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The Fundació Joan Miró presents 'Different Trains', a video installation by Beatriz Caravaggio
Different Trains © Beatriz Caravaggio.

BARCELONA.- In 1988 Steve Reich composed Different Trains, an innovative work in three movements for string quartet and pre-recorded tape. This autobiographical piece evokes, in the first movement, the train journeys from New York to Los Angeles that the composer made between 1939 and 1942 to visit the homes of his divorced parents. In the second movement, the remembrance of these journeys as a romantic childhood adventure is overlaid by a contrafactual scenario exploring the likely fate of a Jew like him in the Europe of the time: the trains would have been one-way vehicles of deportation to the Nazi extermination camps. The final movement refers to the end of the war period and the rapid process of social transformation, as symbolized by the new trains, but also refers to the survivors’ inability to leave behind the doubts, anxieties and memories of the crimes and devastation of the Nazi regime.

In 2016, in a work commissioned by the BBVA Foundation, Beatriz Caravaggio has revisited Steve Reich’s ideas, giving the score a visual life. Her cinematographic recomposition builds on a montage of archive images of the wartime period. The film transports us from a setting of idyllic landscapes and magnificent trains to the survivors’ journey to America, by way of a central movement that conjures up the darkest chapters of the war. In this passage, the author juxtaposes archive images of deportations, death camps and the liberation. The film is characterised by the division of the screen into three parts, bringing out a rich range of meanings; a slightly out-of-synch triptych that achieves a temporal fragmentation while producing a cohesive collage of dynamics and transitions. The video art work has been synchronised with the Kronos Quartet’s canonical 1989 performance of Different Trains.

Beatriz Caravaggio born in Oviedo (Spain), has made music videos, documentary films, video art works and video installations. Her documentaries have been shown at the Festival du Film de Montreal, Les Rencontres Internationales Paris / Berlin / Madrid, Festival de Cine de Bogotá, Festival de Cine Iberoamericano de Huelva, and have been broadcast on Canal + España, TV3 Televisió de Catalunya, EITB Euskal Telebista, Canal Satélite Digital and Documania. Her videos art works and video installations have been shown at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Fundación BBVA, Círculo de Bellas Artes and La Casa Encendida in Madrid; at the Fundació Joan Miró and CCCB Centre de Cultura Contemporània in Barcelona; at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao; at the Museo Patio Herreriano de Valladolid; at Toledo Museum of Arts, Ohio; at the Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth, in Australia, and at Canon Digital Creators Context in Japan, among others.

She has been awarded various prizes and production grants, such as that of the Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales of the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Centro de Creación Contemporánea Matadero Madrid; the Festival Minima Prize and the Net.Art Visual Prize for her work Mapping Suspicion.

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