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LandEscape A r t Special Edition

Midnight Cribs, Photograph by Rick Fisher

R e v i e w


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Mozhgan Erfani

Chantelle Ferri

Colin Rosati

Jaeyeon Yoo

Nork Zakarian

USA

Iran / France

Australia

Canada

United Kingdom

Armenia / Egypt

Mikey Peterson’s meditative images merge with jolts and jumps via realtime shots and quick-cut edits. Light contrasts through darkened backgrounds, and classical elements— water, fire, air and earth—create abstracted spaces.

My artistic work is essentially videoplasticien since 2000s, based on the intracorporel and psychic interior fight caused by the opposition between morals and modernity, religion and thirst of freedom.

Data Library is a collection of virtual objects. The manipulation of everyday objects, especially technology, food and domestic objects that we have intimate connections to, changes our relationship to these objects.

This problem which occupies the thought of most of the women of various generations, living in macho and traditional societies.

I am interested in discovering ideas based on child-hood memories, personal fantasy, and everyday-life which represent the organizational contradiction of society and home. By making the scene of tragic-comedy irony from everyday life, I became a person who enjoys playing around with the gap between imaginary world and symbolic world.

A notable conversation with an elder villager lady in the Haghpat village of Northern Armenia (where this video was shot) prompted the conceptualization of Elizabeth of Nazareth.

These distortions, equally influenced by pre-CGI science fiction films and experimental cinema, aim to disturb the viewer’s self-perception and sense of place.

When creatng my work I would say it is a combination of both, as intuition is perception via the unconscious; there is a level of intuitive evolution which occurs during the production process. Ideas are born out of intuition. However the excecution of a work will always involve some level of systematic process to ensure a work is successful.

Mikey Peterson

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By digitizing these objects, using the digital tools and language I can juxtapose content of objects and create new meaning.

The living conditions in her village are dire; with regular shortages in electricity and water, poor infrastructure and no opportunities for the youth.


In this issue

Rick Fisher & Don Rice Live and works in Canada Video, Installation

Jaeyeon Yoo Lives and works in London, UK Mixed media, Installation

Mozhgan Erfani Lives and works in Paris, France Experimental video, Installation

Nork Zakarian Lives and works in Armenia and Egypt Video

claRa apaRicio yoldi claRa apaRicio yoldi United Kingdom

Art is a way to express and transmit new aspects of reality. I discover and perfect new languages that more directly correspond with my experiences. I use different formats and explore the frontiers between traditional and new media. I mix video and animation with painting, collage, elements of graphic and web design, programming and digital art, creating visual poems.

Rick Fisher Canada

Winnipeg based video artist Rick Fisher makes video artworks over extended periods of time mostly with fellow prairie artist Don Rice. After undergraduate art school, Rick worked underground in a mine for ten years. He was then accepted into graduate school where he was expelled (with a 4.0 GPA) and named as an unindicted coconspirator in a $103 million lawsuit for conspiracy to destroy one of America's largest private art schools.

Lives and works in London, UK Mixed media, Experiemental Video

Don Rice

4 30 54 72 88

Canada

Chantelle Ferri

Don Rice is a digital media artist based in Winnipeg.

Lives and works in Sydney, Australia Mixed media, Installation, Performance

Rice has created work in the mediums of video, www, print, audio, cd rom, performance and photography.

Colin Rosati Lives and works in Toronto, Canada Mixed media, Video

The main body of his work is in video, mostly with fellow prairie artist Rick Fisher.

Mikey Peterson Lives and works in Chicago, USA Video, Mixed media

Leonid Kalyadin Lives and works in Moskow, Russia Mixed media, Experimental video

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Rick Fisher & Don Rice Live and works in Canada

An artist's statement

W

hen not working at a full time job as Technical Coordinator at Video Pool Artist-Run Centre, helping to raise his three young children or researching genocide, Winnipeg based video artist Rick Fisher makes video artworks over extended periods of time mostly with fellow prairie artist Don Rice. After undergraduate art school, Rick worked underground in a mine for ten years. He was then accepted into graduate school where he was expelled (with a 4.0 GPA) and named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a $103 million lawsuit

for conspiracy to destroy one of America's largest private art schools. He subsequently worked at media arts artist-run centers on the Canadian prairies for twenty years.


LandEscape meets

LandEscape meets

Rick Fisher & Don Rice An interview by Josh Ryder

Rick Fisher and Don Rice have established a proficient collaboration that during these years has lead them to conceive works capable of offering a multilayered experience, urging the viewers to rethink about the ambiguous dichotomy between the perceptual reality and a utopian dimension. In their video Arcadia that we'll be discussing in the following pages, they give to the intrinsic ephemeral nature of Perception a permanence that goes beyond usual videomaking. One of the most convincing aspect of Fisher's and Rice's approach is the way they suggest an unexplored area of interplay where we are invited to investigate about the relationship with reality and the way we perceive it. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to their refined artistic production. Hello Rick and Don, a warm welcome to LandEscape: before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece? Don: Thanks, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to discuss our work. Our artwork takes a good deal of time and preparation, and

Don Rice

we can only work on it part-time due to the pressures of employment plus Rick has four kids. This means years between each video. The creative process that seems to work for us is related to our prior fine arts experience in painting and an interest and exploration into abstract expressionism's approach to the blank canvas. Similar to the creative process of abstract expressionism, other than the vague idea of a starting point and possibly a few key scenes, we have no way of knowing exactly where our video projects will lead. We do not work out the entire narrative beforehand. We expect the narrative to come out fully in the creative process. As pre-production, we get together frequently and talk about the ideas, working out what kind of “background plate� will be used for the video, and some of the elements that will be composited onto the Juerg Luedi


Rick Fisher


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background. Then we can start the production stage and begin shooting. Once the background scenes have been gathered, the process of imagining the additional elements begins. Storyboards, in the form of stills of the video clips from the location shoot, are tacked on the wall, organized and talked about – developing them so that a rough outline can be achieved taking us from the starting point to the final scene. With images of the background layer in front of us, we choose the likely candidates for inclusion in the piece, as well as engage in brain-storming sessions to develop the full narrative flow of the scenes. Think of it as mind-mapping, but on a wall instead of in the computer. And then the real dialogue with the pixels begins; compositing. This is the most time intensive, mentally and physically demanding phase of the creative process. At this point, the video artist becomes an animation artist. Frame by meticulous frame, the work emerges, as long as the compositing and rotoscoping does not drive you crazy. Like many artists, we wish we had minions (like the little yellow guys with goggles in the movie Despicable Me). Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Arcadia, an extremely interesting video that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit directly at http://www.prairieartist.ca/ in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration? Rick: We were inspired by the neo-classical painter Nicholas Poussin and his painting of 1647 entitled The Arcadian Shepherds as well as by the essay by Erwin Panofsky entitled Et in Arcadia Ego: Poussin and the Elegiac detail from myFunerals, Performance

Tradition, in which Panofsky suggests that the inscription on the tomb in Poussin's painting should be interpreted to mean “I, Death, am also in Arcadia”.


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Panofsky pinpoints the classical roots of the allegory by noting, " it is in the imagination of Virgil, and of Virgil alone, that the concept of Arcady, as we know it, was born...

a bleak and chilly district of Greece came to be transfigured into an imaginary realm of perfect bliss. But no sooner had this new, Utopian Arcady come into being than a discrepancy was


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felt between the supernatural perfection of an imaginary environment and the natural limitations of human life as it is." As artists, we desired to somehow depict this

unresolved contradiction in the human endeavour. We had the what, we just had to figure out the how, the where, and maybe the why.


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moving, and basically works like this: The main power cables in the mine, carrying 13,800 volts, were suspended from the ceiling throughout the kilometers of drifts (tunnels). This was to protect them from damage such as getting run over or cut by machines, and to protect the miners. Irridescent tabs were attached to the cables every few meters so that they could be readily spotted in the darkness of the mine when the headlamps from the miners and the machines reflected off the tabs. I realized I could use these glowing tabs (bright pixels in the video) as targets for the point tracker system in After Effects and that is how the row of hanging bodies were suspended from the ceiling in one of the scenes of Foundation. We were planning to use the same process to place the various elements on the shoreline in Arcadia. Unfortunately, the point tracker was not accurate enough to properly track the pink florescent chunks of wood we had placed in the scenes just before each shot. For a while we were stymied and I thought we might have to bail on the project. Fortunately, a company called Imagineer Systems had just introduced a software called Mocha that used optical flow technology to enable accurate motion tracking. And unlike with After Effects, the artist did not need to place florescent objects in the scene beforehand, Mocha was able to track a large selection of pixels in any plane in the scene. I downloaded the trial version, and immediately realized that Mocha would allow us to finish Arcadia, it worked like magic.

During the compositing and editing process for our previous piece, Foundation, I utilized a feature of Adobe After Effects that I had never tried before. It is called motion tracking, or match

Fortunately, Imagineer Systems had a half-price sale for artists, so we purchased Mocha. I was also inspired to place Arcadia in the pre-Cambian Shield partly because that landscape is one of the closest Canada has to offer that is relatively unspoiled, partly because my childhood was spent in Northern Canada, in the Shield, and partly because we wanted to go fishing and have a bit of a holiday during our shoot. It turns out of course,


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that we were so busy shooting video that we did not do any fishing. I had previously traveled and canoed quite extensively throughout the region where we shot Arcadia, but now we needed a headquarters with power so we could charge up batteries, check our footage on monitors and keep our beer cold. There are only a few fishing lodges in that area, so I used Google maps to get an idea of the shoreline near to a lodge in the middle of the region where I had never been before. The lodge was associated with a chain of three lakes, which offered plenty of shoreline possibilities. Fortunately, we received a grant from the Manitoba Arts Council, so were able to afford to book a cabin at the lodge, and rent a boat. Search for Quesnel Lake Caribou Lodge in Google Maps, switch to satellite view, and you will see the wonderful array of shoreline on offer to us within Quesnel, Manigotagan, and Happy Lakes. Your visionary elaboration of the question concerning the dark side to the human endeavor to create the perfect and sustainable habitation leads to an interesting re-contextualization of the environment we live in, urging the viewer's perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive the world we inhabit... many artists such as the landscape artists Michael Light and Edward Burtynsky often reveal some form of environmental or political message in their works. Do you consider that Arcadia is political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach? Rick: Arcadia is definitely political in that it reveals a truism embedded in the human endeavour. For most of my childhood, I lived in the landscape of the Canadian Pre-Cambrian Shield, which contains some of the oldest rock formations on the planet. The lakes, trees, sky, clouds and pink and grey of the rock still

resonates with me and I have often taken canoe trips in the Canadian Shield as an adult. You can spend entire weeks in this vast territory


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without seeing anyone else. But sample the water, the air, the leaves of the trees and the temperature, the impact of human presence on the planet is still everywhere and touches

everything. Humans are very adept at discovering and imagining utopian situations that inevitably collapse upon themselves. The proof of this fact is threaded throughout history as well as in the


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news daily. The political should also address the moral, isn't that the whole point? And as we look back through time, we can see a

pattern developing, in the West at least. Kings are no longer able to break their subjects on the wheel, open slavery is mostly eliminated, women and children are mostly no longer locked up in


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gradually becoming decriminalized, the tiny increments are adding up. Of course the world's richest 1% still control half the world's wealth, but here and there the excesses of Capitalism are being reined in as people realize that human greed is destroying the planet for human habitation. One needs to remain ever vigilant, remembering the shocks of the Wall Street crash of 1929 (which contributed to the cataclysm in Europe from 1933 - 1945 leading to vast destruction and 50 million dead), and the crash of 2008, from which much of the world is still reeling. Pondering this pattern, one can see that in this reflection of madness, what was considered normal yesterday is demonstrated to be madness today, to be repeated ad infinitum. So the question is why? “What most demands explanation is not how moral judgments are justified, but why those that are so clearly justified were disregarded in the past. When one begins to seek explanation, one can end in anything from myth, like the Fall, to metaphysics, like Hegel's Phenomenology. What's important is that the place one begins is perfectly ordinary.” Susan Neiman, Evil in Modern Thought

factories only to die when fire breaks out, the army isn't ordered to open fire on striking workers, women have the vote, Ireland recently voted to accept gay marriage, marijuana is

Take water use for example. California is at record drought levels. It takes ½ a gallon of water to grow 2 strawberries, ¾ of a gallon for a slice of onion, 7 gallons for 3 ½ walnuts, 15.3 gallons of water to produce 16 almonds, 24 gallons for a bunch of grapes, 42.5 gallons for three mandarin oranges, 86 gallons for 1.75 ounces of beef, and 143 gallons for 4 glasses of milk. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/05/21/u s/your-contribution-to-the-californiadrought.html?action=click&contentCollection=U.S .&module=MostEmailed&version=Full&region=M arginalia&src=me&pgtype=article&_r=0


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Why on Earth does it seem perfectly natural to squander vast amounts of water, fill the skies with carbon, poison the earth with toxins and fill the oceans with plastic? Why do we look at Nature and still think toilet? Does it always take a catastrophe for humans to begin to change their ways? Why is it not obvious to us that we are making judgments that are harmful to our existence?

simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something - because it is always before one's eyes.) The real foundations of his inquiry do not strike a person at all. - And this means: we fail to be struck by what, once seen, is most striking and most powerful.”

