Filipa César (b. in Porto, 1975) is an artist based in Berlin. Louis Henderson (b. in Norwich, 1983) is an artist based in Paris and Berlin.
Cabo de Roca is the most western point in Europe. Here, ‘where the land ends and the sea begins’, sits Portugal’s most remote lighthouse, which Sunstone takes as its starting point. The film’s narrator is the keeper of the lighthouse, Roque Pina, and he takes us on an associative journey through the history of navigation via the physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel, who, during the 1820s, invented a new optical technology to make lighthouses shine brighter and further. The film traces Fresnel’s lighthouse lenses from their emergence, to being exhibited in a museum. The lens is singled out from the mechanical structure of the lighthouse and studied as an object. Two hands hold the massive glass device against the sun, the lens fractures the light, but at the same time darkens your field of vision. The symbolism of the lighthouse is manifold – on the one hand a bearer of light on the dark seas, associated with the potentials of vision, and the enlightenment’s ideals of scientific progression. But also as the enabler of expansive naval military operations, notably the colonial occupation of other continents, and the capitalist developments that it brought back to Europe. “We need a philosopher of lighthouses,” the narrator declares.
Sunstone explores the relationship between visibility and knowledge, light and enlightenment through the lens of optical technology, 3D, CGI-imagery, and 16mm analogue cinematography. The artists Filipa César and Louis Henderson come together in their shared interest in fictitious documentaries, and alternative modes of narration. Over the course of the film, we follow an abstract conversation about the design of navigation systems and colonialism, where our modern digital satellite system, with GPS as the prime example, at once guides and surveils us. Navigation systems developed by the military are a manifestation of power, but they also grant power. Because those who make the maps, also make the future.
Filipa César (b. in Porto, 1975) is an artist based in Berlin.
Louis Henderson (b. in Norwich, 1983) is an artist based in Paris and Berlin.
Filipa César & Louis Henderson, Sunstone, 2018
Galleri Syster, Luleå