Caio Ribeiro - Borges Virtualis

Borges Drawing

I think that the reader should enrich what he is reading. He should misunderstand the text; he should change it into something else.

Jorge Luis Borges

Borges Virtualis is a transmedia retelling of Jorge Luis Borges’s The Intruder, a short story about two brothers who fall obsessively in love with a young drifter who they eventually murder after failed attempts to share her. Brazilian filmmaker Caio Ribeiro makes use of various media forms to create an interactive installation where viewers are given opportunities to both conceptually experience and virtually embody the characters themselves.

As a starting point, Ribeiro creates an alternative fictional history. Ribeiro uses the story as a platform to interrogate both his own history of trauma and the violence, imprisonment, torture and state sanctioned terrorism perpetrated by the Argentine junta during the Dirty War from 1976 to 1983. In his version, Borges’s great-nephew Narciso Laprida is the director of a film adaptation of The Intruder produced during the 1978 soccer world cup, that took place in Argentina. The film was heavily supervised by the Argentine military junta’s censorship board and only recently rediscovered scattered along the shelves of the board’s headquarters in Buenos Aires. Ribeiro combines this speculative fiction with the narrative of The Intruder into a three-part installation made up of an interactive video, virtual reality spaces, a forensics lab, video interviews, and a game inspired by The Intruder by New York-based artist Natalie Bookchin.

Borges Virtualis investigates the emancipatory potential of point-of-view and immersive technologies wherein artists increasingly enable and encourage their audiences to inhabit the lives of others. In his retelling of The Intruder, Ribeiro focuses on Juliana Burgos as a metaphor to the plight of the female political prisoners of the military junta, who were sexually enslaved by their jailers, and invites the viewer to experience the nature of the relationship between torturer and tortured. Borges Virtualis is a dissociative archeological journey where political and historical contexts and fictional narratives are distorted, reoriented and encouraged to be misunderstood in order to reveal new truths.

FuturePerfect organized a 4 session ideation and prototyping workshop at Parsons with the Design and Technology Department. Participants and collaborators included FuturePerfect, Caio Ribeiro, Ashley Tata, Kevan Loney, Magnus Pind, Charles Wing, Jonathan Beilin and Sven Travis.

Creative Team

Caio Ribeiro, FuturePerfect Productions, Ashley Tata, Nick Fortugno, Sven Travis and the Design and Technology Department at Parsons.

Additional Materials