Problematising Reality 2023-2024/ Programme 1: Space, place and memory

4 Oct, 23

October 13th 2023, 18:30
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Auditorium 3
Session duration: 150 Min| Entry is free and limited to the number of seats available. Film in English with Portuguese subtitles; discussion in English with simultaneous translation into Portuguese.

Artworks, especially those that comprise documentary material, can offer a particularl challenge to our sense of reality. While the indexical link to what they address grants images and sounds a specific credibility, the artist’s aesthetic, thematic and political choices and self-reflexive stance may generate a critical assessment of the very constitution of reality. At such point, art meets philosophy. To reflect on the relationship between the factual world and its subjective understanding, questioning hegemonic claims to objectivity and problematising the inherent contradictions of society are inherently philosophical issues.
The second edition of Problematising reality – Encounters between art and philosophy is a partnership between CAM / Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, IFILNOVA (CineLab) / FCSH / UNL and Maumaus / Lumiar Cité. This is a series of six discussion sessions and four seminars taking place at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, focusing on the moment when art and philosophy establish productive dialogues, proposing diverse approaches to contemporary thought.
Each discussion session starts with a partial or full screening of works of art, accompanied by a reflection led by theorists, researchers or artists.

The first discussion session will take place in October with the filmmaker Billy Woodberry and the researcher Ruth Wilson Gilmore, in a reflection prompted by the screening of Nelson Pereira dos Santos’s Memories of Prison (1984).
With Carlos Vereza, Glória Pires and Nildo Parente, Memories of Prison is an adaptation of Graciliano Ramos’s posthumously published prison memoirs. One of the great authors of Brazilian literature, Ramos was incarcerated during the Getúlio Vargas regime for being a suspected communist. Nelson Pereira dos Santos is inspired by Graciliano Ramos’s journey through the penal system to conduct an investigation into its power relations the way it operates.

Ruth Wilson Gilmore (USA) lives and works in Lisbon and New York. She is Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences and Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Publications include Change Everything: Racial Capitalism and the Case for Abolition (Haymarket, forthcoming); Abolition Geography: Essays Towards Liberation (Verso Books, 2022); and Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (University of California Press, 2007). Gilmore has lectured in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Recent honours include the 2022 Marguerite Casey Freedom Scholar Prize and the 2020 Lannan Foundation Lifetime Cultural Freedom Prize (along with Angela Y. Davis and Mike Davis). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Billy Woodberry (USA) lives and works in Lisbon. His work has been awarded at the Berlin International Film Festival and is part of the Library of Congress. He has participated as an actor in When It Rains (Charles Burnett, 1995) and as a narrator in Four Corners (James Benning, 1998) and Red Hollywood (Thom Andersen, 1996). His work has been exhibited at numerous venues, including Camera Austria Symposium, Harvard Film Archive, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). His films include: A Story from Africa (2019), And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead (2015) and Bless Their Little Hearts (1984).