These are some of the questions that we ponder in Arcadia and will be examining to an even further degree in our next video artwork which will be titled Shortfall.

We have learned that it can actually be helpful to us as artists to confront obstructions, even sometimes of our own making, and that limitations can assist the artist to uncover what is really important or significant. One limitation all artists in Manitoba face is that the winters here can be apocalyptically brutal. The image of the horses frozen in the river from Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg has become an iconic example. http://internationalfilmstudies.blogspot.ca/2013/11/ my-winnipeg-canada-guy-maddin-2007.html

The digitally augmented ambience created by Arcadia has some references to the concept of heterotopia elaborated by Michel Foucault. What has mostly impacted on me is the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to signs, and in a wide sense to re-contextualize the concept of the environment we inhabit in. This is a recurrent feature of your approach that invite the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this? Rick: Yes, we are interested in pursuing the “hidden obvious”, and of course, this has no relation to Donald Rumsfeld's convoluted parsing of the unknown. We are attempting to decipher, as you say, the encrypted messages that we sense are right in front of our eyes, but we are willfully blind to them. “The aspect of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, #129

However, since you can't go to the beach, you work more in your studio, cursing the goddamn Canadian Winter! https://dylanmenzie.bandcamp.com/track/canadian -winter We have a recurring and limited set of elements we tend to use in our works, the human body, the human eye, the word YOU, a fish, and of course our primary element, water. We don't force ourselves to include these signs in each piece, they seem to work themselves in anyway. In Arcadia, the fish is hidden within a pattern, (one needs to be able to see negative space), but once noticed is impossible not to see over subsequent screenings. In our experience, only a small percentage of viewers see the fish. However, we were surprised, after a screening of our work at the Fargo Film Festival in Fargo, North Dakota, when a woman asked us if the fish related to the man in the plastic bag. “You saw the fish!”, we exclaimed. We then realized she had noticed a connection that had not occurred to us. When you purchase a pet fish, you


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bring it home in a baggie, reinforcing our depiction of the man in the bag as a commodity. Yes, we agree that one of the roles of artists is to reveal the unexpected, the un-examined, the ignored, the hidden mechanisms and operations that are going on right in front of our eyes. This usually (but not always) involves jolting the establishment and therefore the general population. Think of the Impressionists, the Fauves, the Dadaists, the Surrealists, the eyeball slicing in Un Chien Andalou, Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase #2, and his Fountain (urinal readymade). Today these examples seem tame, but in the context of their time, they were shocking. After the horrors of the 20th century, it has seemingly become more and more difficult to shock, although live slow beheadings with a small knife broadcast on the internet may fit the bill. However, many young recruits to jihad seem to enjoy them and ask for “more beheadings please!� "All your life you live so close to the truth, it becomes a permanent blur in the corner of your eye, and when something nudges it into outline it is like being ambushed by a grotesque" Tom Stoppard in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

The metaphorical feature of Arcadia invites the viewers to a complex multilayered experience, in which Utopia and perceptual reality seems to merge into a coherent unity, in a surreal background. Surrealism might be a deeply subjective practice, but by definition it is also a hyperrealist one. In your filmmaking the Fantastic and the Real are rendered in clear, precise images. How did you develop your visual imagery? Don: Max Ernst, a surrealist hero of ours, once said in an interview that art needs to be a mirror of the madness of the reality of the time. That mirror image is in opposition to the societal madness, but is also a reflection of the true image of the time. Our visual imagery is typically achieved with us talking it through collaboratively, but occasionally one of us comes up with a vision that seems fully formed. The visual narratives that we develop are often metaphorical interpretations of


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20th century history and as such, will have a lot of relatable imagery but will also be punctuated with nightmare surrealist elements. We are drawn toward the ethical and moral contradictions, ironies and insoluble impasses that permeate all our lives and histories. In our artwork, we are not trying to provide answers, but show a “through the looking glass” reflection by joining together, often violently, heterogeneous ideas through images and sound. Like the Surrealists, we have no answers but we can see the madness and therefore need to reflect it in our work. Nineteen “Look what is going on in the world right now, in the last years anyhow. Who made world history? Not the most reasonable people. The madmen did. So if painting is the mirror of a time, it must [also] be mad [in order] to show the true image of what the time is...[Artists are] mad in a very different way [from the politicians]. Exactly the opposite...To one madness we oppose another madness. But we do not pretend that this madness we oppose to this other madness can heal these people, and keep them from doing what they are doing. An artist is simply somebody who makes a statement. Max Ernst

As artists, we are also aware of the redemptive power of beauty (without a religious or moral stance). We try to ensure that each background scene is visually beautiful by taking care in the choices of location, content and framing. Rick: We are also drawn to the hyperrealist look of the current sensors in video cameras. We explicitly do not want to emulate a “filmic look”. It has been said, by film purists, that video is prose and film is poetry, or that film is truth at 24 frames a second. With today's sensors and postproduction software, othe artist can achieve any look they desire, we however have no desire to

emulate 19th Century technology and therefore we focus on current camera technology. For our productions, we rely on an Artist-Run Centre in Winnipeg called Video Pool. They have just acquired the new 4K Sony PXW-FS7 camera and we are planning to shoot our next project with that camera. What we are trying to achieve is that hyperrealist verisimilitude that makes it seem as if the viewer was actually there, seeing the scenes with their own eyes. They then become embedded into the piece.The wonderful thing about Mocha is that because the motion tracking is so accurate when tracking moving camera shots, we specifically shoot with a smooth but not perfectly smooth technique. Somewhere between hand-held and Steadicam. A drone shot, for example would be too perfectly smooth for us. Arcadia was shot from a moving boat, so the imperfections of slight movements were integral to the success of the verisimilitude. In terms of developing the visual imagery to place within our scenes, it is mostly a process of trial and error. We are trying to find just the right combination of elements so it becomes a process of refining, and keeping it simple. With After Effects, the artist can have layers upon layers of elements moving around, but we are trying to make the quantum collapse so that when your decision, (measurement ) is finally made, all other infinite possibilities collapse into the one possibility that works. We are also inspired by other artists, I like Neo Rauch's description of the guidelines he follows when painting; characteristic, suggestion and eternity. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Foundation: In this video investigation about the inevitable consequences of overenlightened ambition, exploring the psychological nature of the cinematic image.


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In particular, when I first happened to get to know with this work I tried to relate all the visual information and the presence of a primary element as water to a single meaning. I later realized I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations...

Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process? Rick: The work process ebbs and flows back and forth between systematic and intuitive. The footage was shot during the decade I worked underground in a mine under the Canadian prairies. At the time, in the eighties, Sony had just introduced a small 8mm video Handicam with a sport housing and an underwater housing.


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Photo and video recording were not allowed, so I surreptitiously video taped the work environment underground, as an archival “I was there” project, not attempting to make artwork. I also floated down a rapids in the Pre-Cambrian Shield with the camera in the underwater housing. 20 years later, we returned to the mining footage and the water footage to create Foundation. We had become inspired by the documentary called The Five Obstructions. Although I'm not

a fan of Lars von Trier, I found the premise of the five obstructions to be quite interesting. Lars challenges his former film professor, Jørgen Leth (who has become creatively blocked) to remake a film Jørgen had created years before called The Perfect Human. However, Lars has a list of five obstructions Jørgen has to overcome to remake the film. It was quite remarkable to watch Jørgen overcome the obstructions, and ultimately, the lesson that Don and I still take to heart is that


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most of the obstructions we perceive when struggling to make artworks are in our heads.

that is what is contributing to the visual rhythm you mentioned.

During the process of sorting out the underground and underwater footage, we were having an unrelated discussion about Plato's Cave analogy when we suddenly realized that the narrative arc of Plato's Cave would be a perfect guiding pattern for Foundation. I doubt if anyone notices the connection when viewing Foundation, however

And you are correct to point out that water seems to be a primary element in our work. We came from the ocean, we have ocean in our blood still. During gestation, we float in water for 9 months. Water is one of the strangest molecules on the planet. Putting oxygen and hydrogen together


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should not make water with the properties it has, but it does. We in the First World have taken water for granted, but I think that is changing. Just look at California. The world has plenty of oil, far too much in fact. But you can't drink oil or water plants with it. Its true that Big Agriculture uses plenty of oil, but oil is not a prerequisite for sustainable agriculture and water is. And of course, we love to use water in our works because it looks so mesmerizingly beautiful when moving in Nature. One of the most epiphanic feature of Foundation is concerned with the relation with Perception and Experience in the unstable contemporary age: and it's important to underline that the footage was shot during the decade Rick worked underground in a Saskatchewan mine. The way you question the intimate consequences of constructed and imposed realities has reminded me of Thomas Demand's works: while conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience? Don: An artist's creative process can be entirely disconnected from, or entirely reliant upon, their experience. For us, experience is definitely a required foundation to our artwork but I would not go so far as to say that “direct experience” is necessary. Studying history and current news events absolutely affect the work that we create, so empathy has definitely played a large role in our work. There are situations that we will never directly experience ourselves, but are such a

huge experience for significant portions of the world's population that we can not help but attempt to empathize. Rick: Empathy is of course subjective and relative, I am not using the same operating system as someone who enjoys watching beheading videos, but I think most people have at least some degree of ability to empathize. There are people of course, who have none. And people can change. The New York Times published an astonishing photo essay called Portraits of Reconciliation depicting perpetrators and survivors of the Rwandan massacre together in the same photograph. The perpetrators have gained empathy. They have confronted the grotesque hidden within themselves that they had willfully blinded themselves to. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/04/06/m agazine/06-pieter-hugo-rwanda-portraits.html There are experiences that no-one should have to go through, but since humanity has proven to be perfectly capable of sinking to incomprehensible depths of depravity, and becoming used to it, that alone needs to be explored. The Nazi “Utopia” was hell for everyone else. Think of the works of Primo Levi, Tadeusz Borowski, Jean Améry, Charlotte Delbo, Imre Kertész and Elie Wiesel who wrote about their experiences in Auschwitz. The first three committed suicide. For those of us who were not in Auschwitz, the disconnect between empathy and direct experience is a chasm that can not be crossed. And as Lawrence Langer, who has probably watched more Holocaust testimony video than anyone on the planet points out in his work, in the all against all black hole of Auschwitz, language, time, space, history, redemption, meaning, are all shredded as we attempt to approach the event horizon. Here, one must tread very carefully. In spite of Adorno's warning that there is no poetry after Auschwitz, artists, either through naivety or stubborn courage are still making the attempt. In


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Preempting the Holocaust, Langer castigates Judy Chicago for her attempt to make an artistic response to her visit to Auschwitz, contrast this with his positive critique of the paintings of Samuel Bak. http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/l/langerholocaust.html Our work is not focused on the Holocaust, but there is no denying it was the defining event of

the 20th Century. There is no getting away from the fact that this happened in our universe, on our little planet, still within living memory. And the “never again� rings hollow when people are still being gassed, rounded up in camps, dumped in mass graves, or drowned en mass in the ocean. Rigid Ideologies still rampage across the planet cutting searing arcs of terror, pain and unbelievable suffering. And as Thomas Friedman


