This video work is based on Marco Polo’s travelogue as dictated to Rustichello of Pisa, a writer of chivalric romances who shared Marco Polo’s prison cell in Genoa in 1298-1299. Torfs made it in her final year at the film and video department of Sint Lukas University College of Art and Design, Brussels, in 1990.

"Of prime importance in Ana Torfs’s Marco Polo, une histoire de brodeurs, is her physical representation of oral tradition: the extremely literal, clear-cut, and sometimes even neutral recitation of a text. Nevertheless, this solemn minimalism endows the unintentional expression of the actors, the materiality of their faces, and the timbre of their voices with an important gravity. Everything should speak for itself: the camera only registers each slightest intonation, accent, or spontaneous gesture. Ancient words pass through strange mouthpieces, resound in contemporary spaces, and thus reach a new era in the form of vague echoes. The simple alienation technique betrays Torfs’s crucial obsession, in which she exceeds her concrete themes, the simple sensual experience of a cultural time warp." (Source: Edwin Carels in Inside the Visible, MIT Press, edited by Catherine de Zegher, 1996)

  • Format Betacam SP(Betacam SP)
  • Color system PAL
  • Color col.
  • Year 1990
  • Duration 00:30:00
  • Languageinfo
    Spoken: French
  • Artists