Text David Komary
Pasajes VI (2022) is set in the building at Herengracht 401 in Amsterdam, where Dutch visual artist Gisèle d’Ailly van Waterschoot van der Gracht (1912–2013) hid a number of mostly Jewish artists and writers from the Nazis during World War II, ensuring their survival. After the end of the war, van Waterschoot bought the building where she then lived and worked until the end of her life. She later donated the residential building to the Castrum Peregrini Foundation—Castrum Peregrini was what the group of artists had called their wartime shelter—which now functions as a cultural center. The owner and helper of refugees also purchased the building next door, which, together with Herengracht 401, eventually formed the complex and multi-layered spatial setting for Diaz Morales’s Pasajes VI. The location of this spatial continuum turns out to be highly charged per se. But here too, Diaz Morales breaks away from a simple documentary reading, without emptying or neutralizing the place of its history. On the contrary, in this sixth Pasajes film, the artist adds a decidedly temporal and mnemic level to the local, spatial dimension. Individual shots reveal signifiers of another time or times, such as archive boxes stored in the basement, or the fading in of music clearly alluding to a different era than visually portrayed. The artist asserts that Pasajes VI not only transforms the place but also time. The spatial structure explored here, through which the protagonist leads the viewer, presents not only a kind of multiplicity of spatial layers, but also a kind of “time machine” that juxtaposes and superimposes what initially appears as temporally disjointed.
In Pasajes VI, the “portrayed” place also turns out to be something other than what it appears to be or was. Rather, it forms a spatiotemporal inflection point that—even though it is an actual place—makes us think more about time, duration, and, here, about memory and history as well. This spatiotemporal interconnection, similar to the topographical and spatial-diegetic reciprocity of the traversed spaces in