Toni Serra * ) Abu Ali, (Manresa 1960 - Barcelona 2019), is a Catalan videomaker who lived between Barcelona and Duar Msuar (Morocco). Author of video, text and other sub-media. Founding member of the OVNI Archives (Observatory of Non Identified Video, where he did research and programming work.
For him video was a writing medium, which he used for both essay and poetry forms. Through his work he has explored different visions, in a nomansland between the experimental essay and the poetry with a constant presence of the trance notion and the realities of dream. In his first works, in Barcelona, New York and Tanger, he was asking himself about beauty, the mystery of the ephemeral and the margins. After 1994, back in Barcelona he starts the video TV Code series, a personal immersion in the criticism of the mass media alienation mechanisms, trying to parody the spectacular seduction and to achieve a deconstruction of its hypnotic capacity of creating social models and identity stereotypes.
The progressive knowledge that criticism must be a medium that helps to know and understand new worlds, leads him to consider and experiment the relationship between video and the visionary, between the inner experience and the visions in transition between worlds, spaces and times, between the real and the surreal, the dream and the sleep and the noon, the poetry and the prophecy...like a trip that not only is crossing but is also wiping those limits and borders.
“In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I discovered video as a medium that allowed me to think about, challenge, and break away from confining imaginaries, and above all as a means by which to embark on a journey of knowledge. Not knowledge as a form of accomplishment or acquisition, or as a way of conquering of spaces. Not knowledge as way to enter the unknown, but as a way for the unknown to enter. A way of opening a doorway into the place where we end up, into the experience that surpasses us…"
"I’m talking about a way of writing images that has very little to do with the image industry. Independent video, in my case at least, is very like a craft: a camera, a computer for editing, and endless time for dreaming and travelling through that in-between world of images. Occasional collaborations with musicians, conversations, and a particular way of editing that seems to be getting closer to poetry, to dreaming, to visions. I have rarely, if ever, worked in the form of a project: an idea, a script, and its subsequent translation into images.”
“I work, so to speak, directly with images, without a conventional script, following lines that are intuited rather than written. I don’t work with ideas, but with images that I have “seen” somewhere in me before, or in a conversation, or in somebody’s eyes. And often, most of the time, I look for images that I want to see, images that I ask for, because I don’t know what they are. So I set out to look for them, without knowing whether I will find them, whether that part of me will remain blind for now, and whether perhaps that is as it should be.”
“So, when I film, I don’t have the sense that I am “capturing” images – a very common expression that should immediately lead us to ask: who is doing the capturing? (because in reality, it is the hunter of images who is captured by them). At most, I have sometimes felt as if I were reading something that was already written there, whose deeper nature I ignore. Other times, I have been carefree and danced with the images, let myself be carried away by them, feeling that there is a subtle dance in things, in places, in lights, in shadows… And sometimes I have immersed myself in contemplation and I have asked to see.”
“I also became aware that by working with video, I was working with light. More precisely, with lights and patches, with shadows and colours that created visions, intangible presences. I began to see the relationship between video and dreams, and particularly visions. The need for contemplation that I mentioned earlier, but also the idea of moving in an barzaj: an intermediate world between the real and the unreal, the visible and the invisible, sleep and wakefulness… Not ideas, but images that want to be seen, that visit us through dreams or through in-between spaces, breaks, contemplations.”