27 Nov 1999

Events Sharon Lockhart

Maria da Conceição Pereira de Souza with the Fruits of the Island of Apeú-Salvador, Pará, Brazil

(ten framed cibachrome prints - 22”x19” inches each approx.)

These photographs were taken during a 2 ½ month trip in Brasil with a group of Anthropologists. The trip was broken into two parts: a trip up a river and to an island. This resulted in approximately 60 new works. These photos were taken during the island portion of the trip.

Teatro Amazonas

Sharon Lockhart’s new film, Teatro Amazonas was shot in the Teatro Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil in June of 1999. The film might be considered a literal interpretation of the idea of “one culture looking at another”. In this case the culture we are looking at is that of the inhabitants of the city of Manaus. Lockhart has filled the seats of the 102 year old opera house 1000 miles from the mouth of the Amazon, with a cross section of the city’s indigenous and European population and filmed them, as an audience, from the theater’s stage.

Photographed from a stationary camera position in one unedited twenty nine minute take the audience listens to a live performance by the Choral do Amazonas. The musical score, an original choral composition written by the Californian composer Becky Allen, begins with a solid chordal mass which gradually reduces to silence over 24 minutes. As the sound of the choir diminishes, the audience sound rises and fills the space. The cross fade between the sonic chord and the audience happens naturally and subtley.

By locating her new film in the Teatro Amazonas and populating it with an audience that is representative of each neighborhood in the city of Manaus, Lockhart dispenses with the standard practice of ethnographic documentary by resisting the temptation to have her cast perform their tasks of daily life. Finding them instead, engaged in the relatively leisurely activity of observers, Ms. Lockhart frees the film from the strict moorings of cultural observation and allows it to float into a less articulate, more visceral and thus more filmic sense of time and space.

The cast list is many hundreds of names long and it takes 8 minutes during the screening of the closing credits.