality, constructing fictional narratives, exploring performative situations, examining the influence of time as a mediating factor of perception, or incorporating references from an expanded cultural landscape, with particular emphasis being given to film and music. In an initial phase, videos were made using cameras that filmed in the Video 8 or Hi8 format and two VHS or S-VHS reproducers , this being the equipment that was available at that time and which very soon became obsolete as a consequence of the breakneck speed with which technological changes were being introduced, accompanied by their immediate democratisation. The introduction onto the market of increasingly sophisticated digital cameras and computers at accessible prices, as well as software that was easy to use for the editing and post-production of images and sounds, created extremely favourable conditions for the use of video in artistic production, exponentially increasing the creative possibilities and the quality parameters that were now within reach of artists, without the need for them to rent equipment or to seek the help of professionals.

Considering the great fondness that he felt, from the very outset, for technological devices that were characteristic of the period and accessible to non-professionals, it is not surprising that Miguel Soares was one of the first Portuguese artists of his generation to work with video. However, while many of his peers centred their artistic practice on that medium, he made a quite different and atypical choice, preferring to use 3D animations as the quintessential arena for his work from the end of the 1990s onwards.[2] The genesis of these works dates back to a project that he developed between 1996 and 1998, in parallel with the videos and installations I mentioned earlier: using what today is an obsolete computer (the Pentium 166mmx) and a very basic 3D modelling programme based on the use of simple geometrical forms (Corel Dream 3D), the artist built and made small animations of a virtual city (X-City) whose size and complexity he intended to progressively expand as he transferred the file with the model of the city onto increasingly faster personal computers that would greatly speed up the whole process. As it did not take him long to realise, the tools that he had chosen to perform these first experiments with animation were manifestly not up to the task – the animation had to be done manually, frame by frame, before passing through an extremely slow process of rendering (converting the 3D model into final images). In 1999, before he definitively abandoned the project, and at a time when the rendering of each frame was taking him as long as 13 hours, Miguel Soares recovered the model of the city in order to make Y2K, his first work of 3D animation to be presented publicly.

Remaining faithful to his persistent do-it-yourself attitude, Miguel Soares began to use not only computers with an ever greater processing capacity, but also non-professional 3D modelling and animation software, which, despite its being very basic, offered him much greater possibilities for figurative composition. More precisely, he was able to make progressively more complex versions, with new functions and greater quality, of a programme designed for the construction of landscapes and environments (Bryce) – with which it was also possible to incorporate models of objects imported from the Internet – and of another programme that enabled him to model and animate human figures (Poser). In this way, the artist found himself engaged in an extremely laborious and painstaking process – he spent between six months and a year working intensely on making each of the animations that came after Y2K. All of this required him to undertake a programme of constant learning and self-teaching, experimenting constantly with the creative possibilities of these tools.

The 3D animations to which Miguel Soares so stubbornly devoted himself from 1999 to 2005 comprise an undeniably singular oeuvre displaying a remarkable range of formal solutions. Condensed within these fictional narratives is a painstaking work of figurative composition and the careful film-based construction of points of view, camera movements and sequences, calling for a remarkable control of cinematic time. No less crucial in determining the involvement of the spectator is the organic relationship that is established between image and sound. Making the most of his very particular musical erudition, his profound knowledge of the sounds of his generation and his familiarity with a very eclectic repertoire of references in this field, Miguel Soares constructed the soundtrack of his animations from music played  in many different styles (Tuxedomoon, Combustible Edison, Funki Porcini, Sack & Blumm, Roberto Musci & Giovanni Venosta, Negativland), but also, from 2002 onwards, from themes that he himself composed, based on his manipulation and sequencing of samples taken from the Internet, television, films or music (in this period, firstly in 2002, and then later in 2006, he published two CDs of his own music).

In many of these works, Miguel Soares pursues his interest in themes from the contemporary world, whether or not these are filtered through an imaginary projection into a more or less distant, but entirely plausible, future: the spectre of militarisation and totalitarianism (Time for Space, 2000), the anonymity and atomisation of life in the large cities, as well as the loss of our direct relationship with nature (Archibunk3r Associates, 2000), the increasing pollution of the skies and seas (SpaceJunk, 2001, and H2O, 2004, respectively), the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union (TimeZones, 2003), or the survival of the human species and its capacity for adaptation, dating from remote times and continuing into a distant post-apocalyptic future, faced with natural catastrophes or the mass destruction caused by large-scale wars (Place in Time, 2005). Running through all these works is both a sombre perspective and a feeling of melancholy that, nonetheless, manage to avoid creating a denunciatory rhetoric with moralistic overtones.

