“Captain Gervasio’s Family” a film by Tamar Guimarães & Kasper Akhøj

(Baltimore, United States)

The many spirit mediums of Palmelo, a rural city in Central Brazil, are featured in Captain Gervasio’s Family (2013-2014), short made by the Copenhagen-based collaborators Tamar Guimarães, who was nominated to PIPA for six times in a row, and Kasper Akhøj. The 16-minute black-and-white film is a meditative look at the mediums who communicate with the dead and engage in psychic healing practices at a spiritual centre known as Luz da Verdade (The Light of Truth). Holding hands and facing a magnetiser, they practise a method which they call a ‘magnetic chain’ – a medical treatment based on a unique understanding of disease and health which contradicts our modern understanding and methods. By juxtaposing details of modern Brazilian architecture, famously located in the cities of Brasilia, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the film relates our modern cities to the twenty astral cities, whose coordinates were mapped inside Brazilian territory by one of Palmelo’s mediums and which have been described as ‘just like those that exist on Earth, but infinitely more perfect’. According to the artists’ projection or view, both types of cities aspire to the same ideals, like a kind of ectoplasm or projection of the future. In this way, past, present and future converge in an elaborate notion of existence, dream and reality.

Captain Gervasio’s Family premiered at the 55th Venice Biennale’s main exhibition, The Encyclopedic Palace, in 2013 and was featured at the 31st São Paulo Biennale in 2014. The film is now presented at the exhibition “Black Box: Tamar Guimarães & Kasper Akhøj” curated by Kristen Hileman at the Baltimore Museum of Art, in partnership with The John Hopkins University’s Center for Advanced Media Studies (CAMS). Guimarães and Akhøj will be in residence at the University later on this year. Throughout their work, the duo explore the structure of social space and hierarchies, within both small communities and geographically or racially defined groups of people.

View more stills from the film below:

“Black Box: Tamar Guimarães & Kasper Akhøj”, exhibition featuring Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj
On view from February 8, 2017 — June 11, 2017

Baltimore Museum of Arts
John Hopkins University
10 Art Museum Dr, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
Working hours: wed—sun, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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