In 2009 I found an audio cassette of a 1974 news broadcast recorded from the radio by one of my uncles at his home in Portugal. He had mailed this cassete tape to my parents, immigrants living in California, to give them a sense of the revolution that had just occurred in their country of birth. The tape relates the events of April 25, 1974 in an hour by hour narrative (in Portuguese) given by two reporters, one male and one female. I was initially taken by the degradation of the sound. Poor quality images and sounds in media had long interested me. I was also struck by the persistence of the narrative's linear structure. The way the male voice describes an hour, the female voice describes the next hour, back to the male and so on until the twenty-four hours are described. I thought it would be interesting to break up that linear structure, juxtapose it with images and create overlaps in order to explore how we experience time and memory. So I started making little movies for each hour with the idea of somehow playing them simultaneously. There have been many versions of these movies throughout the years. I finally settled on some rules for structure:
- Twenty-four videos, each 5 minutes long
- Each video contains the sound from one of the narrated hours in the broadcast described above as well as other sounds
- Each video is mixed from digitized 8mm and super8 film footage as well as video shot on an iphone
- Videos are made in chronological order, one at a time
- Videos are played simultaneously in one or more of the following formats
- a web page
- a grid of 8x10" digital picture frames hung on a wall
- a variety of old television sets and monitors spread throughout a room with tables and chairs
- a series of wall projections
My goal with Twenty-four Hours is to explore, in visual and abstract form, ways in which we experience time, memory and moments of profound change. This project is not an attempt to depict the Portuguese revolution historically. However I did get interested in researching the history and events. Links to my research are below.
Source material includes 8mm film from family archives, black and white hand developed super 8 film, original and found video, original and found sound. This is an ongoing project which is still building and changing.
Related Books and Articles
- Barreno, Maria Isabel, Maria Teresa Horta and Maria Velho da Costa, The Three Marias: New Portuguese Letters. Doubleday, 1974.
- Ferreira, Hugo Gil and Michael W. Marshall. Portugal's Revolution: Ten Years On. London: Cambridge University Press
- Graham, Lawrence S. and Douglas L. Wheeler, eds. In Search of Modern Portugal: The Revolution and Its Consequences. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1983.
- Harsgor, Michael. 1976. Portugal in Revolution. The Washington Papers, vol. 3, no. 32. Beverly Hills and London: Sage Publications, 1976.
- Mailer, Phil. Portugal: The Impossible Revolution. Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1977.
- Maxwell, Portugal: Abcient Country, Young Democracy 946-9044 Portugal
- Maxwell, Kenneth. The Making of Portuguese Democracy. NY: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
- The Political History of Twentieth-Century Portugal by Manuel Baioa, CIDEHUS-University of Evora.
- The United States and the Portuguese Decolonization (1974-1976) Kenneth Maxwell, Council on Foreign Relations. Paper presented at the International Conference "Portugal, Europe and the United States", Lisbon, October, 2003.
- Centro de Documentação 25 de Abril, Universidade de Coimbra.
- April 25, 1974, at 12:20AM the song Grandola, Vila Morena by Zeca Afonso was broadcast on Portuguese radio as a signal to start the revolution.
- A Hora da Liberdade. 1999 SIC docudrama by Emídio Rangel, Rodrigo Sousa, Castro and Joana Pontes.
- Capitaines D'Avril (April Captains). Maria de Medeiros, 2000.
- 48. A film by Susana de Sousa Dias (2009) using archival images and film from the Salazar dictatorship (1926-1974).