With these 3D animations, Miguel Soares’ work reached full maturity and established for him a prominent position in the Portuguese art world. The exhibition at Culturgest with which this publication is associated has, as its central core, a retrospective look at this facet of his work. As we makes our way through the exhibition, this central core, composed of six works, is preceded by the presentation of two videos [Untitled (Two), 1999, and Expecting to Fly, 1999-2001] in which the artist films in a “voyeuristic” fashion, and  poetically transforms, real violent situations that were to dramatically interrupt the nights that he spent in front of the computer. Besides this “realistic” counterpoint to his 3D animations, the exhibition also includes a kind of flashback at the end, with excerpts from the first video that he made based on computer games, Your Mission is a Failure. Since this is Miguel Soares’ first solo exhibition on the institutional circuit, it corresponds to the recognition of the singularity and relevance of his work, but also to a gesture of encouragement to an artist who has persevered under difficult conditions and of whom we believe that we can safely say that his best work is yet to come.


[1] In this respect, it is interesting to quote the artist himself: “During my years at the Lisbon School of Fine Art, the teaching methods were completely cut off from the contemporary reality that was taking place outside the school. It was as if I and my friends – Pedro Cabral Santo and Alexandre Estrela, amongst many others – were forced to lead double lives, working at the school during the day and, the rest of the time, making plans for exhibitions and discussing art, sometimes well into the night.” This is how the artist begins a commentary on his work Night Art School, from 1995, conceived as a model of an art school engaged in constant, uninterrupted activity. Made from yellow formica and red plexiglas, and placed on a grass-covered base, the sculpture had 24 white lights inside, connected to psychedelic sensors that reacted to the sound of people moving around inside the exhibition space. The light patterns thus formed alternated with excerpts of electronic music (especially Kraftwerk and Negativland). According to the artist, this piece “reminded [him] of Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory. As if it were a scale model of a new experimental art school.” Significantly, the piece was produced for the Wallmate exhibition, organised by Miguel Soares and Alexandre Estrela, which took place in 1995 in the Cistern of the Lisbon School of Fine Art, and brought together a group of artists from their circle of friends and acquaintances, who, like them, were final-year students. According to the artist, the exhibition was conceived “as a reaction to the academic concepts that prevailed inside the school”. All these statements have been taken from the artist’s website at (http://migso.net/artwork/1995/miguel_soares_night_art_school.htm).

[2] In 2002, when he was asked the reason for his interest in 3D animations, Miguel Soares replied: “[I’m interested in] working with the technologies that are available to ordinary people and which give them the opportunity to do what previously could only be done with the use of specialised equipment and lots of money. I’m also interested in the fact that, today, a person with a computer that costs about a thousand euros can make music, edit videos and make 3D films, something that [previously] was only possible using computers the size of a truck, which cost thousands of euros per minute in electricity just to run them. Or, in other words, over the last two or three years, in doing my work I have been exploring what an average person can do with an average computer.” cf. “Criar coisas que não existem”, an interview with Sandra Vieira Jürgens, in Arq./A – Revista de Arquitectura e Arte, No. 12, March-April 2002, p. 82.

A Tale of Three Cities, Capela do Colégio das Artes, Universidade de Coimbra

2008.Mar

A Tale of Three Cities
curated by António Olaio

March 3 > 29, 2008
Capela do Colégio das Artes, Universidade de Coimbra
Coimbra, Portugal

exhibited wrks:

  • Y2K (3D animation)
  • Archibunk3r Associates(3D animation)
  • Place in Time (3D animation)

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Categories : exhibitions  solo
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Do Robots Dream Of Electric Art?, Museu da Electricidade, Lisbon

2007.Sep

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Do Robots Dream Of Electric Art?
Curated by João Pinharanda

September 28th > November 25th, 2007
10 AM > 01 AM, closes Mondays
Fundação EDP, Museu da Electricidade
Lisbon, Portugal

Three moving-head robots are aparently carving a drawing on the wall with red laser beams.

scroll down for portuguese version

Disco Wall Painting
text by João Lima Pinharanda

Three “disco” robots (of the “moving heads” variety) trace upon the grey wall the precarious outline of a human
being – probably a male.
A “disco” can, in this context, be seen as a new kind of cave, or even a “post-cave”. The darkness of the space, its
near subterranean location, the darkened walls, the play of lights, the collective rituals taking place inside it all
concur to confirm that scenographic metaphor.

On the other hand, the robots are equally beings of a new kind which seem to collaborate here in a remake: in a joint
action, they draw an ancient being that preceded them in time, a being that conceived them, a human.
And they do it by swerving from the accomplishment of the actions for which they were designed and built by that
same being: to follow the rhythms of dance music at a disco, heightening the interplay of light and darkness, sound
and noise, body and bodies.
And they do it here in anomalous conditions: continuously, without music, with no humans on the dancefloor,
combining efforts in the construction of an obsessive drawing that is in no way decorative, sophisticated or rhythmic.

The role played by these robots takes the form of a transferred regression: they are not evoking what they themselves were, but what the men who designed them were once. This piece by Miguel Soares fictionalises the appropriation, by robots, of a founding memory of humankind. That memory does not belong to them: have the beings that created them inserted it, inadvertently or unconsciously, into their programming? We do not know.
Anyway, these “created” beings have appropriated some secret file of human reminiscences which probably has survived and may always be
deciphered under all the layers of subsequent technological and digital (in)formation.

