IRINEU DESTOURELLES
moving-image
drawings
CV/ Contact

                     
                       
                 
                       
Image of an Outsider with Popular Songs and Other Popular Sounds (Imagem de um Estrangeiro com Canções Populares e Outros Sons Populares)
2023, Digital HD file, 4:3, 20 minutes and 19 seconds, sound
Throughout most of the duration of the piece, a photograph of myself as a young boy, then recently arrived in Lisbon from Cape Verde to stay indefinitely, undergoes a process of ‘defacelessness’ and ‘monsterization’. The accompanying sound incorporates manipulated sounds from popular songs by fellow Cape Verdean musicians in the diaspora, along with extracts from dialogues in colonialist films.
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
                 
                       
Individual Simultaneously Self-Caressing and Self-punishing (Indivíduo que Simultaneamente auto-carece-se e Auto-flagela-se)
2023, HD file, 16:9, 9 minutes and 53 seconds, sound
The piece shows manipulated footage of a performative action that I executed and recorded in 2006. In this action, I simultaneously caress one side of my face with one hand while slapping and punching the other side of my face with the other hand. This performative action was part of a series of actions I performed and documented between 2005 and 2006, exploring contradictory inner-feelings as an immigrant.
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
             
                       
Being from a Nature-less World and Distorted Footage of Flowers.
2023, Digital 4K file: 4:3, 18 minutes and 36 seconds, colour, sound
With distorted footage of single and different flowers, a being from another world with articulate speech and abstract reasoning recounts the details of the war that his species waged against all other living beings that inhabiting 'his' world and what 'he' did to counter that.
I wrote the text and filmed the footage during a residency with Deveron Projects financed by Creative Scotland via the Culture Collective fund. Contributors include Matthew Evans (narration) and Jenny Salmean (voice recording).
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
           
                       

Monster's Walk in Ten Chapters
2022, Digital 4K file: 4:3, 37 minutes, sound
A melancholic dark monster arrives in a small rural town; otherness wandering in uninvited and unwanted. During his stay he walks through the different types of public spaces that characterize the town, mapping it, searching for something. After trespassing into a private space, he abruptly flees the town into the surrounding forest. While his quest unfolds, a non diegetic voice narrates a fairytale that tells a story of love between a princess and a monster broken by the ill will of kings, witches, and other beings.
Monster’s Walk in Ten Chapters emerged from a residency I undertook with Deveron Projects in the rural town of Huntly in Scotland. The film, including its narrated fairytale, pays homage to the fantasy literature works of Huntly-born writer and clergyman, George MacDonald (1824-1905), whilst embedding a critique of colonialist and social-darwinist mindsets. It also pays homage to Chantal Ackerman's film “News from Home” (1976), in its interweaving between contemplation of urban space, evocation of displacement and presence of the voice.
Written, directed and performed by Irineu Destourelles/ Featuring Narration by Maureen Ross/ Costume Designer: Zephyr Liddell / Costume Maker: Emily Smit-Dicks/ Director of Photography, Editor and Colourist: Daniel Hughes/ Sound Recordist and Mixer: Mark Readhead/ Story Editor: Lavendhri Arumugam/ Assistants: Anita Krasowska & Zuzana Fryntova. Produced by Deveron Projects, a Culture Collective project funded through Creative Scotland.
https://vimeo.com/extract

                     
                       
                       
                       
               
                       
Sketches for Geometric Abstract Paintings and Corrupted Sound from a Visual Arts Lesson
2020, Digital HD file, 16:9, 4 minutes and 52 seconds, b&w, sound
This work was made in response to a Collection of Contemporary African Art based in Europe. It displays a succession of b&w geometric abstract drawings at different stages of composition with corrupted sound from an audio recording of a visual arts and design lesson I delivered in Cape Verde.
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
                 
