PCAI's "Bananaland" will be presented in HIT Gallery, Bratislava, as part of Loukia Alavanou's new solo exhibition "Bloody Crop" .
Bananaland (2017) is a film shot in Ecuador, the first country to recognize the rights of nature in its constitution and where the toxic waste management company Polyeco, commissioner of the film, has undertaken to remove the toxic pesticides they formerly used in agriculture. The film emphasizes the impact of the pesticides on the life of the indigenous inhabitants of the small agricultural banana village of Los Angeles, in South Ecuador. The film is composed as a collage, combining self-shot footage of the farmers with images from the historical propaganda dioramas from a museum in Guayaquil as well as historical American children’s colonialist cartoons and propaganda documentaries, such as 1950’s Journey to Bananaland. The narrator’s voice, often playfully censored in the montage, deals with the act of cutting. The cut is even mentioned in the context of processing fruits, as if dictated by someone in authority to their slave. The residents of the Ecuadorian village of Los Ángeles apparently appear illuminated from bellow, from a frog’s perspective, reminding the imposing heroic figures of Socialist Realism that stand in the nearby village of Milagro.
The curator, Lýdia Pribišová, notes: "Composed of collaged fragments from cinematic sources interweaved with her own film sequences, Loukia Alavanou’s films and installations deal with the female voice in film, or even the absence thereof. Growing up in a Communist context right after the fall of the US-backed Greek dictatorship in the 1970s, a transitional period in a schizophrenic country emerging from the centuries of colonial rule, the artist embraces montage as a vehicle of propaganda parody, exaggerating contradictions and manipulating the ‘real’. While the emphasis of her films lays on the cut and the sound dictates her playfully manipulative narratives, the found footage assembled comes from many different sources: From abstract images in the early Walt Disney cartoons or Ingmar Bergman’s iconography, folly sounds from post-war British Technicolor films and narrations from the USA propaganda children’s documentaries. These are collaged with self-shot images of ruins, gold-mines, post-capitalist wastelands and the dark rooms of photography and dioramas."
Supported using public funding from the Slovak Arts Council and Ars Bratislavensis.
Exhibition opening on November 21, 2019 at 7:00 PM
On until December 19, 2019
Hviezdoslavovo nám. 18, Bratislava, Slovakia
Image credit: Still image from Loukia Alavanou, Bananaland (2017), PCAI Collection