The title of this piece by Miguel Soares evokes one of the most effective projections of mankind’s fear regarding their own creations, from its Romantic incarnation as Frankenstein’s Monster to the post-modern androids of Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, 1968, where Miguel Soares found his title) and Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, 1982).

This artist’s vast body of work, which comprises installation and video along with the construction of mechanical and electronic objects, not forgetting the composition of digital images or synthesised sounds, culminates here in the most extreme of metaphors: the automata’s possibility of autonomous action and awareness has led them to resume the evolutionary cultural line of mankind, their original creators. Returning to a logic of caves as iconographic sanctuaries,
these “disco” robots paint/engrave a human image on the walls available to them. And their action is charged with the same ambiguity already described by the historians of the Palaeolithic age: the model used is not necessarily the animal used as a basis for daily sustenance; it may be the most venerated, the one whose capture does not stem from an act of physical survival but from a will to cultural endurance, aggregating the group’s identity and catalysing its social communion.

Lisbon, 12 September 2007
João Lima Pinharanda

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Versão Portuguesa / Portuguese Version

A peça de Miguel Soares ficciona a apropriação, pelos robots, de uma memória matricial da humanidade. Essa
memória não lhes pertence: os seres seus criadores fizeram-na passar inadvertida ou inconscientemente para os
programas? Não sabemos. Seja como for, os seres “criados” apropriaram-se de um qualquer ficheiro secreto de
reminiscências humanas. E, regressando à lógica das cavernas como santuários iconográficos, estes robots “de
discoteca”, pintam/gravam uma esquemática imagem humana nas paredes.
A sua acção carrega-se da mesma ambiguidade detectada pelos historiadores do paleolítico: pode não ser
imediatamente o animal de que se necessita para o sustento diário aquele que se desenha; pode ser o que mais se
venera, aquele cuja captura não resulta de um acto de sobrevivência física mas de uma vontade de sobrevivência
cultural; um agregador da identidade e catalizador da comunhão social do grupo. A verdade é que se trata sempre
de evocar (antecipar ou celebrar) uma caçada.

Pintura Mural de Discoteca

Três robots “de discoteca” (do tipo moving heads) desenham na parede cinzenta a silhueta precária de um ser
humano – provavelmente do sexo masculino.
Uma discoteca pode, neste contexto, ser vista como uma gruta de novo tipo ou uma “pós-gruta”. A escuridão do
espaço, a sua localização quase subterrânea, a cor escurecida das paredes, os jogos de luz, os rituais colectivos nela
desenvolvidos concorrem para confirmar essa metáfora cenográfica.

Por outro lado, os robots são seres também de um novo tipo que igualmente parecem participar aqui num remake:
na sua acção conjunta desenham um ser antigo, que os precedeu no tempo, um ser que os concebeu, um humano. E fazem-no, desviando-se do desempenho das funções para que foram, por esse mesmo ser, projectados e construídos:
acompanhar os ritmos da música de dança de uma discoteca potenciando os jogos entre luz e escuridão, som e ruído, corpo e corpos.
E fazem-no aqui em condições anómalas: ininterruptamente, sem música, sem humanos na pista de dança, conjugando-se na construção de um desenho obsessivo que nada tem de decorativo, sofisticado ou ritmado.

O título desta obra de Miguel Soares remete para uma das mais eficazes projecções dos receios da humanidade em relação às suas próprias criações. Tal receio vem do Frankenstein romântico e passa pelos andróides pós-modernos de Philip K. Dick (”Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, 1968, de onde Miguel Soares retira o seu título)/Ridley Scott (”Blade Runner”, 1982).

A vasta obra do artista, utilizando a instalação e o vídeo, a construção de objectos, mecânicos e electrónicos, a composição de imagens digitais ou sons electrónicos culmina aqui na mais extrema metáfora: a possibilidade de autonomia de acção e consciência dos autómatos leva-os a retomar a linha cultural evolutiva da própria humanidade que os criou.
Regressando à lógica das cavernas como santuários iconográficos, estes robots “de discoteca” pintam/gravam uma imagem humana nas paredes que lhes cabem em sorte. E a sua acção carrega-se da mesma ambiguidade já detectada pelos historiadores do paleolítico: pode não ser imediatamente o animal de que se necessita para o sustento diário aquele que se desenha; pode ser o que mais se venera, aquele cuja captura não resulta de um acto de sobrevivência física mas de uma vontade de sobrevivência cultural, agregadora da identidade e catalizador da comunhão social do grupo.

