Sometimes we get distracted and surprised thinking that film history is, more than the history of the uses of techniques, the history of its progress. And in that confusion, the state of the world chooses to see conviction. But film history itself has always left clear that what remained in the margins of the main highways has always motivated the curiosity of filmmakers, who revisit that history that seems to be unique but is always multiple. When Federico Ransenberg showed me his “optical toys,” the fascination came interlaced with the memory of David Oubiña’s book Una juguetería filosófica, which had impressed me. I had been impressed by everything it brought to light on that other history of the technique previous to the birth of film, and by how that other unknown, or partially known, line forced one to think not of an archeology but, rather, of the present, of that ability to produce thoughts within that legendary, exciting history. Ransenberg’s “optical toys” presented those theoretical hypotheses by means of a playful mechanics. The hypnotic effect gave way to the desire of filming them and, right there, phantasmagoria duplicated itself in the problem of how to capture that other thing, that phantom matter that only the eye could see, with its proverbial retinal effect/defect. If that buried history was marked by the difficulty of capturing through technique, filming brought back –as in a Möbius strip– that exact same situations. These three short films (entitled La materia fantasma I, La materia fantasma II
and La materia fantasma III) have one shot each, and the challenge consisted in getting to produce, with just three shots, as many voyages, through the three times that film always puts, and will always put, at stake.