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of the NYT points out, climate change is now also playing a role in these horrific situations. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/22/opinion/fried man-wikileaks-drought-and-syria.html?_r=0 At this rate, we may all end up like the infamous “muselmannâ€? of Auschwitz, a shell of a person, the last vestiges of humanity and hope have evaporated, the blows rained on him by the kapos and fellow inmates are not even noticed. He (it) sits on the bank of the river Styx, his number literally up as Nazi bureaucratic efficiency will add his tattoo to the list in the next camp selection for the gas if he even makes it that far. "The musselmaner, the drowned, form the backbone of the camp, an anonymous mass, continually renewed and always identical, of non-men who march to labor in silence, the divine spark dead within them, already too empty to suffer. One hesitates to call them living; one hesitates to call their death death, in the face of which they have no fear, they are too tired to understand.‌ If I could enclose all the evil of our time in one image, I would choose this image, which is familiar to me: an emaciated man with head dropped and shoulders curved, on which face and in whose eyes not a trace of thought is to be seen." Primo Levi

Don and I acknowledge the limitations of art and language to address the indescribable and incomprehensible, but while we still can, the attempt still needs to be made. Meanwhile, my house is three houses down from the playground that surrounds the school my children attend. At recess the wonderful sound of my children and two hundred other children at play is carried on the Spring breeze into my open window. They are all related to each other. We are all related to each other. Our DNA trail leads back to the seven daughters of Eve. And before that, the entire story of evolution is carried in the

DNA of each and every one of us. Shame on all of us for still killing each other. I do believe that interdisciplinary collaboration as the one that you have established together is today an ever growing force in Art and that that most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project... could you tell us something about this effective synergy? By the way, the artist Peter Tabor once said that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between two artists? Rick: Don and I share an affinity for technology. When I first met him in the mid-nineties at Video Pool, he was in the process of connecting an Amiga computer to the internet. The type-written instructions he wrote to assist other Video Pool members with their Amigas, went to several pages. I thought that was pretty cool. We also both love to shoot the breeze over glasses of beer. Over the years, we have hit bumps in our relationship, but nothing serious enough to end it. In a way, we complement each other. He loves music, movies, and television, and I am mostly not in that loop anymore, so he provides a reality check for my strangeness. I have noticed that I have a repeating pattern in my art production. After the initial excitement of the idea and scene gathering, which I love, about two thirds of the way into the post-production phase, I begin to lose sight of the original idea and, probably due to the tremendous amount of work required in the rotoscoping and compositing phase, I become too close to it - so I can't see it anymore. I fall into a pit of despair and consider it all to be pretentious horseshit. Which it may very


LandEscape 28

Rick Fisher & Don Rice

Art Review

well be, but after each piece is done, and some time has gone by , I can see the works anew, and feel they are OK. That doesn't seem to happen to Don, so he can encourage me to keep going. I definitely think our work is better with two heads, plus the amount of work required is too much for one person. Don: Yes. Without collaboration, these works would not exist. As stated earlier, the majority of our visual imagery is achieved with us talking it through collaboratively. One of us comes up with an idea, and we talk it through, altering or discarding until we are both satisfied that we have honed it to the scene as we would like to see it. Of course, at that point the scene is all in the mind, and still needs to be made 'real' in After Effects. Your works have been screened in several occasions around the world, including a recent participation to Siggraph 2015, and I would invite our readers to visit http://enhancedvision.siggraph.org/wp/arcadia/ So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: In particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as well positive feedbacks as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

neither of us is into social media, mostly to protect our private creative space, we do appreciate that other folks are able to view our work at film and video festivals. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Rick and Don. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Rick: We like the template we have developed over the years. We like using Mocha to track our scenes so well that we can place almost anything anywhere and it will seem as if it was always there. Our next piece, Shortfall, will further develop the ideas and responses to the difficult questions we have discussed. We would both like to have more time to direct towards our work, but who knows, without the time constraints, maybe we'd just laze about doing nothing. We don't take ourselves too seriously, we just like getting together and making the work. We think of it like a hobby, as we mentioned, like two guys getting together to build a model railroad in one of their basements. Also, we try to keep at it regularly. We get together every weekend depending on prior commitments such as family obligations.

Don: We do not concern ourselves with the audience in the process. We are trying to make work to the best of our ability, but we try to think of it as a hobby in order to take the pressure off. We enjoy getting together and thinking creatively about how to re-visualize past, current and/or future ideas and events and then painstakingly working the conceptual scene.

I don't get too concerned anymore with the pace of progress. In the mine, at the face (where the actual mining takes place), sometimes we'd progress a hundred metres, sometimes in a shift we'd only progress a few meters, sometimes none at all if there were constant breakdowns of machinery or if the power went out in the mine or a fire shut the whole place down and you spent the entire shift in a smoke-proof shelter until you could be rescued. However, a year later, it was amazing how far along the drift would have progressed and it would take a lot longer to reach the face from the shaft.

Of course we appreciate feedback, positive or negative. We don't live in a vacuum, and although

The main thing is to try to keep up regularity. And to remind people that art is a very special


Rick Fisher & Don Rice

LandEscape 29 Art Review

invention of humanity, and that we are all responsible for the sins of our societies. If anyone doubts the importance of art over politics, can anyone name the Ministers of Culture in France in the late 19th Century, early 20th Century? No, of course not. But most people have heard of Cezanne, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Matisse, Gaugin, Van Gough, etc., most of whom probably received not a franc from the Ministry of Culture.

The work of these artists has brought millions of tourist dollars into the coffers of the French Government and will probably continue to do so for a long time. Don: As Rick said, we are pretty happy with our current dynamic and therefore will keep working in the manner that we have been, but continuing to try to use the highest definition video gathering/presentation format available to us for each future project.


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Installation view of ‘F’ mixed media with motor system, 2011


LandEscape 31 Art Review

Jaeyeon Yoo Lives and works in London, United Kingdom

An artist's statement

I

am interested in discovering ideas based on childhood memories, personal fantasy, and everyday-life which represent the organizational contradiction of society and home. In other words, I articulate the fragmentations between subtle memories of tender age and the reality in nowadays as a visual language.

By making the scene of tragic-comedy irony from everyday life, I became a person who enjoys playing around with the gap between imaginary world and symbolic world. Somehow, I am obsessed about the nostalgic childhood memories, and the uncomplicated sense of naivety by

children. That is why most of my works seem relevant to the recorded images of 90's when I was a young child, or have similar sense of being a child such as toys, theme park, party, and animals. In this sense, the gesture of playing and constructing own imaginary narratives in my practice implicate the potentiality of a resistance for the actual psychic structure.

Jaeyeon Yoo


LandEscape meets

Jaeyeon Yoo An interview by Mario Rutigliano, curator witht he collaboration of Katherine Williams landescape@europe.com

Jaeyeon Yoo works in a whole range of media: using Painting as a starting point of her multidisciplinary approach, she provides the viewers of a multilayered experience, investigating about the relationship between Experience and Imagination and urging us to unveil the intimate connections between the reality that we perceive and the ambiguous dimension of our inner world. Yoo's gives life to a concrete aesthetic that engage viewers, while conveying emotional and rational approaches into a coherent unity. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Jaeyeon, and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and you hold a MA of Painting, that you have recenlty received from the prestigious Royal College of Art, UK. How has this experience influenced your evolution as an artists and how has it impacted on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Hello. I was born in Seoul, South Korea. I have been living in London since I came for my Painting MA course at the Royal College of Art. During the two years of the MA course, I was hugely inspired by the city, the tutors and Juerg Luedi


Jaeyeon Yoo

LandEscape 33 Art Review

Artist: Jaeyeon Yoo (Jae Yoo)


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Jaeyeon Yoo

Art Review

collegues. During my time at the RCA, I discovered how people perceive his/her own imaginary world and enact with reality in modern society. I wrote my dissertation titled 'Congratulations' as a MA first year, which told the story of a 6 year old girl having her 6th birthday party at home. By completing the dissertation that explored diverse styles of writing, I got in touch with Hidegger and Nitches texts where I borrowed some parts of their thesis' to remold into my own short stories. It was a good starting point to develop my own body of work in a broader range of themes, which are related to 'imaginary vs. reality', 'anxiety of being', and 'time and being'. All the surroundings in London make me feel energetic and it shows me various possibilities of artistic reseach through my studio practice. Living and working in London give me such an amazing opportunity to have cultural experiences and be involved in the many interesting events. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

I start with a specific idea, which often comes from my every-day life, news, novels and/or my personal memories. For instance, 'Project Road Kill' which is a work-in-progress piece since 2011, comes from my personal experience of being confronted with dead animals on the road. At that time, I was intrigued by myths, fairy tales and children's books. Hence I combined the story of 'Snow White' with my own short synopsis 'Road Kill'. The 'Project Road Kill' is based on a fictional episode in which the fairy tale character Snow White emerges into the real world where she is detail from myFunerals, Performance


Jaeyeon Yoo

LandEscape 35 Art Review

The Puppy paper sculpture installation, variable size, 2009


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Jaeyeon Yoo

Art Review

The Shoes paper sculpture installation, variable size, 2009


Jaeyeon Yoo

LandEscape 37 Art Review

immediately hit by a car and killed. This sinister episode is followed by the story of a woman who finds a blanket on the road which is not only a blanket, but also depicts the anamorphic image of the dead body of the Snow White. The journey of the blanket (Snow White) from the fantasy world to the real world is seen in a number of images: the highway to the woman's home, from the doorway to the washing machine, from the washing machine to the dryer, from the dryer to the woman's bed where the blanket becomes a practical object for the woman. This long journey of the handmadeblanket (Snow White) represents my own physical and psychological confusion. Thus time, prepariation before and the process of creation vary for each project. Media and medium are both important in my practice. They are interdependent on the content of each project. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Bitter Sweet that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit your website directly at http://www.yoojaeyeon.com in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production... In the meanwhile, would you like to tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

The genesis of this project 'Bitter Sweet' is mainly specific incidents I captured from my childhood memories. My childhood background has a lot of uncanny episodes, I guess. I was living in a small town in the States when I was a little child, and I still vividly remember living in a quiet town where nobody except for myself was Asian. I was the only kid who had a different skin colour in kindergarten. At the time, even in my perception as a child, my


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Jaeyeon Yoo

Art Review

The Bites

The Mouse

paper sculpture installation, variable size, 2009

paper sculpture installation, variable size, 2009

body was much smaller in comparison to the others to the point of town rats almost seemingly towering over like huge monsters. I collected several vivid memories from my childhood and represented those incidents as a photography series, which show various scenes as paper sculptures, that are now installed in the real surroundings of (my) home. I especially focused on child anxiety based on my childhood memories.

I hope most people in society still have their childhood nostalgia. They can slightly or deeply feel anxious when they find a gap between the nostalgic undefined memories and the reality of the outside world. The starting point of my memory is anxiety connected to certain subtleties in the world. By that, I mean the anxiety can represent or signify a gap or borderline between something: fragments of those imaginary spaces. Children are honest about their feelings. I


Jaeyeon Yoo

LandEscape 39 Art Review

The Twins

The Wound

paper sculpture installation, variable size, 2009

paper sculpture installation, variable size, 2009

believe they feel their own senses while they are excluded from regulations or conventions of society. That is why we feel sometimes that children are whimsy and off the wall. They may react with fear to pictures meant to be funny, feel horrible to scenes adults think beautiful. Children's senses are less informed, language pure, and the physical structures are fragile. These kinds of elements come together to make a subtle difference to the way they perceive the world.

As you have remarked once, you enjoy playing around with the gap between imaginary world and symbolic world. An important feature of Magic Window that has particularly impacted on me is the way you unveil the inner connections between Experience and Imagination: incorporating such intimate materials as wooden floor from your childhood home, this work challenge the viewers' perception in order to going beyond the common way to perceive


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Jaeyeon Yoo

Art Review

Installation view of ‘Magic Window’ wooden floor, room size wall installation with small window, oil painting animation (5 mins, sounds, colours), 2014

not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted(code.. metaphor?)" in the reality we inhabit in, so we need -in a way- to decipher(understand, solve) them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

Window' is about how people perceive the outside world in their every-day life through physical and psychological windows. Historically, Painting has often been thought of as being in some way analogous to magic window. I am combining the idea of 'child and outside world' - as an idea that I have been using in my main practice - with the concept of Painting as a window.