Lisboa, 12 de Setembro de 2007
João Lima Pinharanda
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2007 solo show (Miguel Soares 2007), Galeria Graça Brandão, Lisbon

2007.Jun

MIGUEL SOARES 2007
June 21 – July 31

Galeria Graça Brandão Lisboa
Rua dos Caetanos, 26
Lisbon

list of works:

PRINT

VIDEO

OTHER

exhibition views
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Out Fest 2007, Auditório Municipal Augusto Cabrita, Barreiro

2007.Jun

Out Fest 2007
Encontros de Música e Imagem do Barreiro

June 16 > 23, 2007
Auditório Municipal Augusto Cabrita
Barreiro, Portugal

A room  with a continuous projection of 12 migso music videos.

work shown:
01. Sparky 2′14”, 2002
02. URL/dolo 2′52”, 2002
03. Isom 1′52”, 2005
04. Slok 1′35”, 2005
05. Cergal 2′03”, 2005
06. When32 0′41”, 2005
07. 707 1′26”, 2005
08. Sewer 1′22”, 2003
09. The Home Electrical/bobft (1915) 1′54”, 2006
10. Let Yourself Go/gwen (1940) 2′16”, 2006
11. Operation Crossroads/sasp (1946) 1′38”, 2006
12. The Power to Serve/landau (1957) 2′42”, 2006
total : 23′23”

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Time Zones e Place in Time, Centro Cultural de Lagos

2006.Jan

Time Zones e Place in Time
curated by Xana

January 28, March 25, 2006
Centro Cultural de Lagos
Lagos, Portugal

exhibited works:

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Place in Time, Galeria Graça Brandão, Oporto

2005.Nov

November 12 > December 31, 2005
Galeria Graça Brandão
Oporto, Portugal

click on this Place in Time tag to watch the animation and see the prints.

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H2O, Luxe Gallery, New York

2004.Sep

September 2004
LUXE Gallery project Room, New York

list of works
H2O (3D animation) (projected)
H2O 6 prints, 50×70cm each.

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For Immediate Release:

Opening reception for both Rick Levinson and Miguel Soares
Monday, 20th September 6 – 8, 2004 – hope to see you there!

Project Room – MIGUEL SOARES – H2O

LUXE Gallery,
24 W. 57th Street # 503
New York, NY 10019
September 20th – October 30th
Opening reception: Monday, September 20th, 6- 8.

In the Project Room, Luxe Gallery is happy to present new photographs and video work by Miguel Soares.
Based in Lisbon, Soares is one of the leading digital artists of the new generation in Portugal.
In the 90’s, he developed work that ranged from photography, installation to video and sound, and in 2000, he turned to the exploration of 3D animation software which became his main tool of expression. He also joined the largest Portuguese Quake clan, as part of the international Internet gaming community.

Under his alter ego “Migso”, Soares composes electronic music which he integrates in his 3D animations and releases as audio CD’s. Many of his videos are made for -and in collaboration with- music groups like Negativland (2003), Sack & Blumm (2000) and Roberto Musci and Giovanni Venosta (2001). With the San Francisco Bay Area group, “Negativland,” known for its struggle against restrictive copyright laws in the 90’s, Soares created “Time Zones” – where he investigates the use of media as a vehicle for psychological warfare, and of
computers to control the “imperfections” of mankind.

Soares’ photographs featured in Luxe’s Project Space comment on mankind’s relationship to the surrounding environment and the use / misuse of technology.
“H2O” is his most recent 3D animation: a humorous reportage both distant and ironic view of man-made debris that end up underwater. Are fish adapting themselves to these alien objects?

In 2001, Soares was invited to participate in “Situation Zero: Recent Art from Portugal” at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. Recent exhibitions include: Galeria Graca Brandao, Oporto (Portugal); Location One, New York; Centre
Georges Pompidou, Paris (France); The Stenersen Museum, Oslo (Norway).

Concurrent to this exhibition is Rick Levinson’s Acts of Faith in the main gallery.

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Red Alert, Location One, New York

2003.Nov

Red Alert
curated by Nathalie Angles
November 15 > December 31, 2003
Location One
26 Greene street
New York, NY 10013

Sathurday (November 15th) from 4 to 6 pm, Location One inaugurates a
new gallery space, adjacent to our main gallery, which will be known as the
“Test Site.” This is our experimental studio where we will present
work-in-progress by our artists-in-residence, experiments with new technology
and discussions of all types. We are happy to initiate the Test Site with
work-in-progress by Miguel Soares (Portugal), which consists of a whimsical
sculpture, large digital-C Prints and a video piece.

exhibited works:

  • Gustavo v2.0, 2003 (below on this page)
  • Time Zones (video/3D animaton), 2003
  • 2 prints from the Mosaic series: Hulk and Fighter, 2003


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Gustavo v2.0
2003
junk bags, motorized arm, laser pointer.
“Do androids dream of electric sheep?” -Philip K. Dick
Gustavo is a robot that has been discarded in a black garbage bag. Out of this bag extends Gustavo’s motorized arm, with a laser that is carving a drawing on the wall.
Do robots dream of being artists?
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Time Zones
2003, 05′28”
video and 3D animation
sound: “Time Zones” Negativland, Escape From Noise album/cd, Seeland Records, 1987
Time Zones is about time and size, United States versus the Soviet Union, the cold war, the use of media as a vehicle for psychological warfare and the use of computers to control the “imperfections” of men.
Time Zones was created in collaboration with Negativland during the last year, based on
their audio work from 1987.
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Mosaic
2003
Durst lambda prints
These images are composed from the juxtaposition of 5000 to 8000 smaller images taken from the internet.
The cover of The Hulk magazine is made out of flower and landscape images.
The Jet Fighter droping a bomb is made out of internet logos and buttons.
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Animateur Amateur, Edifício Artes em Partes, Oporto

