Trabalhos aprovados 2023

Ficha do Proponente


    Érica Faleiro Rodriguess (UL)


    Curator, filmmaker and assistant professor in film and media arts at Universidade Lusófona. Lead writer in the FilmEU European projects WP2 Institutional and Staff Capacity Building, and WP6 Research and Innovation. Received a Skillset Millennium Fellowship Award from the British government for her filmmaking. Recently secured funding to direct a documentary about pioneering women in Portuguese cinema. The relationship between theory and practice is central to her academic work.


    Diego Barajas Riano (TLU – BFM)

Ficha do Trabalho


    Filming the Congo Panorama – Materialities of practice-led research




    In 2022, Érica Faleiro Rodrigues (director) and Diego Barajas Riaño (cinematographer) filmed the 1913 Congo Panorama, 110 years after its first presentation and almost 80 years after its last public display. Together, they analyse the materialities, construction and deconstruction involved in the creative process of making a film about this object. For this, it is important to shed light on the conflict between aesthetic perspectives, technical constraints and the relevance of decolonising.

Resumo expandido

    In December 2022, Érica Faleiro Rodrigues (director) and Diego Barajas Riaño (cinematographer) spent weeks in Belgium filming the 1913 Congo Panorama. 110 years after its first presentation in the Colonial Pavilion at the 1913 International Exposition in Ghent, and almost 80 years after its last public display at the 1935 International Exposition in Brussels, the large Panorama du Congo (115 x 14 metres) was unrolled to be photographed and filmed by the FilmEU RIT project Congo VR. At the end, this giant object was returned to the military archive. Due to the costs of having it displayed to the public, due to its size and to the fact that it remains a glorification of Belgium´s colonial past, it is impossible to know when it will see the light of day again. For this reason, the film may be compared with Werner Herzog´s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, an opportunity to scrutinise something hidden from the public.

    The panorama was painted by Belgian painters Alfred Bastien (1873-1955) and Paul Mathieu (1872-1932). This canvas depicting scenes from the Belgian Congo was initially displayed in a purpose-built rotunda where it could be viewed from a central platform. It is part of the collection of the War Heritage Institute (WHI) in Belgium and has been stored in military facilities for decades. This context has proved crucial for securing the logistics required to unroll a 115 metre panorama weighing several tons. Using two bergepanzer 2000 tanks with cranes, the canvas was transported to a large warehouse by personnel of the WHI, the Congo VR team and a group of volunteers. The success of this operation is the result of combining military, heritage and academic expertise. It is an important step in the preservation and future research of this important artefact of colonial heritage.

    In this paper, Faleiro Rodrigues and Barajas Riaño analyse the materialities, construction and deconstruction involved in the process of filming the 1913 Congo Panorama. They shed light on the conflict between aesthetic perspectives, technical constraints and the need to contextualise the panorama. During this journey the panorama was filmed in both a detailed and an experimental manner, but it was also scrutinised under decolonising perspectives. A practice-led research was undertaken at all stages. For a grounded decolonisation of the Congo Panorama, Faleiro Rodrigues and Barajas Riaño interviewed specialists as diverse as African heritage curators, botanical specialists and academic authorities.

    The term Materialities, applied to cinema, conveys the different areas that interact in the materialisation of a film. The aim of this paper is to promote debate around the communicative and expressive powers inscribed in the many elements that comprise the 1913 Congo Panorama, apprehending filmmaking as a complex process apportioned between different disciplines; culminating in a final work that is “inter-artistic”, since a wide range of arts and crafts have collaborated in the construction of the cinematic object. It is a testimony of how a materialities methodology seeks to isolate each material dimension, with a view to examining its function in the construction of the object “film”. The entire final abstraction we call a film is based upon a set of concrete and material realities. Such formulation posits the “disassembling” of every component at the heart of all “practical” structuring of the film so that each piece can be treated as an object worthy of analysis.

    This paper was developed under a Research, Innovation and Technology project, one of 4 hubs being developed by the FilmEU Alliance (The European University for Film and Media Arts). FilmEU strives to develop the field of artistic research in European Higher Education, promoting the relevance of cultural and aesthetic values across Europe. FilmEU brings together four European Higher Education Institutions: Lusófona University; Baltic Film, Media and Arts School; LUCA School of Arts; and IAD


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