[-empyre-] hello world! o/

Gabriel Menotti gabriel.menotti at gmail.com
Sun Aug 3 10:59:58 EST 2008

Hello ppl!

I think I should start doing a brief introduction about Cine
Falcatrua's history, since it explains a lot about the way it works
and how its experience can contribute to this month's themes: media
centers, cultural works' distribution and institutionalization.

In 2003, Cine Falcatrua were but a group of undergrad students from
different courses, none of us involved directly with cinema besides of
spectatorship. Just your regular P2P leechers: we downloaded from the
internet feature and short films we could not find elsewhere, either
because they were rare, either because they haven't been released in
Brazil yet.

Interested in showing each other the movies we got, as well as
watching them in a real cinematographic struture (as they were meant
to be seen), we formalized an academic project so that we could borrow
a DLP projector from the University's communication department. With
this equipment, we started doing some regular, free screenings. Each
week, we projected a different movie we got from the internet.

Since we did not had a DVD-R drive, we projected the movies from the
same computer we used to download them. We liked to say it was the
first digital movie theater of Espírito Santo (our state).

Word spread quite fast, and in less them a month we had a regular
audience of more or less 300 people. Naturaly, Cine Falcatrua became a
venue for local moviemakers, and also local "curators" – it was a nice
place to show everyone an almost unknown movie you liked a lot.

Hence, almost by chance, unwantedly, we were propelled from mere
spectators to producers and curators of a film society which gathered
a weekly audience of hundreds.

A film society that, using a cheap (almost domestic) digital structure
and headless (unauthorized) networks, could be quicker than the
stablished cinematographic venues. We could screen million-dollar
movies like Kill Bill, in a great (divx) quality, two months before
they were officialy released in Brazil. And we got first-page
publicity in some newspapers, as if we were promoting official
premieres (always for free).

(Of course, that resulted in a lawsuit from some brazilian film
distributors, accusing us of "unfair competition".)

I think the most interesting thing to point out from this story is the
double process of incomplete institutionalization we went (and are
always going) through.

At first, we had to institutionalize ourselves in order to borrow
equipment from the university. It was this institutionalization that
made us vulnarable to the lawsuit. This happens everytime: even if we
do not follow all of a system's ways of proceding, in order to take
part of it, we must agree to its protocols (I always hear people who
create art within cellphone networks complaining about this).

But what was most impressive is that we were institutionalized from a
side we did not expect: the audience. The audience was expecting us to
serve them. To work failless. To educate people exhibiting "good
movies". To take art to less-favoured population. To "democratize
culture". To be an NGO. To be populistic. To remain static and

And our goal was to go beyond this. Using our cheap structure, we
could go were the cinematographic institution couldn't. We were free
to explore new cinemas, new ways of screening movies, new genres.

Is it possible to use the structures of diffusion and exhibition as
creative or critical interfaces? Isn't exerting authority also a way
of creating meaning and value?

But that are another points altogether. I'll come back to them in
another post. ^^

* * *

Gabriel Menotti takes part of the Cine Falcatrua group/ project since
the beginning. Cine Falcatrua ("scam" or "hoax") is a pirate film
society that has gone wild and invaded other cultural domains: new
media, videogame, open source software, contemporary art, etc.

His activities within Cine Falcatrua led him to his MA research, on
spatial dynamics for audiovisual consumption (namely, the historical
construction of the movie theater architecture and the effects of
digitization in movie distribution and screenings).

At the present time, he is enrolled in PhD courses both in the
Catholic University of São Paulo and in Goldsmiths College (University
of London), being a fellow of Goldsmiths' "Spaces, Connections,
Control" research programme.

His present academic interests include the relations between curating
and coding, as well as (cinematographic) circuits as "expanded

In the spare time, he does some old-school 2D animation.

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