The main idea of the project 'Magic

In this project, I combined two functions of


Jaeyeon Yoo

LandEscape 41 Art Review

Magic Window oil painting animation (5mins, sounds, colours), 2014

painting; as a magic window and a screen in to the 21st century. Screen and reflection is an important issue in today's society because of the manipulation of mass media, nature of hyper-real society, and personal censorship of flooded images. I used my personal experience from my childhood and the present for revealing the general idea such as imaginary and the real world. I believe the uses of the wooden floor and the domestic walls will enable the viewers

to bring his/her own preconception of house environment. I am reconstructing my memories and experiences of childhood such as a window that is taller than myself, the time in between the evening and night which can easily create uneasiness and insecurity, and the fact that I always wonder about the outside scenarios through the television screen and window sceneries. When I was young, I used to look


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Jaeyeon Yoo

Art Review

outside through the window, and it was difficult to see everything because of the size of the window and the physical limitations of myself as a child. I was surrounded by the domestic environment of the house and my vision into the world was further obstructed by the garden with its hedges, hindering me from knowing the whole town in its entirety. Sometimes, the happenings of the outside world seem more vague and distant than the imaginary fantasy world. By arranging the wall, floor, and the window, and through the video projection made by the painted images, the key elements can manipulate the viewer's perception and feeling. The sequence of the animated scenes and sounds enable the viewer to easily follow the narrative that I have already made. These kinds of interactive thinking process is important in 'Magic Window'. I also believe that this work can have lots of unexpected for the viewers. My intention is to remind the viewers of their own feeling of isolation when they are at home, looking out into the outside world through their windows. Another interesting works of yours on which I would like to spend some words is entitled "Wounded Trampoline - Playfully engaged in one's wounded story": its performative feature speaks of lived physicality, urging the viewers to rethink about what you have once defined a compromising relationship between the reverie suggested by a painting and the intrinsic spontaneus act of jumping as children. I definetely love the way your art practice takes an intense participatory line with the viewer and at the same time, you seem to remove the historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more absolute way. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative

process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Yes I do. I think there are lots of different ways


Jaeyeon Yoo

LandEscape 43 Art Review

Wounded Trampoline single channel video (loop), variable size, 2014

of making creative process. It's not absolutely necessary that I have to personally experience something. I think there is a potential of other

people's experiences and/or inspiration of everyday life becoming a creative process. This project 'Wounded Trampoline' starts from my


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Jaeyeon Yoo

Art Review

Wounded Trampoline single channel video (loop), variable size, 2014

own psychological confrontation to reality. At the beginning of this project, my personal emotions, thoughts and experiences were

important. However during the process, I decided to include the interactive gesture of other people to convey the general idea of


Jaeyeon Yoo

LandEscape 45 Art Review

I painted the bruise-like image on the trampoline mat. It is analogous to someone unintentionally hurting another whilst having fun. It can be an object for reverie and thus the personification of the trampoline playfully directs people to think about their place within the activity and the compromising relationship. I have already installed the trampoline in a different space to observe how the viewers can interact with this project. Every time I observe people jump on the trampoline, I realize that people have fun regardless of age and gender. This project liberate people for that brief moment of interaction, making them scream and laugh with joy. The activity here is light-hearted. These reactions occur because the 'trampoline' as an object makes it easy for them to remember and connect to his/her past experiences from their own childhood. I am using a trampoline to begin thinking about the physical engagement of my work and asking participants to use this object to find a more intimate relationship between the object as an artwork and an emotional sense of their past relationships. Bouncing is an intense activity. People lose their adult inhibitions and they become children. Part of this project is to ask people to lose these inhibitions and connect with their inner-child. For people who jump on the trampoline, the image of a bruise amounts to nothing and so, they do not care about the image and what it represents. However, the inactive viewer is able to witness the scene of people jumping on the wounded trampoline and can imagine how the trampoline is hurt by others. They are having a joyous yet hurtful activity.

'unintentionally hurting other people', and/while 'playfully engaging in somebody's wounded story'.

'Drawing for real life series' is a watercolour drawing series I made on 2009-2010. This drawing series is a mixture of my personal narrative and general incidents I collected from the news. I placed two incidents in a single


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Jaeyeon Yoo

Art Review

A-Man, water colour and pencil on paper, 29.7 x 21.0 (cm), 2010

scene, one from my childhood video recording, and the other from images chosen from mass media. In this context, I think personal experience can enact with indirect experiences from the news. By making the scenes of tragiccomedy irony from everyday life, I became a person who enjoys playing around with the gap between imaginary world and symbolic world. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your

art practice and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic symbiosis between several disciplines, taking advantage of the creative and expressive potentials of Video as well as of Painting and Drawing and conveying them in a consistent and coherent unity, as in the stimulating F: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different


Jaeyeon Yoo

LandEscape 47 Art Review

Street Fighter, water colour and pencil on paper, 29.7 x 21.0 (cm), 2010

disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

By mixing several different disciplines, I gain more experimental experiences through my own process. During the symbiosis, I discover unexpected output and find intuitive collaboration between two different mediums. However, I have a strong reason for each discipline I choose for each project. For

instance, 'F' was the project I did for my first solo show in Seoul, Korea in 2011. At that time I was wondering what if I create a certain space that has a lots of different images that stem from one individual's imaginary world. At that time, Korean society was under tension due to the worsening relations with North Korea. While looking for inspiration, I accidentally came across the fact that American air force planes


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Jaeyeon Yoo

Art Review

have the alphabet 'F' on their wings, and from there I started to compile a variety of abstract images based on words that start with the letter 'F' and somewhat relate to war. (Although I ended up using words like 'Fun' or 'Fairytale' that have little connection to war). This intrigues me a lot in a way to observe the collision between a person's imaginary world and reality in real world. During the preparation of the show named 'F' on 2011, I found a pop-up book from a children's bookshop, and I was inspired by the structure of the pop-up book which had variations of 2D and 3D images. I thought it might be interesting to build a bigger version of pop-up book in the real space and invite people into that space. So I decided to show this project as space installation with large scale flat, wooden sculptures in which motors were placed to allow movement. The first process of this project was making lots of drawings, as much as I can. And then I copied the image from my drawing book, transferred them on to the large sclae wooden panels, and made them into free standing sculptures. I wanted to place doodles in space to give illusion to people/the audience as if they were walking through large pop-up books. After I installed all the pieces in the space, I was glad that my thematic exploration of tension between personal imaginary world and the reality can be engaged with viewers. At the opening, many viewers simultaneously looked around my work and became a part of the scene. I thought if I tried to make this show across different disciplines, the piece would be static rather than interactive. For me, challanging the different disciplines is very important for expressing certain concepts. It occurs me to do something, try and make something. In the painting series entitles "New Fantasia" you have drawn inspiration from


Jaeyeon Yoo

LandEscape 49 Art Review

Installation view of ‘New Fantasia’ 2010


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Jaeyeon Yoo

Art Review

Dancing Nam-dae-Mun, oil on canvas, 145.5 x 112.1(cm), 2010

the well-known Disney's cartoon series in order to represent the irony of the polarities of mass media symbolism, questioning about the unrevealed narrative behind contemporary imagery: this pushes the viewer to not play as a passive audience, but to reflect about our society's hidden

symbology... By the way, although I'm aware that this might sound a bit na誰f, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art especially nowadays- could play an effective role in sociopolitical questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state


Jaeyeon Yoo

LandEscape 51 Art Review

Heil, oil on canvas, 145.5 x 112.1(cm), 2009

that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

Yes. I do agree. I think Art can steer people's perception. 'New Fantasia' is a series of oil paintings in which I overlapped Disney cartoon

scenes with photograhs from mass media. The methodology of this project is direct in comparison to other works from my practice. Some people might think these paintings have a function of propaganda, because of the famous images and the direct way of expression I used. However, my point of view is that a recognizable


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Jaeyeon Yoo

Art Review

cartoon image can be easily found to the viewers and this can be the reason why people keep staring at the painting. If they keep looking at the paintings, they can easily find another image which is hidden beyond. The longer they look, the more they can see. The thinking process and finding the reversed narrative are important point of this series. I hope this thinking process has opened the viewers' perception in a different way. In all of your multifaceted artistic production there's a recurrent sense of narrative: although each of your project has an autonmous life (individual life), there's always seem to be such a channel of communication between your works, that springs from the way you justapose ideas and media: German multimedia artist Thomas Demand stated once that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

I think psychological narrative is very important in art. Also, narrative is inevitable for my body of work. I draw inspirations from a variety of stories. Writing is one of the enjoyable processes of my work. Therefore most of my projects are based on certain narratives. I enjoy reading allegorical fictions which bear a strong relations to reality and can send a stronger message than non-fiction. While George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' is a story about animals, the politics among these animals depict the dynamics of human society. Also, incorporating elements of Kafka from the novels such as 'Metamorphosis' and E.T.A. Hoffman's 'The Sand Man' intrigue me a lot for developing my artistic practice.

Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts, Jaeyeon. Finally, I would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

Currently I am simultaneously working on several projects. I have been working on a project which explores the theme of 'uncertain fun' within our personal fantasy, within a world full of uncertainties. I am using a variety of techniques from image play to twisted narratives to the manipulation of images through several media such as painting, performative sculpture and video installation, in order to create a sense of childhood fantasy and invite people to escape 'into' reality. I just had my solo show in October last year at the Cabin gallery in London. I also recently had several group shows in the UK. I am/will be working on a solo project this upcoming July at the project space '32sqm' in Acme studio glassyard building in London. It's kind of an open-project space which therefore might be a good opportunity for me to push the boundaries through experimentation with various media. More projects will entail this year, so the readers are most welcome to visit my website to stay informed about my future shows and projects. For now, I plan to keep working in the UK for a while. While I value my youth and energy, I also think it is important to build layers of experience over time in order to express my perception through art. Thank you very much for you interest and this beautiful interview.


Irene Pouliassi

LandEscape 42 Art Review

Installation view of ‘F’ mixed media with motor system, 2011


LandEscape 40 Art Review


LandEscape 55 Art Review

Mozhgan Erfani Lives and works in Paris, France

An artist's statement

M

y artistic work is essentially video-plasticien since 2000s, based on the intracorporel and psychic interior fight caused by the opposition between morals and modernity, religion and thirst of freedom. This problem which occupies the thought of most of the women of various generations, living in macho and traditional societies. This internal confusion and daily antinomy which involves the body and the spirit, becomes as an obsession in which two opposite intertwine, collide or coexiste.

My work is a reflection on intimacy and psychic interiority of women, a questioning of the self and the modern, traditional and religious environment, in parallel reflection, confrontation and face to face, including the suffering , enjoyment and dissidence .

Mozhgan Erfani


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LandEscape meets

Art Review

Mozhgan Erfani An interview by Josh Ryder with the collaboration of K. Williams landescape@europe.com

Mozhgan Erfani is one of the first iranian videast and accomplishes the difficult task of establishing an osmosis between an effective cultural analysys and a refined investigation about the liminal space between Imagination and Representation in which perceptual reality and memories and coexist in a coherent unity marked with an atemporal feature. One of the most convincing aspect of Erfani's practice is the way she creates an area of intellectual interplay between perception and memory, contingency and immanence, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials from contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Mozhgan and a warm welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, I would you like to pose you some questions about your background In particular, you have a solid formal training: you hold a Master en Arts Plastiques, that you received from the prestigious Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, where you currently hold the position of Doctorante en Arts Plastiques: would you like to tell our readers how this experience has influenced your development as an artist and the way you currently conceive your works? By the way, what are the most relevant differences that you have

experienced in relation to your previous experience in Iran?

