Filipa César (b. 1975, Porto; lives Berlin) uses film as
her primary medium. In her work she reflects on subjects of
political and social significance. She explores the fictional
aspects of the documentary film genre and the politics behind the
creation of moving images. Her work encompasses the filmic
languages of storytelling, chronicling, documentary and the
From the outset César's approach to the Galápagos Islands, which she visited in May 2011, was inspired by the science fiction novella La Invencíon de Morel (The Invention of Morel, 1940) by Argentine writer Adolfo Bioy Casares. The story revolves around the invention of a machine able to reproduce images, sounds and even scents, superimposing these onto reality, and making them indistinguishable from reality itself. In César's words, 'this machine enables Morel to create the artificial eternity of a fugitive moment in time.'
The geographic context and the military history of the archipelago as well as its strategic importance for the USA during the Cold War particularly captured César's imagination. Her research focused on Baltra Island (also known as South Seymour), which was an air base for the US army, and North Seymour Island, which was used for military shooting practice and bombing training. These lines of enquiry led her to the National Archives in Washington DC where she found aerial photographs of these islands taken by military aeroplanes, including the negatives presented on these pages, which record a line of flight to North Seymour.
For the exhibition César creates an installation based on film footage, documents and geo-political information captured in the Galápagos during and after the research trip, articulated with Morel's reflections.