In 1973, Orson Welles released the film
F for Fake - which was translated into French as Vérités
et Mensonges, Truths and Lies. The film revolves around the life
of a famous professional art forger, the Hungarian painter Elmyr
de Hory. Starting from this famous forger, Welles questions where
the truth lies, what authenticity is after all as a value of
the work of art.
What is truth? What is authenticity in art? Would a " true
" work of art be possible?
The film provokes a sense of deep questioning about what we believe
to be "real", particularly in the art world.
When I was a child, the figure of Orson Welles was very present
at my home. Of course, Orson Welles was never there, but my father
made amateur movies and had a great admiration for him.
Orson Welles and Howard Hughes were two of the characters, with
Charlie Chaplin, whose images, texts and films were very present
at our home, among others.
I remember when Orson Welles released F for Fake in 1973. I was
sixteen years old. It was the penultimate film he completed.
A year later the Carnation Revolution was happening in Portugal,
and I was in Lisbon at that time. I lived through that revolution
as if I was some sort of archeologist of the present time. I
walked through the streets, observing people. The general mood
was one of peace and love, with an electrifying keyword: liberty!
There was a real euphoria around the idea of liberty.
Something that was much talked about in the following years but
that surprisingly would be forgotten is that at the time of the
Portuguese Revolution for liberty many countries were living
under heavy dictatorships, and that after the Carnation Revolution,
one by one, many of them gradually became democracies - as if,
somehow, they had been "contaminated" by the love for
liberty that was celebrated in Portugal.
In this way, after that revolution, several countries became
democracies, such as Ethiopia in that same year of 1974, Spain
in the following year, Peru in 1980, Argentina in 1983, Brazil
in 1985, Chile in 1988, or South Africa with the brilliant Nelson
Mandela in 1988.
It is curious to ask ourselves why this idea fell into oblivion.
About fifty years later, at the beginning of the 21st century,
the planet seemed to change course. Some people started conspiring
for the implantation of a totalitarian, technological world government
- a time when liberty passed to be considered by many philosophers
and ideologists of power as something without value, without
historical importance, as something non-essential!
Absolute power, no matter what its nature, is radically opposed
to liberty - and always aspires to its own perpetuation.
Those who know me, clearly know that my whole life has been dedicated
to liberty, against any kind of dictatorship.
The virtual musical scores, the establishment of " logical
traps", art as a critique of culture in the way it operates,
everything in my work has always been dedicated to discovery,
enlightenment, self-knowledge, essential foundations of liberty.
We only learn and love from diversity. Its negation is narcissism,
the closing in on oneself.
But over the years we have created a technological monster in
the form of a voracious Leviathan whose bureaucratic tentacles
seriously threaten the liberty of all. It is a monstrous organism
that openly (or almost openly) operates to the benefit of dictatorial
and totalitarian regimes - whether ideological or religious in
nature - in the name of a supposed good for all!
The only way to defeat this monster is for each person to participate
in the change, by cultivating themselves; by not voting for politicians
who in any way, directly or indirectly, benefit this monster,
or who do not fight against it; by not buying products that have
been produced by dictatorships or totalitarian regimes; by peacefully
expressing our ideas, defending liberty of speech, of thought,
and individual liberties; by avoiding using technology that means
surveillance of people, potential restrictions on liberty, and
Very curiously, at the beginning of the 21st century people in
some countries started relating liberty to dictatorships! This
is a total absurdity, a more than obvious contradiction!
Apart from being publicly and openly condemned by dictatorial
regimes, the word "freedom" seemed to have been transformed
into an element of party politics in some countries, paradoxically
as if it were something against people!
This phenomenon is worldwide, not present in just one country.
Thus, at no time do I speak about any particular country - which
reveals an even more striking reality.
We have the clear notion that a good number of people do not
really know what liberty is.
Liberty is not destroying things, stealing or killing - liberty
is having the ability to determine the limits of our own actions,
each one of us, in such a way that the old saying: "my liberty
goes as far as the other's begins", can emerge and be consolidated.
If one day, someone tells you that liberty is not so important,
beware, he or she will surely be talking about your liberty,
not about his or her!
In 2021 I started a major project, of a multidimensional nature
- involving different dimensions from several disciplines - that
I called L like Liberty, recalling the penultimate film completed
by Orson Welles, as a challenge to thought, to reflection on
This project is composed of concerts, films, conferences, books,
photographs, and so on. It is a very big project, which absorbed
several months of work.