I discovered the contemporary art in France Seventeen years ago. At the beginning I began with ephemeral installations. I worked also with food and plants. Then I made some artistic performances, an excellent experience to which I stayed attached. I had also some sound creations and finally I opted for the video-plasticien. This synergic medium, by which I could have quite at the same time, sound, images in movement and the performance art with an absolute control on space-time dimension. My previous studies in arts in Iran served me as an essential base for my career and my studies in France. I learned in Iran not only drawings, Paintings, graphics, sculpture, poetry and history of arts and etc…, but also I was specialized in traditional arts of Iran, as the calligraphy, the illumination, the islamic geometrical’s forms drawing, the design and the weaving of the Persian carpet and so. The most important difference I felt between Iran and France’s artistic atmosphere, was the total freedom of creation in France that I didn’t have in Iran. But at the same time, to be obliged to avoid the obvious fact and to keep a subtlety in the artistic work brought me a philosophic quality in the creation which I like particularly. The birth of an idea for me, comes from a tradition or from a daily habit that I had or I previously observed in Iran. The sort of Juerg Luedi


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Mozhgan Erfani

Art Review

problematic which always intrigues me and preoccupies my mind. An essential question and a permanent research on the feminine which I knew and felt as a woman when I lived in Iran. After, the idea becomes as a scenario in my spirit, something which I do not control at all. It looks like the defilading images absolutely spontaneous in my imagination. At this stage my occidental culture and all that I’ve already impregnated artistically in France, gets involved in the project and is made one mixture. It is necessary to say that I am never pressed to realize an idea that I find still not enough ripe. I take a time of researches and I think about all the details. When I have all the elements in my mind, I get organized to realize my project. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start with In Her Dreams, an extremly interesting project that our readers have already started to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit directly at https://vimeo.com/39820597 in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this stimulating video? what was your initial inspiration?

Being curious and attracted for a very long time by the concept of Marcel Duchamp's ready made entitled «€Air de Paris€», I had the idea of making a work, speaking about «€Air of Liberty€», which belongs nowhere, neither the air of a city, nor the air of a country.€The «€Air of Liberty€» which contains not only nostalgia, but also a universal vital need. In brief, it is essential to life. «€In Her Dreams€» was conceived and selected for the collective exposure organized with the Doctoral Academy of Arts and Sciences of Arts detail from myFunerals, Performance


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A still from In Her Dreams


LandEscape 60 Art Review

A still from In Her Dreams

Mozhgan Erfani


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at the Sorbonne University and Jean-Collet gallery in Vitry sur Seine with the common theme of «€Sleep Figures€». At first, I did research on this subject and especially on the dream, and then I began to think about my scenario. The dream, as a part of our sleep, is the representation of the objects that occupy our thoughts and our spirit. Human beings have always been interested in the links between dreams, reality and conscious activity. According to some psychologists, the content of dreams can vary depending on the subjects’ religion and beliefs. As per Freud, «€dreams can be the realization of our unconscious desires.» Socrates defined dream as a place where shameful desires and longings repressed during the day are expressed and satisfied. The message of a dream can sometimes contain the base of a constructive internal dialogue. Some people find a method of self-blossoming via the observation of their own dreams. So my idea of «€Air de Libert逻€perfectly fit in my scenario and I ended realizing€«€In Her Dreams€». I like the way your careful approach offers a rigorous but at the same time lively visual translation of the sights tha pervades our reality: in this sense, your practice is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intense interplay with the viewers, that are urged to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience. I definetely love the way In Her Dreams questions about the concept of Self, taking an intense participatory line, investigating about the intimate consequences of oniric realities in a way that has reminded me of the ideas behind Thomas Demand's works: while conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask


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Art Review

you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Effectively, you’re right, that is an exactly remark. My artistic works have also the proximate philosophic approach than Krzysztof Kiéslowski, David Cronenberg, Robert Bresson, Mounir Fatmi even if I’m absolutely not influenced directly by their works. An artist by his nature is an excellent observertransmitter, who reflects on around him, as well as in privacy world than public world that surround him. He is constantly interrogated by himself about all that intrigues him. So he is consciously and unconsciously expresses his preoccupies and thoughts. By personal experience, I would say that my works inspired by my direct experience have a peculiarity and I find them best accomplished. By consequence, I think that we should not separate the artistic creation and the artist’s real preoccupies. Anyway, that’s my way of looking at this. The oniric ambience created by In Her Dreams as well as the way you invite the viewer to a progressive discovery seems to urge our perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" as microscopic grains of sand in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

I am very subtle and discreet in my works , I do not like to reveal everything . In «€In Her Dreams€» the spectator discovers progressively

A still from In Her Dreams


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Art Review

the mystery which becomes visible in a very slowly way. Then we have the surprise of the end and the other surprises and the symbols which remain to discover. This subtlety in my work comes from the Persian literature and the poetry with which I grew up, in particular Hâfez and Khayyâm. «€In Her Dreams€» is a video work showing us the quasi-trance oneiric act of the ritual of a veiled Venus desiring to go away from the world which surrounds her, from the constant pressures which are imposed on her. A woman with the sensual voluptuous body, composing a dream, in order to not to see any more nor to hear the reality which reigns outside. She leaves voluntarily the reality for consoling ideal likeness, as if she was taking a break. The spectator, this voyeuristic witness, enters the intimacy debarred and the eroticism of this young woman fantasizing the freedom. «€In Her Dreams€» is another form of scripture and plasticity of the dream. Eroticism and plasticity of the dream are combined in this work which awake the curiosity by its screens’s game. The close-up and the obscure atmosphere lead us away to a sensation of suffocation. Through folds and transparency of the veil which envelops the young woman, progressively, we can guess the prohibited body, the source of sins. The sound of breath and the ambiguity of the movements take us in an imaginary eroticism. «€In Her Dreams€» presents us the paradox, the crossing between two worlds, the intimacy transition the truth in to the ideal likeness, an imagined voyage towards liberty. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is

A still from Inextricable

entitled Inextricable: in particular, when I first happened to get to know this piece I tried to relate all the visual and sound information to a single meaning. But I soon


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conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

There is an intuitive part and a systematic part in my works. Habitually an idea arrives intuitively in my mind. Details have their progressive turn according to the reflection and to the research. The rhythm in my work comes from my previous experiences and my Persian culture. To give you an example, the hypnotic and the trance rhythm of «€Inextricable€» comes unconsciously from practices of whirling dervish in Orient. In «€Inextricable€» we notice five women who transcribe their life and their state of mind on some paper like as many women who weave every day, according to their day’s humor and mood , with the color and the drawing that they want at this moment, on Gabbeh (a kind of nomadic Carpet of Iran). I can say that my experience in Iran, surrounding women weaving the carpet, served me unconsciously as a source of inspiration. Disorder of the psalmody of the beginning in «€Inextricable€» which takes a harmonious and synchronized rhythm, was totally systematic process and managed, as a sexual act which arrives at its apogee. Colors and choice of the materials are carefully thought with consideration, the number of the performers and the shape in star form are also elaborated. The word «€Khafaqan€» ( Oppressive) that pronounced by them has also a literary research at the significant and sound level. My works contain effectively intuitive and systematic process at the same time. realized that I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a

The recurrent reference to an emotional but at the same time universal imagery suggested by the fruitful synergy between Eroticism and Plasticity seems to remove


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Art Review

A still from Je Me Presente

any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. In this sense, I daresay that the semantic juxtaposition between sign and matter that marks out your art, allows you to go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, as in the interesting

Inextricable, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials from contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

As an oriental woman artist, I see actually an important contrast between the Tradition and


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the Contemporarinesse. The tradition often makes surface and is a part of life of the most modern of the oriental society. I think that the tradition and the contemporariness, in spite of their contrast, coexist together, as well in Occident as in Orient but with different degrees. In the daily life of the women in Iran, this cohabitation often creates internal conflicts. Many women are completely confused between the modernity and the tradition. My artistic work demonstrates at the same time this cohabitation and its contrasts. This effect is even more considerable in «€Daily Bread€» and also in «€Surmoi€» (Super-ego). «€Daily Bread€» invites the spectator to reflect on the genesis of writing and the origins of the spoken words, as in « Soap€» of Francis Ponge. It is a liberator act, a repetitive autobiography and a personal diary that allows us to enter in to her intimate world. We also notice the interiorization of expression by ingurgitation, as a moment of ecstasy in the intimacy of an oppressed woman. Eroticism and Placticity, Tradition and Contemporariness live together in my works. With «€Surmoi€» we have simultaneous interior conflicts, cohabitation and infinity coexistence of the tradition and the modernity. Important contrasts which haunt the spirit and the body of an amphigoric young woman. And I couldn't do without mentioning your video Khafaqan in which - through an effective re-contextualization of the decorative function of calligraphy - you have investigated about the thorny issue of nonexistence and loss of identity. Although I'm aware that this might sound a bit naïf, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art -especially nowadays- could play an effective role in sociopolitical questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression...

I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

It is a little complicated to answer this question, because an artistic work is above all, an artistic work. The art video carries many facets and potential as well technical, poetic, artistic, philosophic as socio-political. But as soon as a woman artist expresses on the identity or the sex-gender, the most of people think naturally about the feminist-art or the militant-art. While the interpretation of the feminism of the 60s - 70s has changed enormously in our days. Actually the arrival of a mass of women oriental artists, treating this subject, corresponds exactly to the movement of the feminist artists of the 60s and 70s in France and in America. A large number of Iranian women videasts, beginning with the artist Shirin Neshat living in the USA and then myself since 2000s and many other Iranian women videasts who express themselves since 2010s. I do not think that hundreds of artists can change somethings in this cruel world, but for my part, the fact that my videographies are seen in several countries, by varied generations and open-minded public who looks for a reflection on the current world, is very important. Through my works I open a window towards the oriental feminine intimacy, which is not easily accessible. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, clearly revealed in Je Me Présente. In particular, it seems that you have conveyed into video art practice all your previous artistic experiences: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis


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A still from Khafaqan

Mozhgan Erfani


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between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Naturally, the multidisciplinarity is a main advantage and a major asset for my work. The occidental culture also brought an additional riches in the reading and the apprehension of my works by occidental public. I would not say that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the main part to express some concepts, purpose can returns the work into an extraordinary, unusual, strange and more intriguing oeuvre, so in summery, the result can attract more attention and more reflection on. During these years your works have been screened in several occasions around the world and moreover I think it's important to remark that you are one of the first iranian woman videasts. So before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

To grow up with the Persian literature and Khayâm, Hâfez and Saadi's poetries, made developed in me a grand love for the words, the literature and the languages. Actually, the legibility and the good reception of the work by the public is very important for me. But the choice of the written language or sound-effect’s language, stays always my mother tongue, the Farsi (the Persian). It is an essential element and I consider it as signature. The choice of the language of the title of my works, varies according to the context of the work, because the title is a part of my oeuvre. If


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Art Review

A still from Khafaqan

I look for a significant which is more explicit in a language, of course I make my choice there. For example «€ In Her Dreams€» gives us at once, the gender, while I would not have it, neither in French nor in Persian. «€Daily Bread€» takes at once, a saintly and sacred aspect, which I would not have in Persian, the Madonna

who contrasts with other elements of this video and the pulpit of the Christ gulped down at the end of this videographic work. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Mozhgan. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your


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A still from Khafaqan

future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Thank you for having taken the time to interview me and for your analyse, deciphering and attention on my works. Indeed, I have several projects going on, some in the course of

research and others in the course of editing. I wish to see my work evolving to great videoinstallations which demand more researches finding: first, some solutions for the best method to realize theme, and, more important funding. By then, you will know about my new creations via my website, mozhgan-erfani.com


LandEscape 40 Art Review


LandEscape 5 Art Review

Nork Zakarian Lives and works in between Egypt and Armenia

A

notable conversation with an elder villager lady in the Haghpat village of Northern Armenia (where this video was shot) prompted the conceptualization of Elizabeth of Nazareth. The living conditions in her village are dire; with regular shortages in electricity and water, poor infrastructure and no opportunities for the youth. Almost all factories in the nearby cities have been shut down since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the village has almost no more youth left due to high rates of unemployment and geopolitical instability. Privatization and the lack of collectivism has left entire households unable to sustain themselves forcing them to emigrate. Unless subsidized by the state, new machinery and technology are not affordable to individuals or households and so they have fallen behind on agricultural efficiency. She went on to explain that for 42 years under communism she had learned that God, the church, the saints, and the cross are institutions of deception and should not be revered, touched or kissed. As a school teacher, she channeled these instructions to her classroom, until after the collapse of communism, where she found herself having to teach them the exact opposite. "Today," she confesses, "even I don't know which is true, but one of them must be the truth." Transposing these stories and realities to the visual medium, I was interested in experimenting with discontinuity to project the inherent paradox in religion and war, industrial life and rural life, as well as folk traditions and modernity. Breaking away from the linear and logical progression of the narrative form, this video relies on soundscapes,

poetic mise-en-scene, tableau vivant style of frame compositions, and mimed facial expressions as the carriers of the piece's dramatic weight. With the absence of dialogue, it was interesting for me to see how such contrasting elements would collide visually and on an emotional level, when an unemployed motherly figure, a weeping child, a religious figure, and an elderly woman are placed in locations like a medieval Armenian monastery in Haghpat, an abandoned Soviet factory, a rural landscape and a jet fighter aircraft. Influenced by the bleak industrial look of Michalangelo Antonioni's Red Desert as well as the mystic style of Kenneth Angers videos, Elizabeth of Nazareth hopes to convey the architecture of anxiety and unease in the Armenian reality. Set in our contemporary age in the largely patriarchal society of modern Armenia, the title of the film is suggestive of some kind of biblical legend, and righteously so, as it hopes to venerate a new prophet; this time manifested in the form of a working class heroine.