2003.Sep

Animateur Amateur
in Transit #7
curated by Paulo Mendes

September 13 > 20, 2003
Edifício Artes em Partes
Oporto, Portugal

exhibited works:

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Time Zones, Galeria Graça Brandão, Oporto

2003.May

Time Zones

May 10, June 14, 2003
Galeria Graça Brandão
Oporto, Portugal

exhibited works:
Time Zones (video/3D animation)
Time Zones prints: 9 images, 125×150cm each.

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Abstraction, Surface, Air, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

2002.Jun

SpaceJunk beta 1.0
Abstraction, Surface, Air
curated by Nicolas Trembley

solo screening: June 15 – 30, 2002
Georges/Centre Georges Pompidou
Paris, France

exhibited work: SpaceJunk beta 1.0

“L’homme pense que les cieux qui entourent sa demeure sont un endroit paisible, proche du néant. Cette idée est terriblement fausse, car l’espace est tout sauf vide. Des débris de toutes tailles flottent partout, en orbite autour de la Terre. Avec l’exploration de l’espace, la multiplication des satellites représente un risque calculé dans la mesure où ceux qui les envoient là-haut calculent les probabilités pour que le satellite ne rentre pas en collision avec quelque chose dássez gros pour l’abîmer, voire le détruire.
La vidéo SpaceJunk beta 1.0, réalisée par le jeune artiste portugais Miguel Soares, met en scène dans des images de synthèse un anneau virtuel composé de satellites et d’objects divers (canettes de coca-cola, bijoux, etc)”.
Nicolas Trembley. In Abstraction, Surface, Air exhibition journal.
Bureau des Videos/Georges/Centre Georges Pompidou. Paris, June 2002

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migso 002 (solo exhibition), Galeria Monumental, Lisbon

2002.May

migso_002
Solo exhibition

May 04 > 25, 2002
Galeria Monumental
Lisbon, Portugal

exhibited works:

  • Sparky moon 6 Durst Lambda prints on aluminium
  • Sparky, 2002, 3d animation, stereo sound, 2′14”, audio: migso, sparky
  • migso 002 audio CD. Album release and listening area.
  • GT, 2001, 4′00”, 3d animation, stereo sound, audio: “Rackrailway to…” Roberto Musci & Giovanni Venosta, 1987

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migso_002 is my first audio cd and also the name of my 2002 solo exhibition in Galeria Monumental, in Lisbon.
migso002 cd includes 30 musics I composed and recorded between September 2001 and February 2002.
The music was composed using computer and audio software. In the cd booklet are images from the Bug series from 1999 where I photographed a small mechanic toy with a laser pointer attached, inside a mirror cube. The mirror cube is courtesy of Tiago Batista. The cd was released by Variz, ref.003den, a small independent electronic music label in Lisbon.

SpaceJunk, Sala do Veado, Museu Nacional de História Natural, Lisbon

2001.Jul

SpaceJunk
curated by Luis Serpa

July 22 > September 12, 2001
2001: Time Odissey
Sala do Veado, Museu Nacional de História Natural
Lisbon, Portugal

exhibited works:
SpaceJunk beta 1.0 (3D animation)
SpaceJunk prints (2001) : 15 images

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SlowMotion, ESTGAD, Caldas da Rainha

2001.May

SlowMotion
curated by Miguel Wandschneider

May 28 > June 9, 2001
Galeria da ESTGAD
Caldas da Rainha, Portugal

exhibited works:

Miguel Soares (1970) estudou Design de Equipamento na Faculdade de Belas-Artes da Universidade de Lisboa, entre 1989 e 1995. Paralelamente, entre 1989 e 1991, frequentou o curso de fotografia da escola Ar.Co, em Lisboa.
Desta formação descolam dois traços salientes da sua actividade artística durante a primeira metade da década de 90: por um lado, o recurso à fotografia como meio de expressão, mais precisamente, a apropriação e manipulação de imagens fotográficas preexistentes; por outro, a utilização de referências e convenções do campo do design de equipamento, tomado primeiro como referente e mais tarde do ponto de vista da concepção formal das peças. Contudo, desde muito cedo que a sua actividade se processou fora de parâmetros disciplinares delimitados e estáveis.

