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The smoke of the 20th century

Soy Cámara online

Scriptwriting and direction: Andrés Hispano

Editing: Toni Curcó, Joan Carles Rodríguez

Language: Spanish, English

Subtitles: Spanish

Duración: 13 min 53 s


The 21st century has broken away from a key aesthetic and metaphorical element of the last century: smoke. It may be a good thing to have got rid of the smoke of factories, cars and tobacco, but with it has gone a vital part of the industrial landscape, the aesthetics of seduction (cinema, advertising) and the settings of catering and entertainment locales. In painting, film and photography, smoke helped to dress up the century of industrial progress. This essay looks at the imprint it has left and questions the cult of transparency that has followed, in which contamination cannot be seen, consumption leaves no visual traces, and political smokescreens are now post-truth and real Realpolitik. Three columns of smoke run through this programme: that of Krakatoa (representing the birth of the global village for its consequences in mediatic and global terms), the mushroom cloud (the peak of smoke’s prestige) and that of Chernobyl (invisible contamination, marking smoke’s decline as a witness...).

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Authors: Andrés Hispano

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22 September 2017