Nork Zakarian Nork Zakarian is born in Cairo in 1987 of Armenian descent. Since 2007 he has been working in the field of digital media both professionally and independently as a filmmaker and musician. His works include video art, experimental video, documentary films, installations, live music and sound design for films. For three years he worked with one of Egypt’s most progressive film production house MiddleWestFilms, as a production assistant and audio/video editor for documentary productions, most notably for the award winning documentary "In Search of Oil and Sand". Nork is also a musician and is currently studying composition in the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan.


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Art Review

Nork Zakarian An interview by Josh Ryder with the colllaboration of Stephen S. Myers landescape@europe.com

The synergy between sound and video allows Nork Zakarian to conceive works capable of offering a multilayered experience, urging the viewers to rethink about the ambiguous dichotomy between the perception of space and time. In his film Elizabeth of Nazareth that we'll be discussing in the following pages, he investigates the roots of the relation to moving images, displaying an extraordinary cinematography: his approach suggests an unexplored area of interplay where we are invited to investigate about the relationship with reality and the way we perceive it. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Nork and a warm welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? During these seven years you have earned a vast experience working in a wide range of fields, from video and documentary films to live music and film sound design: in particular, how does your current experience as a student of composition at the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan impact on the way you conceive and produce your works?

Being in an environment of musicians and artists is definitely more inspiring than being stuck in urban traffic jams. Yerevan is an interesting place to be if you are interested in art or studying; even more if you are

interested in both. Yes, it is not the best place to make a living, especially as an artist. It is a fairly small city with many talents particularly in music. But at least out here one has enough freedom and space to focus, create, and get inspired, and I am lucky to be in such an environment. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from "Elizabeth of Nazareth", an extremely interesting work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit directly at https://vimeo.com/user9951266 in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

Hard working women in patriarchal societies. Especially in modern Armenia with its religious patriarchy. I was interested in making a video that venerates women, more specifically sanctifies them, hence an epiphanic tone in the title. Given the harsh economic conditions in Armenia, women face a practical quandary of working a low-paying job or a high paying deviant profession. It is an ode to this predicament. We follow a young working class prophetess through abandoned factories and medieval monasteries, folk traditions in modern life and rural landscapes with Mig-21 jet fighters in the background. There's not much action or dialogue, and not much is needed in a contemplative piece, as the spliced disparate scenes should act as tableau vivant for our desolate times.

Juerg Luedi


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Art Review

One of the most epiphanic line of "Elizabeth of Nazareth" is concerned with the relation with Perception and Experience in the unstable contemporariness: "even I don't know which is true, but one of them must be the truth". The way you question the intimate consequences of constructed and imposed realities as has reminded me of Thomas Demand's works: while conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Apart from Thomas Demand, we also have Thomas the Apostle who doubted the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth because he had not witnessed it. Seeing is believing, and we are diseased with an enthusiasm to experience. However, it is not a must to experience something directly to genuinely create, but direct experience is full emersion without selectiveness. You are not to choose what you want to hear or see or taste or touch or smell when you are directly experiencing. All your senses for things desirable or imposed is there for you to intake as an artist. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the most inspiring things come mystically and unexpectedly from unknown places. A whistle or a signal, street sign or a rambling of a street philosopher can open unexpected doors for a greater creative process. An artist must be adventurous in their search. Essentially the creative process is an abstract cerebral or emotional activity in its conception as an idea or feeling. But in order to be called 'art' it must be produced or detail from myFunerals, Performance

shared, otherwise it remains an idea or a feeling. When produced, its perception starts a similar activity in another. So it is an abstract


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activity in its conception in the beholder and in the final stage when it has reached "the other".

In my case as a filmmaker, to put together an interesting film scene would cost a lot money to produce and I usually work like a guerrilla


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Art Review

filmmaker, or dogma 95 style. I have learned to dream simple dreams. And that isn't always a simple thing.

You have mentioned Michalangelo Antonioni among the directors that have influenced you. But I daresay that while


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Armenian contemporary reality that you explore in "Elizabeth of Nazareth", is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of deep interplay with the viewers: in particular, your investigation about the dichotomy between industrial life and rural life, as well as the way modernily leads to a progressive but overwhelming disappearance of folk traditions has reminded me of Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini. I have appreciated the way your approach forces us to evolve from being a passive spectator to more conscious participants to the act you perform... By the way, although I'm aware that this might sound a bit na誰f, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art -especially nowadayscould play an effective role in sociopolitical issues: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

Antonioni's touch is marked out with recurrent reference to alienation, the social estrangement and the unease in the

Our generation is overpowered with the massive access to information and knowledge thanks to technology. While it's a good thing that we can keep ourselves informed and reach out to a global audience, we end up with a flood of available information which is distracting. We should become more selective and organized in what we want in our social media. Art could change the world, but we need to be organized. Revolutions fail when there is a lack of common goals and some kind of direction. I have learned this from the Egyptian experience (as I was there during the first couple of years when it started) and addressed it in a documentary I made in Egypt about the forgotten priorities of the revolution which were food, literacy, healthcare and social justice. I document this by following the national dish of Egypt 'fool' beans and falafel, which helped me reach out to almost all Egyptians regardless of class, religion, color, and status in an honest and


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Nork Zakarian

Art Review

direct way. This documentary was part of Gyumri Biennial in 2012 and you can find the shorter version on my vimeo page under the title "Fool Tool" . In the cinema world, Pasolini has this great neorealist way of working; even in his documentaries and video journals where he finds a common tongue to reach out to the masses in Italian or Indian or African villages , and that is very much inspiring. As far as the look of Elizabeth of Nazareth, I was interested in the alienated look of the factory scenes in Michelangelo Antonioni's "Red Desert" film. I admire his meticulous attention to image detail and design over the narrative story in creating his mood pieces. The direct but refined composition of "Elizabeth of Nazareth" has some references to the concept of heterotopia elaborated by Michel Foucault. What has mostly impacted on me is the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to signs, and in a wide sense to re-contextualize the concept of the environment we inhabit in. This is a recurrent feature of your approach that invite the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

I've seen a fascinating lecture by William S. Burroughs for a creative writing class that was designed to develop the students' habits of observation and awareness. He devises an exercise for increasing the range of focus and attentiveness of "what we know and what we don't know that we know". The exercise starts off with taking a walk, and paying close attention to what you see and hear, and

particular attention to what you were thinking "when you read that sign past that person who walked by that car". After doing this for a few


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days you begin to notice that "street signs, car license numbers, passing strangers, are saying something to you". After carrying out these

instructions, one of his students got quiet paranoid because "everything seemed to mean something", to which Burroughs reaffirmed,


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Art Review

"yes, everything does mean something". This process best describes my scriptwriting experience for Elizabeth of Nazareth when I went location scouting in Northern Armenia. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Twin nuns: In this work you explore the blurry boundary between collective memory and identity, investigating the psychological nature of the cinematic image. In particular, when I first happened to get to know with this

work I tried to relate all the visual information and the presence of a primary element as water to a single meaning. I later realized I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

Symbolic content can be quiet systematic, but the intuitive process creates something more


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atmospheric. Twin Nuns, which is about two sisters born a few minutes apart in constellations, has an atmosphere of dark imagery, soundscapes, and mythological content. It was shot mainly in Alexandria, in a boutique atelier from the colonial 40s, inside the Alexandrian opera, and also at a Christian cemetery under a lunar eclipse. There isn't a very clear sense of time, but more of dichotomy of two characters and lots of work on the soundtrack. I would say it is more intuitive, and even sound may act as a symbol in this piece; there's train sounds but no trains. It is the most

meticulous soundtrack I have worked on, and I'm proud of the outcome. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, taking advantage of the creative and expressive potential of Sound as well as of Video: I would like to suggest to our readers to visit your soundcloud page at https://soundcloud.com/user2424533 since I think that there's such a channel of communication between your video


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Art Review

production and your compositions... while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

I think sound can really make or break a video or a film. It is absolutely crucial to have a soundtrack that can elevate the moving image. Sometimes, as is the case in Twin Nuns, sound was the initial inspiration and plays a leading role in the piece. It adds a whole new layer of ambiance to the image and absorbs the viewer into becoming a listener first. Thanks to my background in music, I can be in control of composing a score for an image, and it is necessary for all filmmakers to become more directly involved in harnessing their sound design. When you visualize a film in your head, you can't convince me that you don't hear things too! Before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: during these years your works have been exhibited in several important locations as the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, the Alexandria Contemporary Art Forum and a couple of years ago you took part to the 8th Gyumri Biennale. What impressions have you received in these occasions? And in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Language is important in the communication process and translation may limit you especially when you are being poetic or expressive as is the case in art. I speak 4 languages and sometimes I become confused which to express with or even to think in. Every

language is unique and translations may mislead. For example I have made an interactive installation in Art el Lewa in Egypt and the same one in La Capella Barcelona. The English working title is "Peephole" and when translated to Arabic the peephole on your door is actually called 'el ein el sehreya', literally meaning 'the magic eye'. Actually in this context, the translation is beneficial as it makes more sense in communicating the installation since a video stops when a person enters the room. Then they become anxious and must follow their eyes to catch the next video playing on the door outside, which also stops and the one inside starts again. The best way to watch then becomes by viewing through peephole or 'the magic eye'. I did this using Pure Data (Pd) programming language for interactive technology which is a whole other language! We 'learned' the 'language' over a 4 months workshop with the founders of Pd You can find the video on my vimeo page. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Nork. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I will continue to work with stories and realities that inspire me using the two mediums of expression which are dearest to me; film and music. I'm in post production stage of an independent documentary I'm making called Poetic Livers. It's a docudrama in Yerevan involving real characters but shot in the style of a short narrative film. It stars Levon Harutunyan an elder professional Armenian pianist, and his fretful relationship with his piano tuner. Their confrontations reveal an interesting dynamic in their volatile friendship, while exposing viewers to the struggle of underpaid artists and artisans in Armenia whose livers have fallen out of tune.


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Starry Starry Night 2014 Video still


LandEscape 5 Art Review

claRa apaRicio yoldi Lives and works in London, United Kingdom

An artist's statement

I

am a video artist from in Madrid, Spain. Graduating in Art History from Universidad Complutense de Madrid, I moved to London in 2008, where I currently live and work. I studied Digital Film and Animation at the London Metropolitan University and Programming for Artists at Goldsmiths University.

Art is a way to express and transmit new aspects of reality. I discover and perfect new languages that more directly correspond with my experiences. I use different formats and explore the frontiers between traditional and new media. I mix video and animation with painting, collage, elements of graphic and web design, programming and digital art, creating visual poems. Recycling the aesthetic of commercials and marketing tools, my videos are a play of seduction, image overload, repetition, flashy colours, advertising hypnosis, contradiction, incomplete messages, manipulation... Sometimes I use found footage and then, the

value of the images comes not from the images themselves but from the editing and the new meaning they acquire. I put into question the traditional narrative resources with the juxtaposition of images and copy-paste collages of a schizophrenic nature. Images are in conflict, looped and repeated, in synchrony with the music. I want my videos to be ‘heard’, to be more like music, more abstract. My pieces talk about the new ways of communication between people in an era of new technologies. The poetry of loneliness and anonymity. The frontiers between reality and fiction, and the connections between the world of dreams and the real world. About the loss of privacy. About images in the current society and the power of mass media and telecommunications. About the brands and adverts ubiquity.