As part of this great work - and it was the first piece to be
made public - in February 2022 I gave the world première
of a music concert and an experimental movie, both with the same
title: L. Music and movie were made completely independently.
The music was exclusively composed with data from my genetic
map, my own DNA, and the sounds are all artificial. The film
was made using footage from experimental films made a hundred
years earlier, at the beginning of the 20th century.
In May 2022 I held the world premiere of 1000 Lights... Universe!
at the Joseph Beuys Museum in Italy, being music and movie dedicated
to Lucrezia De Domizio, Baroness Durini - also as part of the
large L like Liberty project.
In June 2022, I released the book Liberty - for sale on Amazon
worldwide, but also freely available on the academia.edu platform
The book Liberty, on paper or in pdf version, had three independent
editions: in Portuguese, in English and in Italian.
This book describes a long walking around the question of liberty
in more philosophical terms. It illuminates, in some way, many
contradictions and incongruities that we live day by day thanks
to the lack of understanding or to the manipulation of the meaning
of the idea of liberty.
In addition to these projects, there is a concerto for transverse
flute solo recorded in late 2021 in Bolognano, Italy, called
Deo - God as being everything. The long flute solo was written
using stochastic mathematical operations. It is a questioning
about the composer's own levels of freedom. I believe that this
questioning is somehow perceived by those listening to Deo.
This is followed by a book about the end of the idea of war -
inspired, in some sense, by my opera Metanoia, performed at the
fabulous monastery of Batalha in 2018 as part of the official
European celebrations for the end of the First World War in 1918.
Metanoia was performed in the monastery of Batalha, built in
the 14th century in a flamboyant Gothic style, in order to celebrate
the end of the Aljubarrota war with Spain and as a thought towards
the end of wars with that country. In fact, no war between Spain
and Portugal ever happened again.
The book is a challenge: what is the meaning of war in the 21st
century world? Will we be able to put an end to it? Does nobody
do anything and do we cross our arms?
War, any war, is the end of the human!
Then we have the Walking book edition, with a photographic essay
of mine taken over fifty years around the world. There are three
hundred and sixty-five photographs of paths taken in about one
hundred cities and places around the planet, in Europe, the Americas,
the Middle East, Africa, and the Far East.
The book Liberty is a great walk, as a reflection on different
approaches to reality made by the West and the East. The photo
essay Walking - always thinking of Thoreau - is a kind of non-verbal
reflection on this question.
In May 2022 I gave a master class at Faro University regarding
the obsolescence of the so-called digital media: The Human Metamorphosis.
That communication is also part of the L like Freedom project.
Surely, we could also consider as part of that great multidimensional
project the Observatory for the Future of Humanity, in partnership
with the city of Cascais, Portugal, founded in the framework
of the HERA Project which was created and is directed by Marianela
Mirpuri, dear friend, and the text-manifesto The Bird of Liberty
published as a book in 2019 as part of the activities of the
There is also an enigma poem, SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS -
key palindrome of the so-called Sator Square whose oldest representation
was discovered in the ruins of Pompeii. Here it happens in three
languages, Portuguese, English and Italian. I wrote this long
poem with a technique that produces a transformation in the neuronal
dynamics of the reader, altering and amplifying the universe
of meanings. I created this technique about forty years ago and
have often published literary texts with it. The first book published
with this technique was TAPAS - The Impermanence of Things and
Ideas, Architecture and the Unconscious, in 1984. Many others
This long poem - SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS - was originally
written for a publication in Germany, directed by Christoph Weigert.
But, as sometimes happens in our lives, the publication was suspended,
not by Christoph, but by the structure that supported the project.
Immediately after, I received a message from my dear friend Maria
do Rosário Loures, a Portuguese poet living in Nuremberg,
Germany, since 1987 and who was coordinating a special edition
of poetry for the HERA Project - a planetary anthology. There,
SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS was published for the first time.
L like Freedom is a big multidimensional project.
All this brings to mind a character who was an important reference
for my father, Charlie Chaplin, in his last words in the movie
The Great Dictator, made in 1940, when he said: "I don't
want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone
- if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want
to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live
by each other's happiness - not by each other's misery. (...)
The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they
took from the people will return to the people. And so long as
men die, liberty will never perish".
Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta, 2022