Letícia Ramos: everything seems very impossible


By Marta Ramos-Yzquierdo

It all begins with something we think we have seen. The search for some certainty in the world around us which will give us a reason for human existence, whether in the past or in the future, even if it is only that of being witnesses. Because we believe it —we believe we have seen this sign— the image remains in us and in the cultural imaginaries we share as a collective projection, and physically in the technology that records it. Letícia Ramos works in this field, in that of the immanence of images. She does so from the plausible in narrative terms and from the experimental in technological terms.

Everything is a process: history and how it is recorded, as well as the speculation about both items. It is the way to approach something that from the human eye and perception of time seems impossible: geological time. The fire that explodes and the light that is extinguished, the wind, the ice, the erosion of rock, the infinite accumulation of grains of earth in a residual deposit… Everything that happens at other rhythms and in places we have never reached, in continuous transformation. A hegemonic, anthropocentric idea of faith in development and technological capacity has equated what is liveable to what is understandable, controllable, and reproducible. To this end, it has had no qualms in eluding, hiding, and inventing. Letícia Ramos works similarly in this dynamic, but in reverse, turning fiction into revelation.

Everything seems unattainable, but to access it, the artist transforms herself into a scientist, an inventor, an explorer of unknown worlds, of delocalised times. Her camera(s), constructed with rescued, combined and "engineered" technologies, become beings/bugs with autonomy and a life of their own: frankensteins that mirror our degree of otherness, of supposed monstrosity. The filmed material, chemical or digital, comes to us as a time capsule containing what the past could have been like or what will astonish us in the future —spectres and reveries. As if we were staring with half-open eyes.

It all seems so impossible. As if we were looking with our eyes half-open. There are times when we shut our eyes tight and it all goes red and we can see a vibrant circle, as if the memory of staring at the sun were imprinted on our retina. Hot sun tonality: first journey through the films of Letícia Ramos. Through the harshness of São Paulo's urban cement, the desert sand of an undiscovered planet, over the rock of the cliff, to tremble when the earth opens during the first great earthquake reported (but not recorded). On other occasions, the inside of the eyelid gives us back the cold sensation of our eyeball’s cavity. Cold night tonality: second journey through the filmography of the Brazilian artist. Through the islands that surround the North Pole, the southern surface of Antarctica, through the bottom of the lake of the oldest water, of the thaws to come, until returning to the hard objects thrown in a recent demonstration in São Paulo.

Everything seems possible, now, in the cinema. This operation in which the unreal becomes probable serves in Letícia Ramos's production to question the construction of history and our relationship with the sensible and visible world as well as memory. By exploring a landscape that is evocatively otherworldly and, at the same time, very limited in its potential to harbour human life, Ramos brings us closer not so much to the unknown, but to how we face it.