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claRa apaRicio yoldi An interview by Josh Ryder with the collaboration of Katheine Williams and Dario Rutigliano landescape@europe.com

Hello Clara and a warm welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after graduating in Art History from Universidad Complutense de Madrid: you moved to London where you studied Digital Film and Animation at the London Metropolitan University and Programming for Artists at Goldsmiths University. Since you started to paint when you were a child, I would like to ask you how these experiences have influenced your evolution as an artist and how training has informed the way you currently conceive the works that we'll be soon discussing.

Hi LandEscape! I studied Art History, so that gave me an overview of visual arts of different times and places. While I studied my degree I attended a painting Academy, as I wanted to do something practical as well as learning about the theory. While studying, I realised that artists of any time are just trying to express themselves and communicate. We can express ourselves with words, images and sounds and we now have many other possibilities using new technologies. My favourite subjects in University were

Contemporary Art and History of Cinema. I became interested in the possibilities of the moving image. The moment I decided to do video art was when I saw an exhibition of the Swiss video artist Pipilotti Rist in my home city, Madrid, in the Reina Sofia Museum. I was fascinated by her visually striking work, intelligent criticism and sense of humour. I like videoart as a language to express concepts or ideas but I also find that it has infinite possibilities aesthetically. When I moved to London I studied Digital Film. I started working with moving image, recording and editing my own videos and learning how to use different software for design, animation, video editing and after effects. At the moment, I'm working with programming languages such as Processing, which I find very interesting and I think are a step forward in the world of visual arts. I will continue learning to use all the new tools, techniques, software and languages that become available, as well as the old ones, in order to communicate and improve my art. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Starry Starry Night, an extremely interesting video inspired by the eponymous Vincent Van Gogh’s painting and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our Juerg Luedi


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readers to visit directly at http://www.aclararte.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

I started wondering how Van Gogh would have represented what he had in his mind if he was living today, with all the technologies that are available. Maybe he would have used the moving image? Or a computer? Or programming languages... I also found his Starry Night interesting because Van Gogh painted this night scene in daylight, from memory.He wrote in a letter to Émile Bernard: "The imagination is certainly a faculty which we must develop and it alone can bring us to creation of a more exalting and consoling nature ... A star-spangled sky, for instance, that's a thing I would like to try to do ... But how can I manage unless I make up my mind to work ... from imagination?" In a few of my other pieces I reference other paintings but using current tools. In July 1890 I referenced Van Gogh's painting Wheatfield with Crows. I also created a processing application based on Jackson Pollock's paintings. I have appreciated the way you investigate the psychological nature of the cinematic image: in particular, when I first happened to get to know Starry Starry Night I tried to relate all the visual information and the presence of primary elements to a single meaning. I later realized I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather than a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of detail from myFunerals, Performance

Starry Starry Night, 2014, Video still an intuitive or a systematic process?

I think it's both. Systematic because I always have an


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idea in mind or a concept that I want to develop, but from there I work from intuition. That's what I enjoy about creating, that the result is always

surprising. From an initial idea, you experiment and new things always appear in the process.


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RAM_city (Mil pantallas), 2014, Video still

Inspired by music, I wanted to do something more abstract, without copying any external objects. Instead of melody, harmony, rhythm,

etc, I used the primary elements of visual graphics: lines, shapes, mass, lights, colours, textures, space, time and motion. I didn't want to


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I love working with musicians. When I find the right music, it inspires me. I listen to the pieces again and again for hours, and then days and the images start appearing in my head. Normally, when I work on a video, the first thing I do is choose the music or ask the musician to create it before I start working on the visuals. For the soundtrack of Starry Starry Night I worked with the musician MallyHarpaz. I told her the idea and from there she created the soundtrack. Since then we have collaborated on several videos. RAM_city (Mil pantallas) has some references to the concept of heterotopia elaborated by Michel Foucault and has given me the same sensations that I experienced when I first happened to get to know PipilottiRist's work. In particular, I have appreciated the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to signs, and in a wide sense to re-contextualize the concept of the environment we inhabit in. This is a recurrent feature of your approach that invites the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some information & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

I think everybody, if we pay attention, can find different and unexpected sides of nature (as there exists infinite possibilities, points of view and perspectives...) The artist is just the one that tries to communicate those aspects of reality, both in external Nature and our inner Nature. do anything narrative, just combine visual rhythms to build an animated painting, a visual poem.

I love the work of Pipilotti Rist and her concern with our connection and interaction with the world around us, the way we relate to our landscape and the preconceptions we carry from our


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respective cultures. I like her way of layering the imagery as a reflection of our own inner visuals and memories. Video art can be closer to the world of dreams and thoughts. RAM_city (Mil pantallas) has references to Foucault and the spaces of otherness. It is based on a text by José Luis Brea and reflects on the changes of culture in the age of electronic distribution. In the video we move from a city with “Read-only memory” (ROM) to a city with “Random-access memory”: RAM_city. From a “file based memory” to a “network memory”. From a “storage memory” to a “factory memory”. The monuments in the old city disappear as in the new city there are no heroes to commemorate. The history of this city is not made up of individual moments despotically imposed, ensuring their presence into the present. Here, nothing crystallizes as a fixed memory. Maps, buildings and monuments as symbols of the past. Windows as links between knowledge's citizens, building a public sphere, a space for the community without headquarters. Brea mentions in his book a poem by Leonard Cohen: Late at night, when I look out at the buildings I swear I see a face in every window looking back at me; and when I turn away, I wonder how many go back to their desks and write this down. In the motherboard everything is in disagreement, there is nothing to be concluded as real. The formation of the imaginary is a continuous and open negotiation, a continuous exchange, a permanent awakening. Culture is not marked by tradition and inheritance rules or by the need to follow the same canon.

RAM_city (Mil pantallas), 2014, Video still One of the most epiphanic features of RAM_city (Mil pantallas) is concerned with the relation with Perception and Experience in the


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contemporary unstabilty: the way you question the intimate consequences of constructed and imposed realities: while

conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic


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Zoom in, 2015, Video still ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is

an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be


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The themes are always based on my surroundings. The tools that I choose to express myself come also from the possibilities or limitations that I have and the aesthetical decisions are subordinated to my subjective experience. I don't think my work can be entirely separated from my immediate surroundings. I think it’s necessary for art to talk about what's happening now, to question, to criticize, to expose problems, to propose new ideas and to raise people's awareness. I don't just copy reality or what I can see with my eyes, I create new languages, depicting reality, decomposing depicted objects in various nonrealistic ways. Art liberates us from the dominance of reality. In my work, there are no concrete symbols like there are in languages. The meanings are more open. I work from a general abstract idea or concept and from there it’s the role of the audience to complete the piece. My videos are closer to dreams and the unconscious; they express general ideas or feelings and can have infinite meanings. The spectator would be like a psychoanalyst, trying to depict what hidden meaning there is behind the images. My video Zoom In is a good example of how the art process works. The camera moves through collages of animated paintings from the far reaches of the universe to within the human mind. The greatness of introspection, inspiration, fantasy, dreams, the subconscious, compared to the insignificance of everything else. It is a reflection on Solipsism. The only thing one could be sure of is the existence of oneself. The external world cannot be known and might not exist at all outside of the mind. disconnected from direct experience?

I always base my work on personal experiences.

Your artistic production is pervaded with a subtle but effective sense of narrative and although each of your projects has an autonmous life, there's always seems to be


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such a channel of communication between your works, that springs from the way you juxtapose the ideas you explore: for example, the way you question the boundary between what is inside and what is outside in Zoom Out reminds your investigation about the consequences of information overload in Fragment edMemory. Thomas Demand stated once that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

In the moment that you create something, even if it is trying to copy the reality in a naturalistic way, the result is unreal, it is fake and artificial, unnatural, a manipulated reality. In my works I always have a structural framework in which I present the idea to the viewer. Sometimes, in my videos, you can find a structure based on tension and resolution. But I don't consider my works to be purely narrative. This structure might come from cinema, which is one of my main inspirations. The visual narrative is everywhere and you have to use it if you want to communicate with the majority of people. It’s a language that has been in existence for a long time and everybody understands it. But, just as with the spoken language, this narrative is not enough, and I feel I have to use other techniques to express concepts. Video art is more like poetry. The audio-visual language has a lot of possibilities. Cinema is a big industry and the creative concept is diluted along the way. Video art gives me total independence and control over the final result and it’s a language closer to my way of thinking. In my videos I put into question the traditional narrative resources with the

Laisse tomber les filles (Leave the girls alone) 2013 Vid

juxtaposition of images that are in conflict, looped and repeated, in synchrony with the music. I want my videos to be ‘heard’, to be


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eo still

more like music, more abstract. For my video LaisseTomber Les Filles (Leave

the girls alone), my main inspiration was Eisenstein and his theory of intellectual montage as an alternative system to continuity editing.


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Fragment edMemory, 2013, Video still

New ideas emerge from the collision of the images, ideas that were not inherent in any them. A new concept explodes into being. That’s

why I used footage from two films. Copying, pasting, looping and confronting these images, I created a totally different story. And the


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Les Filles composed by Serge Gainsbourg. In Fragment edMemory I reflect on how in the different mediums of expression (literature, cinema, visual arts), we are assisting to the fragmentation of the narrative discourse. We are questioning the traditional narrative resources with the juxtaposition of images, texts, copy-paste collages and a schizophrenic nature. My piece Zoom Out puts into question one of the key concerns in the history of painting: the frame. It establishes the limits between what is inside and what is outside, what is shown and what is hidden. In this video, I augmented the limits of the original painting. Its frame expands in height, width and depth. The impetuous way modern technology has nowadays come out on the top has dramatically revolutionized the idea of Art itself: in a certain sense, we are forced to rethink the materiality of the artwork itself, since just few years ago it was a tactile materialization of an idea. I'm sort of convinced that new media art will definitely fill the apparent dichotomy between art and technology and I will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to assimilate one to each other... what's your opinion about this?

soundtrack, created by the musician Ciara Clifford, is another appropriation, a “looped� interpretation of the French song Laisse Tomber

Technological advances have always been there and have always affected the way we understand our surroundings and consequently the way we represent it in the world of visual arts. For example with the appearance of photography artists’ interests switch from trying to copy reality in a naturalistic way to focusing on other aspects. With materiality the same thing happened. In conceptual art, artists started to pay more attention to the concept or the idea rather than to its materialization.


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Nowadays, the use of computers by artists allows new ways of expression.The use of new media by artists is a natural process and I think artists have already assimilated technology in their works. However, with the Internet, the ways in which art is produced, distributed and exhibited still needs to radically change. The exhibition of video art needs new spaces. The spectator should be comfortable to stay for the duration of the video and experience it in the best was possible: sitting down, with a big screen and evolving sound. Or even at home, accessing it from their chosen devices. I believe that video art is going to soon be one of the main art forms as it fits perfectly with the times we are living in. Audio-visuals are everywhere and people are familiarized with the language. It expresses concepts in a less narrative way and has short duration. It can also be easily accessed from your home via the Internet. Video art needs to find its way into the world of audiovisuals and institutions. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, ranging from Video to Multimedia and even Painting, and I think that there's such a channel of communication between your video production and your compositions...while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Zoom out, 2014, Video still

I’m curious (possibly have a touch of attention deficit, don’t we all at the moment?) and I love to experiment with different

disciplines in order to transmit or communicate in a deeper way. I experiment with different formats and explore the frontiers between traditional and


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new media: mixing video and animation with painting, elements of graphic design, interactivity, programming and digital art. Art is

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a need for creative expression. I think it doesn’t matter what medium you choose to express yourself: painting or programming.


