Filipa César and Louis Henderson
7 mins 30 secs (excerpt, 30 mins)
Single-channel video, sound, colour.
Sunstone is co-commissioned by Gasworks, London; Contour Biennale 8, Mechelen; and the Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia, Lisbon
'The lighthouse, as a man-made object built to shed light into the dark unknown, encapsulates perfectly the desires of the Enlightenment project of modernity: the domination of nature through reason and intellect, the advancement of technology and trade on a global scale, the illuminatory transparency of European Christian morality – a beacon in the dark. This 'op-film' will be a disorienting and disoccidenting dérive from optical navigation to algorithms of locating – an essay against the grain of Western patterns of referencing and situating. From a film made with lenses and photosensitive celluloid to the desktop locating engine, we will navigate from the material production of Fresnel lenses to the invention of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) – the tool that announces the obsolescence of the lighthouse.
GNSS alters human perception of space, powers of vision, and cartographic capabilities, and create new images of the world. With this new system of mapping come new forms of power and control. If the lighthouse signals a growth in transatlantic transportation, then satellite systems signal the transfer of the material substrate of commerce from goods to data. GNSS is born in an age of the networked interpolation of military space, civic space, commercial space, private space, and public space. The lighthouse remains on the shores of consciousness as a form of thinking – GNSS navigates it further.'