Encontramos um exemplo claro daquela dupla vinculação logo na série de oito dípticos fotográficos que o artista reuniu na sua segunda exposição individual (”Miguel Soares 1992″, Galeria Monumental, Lisboa, 1992): em cada um destes dípticos, a imagem a cores do interior de uma habitação dos anos 60, mobilada e equipada segundo arquétipos datados de funcionalidade, conforto e apuro estético, surgia justaposta à imagem em tom sépia de um veículo futurista dos anos 50 e 60 (automóvel, hélice, avião, nave espacial), símbolo do desejo eufórico e das crescentes possibilidades de mobilidade no território e de conquista do espaço.

Pouco tempo depois, a referência directa ao design de equipamento deslocou-se do interior do plano da imagem fotográfica para a exterioridade material das próprias obras. Corresponde a esta fase um conjunto de esculturas com aparência e funcionalidade de mobiliário (estantes, aparadores, arquivo, cama, móvel de televisor), que incorporavam uma caixa de luz com a fotografia de uma paisagem terrestre sobrevoada por um ovni (”Miguel Soares 1994″, Galeria Monumental, 1994). Podendo ser entendidas ao mesmo tempo como móveis e como esculturas (evocativas da tradição minimalista), como objectos utilitários e como obras de arte, essas peças concretizavam, sem alarido e com eficácia, a inserção da arte na vida quotidiana. Eram também uma proposta irónica de evasão à dimensão utilitária dos objectos e às rotinas do quotidiano através de um imaginário de ficção científica.

Os exemplos avançados indiciam uma terceira característica do trabalho de Miguel Soares, que se manteve em grande evidência até hoje: o fascínio pelas utopias futuristas, as inovações tecnológicas e o universo iconográfico da ficção científica. Podemos ser colocados perante a crença nas virtudes emancipadoras do progresso tecnológico, como nas fotografias de cunho retro-futurista atrás descritas, ou os efeitos destrutivos e incontrolados desse mesmo progresso, como em SpaceJunk, animação em três dimensões transferida para vídeo e para imagens sobre papel, actualmente em preparação. Todavia, é sempre pelo lado da imagem e do imaginário que aquele fascínio se declara, indiferente a discursos de apologia ou crítica das sociedades contemporâneas.

A partir de 1995, a fotografia como técnica e o design de equipamento como campo de referências perderam centralidade, mas não foram completamente abandonados, na obra de Miguel Soares. As convenções do design ressurgem mesmo, com renovada eficácia, em trabalhos posteriores. É exemplo Celulight, série de candeeiros construídos a partir da reciclagem de embalagens de telemóveis, com que o artista retomou o questionamento anterior acerca da identidade e do estatuto de obras de arte que existem, simultaneamente, como objectos utilitários (”Design Inserts”, “Experimenta Design”, Gare Marítima de Alcântara, Lisboa, 1999).

Parte significativa da sua actividade, desde meados dos anos 90, tomou a forma de esculturas e instalações, com forte carácter interactivo, que representam personagens, ambientes, situações e objectos pertencentes a hipotéticos mundos de ficção científica. Estas obras simulam com frequência realidades “high tech” a partir de materiais e dispositivos tecnológicos muito simples, fazendo conviver uma estranheza do ponto de vista formal com um sentido de verosimilhança e plausibilidade na recriação de universos de ficção científica. Esses materiais e dispositivos incluem, por exemplo, lâmpadas, sensores psicadélicos, detectores de movimento, chapas zincadas, relva plástica, espelhos de acrílico, altifalantes, antenas parabólicas, ou um ponteiro laser.

Vejamos alguns exemplos. Vr trooper (1996) mostra, dentro de uma cápsula cilíndrica que irrompe pelo chão, um extra-terrestre ou robot, iluminado por uma luz vermelha, que responde ao som ambiente efectuando movimentos circulares sobre si próprio (”Greenhouse Display”, Estufa Fria, Lisboa, 1996; “Miguel Soares 1990-1996″, Edifício da Associação Nacional de Jovens Empresários, Faro, 1996; e “321m2″, Círculo de Artes Plásticas de Coimbra, 2001). Em Heaven’s Gate (1997), instalação inspirada no suicídio colectivo dos membros de uma seita religiosa por ocasião da passagem de um cometa, vários corpos cobertos por tecido roxo e estendidos sobre prateleiras, de tempos a tempos varridos pelo sopro de ventoinhas, supostamente a dormir ou mortos, realizam uma viagem em direcção a outro mundo (”Jamba”, Sala do Veado, Museu de História Natural, Lisboa, 1997; “ARCO 98″, Madrid, 1998; e “321m2″). Beep (1998) representa um disco voador, uma sonda ou um posto de observação, que reage aos sons que produz e aos que capta à sua volta com efeitos luminosos e um movimento circular de reconhecimento do espaço em redor (”Observatório”, Canal Isabel II, Madrid, 1998). Exemplo derradeiro, entre outros possíveis, é Gustavo (1999), um saco amarelo cheio de lixo que emite um feixe luminoso de cor vermelha, enquanto realiza um movimento, deixando inscrito na parede o desenho desse movimento (”Espaço 1999″, Sala do Veado, 1999; e “Miguel Soares 2000″, Galeria Monumental, 2000).

