We are delighted to welcome Paz Encina on her first visit to the US. A Paraguayan artist, filmmaker, humanist, and committed intellectual, Encina is the UC Regents’ Lecturer of 2017. The extreme isolation of Paraguay for the last 150 years and the radical suppression of information about the country’s modern history are central to all of Encina’s film and installation work. “Memory as a theme is something inherent to my life. I was born during a dictatorship, and I lived my childhood and teenage years in a dictatorship.” In her work, Paraguay’s tragic isolation is seen as a consequence of a population devastated by numerous wars, decades of military rule and antidemocratic regimes, and a political economy that only recently has entered into neoliberal global forms of circulation.
Encina’s audiovisual work deals with historical events and draws on archival materials, most notably the Archives of Terror, the unique documentation that the regime kept of its own human rights abuses. Yet Paz Encina’s work is poetic in form and in its approach to history, on the edge of narrative and nonnarrative, never realist. Sound is at the heart of her explorations: her scripts resemble scores; sounds evoke images, not the other way round. Encina’s films recall both Bresson and Tarkovsky in their search for the audiovisual balance between surface and depth. She herself claims the video work of Bill Viola to be at the core of her approach to cinema.
Natalia Brizuela, Guest Curator
Associate Professorof Spanish and Portuguese at UC Berkeley