Unmaking Cinema - A Conversation With Raphael Montañez Ortiz

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Light Cone presents a selection of recently digitized films and videos by Raphael Montañez Ortiz and proposes a conversation with the artist in the company of art historians Chon Noriega and Kevin Hatch.

Raphael Montañez Ortiz (b. 1934, New York) is a multidisciplinary artist perhaps best known for his radical performances of the 1960s as part of the Destructivist movement which he helped to articulate. Not many know that he is also a pioneer of found footage cinema who deserves greater recognition within the American filmic avant-garde. Starting in 1957, he produced a number of singular works by subjecting 16mm prints of commercially- or institutionally-produced films to a cut-up method inspired by Yaqui shamanic practices, a kind of ritualistic chance operation intended to break down their structure and thoroughly undermine their discursive power. In the mid-1980s, Montañez Ortiz continued his critical deconstructions of commercial cinema, this time exploring a novel format: the laser disc. Having created a special interactive setup at the computer lab of Rutgers University, the artist transformed micro-moments from classic films into looping, stuttering choreographies that, through obsessive repetition, reveal the tacit gestualities and subconscious inner dynamics of these seemingly innocent Hollywood scenes.

These works have recently acquired a renewed visibility thanks to a digitization project led by the Chicano Studies Research Center of UCLA. In addition, in 2020 El Museo del Barrio published the first monograph on the artist, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, edited by Javier Rivero Ramos, and Found Footage Magazine dedicated its March 2020 issue (nº6) to his work.


Raphael Montañez Ortiz will converse with art historians Chon Noriega and Kevin Hatch on March 24, 2021, at 6pm (GMT+1) via Zoom. You can register for the event by following this link.

Chon Noriega, professor at the department of Film, Television and Digital Media at UCLA and director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, which holds the archives of Raphael Montañez Ortiz. Art historian, curator and author of numerous books, including Shot in America: Television, the State, and the Rise of Chicano Cinema (University of Minnesota Press, 2000) and Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement (University of California Press, 2008).

Kevin Hatch, associate professor of Art History at Binghampton University, researcher with an interest in postwar American art and author of Looking for Bruce Conner (MIT Press, 2012).

Monday March 22, 2021, 10:00

This program will be available for streaming free of charge between March 22 and March 28, 2021 in this page.

  • GOLF (1957 / 16mm / b&w / sound / 1' 09)
  • COWBOY AND "INDIAN" FILM (1957-1958 / 16mm / b&w / sound / 2' 00)
  • HENNY PENNY: THE SKY IS FALLING (1957-1958 / 16mm / b&w / sound / 8' 43)
  • NEWS REEL (1958 / 16mm / b&w / sound / 2' 00)
  • THE KISS (1985 / U-Matic / b&w / sound / 6' 00)
  • WHAT IS THIS (1985 / U-Matic / b&w / sound / 9' 15)
  • YOU BUST YOUR BUNNS (1986 / U-Matic / color / sound / 5' 30)
  • GONNA GET ME A GAL (1991 / U-Matic / b&w / sound / 3' 00)
  • DANCE NUMBER 22 (1993 / U-Matic / b&w / sound / 7' 22)
  • THE CONVERSATION (1996 / U-Matic / color-b&w / sound / 12' 00)



De Lunes, Marzo 22, 2021 (Todo el día) hasta Domingo, Marzo 28, 2021 (Todo el día)