Path to gunpowder, Valparaiso, 2014. Video HD, 9 min, color, with sound.
This video about the city of Valparaiso in Chile portrays its physical situation based on its geography, history and economic development. The video was made with an aesthetic specific for this site and using an analytic montage of fragments. It focuses on the crossings of differences, wealthy areas cross with misery and nature with machines. There is footage of the remains of the colossal fire of April 2014 that added to the city’s long history of natural and social disasters.
The Spanish, the British and the French exploited the port making it a big example of post colonialism. After the opening of the Panama’s Canal its economy collapsed. During the dictatorship the workers lost the rights earned through decades and the port became fully privatized, Valparaíso became one of the poorest cities of Chile.
Because of the small size of the city and its concentration in forty-two hills the contrast is very strong and notorious. All its historical events are still apparent making it an example of the failures of modernism and postcolonial injustice.
In the video four inhabitants talk about issues of the city in dialogues off screen: a worker who lost two houses during the fire; an artist who lives in the experimental village of Ritoque; a cultural director who talks about animal theft recalling a scene from “Valparaiso mi amor”, a film of the sixties; and last, a woman who sells souvenirs in the port who talks about a street dog she looks after.