                       
Supernatural Forces, Mental Health and Detail from Indoors (Forças Sobrenaturais, Doença Mental e Detalhe de Interior)
2019, HD File, 16:9, 11 minutes and 18 seconds, silent
A text written in English and Portuguese versions runs over low opacity footage of a bouquet of plastic flowers. The fake flowers, which once adorned the dinner table in my parents' living room, evoke memories of my childhood domestic environment, where Creole and Western cultures intertwined. The text produces a hybrid context that juxtaposes references to Portuguese historical events, social attitudes towards mental health, and the state of democracy in Cape Verde. I wrote the text simultaneously in Portuguese and English languages. The English version is somewhat more rational, while the Portuguese one is more emotional, reflecting my relationship with both languages and the power play dynamics between them.
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
               
                       
One Hundred and Two Houses on Fire
2019, Digital HD file, 16:9, 9 minutes and 43 seconds, silent
Displays a series of drawings of houses consumed by fire from the inside. Growing up, I was told that in times gone by, leading up to their wedding day, Cape Verdean men built their family houses with their own hands, attesting to their physical strength and responsibility. As a diaspora, the notion of building a home is an unsettling and fragile construct.
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
                   
                       
Several Ways of Falling Ordered Differently
2019, Digital HD File, 16:9, 4 minutes and 8 seconds, silent
The artwork displays 35 sequences where I fall to the ground, with each sequence composed of the same shots but arranged in different orders. These shots± were recorded in my father's vegetable patch, located at my parents' home in the outskirts of Lisbon. My father uses this space to grow tropical vegetables that he planted and consumed during his youth in Cape Verde before emigrating to Europe in the early 1970s.
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
               
                       
Ex-colonial Landscape with Different Filters
2019, MiniDV transferred to digital HD file, 4:3, 4minutes and 30 seconds, silent
Manipulated footage of a landscape from my native island of Santo Antao in Cape Verde runs in parallel with phrases composed of quotes from Portuguese pop music and Angolan civil-war leaders. The text interweaves extracts from lyrics of well-known Portuguese pop songs from the 1980s and 1990s with excerpts from speeches made by the presidents of MPLA and UNITA, the two opposing factions during the Angolan civil war (1975 to 2002 with interludes). Pop culture and post-colonial civil war coexist in this piece, pointing towards two very different and interconnected postcolonial realities. As Portugal moved away from its problematic colonial past towards a democratic Western identity, its former colonies in Africa, including Angola, struggled through political unrest and/or civil war. Representations of these two realities coexisted in Portuguese media during my formative years, making it simple to understand Africa as irrational and bloody, and Western Europe beyond Portugal as free and fun.
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
                 
                       
Unevenly Spaced and Censored Anonymous Undergraduate Essay and Love for Gardens
2018, Digital HD file, 16:9, 13 minutes and 5 seconds, sound
An anonymous essay on the critical reception of artwork made by black visual artists runs with aleatory uneven spaces between words. It runs over footage I made in the garden of a suburban London flat. I commissioned the essay from an online essay mill company, specifying the essay's title and that it should be written at undergraduate level. I also supplied reference texts, including Charles Gaines' 'The Theatre of Refusal: Black Art and Mainstream Criticism' (1993) and Henry E. Garrett's 'The Equalitarian Dogma' (1961) published in the infamous journal Mankind Quarterly, published in Edinburgh when at its most influential. This piece was made to feature in an exhibition on issues surrounding Scottish and UK influence upon the US.
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
             
                       
Glossary of Political Words - Almost One-hundred Definitions
2017, Digital HD file, 16:9, 35 minutes and 39 seconds, silent
Alternative meanings, often sardonic and suggestive of social Darwinism and works by Nietzsche, are attributed to words found in a glossary of political words. Since the 1960s, Portuguese colonialism was accused of 'verbal luxury,' constructing colonial representations that had little resemblance to the harsh reality. Similarly, contemporary political discourse often invests anti-ethical practices with democratic concepts.
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
                 
                       
White Balance Error and Subject with Straight Long Hair, 2017
2017, Digital HD file, 16:9, 7 minutes and 48 seconds, sound
The artwork depicts a white woman's face through extreme camera close-ups, which she systematically rejects, invoking the gaze of another upon the white feminine and subsequently, or inconsequently, rejecting feminine conventions. Introducing perceptual error from the onset by not adjusting the camera's white balance function, and in a context where the camera's view embodies an intrusive male gaze, the female character performs an established trope of feminine beauty only to reject it later - she combs her long hair and puts on make-up, only to remove it.
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
             