É neste período que Miguel Soares começa a usar o vídeo como meio de projecção de imagens animadas, nuns casos retiradas a jogos de computador, noutros casos criadas em três dimensões a partir de elementos gráficos disponíveis na internet. Com essas peças, o imaginário de ficção científica tão característico da sua obra abriu-se ao universo dos jogos de computador e ao dos desenhos animados futuristas. Em algumas obras recentes, o artista documenta de modo “voyeurista”, e desvia poeticamente, situações reais violentas que ele próprio filmou. Umas e outras diversificam as estratégias de apropriação que, no início, se exerciam sobretudo no domínio da fotografia, tendo passado a incidir sobre imagens e sons de jogos de computador, elementos gráficos da internet e músicas de diferentes estilos. Miguel Soares é, entre os artistas da sua geração, um dos que expôs mais cedo a título individual e que conta no seu currículo com maior número de exposições individuais: seis ao todo, cinco na Galeria Monumental (1991, 1992, 1994, 1996 e 2000) e uma, com carácter retrospectivo, na sede da Associação Nacional de Jovens Empresários, em Faro, em 1996.

Paralelamente, foi presença assídua em exposições estratégicas na afirmação da geração a que pertence, com destaque para “Independent Worm Saloon” (Sociedade Nacional de Belas-Artes, Lisboa, 1994), “Wallmate” (Cisterna da Faculdade de Belas-Artes da Universidade de Lisboa, 1995), “Greenhouse Display”, “Jamba”, ou “O império contra-ataca” (Galeria Zé dos Bois, Lisboa, e La Capella, Barcelona, 1998). Ainda no capítulo das exposições colectivas, organizadas ou não segundo uma lógica de afinidades e cumplicidades geracionais, vale a pena referir também “Faltam Nove para 2000″ (Galeria da Escola Superior de Belas-Artes de Lisboa, 1991), “20000 minutos de arte no Técnico” (Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisboa, 1994), “Inter@ctividades” (Palácio Galveias, Lisboa, 1997), “Biovoid” (Sala do Veado, 1998), “Observatório”, “Espaço 1999″, “Air Portugal” (”Bienal de Londres”, Shoreditch Town Hall, Londres, 2000), “Gotofrisco” (Southern Exposure, Sister Spaces, Galeria ZDB, São Francisco, 2000), “Comunicantes/Contaminantes” (SNBA, 2000), “Videonica” (Galeria Fernando Santos, Porto, 2001), “Electric House” (”WC Container”, Artes em Partes, Porto, 2001) e “321m2″. Pontualmente, interveio como comissário, ao lado de Alexandre Estrela (”Wallmate”), e como organizador, ao lado de João Simões (”Air Portugal”).

“Slow Motion” apresenta uma retrospectiva do trabalho de Miguel Soares com recurso ao vídeo. Na galeria da ESTGAD, são alternadas, numa projecção, duas obras relacionadas com o universo dos jogos de computador: Your Mission is a Failure, que pôde ser vista na Galeria Monumental, em 1996, assim como nas colectivas “Inter@actividades”, numa versão substancialmente diferente, e “Papel de Parede”, no Centro de Arte de São João da Madeira, ambas em 1997; e Barney Online, mostrada, em 1998, nas colectivas “Biovoid” e “Observatório”. Ainda na Galeria da ESTGAD, são alinhadas, numa segunda projecção, as seguintes peças de animação 3d: Time for Space, apresentada já por quatro vezes, primeiro na exposição individual de 2000, depois nas colectivas “Gotofrisco”, “Air Portugal” e “Videonica”; Archibunker Associates, integrada em “Comunicantes/Contaminantes”; e GT, vídeo inédito realizado a partir de uma sequência de imagens que fez parte da peça Play/Pause do grupo Pogo Teatro (Lux, Lisboa, 2001). No espaço da Rua do Hemiciclo, são apresentadas três obras recentes, duas delas inéditas: Untitled (two), já mostrada na Bienal de Faro, no ano passado, Expecting to Fly e Fire!.

Your Mission is a Failure 1996 Vídeo, som, cor, 25′
Tanto as imagens como a banda sonora desta obra são apropriadas de jogos bélicos de computador, respectivamente, MacWarrior2 e Command and Conquer. A fragmentação e colagem de imagens e sons numa sequência não linear, a neutralização da dimensão lúdica inerente aos jogos, a passagem do ambiente do computador para a parede do espaço de exposições, e a mudança de escala das imagens, projectadas em grande dimensão – tudo isso contribui para definir o sentido da obra e configurar as experiências da sua recepção. Ao colocar sobre a parede em que incide a projecção uma caixa de luz cujo ritmo é determinado pela banda sonora, Miguel Soares reforça ainda mais a estranheza da peça, ao mesmo tempo que sublinha a importância decisiva do som na definição do ambiente misterioso e ameaçador que a caracteriza.

