Opening: Filipa César & Louis Henderson: Op-film. An Archaeology of Optics
Filipa César & Louis Henderson
The lighthouse—erected with the purpose of shedding light on the dark unknowns of the world—bears the wishes of a modernism obliged to enlightenment as no other structure: the superiority of reason and spirit over nature, the belief in technological progress as well as global commerce, carried by the idea of colonialism, imperialism and Christian mission. Optical inventions like the Fresnel lens in 1822, which has been employed in lighthouses ever since, assisted sea travel and naval artillery to establish the new world order. Its function is now assumed by radar as well as sonar and satellite- controlled navigational systems. In their film and the accompanying collection of material, Filipa César and Louis Henderson weave a cartographic and profoundly hybridized image-text fabric that examines how optical technologies convey ‘Western’ notions of military and colonial developments and are conveyed by them in turn.