Lois Patiño tells us about a time suspended before the eyes of a viewer used to a swifter time, one that is suited to what we currently understand as narrative time. Narrative time is that which begins to weave a story as it moves along, no matter how short and minimal this story may be. When, before the screen, we start to doubt whether there is movement or not is when that narrative time begins to demand from the viewer a calm for which we no longer seem prepared.
That feeling through which the subject feels overflown, far even from the place he physically occupies and faced with that rupture with an unintelligible narrative time, is what has been keeping Lois Patiño busy. It is also the place from where that double immobility reaches us: referring both to the subject and to the camera, which remain motionless. It is inevitable to recall Samuel Beckett and his Film in which a puzzled Buster Keaton wanders about without showing us his face. Beckett had conceived two characters enclosed within Keaton to appear in the film: an observer and the observed. He called them O (object) – Keaton himself in his escape – and E (eye) – the camera that chases him.
Eugenio Trías immediately comes to mind in his analysis of the Kantian feeling of the sublime (1). Trías distinguishes between the subject’s experience before something grand – much larger than himself in material extension – and the feeling of being before the formless, the messy and the chaotic. The subject feels surpassed and overcome, and a painful reaction is produced before such a spectacle.
Lois Patiño’s cinema is purely Atlanticist, just as the feeling of someone like Carlos Oroza who invokes Pessoa to whom he says that he finally understands him, that he finally shares his feelings. [...] I want to live terminally, on the furthest borders. From these borders, I’m seeing a new world. That saved me: to go and live on the rim of the land of Europe. I very much long for distance... [...] (2).
Rafael Argullol will say: in Romantic painting the landscape no longer sees the presence of man as necessary. The landscape becomes autonomous and, almost always deprived of human figures, becomes the protagonist; a protagonist that triggers a double feeling of melancholy and terror within who contemplates it (3).
Probably those are the two feelings that take hold of Oroza and the object side of Keaton. In Lois Patiño that need to see oneself rise to a sea, which establishes a narrative time before which we feel insignificant, is with no doubt the reason why his camera remains motionless, in such silence that it would be possible to feel the heartbeat of an individual whose present body leaves him the option to unfold himself, to observe himself suspended in front of that incommensurable landscape.
(1) Eugenio Trías, Lo bello y lo siniestro, Ariel, Barcelona, 1988.
(2) 8 poetas raros: Codicia de lo lejano (entrevista a Carlos Oroza), Árdora Ediciones, Madrid, 1992.
(3) Rafael Argullol, La atracción del abismo. Un itinerario por el paisaje romántico, Bruguera, Barcelona, 1983.