Barney Online, Slipgate Remix 1997 Vídeo, cor, som, 6′32”
Em Barney Online, somos submetidos a uma catadupa de imagens e sons violentos que reconhecemos como sendo extraídos de um desses jogos de computador em que, para sobreviver, o personagem/jogador tem de aniquilar sucessivos inimigos que se atravessam no seu caminho ao longo de um bunker labiríntico. Trata-se da montagem de excertos de performances virtuais de um personagem (Barney) que o artista incarnou, durante alguns anos, no jogo de internet Quake Team Fortress, enquanto membro destacado de um dos numerosos clãs (5Q), o maior e mais antigo no nosso país, que em todo o mundo se dedicam diariamente a esse jogo, observando cada um regras próprias de admissão, organização e funcionamento. As mensagens sumárias que desfilam nas bandas superior e inferior das imagens fornecem pistas adicionais sobre a natureza dos acontecimentos em que o artista/jogador foi protagonista (e com que o espectador se confronta a posteriori), mas não esclarecem muitos dos aspectos envolvidos no jogo, cujas especificidades só são inteiramente acessíveis a iniciados. A descontextualização das imagens e dos sons passa aqui, também, pela dissociação relativamente à rede de interacção (que implica a criação de laços afectivos) em que cada jogador está inserido, ou seja, pela perda dos sentimentos de emulação e de grupo que estão directamente implicados na prática do jogo. O que se impõe ao espectador é, em consequência, o fluxo hipnótico de um espectáculo de violência codificada.

Time for Space 2000 Projecção vídeo de animação 3d, som, cor, 5′ (loop)
Texto: João Simões
Voz: Lula Pena e João Simões
Design de som: Ari de Cravalho
Música: Combustile Edison e Funki Porcini
Numa sociedade situada num futuro longínquo, as promessas de felicidade vêm embaladas com as imagens e os sons da publicidade: imagens de discos voadores sobrevoando mares e cruzando o universo são acompanhadas de música xaroposa e da leitura de um texto que anuncia viagens maravilhosas à descoberta de mundos desconhecidos. Como se percebe no final, a troca da voz feminina pela voz masculina marca a passagem de uma campanha de promoção de viagens a uma campanha de recrutamento militar. A ilusão de aventura e liberdade convive com o pesadelo de uma sociedade ditatorial orientada para o controlo dos indivíduos.

Archibunk3r Associates 2000 Projecção vídeo de animação 3d, cor, som, 7′50”
Design de som: Ari de Carvalho
Archibunker Associates constitui uma espécie de catálogo de protótipos arquitectónicos do futuro. Um sentimento de melancolia, em grande medida transmitido pela música, habita estas imagens de arquitecturas idealizadas, não se sabendo ao certo a que se aplica o sentimento de perda – se a um mundo que desapareceu, o da cidade como espaço de sociabilidades e o da experiência da natureza como realidade tangível, se a uma sociedade utópica em que o avanço tecnológico é factor de bem-estar.

GT 2001 Projecção vídeo de animação 3d, cor, som, 4′
Música: Roberto Musci & Giovanni Venosta
Para este trabalho, Miguel Soares inspirou-se no jogo de computador Interstate 76, relacionado com corridas de automóveis entre bandos rivais, no qual a voz de um personagem, chamado Stampide, declama poemas sobre a estrada. Recorrendo, como nas peças anteriores, a programas de animação em três dimensões para a construção dos ambientes e das figuras, o artista conta a história muito simples de três carros que dialogam entre si durante o percurso que os leva ao encontro de uma rapariga. Cada vez que Stampede debita um dos seus poemas, é simulada a passagem da imagem em três dimensões a imagem em película de cinema.

Untitled (two) 1999 Vídeo, cor, som, 6′50”
Música: Tim Buckley

Expecting to Fly 1999-2001 Vídeo, cor, som, 3′40”
Música: Buffalo Springfield

Untitled (fire) 1999-2001 Vídeo, cor, som, 2′54”

Da janela de sua casa, segurando a câmara de vídeo na mão, Miguel Soares registou situações violentas que vieram sobressaltar noites passadas frente ao computador: a agressão entre um casal; um carro capotado na avenida deserta, que surpreende uma pessoa durante o seu jogging matinal; e um homem que tenta desesperadamente, e em vão, apagar um incêndio. Com base nestes registos, em tudo semelhantes aos vídeos amadores que as televisões exibem para dar conta de acontecimentos chocantes, o artista realiza três obras em que a crueza da realidade se abre à ficção e ao delírio poético.

Miguel Wandschneider

Categories : exhibitions  solo   texts
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Easyview 001, Lounge, Lisbon

2000.Sep

Easyview 001
curated by Francisco Vaz Fernandes

September 2000
Lounge
Lisbon, Portugal

exhibited works: untitled (wc)

Categories : exhibitions  solo
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miguel soares 2000 (solo exhibition), Galeria Monumental, Lisbon

2000.Feb

gus01
miguel soares 2000
Solo exhibition

February 25 > March 19, 2000
Galeria Monumental
Lisbon, Portugal

exhibited works:

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eexhibition views

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