Screened during the Exile Vision Festival
Winner of the ADGP Work Exchange.
For this work, the artist uses as a point of departure George Perec’s novel “A Void” were the writer composes a narrative entirely without using the letter “e”. In contraposition, Ochoa crafts E Video, leaving all the sounds that the letter “e” produces, giving the work, an absurdly funny effect, detonating laughs from the viewer. Laughter is an essential element in this video that comes as a result of an incapability of understanding or making sense of what we are listening to. For this work, I interviewed several French participants asking them to share a sad episode of their lives. The result is as absurd as it is bizarre, when one cannot feel empathy or connection for a story that we do not follow. It is a video that speaks volumes about the artist struggle with the French language when he first arrived in Paris. It took a long process of familiarization to recognize the sounds and facial gestures typical of French speaking people. There are different approaches when one faces a new language: as a student, as a tourist, with a new internet friend and as an unwilling immigrant. In Ochoa’s case, one of the first words he registered and mastered was a very agressive “Back Up”, accompanied by negative body gestures, a phrase that often confronted him when he stood on line for hours waiting for papers regarding his new status as an exiled immigrant. That phrase remains embedded in his subconscious, which makes his first encounter with French and with France, a very unpleasant experience. The intention of this video is to change the perception of the stories and transform a negative experience into something light. A laugh that is not meant to be in ridicule or mock, but redolent of interior peace.
Why the letter E ?
One of the letters that has presented the biggest phonetic and emotional challenges to Ochoa in his quest to master French is the “e”, as it requires an air and sound movement done in tandem of the throat, lips and nose, along with a precise gesticulation that generates stress, as this particular sound does not exist in Spanish, his maternal language.
This work is composed as a two-part video, the first one, superimposed to his first year in France, where he only listens, but does not understand anything. The second part is made of black and white sharper and unsaturated still and static images, which transport the viewer to the way we are listened to as foreigners, when we start mastering the new language.