                       
Blurred Images of Two People Constrained by Time Fluctuating Between Acceptance and Rejection
2016, Digital HD file, 16:9, 4 minutes and 2 seconds, sound
A couple sitting in a public space goes through a cyclical range of contradictory actions, moving back and forth between affection and aggression. At the same time, she peels and eats fruit and gives some to him to eat.
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
           
                       
Parsing (First and Second Half of an Essay, with Blank Spaces and Mistakes, Running in Simultaneous)
2016, Digital HD file, 16:9, 13 minutes and 22 seconds, silent
The artwork runs an essay split into two parts, which run concurrently and with words that denote status, time, and place removed. The original essay is an informative piece on James VI of Scotland/James I of England and his son, King Charles I's attitudes to power. When I moved to Scotland from London during the summer of 2014, in the midst of the Scottish independence referendum campaign, the essay I had written in 2007 seemed pertinent to address the ways in which understanding of the past and present is intrinsic to social hierarchies in relation to time and place.
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
                     
                       
Emotional Exhibition Review
2016, Digital file from MiniDv tape, 4:3, 13 minutes and 13 seconds, sound
The artwork features footage of an African urbanscape with a voice-over that reads an unpublished review of a contemporary African arts exhibition. The footage was filmed in Accra from the window of the hotel room where I wrote a draft of a review of the Dak'Art 2010 African Contemporary Art Biennial, the day after I saw the exhibition. The voice that reads the text is an open-source text-to-voice software application that makes errors every time it reads African language-based words. The inspiration for this piece came from encountering a photograph I had taken of a handwritten message written on the first pages of a novel left in a hotel room in Dakar. I created this piece approximately six years after visiting the biennale and writing the review. The found message is a Western person's harsh assessment of Dakar. Re-encountering it prompted me to revisit my initial emotional experience of the biennial in Dakar.
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
                 
                       
Twenty-five Profiles (Extracts from Interracial Adult Marketing Material with Explicit Words Taken Out)
2015, Digital HD file from found text: 16:9, 11 minutes and 55 seconds, silent
Text-based video work composed of phrases extracted from profile descriptions of female porn actors listed on a website specializing in white-female/black-male interracial pornographic content. The phrases have words with explicit content and other offensive meanings removed. Online, the sub-genre of interracial porn often draws on colonialist stereotypes and racial tropes to produce and promote content. This piece asks to what extent audiences are conversant with such strategies.
https://vimeo.com/extract
                     
                       
                       
                       
             
                       
New Words for Mindelo's Urban Creole
2014, Digital HD file, 16:9, 10 minutes and 26 seconds, sound
Displaying neologisms aimed at enriching the vocabulary of the substratum Creole language of Cape Verde, which is spoken in informal contexts. I draw from my experience of living and working in Mindelo, my native Cape Verde. The neologisms, derived from names of Portuguese colonial administrators and characters from Greek mythology, propose parallels between colonial history and the social dynamics that have emerged in the country since 1990, with the end of a single-party Marxist regime that gave way to parliamentary democracy and a free market economy. This work, made three years after I left the country, is not only a critical reflection on particular social practices but also reflects my perspective as an 'returnee' diaspora, offering an outsider's observation of that society.
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Metathesiophobia
2011, Digital HD file, 16:9, 100 minutes and 54 seconds, sound
A cropped, long single-shot footage of three characters sitting at a table, who pack the white powdery content of plastic containers, runs with an off-screen voice that reads René Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy (1641). For the sound, an extract from an audiobook of Meditations on First Philosophy was cut into sentences, which were then aleatorily re-edited. The reading maintains its authoritative tone but, upon close scrutiny, lacks discernible meaning. From 2009-2011, I lived in the harbour city of Mindelo, in my native Cape Verde. In that context, the practice of drug-trafficking and the allure of Western ideals at times juxtapose.
Performers: Elisabete Goncalves, Zenaida Alfama Medina, and Irineu Destourelles/ Camera: Luís Carlos Fontes de Alencar Filho and Mamadou Diop/ Direct sound: David Medina.
https://vimeo.com/extract