Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Cinematic Ethics within the Picnoleptic Moment in José Luis Guerín's En construcción

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2009), 86, (4), 537–554.

Abstract

On the surface, José Luis Guerín's En construcción (2001) presents a biting critique of capitalism and the way in which construction has become a source of economic benefit in present-day Spain. Underlying this criticism, however, is an important commentary on visuality, historical cinematic memory and the relationship between architecture and cinema. This study, while recognizing Guerín's critique of exploitative building practices, postulates that his auto-reflexive approach to filmmaking corresponds to an architectural ethics that desires the return of a symbiotic matrimony between art, industry and social life. From there, the article posits that Guerín's commentary on architecture and urban life is a submerged metaphor for both capitalistic criticism and an ethics of cinema, an ethics implying synchronic conjuration of past tradition and the creation of a desultory, protracted temporality.

A primera vista, En construcción (2001) de José Luis Guerín efectivamente comunica una crítica tajante del capitalismo y la manera en que la construcción en la España actual se ha convertido en el gran negocio. Surgiendo de esta crítica, sin embargo, es un comentario importante sobre la visualidad, la memoria cinemática histórica y la relación entre la arquitectura y el cine. Este estudio, aunque reconoce la crítica de Guerín con respecto a las prácticas explotadoras de los negocios de construcción, postula que la técnica cinemática auto-reflexiva de Guerín corresponde a una ética arquitectónica que desea el regreso del matrimonio simbiótico entre las artes, la industria y la vida social. De ahí, arguyo que el comentario de Guerín en torno a la arquitectura y la vida urbana es una metáfora sumergida igualmente para la crítica capitalista y una ética de cine, una ética que implica el conjuro sincrónico de tradición anterior y la creación de una temporalidad aleatoria y prolongada.

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Viestenz, William