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Flat 7 Oakwood House, 2012, Flash animation

A person can express creatively in any form. There are artists that choose just one discipline in

which they feel most comfortable and they experiment inside it, going deeper in the knowledge and possibilities of that discipline in particular. I feel


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Our society is based on work specialization. Multidisciplinarity has always been seen as something negative. Art is seen as an industry: the art dealer finds an artist and makes him or her repeat the same formula that works for the public, again and again, the same style, technique or themes, to create a brand to sell. Luckily I think this has changed in the last few decades, and multidisciplinarity is starting to be seen as something positive. We have access to a huge amount of different media and tools, so why not use as many disciplines as you need in order to find the best way to transmit your ideas. The symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way for me to express myself completely. Before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: during these years your works have been exhibited in several locations, including a recent show at the Espacio Gallery in London. What impressions have you received in these occasions? And in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

The audience is an essential part of the creative process. I invite the audience to enter a non verbal dialogue. I hope viewers enjoy watching my films and listening to the music. They are meant to be fun, and aesthetically enjoyable. That’s the first level, the most instinctive. Art in my opinion always has different levels. In my pieces I always want to do, first of all, something that people enjoy visually, something beautiful to see and enjoyable to watch. more comfortable changing, mixing, and combining to achieve my goals.

After that, people can go deeper if they want. They can start making associations or trying to find symbols, hidden messages or concepts. That’s a more cerebral pleasure. I think art must


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stir consciences and make people reflect on and consider different issues. Art must be social, as a reflection of our times or as a critique of certain aspects of our society. I like to imagine that a video is never finished. Since the moment it comes to life, it continues its journey and will provoke different reactions from different people in different places, cultures and societies. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Clara. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Currently I’m working on a project that is based on Romanic churches and how the paintings inside were used to indoctrinate the people, who at time were illiterate. This piece mixes architecture, painting, generative music, video, Processing, photography, collages... and it’s a reflection on the concept of interactivity. I hope my work never stops evolving. I will continue to use different tools to address different themes. I don't want to limit myself to one style or medium, nor with a particular thematic. I will continue experimenting with everything that I can and search new possibilities and opening new paths in my own artistic production. In the future I would also like to find new ways of distribution and exhibition for my pieces. TransMuted Realities, 2013, Video still


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Image from "Natural Magic" series, digital photography, size variable, 2013


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Chantelle Ferri Lives and works in Sydney, Australia

An artist's statement

B

orn in Sydney in 1985, Chantelle began her creative journey from a young age. Her Italian background saw an early introduction to the world of art and was encouraged to continue her studies in art throughout her youth.

Arts at RMIT in 2012. She took part in several exhibitions in Victoria during her stay and numerous public art projects in both Victoria and New South Wales over the last couple of years, occasionally exhibiting with a female Sydney based artists collective called Stayfly Sydney.

She maintained her interest throughout high school winning a local art award in her senior year and followed on to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney from 20032006, later completing her Honours Degree in 2008.

Chantelle returned to Sydney in late 2013. She currently lives and works in Sydney.

After a few years of travel and selfdiscovery she relocated from her home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches to Melbourne where she completed her Masters in Fine

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Chantelle Ferri An interview by Josh Ryder, curator landescape@europe.comr

Through a captivating multisciplinary practice Chantelle Ferri accomplishes the difficult task of enshrouding the physical body with imagery from the subconscious: questioning the ephemeral nature of memory, her work establishes a subtle but effective symbiosis between metaphysical level and the psychological one, urging the viewers to investigate the relationship between reality and the way we perceive it. Celebrating life and self-discovery, Ferri gives life to stimulating bodies of works that walk us into a dream-like dimension and release our perceptual parameters. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Chantelle and a warm welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You nurtured your passion since your early age and after earning your Bachelor of Fine Arts at the College of Fine Arts, in Sydney you completed your artistic formation graduating with Masters in Fine Arts at RMIT: how have these experiences influenced your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how do your frequent travels around the globe influence the way you conceive your works?

Hello LandEscape team and readers, thank you for your warm welcome! In terms of my interests I have always had a strong passion in

art and creativity. I grew up living between two countries – Australia and Italy. My family is from Trieste in the North of Italy, though I was born in Sydney Australia and for the first ten years or so I lived between both countries. The difficulty with that was that each time I moved, I had to re-learn the language over and over – and for this reason art became a universal language for me. I was encouraged by my art teachers to continue my studies in the arts. Also winning small local art prizes in high school helped encourage me to continue my interest and drive in the art scene. The College of Fine Arts (COFA) in Sydney helped me define my skills in oil painting and gave me access to dark room printing in photography, which helped me to explore new avenues to photography I had not earlier considered. For example, mediating an image – taking an already finished image and altering it to give it another meaning or perspective. Similarly the Royal Melburne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Melbourne encouraged me to take my medium further away from painting. My major project was actually photographic based and was presented as a proection piece, which I will discuss later. As for my world travels, I seek inspiration from nature mostly, wherever I may find it. It may be a forest, a river, an ocean, a jungle, a cave, or even under water. I seek inspiration on any journey I take and during my explorations, I often collect sample images which I will use in my work at a later stage. One never knows when a magical moment may present itself to Juerg Luedi


Artist portrait, Chantelle Ferri in her Melbourne studio 2013


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you. You must be ready to receive these moments of wonder wherever you may be. You must be open and flexible to new experieces and locations because your next masterpiece as an artist may be simply around the corner! For me travel is absolutely an invaluable experience. It doesn't have to be global but so long as you remain curious about the world, there will be so many wonders you may discover and therefore as an artist so many potential works you may create as a result. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Towards the Light an extremely interesting video inspirated from psychedelic art and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to visit https://www.behance.net/chantelleferri in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting work? What was your initial inspiration?

"Towards the Light" was a piece created specifically for the 2013 Gertrude Street Pojection Festival in Fitzroy, Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. (The festival is held between 1-2 weeks in the Australian winter nights during July. The festival exhibits works of different digital media through projection. Videos and animations, some even interactive with the audience are projected throughout the street.) My piece "Towards the light" was designed to make you stop for a moment and lose yourself withing the unfolding kaleidoscopic imagery. I had been playing around with photos for a while and found I could create a mirrored or kaleidoscopic effect quite easily. This also reminded me of the Rorschach test or psychological test which also began my interest in playing with the subconscious mind. This line of enquiry was more so delved in to with my detail from myFunerals, Performance

work created in the previous year in 2012 entitled "Growth from Within", which reflected on layers of feminine identity through self portraiture and projection. This work used the motifs of natural elements such as flowers, trees and nature to symbolize the passing of time, seasons changing and was a comment on the transient nature and impermenance of our lives, associated with vantas concepts of life and decay and the inevitabiliy of death. It is not meant to be a dreary subject, but perhaps more a celebration of life and seizing every moment, never taking anything for granted. So I suppose "Towards the light" seemed a fitting title both in a literal and metaphysical sense. Living in Melbourne , I would seek out natural landscapes to escape to whilst I was living in the inner city, yearnng for tranquility and escapism from the chaos and banality of daily life. This piece was ispired by wind blowing through the trees, allowing glimpses of sunlight to pass through. I have appreciated the way you question the psychological nature of image that reminds me of Pipilotti Rist's: in particular, when I first happened to get to know Towards the Light I tried to relate all the visual information and the presence of primary elements to a single meaning. I later realized I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

When creatng my work I would say it is a combination of both, as intuition is perception via the unconscious; there is a level of intuitive evolution which occurs during the production process. Ideas are born out of intuition. However the excecution of


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Video still from "Towards the Light", video produced for the 2013 Gertrude Street Projection Festival, Melbourne.


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Video still from "Towards the Light" video produced for the 2013 Gertrude Street Projection Festival, Melbourne.

a work will always involve some level of systematic process to ensure a work is successful. It is true, my intention within my work is to perhaps allow a viewer to be swept away by the imagery and rather than have my motives questioned as to why I create a work, my first interest from a viewer is how the work makes

them feel. Did my work take them to a place they had not considered before? Or have they learnt another way of perceiving the world after viewing my work? I have also created several works that have been shown in public spaces for public art projects and exhibitions. So I am becoming more accustomed to considering ways in which to allow a viewer to bring themselves closer to


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Video still from "Towards the Light" video produced for the 2013 Gertrude Street Projection Festival, Melbourne.

the work. There are also systematic processes I use that consider external elements such as the viewer which play part in the artistic process as well - depending on the piece. Definitely with "Towards the light" I wished for the viewer to remain still and get lost withing the work, even just for a moment.. By the way, what are the most remarkable influences that have informed your approach

to your surrealistic vision?

I have always been drawn to Surrealist, Visionary and Fantasy works, especially from a young age. For example when I was introduced to the mind-bending works of Salvador Dali, I knew that art didn't necessarily have to always represent the real and ordinary things we see. Even in childhood stories like Peter Pan we were


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Digital image from underwater photography series "Fluidity" exhibited in Melbourne group show 2013. Prints in variable sizes.

told that with a little bit of magic you could fly. I think in my ealier years I was fascinated with the thought of flying and even perhaps experienced those extremely real dreams where you felt completely conscious but were flying outside of your own body, like an out of body exerience. In my earlier years of painting I would depict scenes with these experiences in mind, taking inspiration from photographic

based artists such as Rosemary Laing and her series "Flight research" (1999) and "Bulletproof glass" (2001). Also the work of Sam Taylor-Wood "Self portrait Suspended" series. More recently when creatng my own series "Growth from Within" in 2012 I discovered the works of Emma Hack who similarly enshrouds her subjects with natural visions in"Mirrored Whispers" , and both Catherine Nelson's


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Untitled exhibited in Melbourne group show 2013. Prints in variable sizes.

"Future Memories" and Bonnie Lane's "Make Believe" created other worldly experiences similar to those I was seaching to define. However it was the work of Pipiloti Rist in "I packed the postcard in my suitcase" exhibited at ACCA – Australian Center for Contemporary Art where I was really given an experience in time, space and place. Specifically her work "Gravity be my Friend" (2007) immerse her

audience into imaginary worlds and tranforming landscapes into dreamscapes. These artists and so many more have allowed me to question the boundaries of time and space, helping my work to continue to evolve. I find it so interesting when I find other artists challenging similar states of wonder that I seek to portray within my work.


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Untitled exhibited in Melbourne group show 2013. Prints in variable sizes.

One of the most epiphanic feature of your Fluidity series is the way you subvert the relation with Perception and Experience: when referring to underwater world, you seems to force the viewers' parameters to question the intimate consequences of constructed realities, giving to your exploration a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of

the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Of course I believe work probably can be disconnected from dirct experince, however I


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Untitled exhibited in Melbourne group show 2013. Prints in variable sizes.

would say that most of my work has a strong connection with my own personal experience in some way. Art for me is a means of expression, a way to communicate an emotional point of view. I would even say it is also an extension of the self. Even those dreamlike images I portray are from somewhere I have been before, reimagined into a new space. It's a form of documentation, a response to something I felt a

connection with. In my opinion it is also part of the idea that something doesn't come from nothing. Everything I create has been a dirct response of an experience in some form. When I portray images of ephemeral states such as the underwater images of "Fluidity", there is a form of detachment I suppose.; where the work begins to take a more aesthetic


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approach and I begin to let go of the direct relationship with the piece. It is less about the space and more about the emotion behind the location and subject which begin to take form. The construction of these dreamlike alternate realities still begs for an emotional connection. In my opinion both the construction of the imagery and the receiving of the piece as a viewer requires some relationship with the subject as part of the process. Your approach seems to stimulates the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. How did you decide to focus on this approach? And in particular, do you conceive this in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

The concept of the unconscious was a subject I took an interest in and kept delving into once I started. As I mentioned erlier when I was very young I would have extremely vivid dreams. So much so that I would even describe them as out of body experiences. But this stopped after a certain age and I feel like my art work is trying to bridge the gap between the dream land experiences I had as a youth, to where I am now. It is an attempt to reconnect with that feeling – accepting the subsonscios mind and playing with ideas that fall outside of daily life and consciousness. I definitely structure my process to achieve those feelings of fluidity, dreamlike states and alternate realms. To recreate those feelings of freedom and disconnect with our corporal bodies, seeking spiritual release and unplug ourselves from our everyday lives. I suppose it has been a constant series of experimenting to find the right structure and mediums to communicate the different levels of consciousness and reality that I wish to portray. Your artistic production is pervaded with a

"Kooka" installation of work for "Discover Dunkeld "Lost in Sculpture Project" sculpture walk, Dunkeld Victoria 2013, size approx. 180cm x 80cm x 50cm

subtle but effective sense of narrative and although each of your project has an autonmous life, there always seems to be such a channel of communication between your works, that springs from the way you juxtapose the ideas you explore, as in the interesting Kooka. German sculptor and photographer Thomas Demand stated once that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on mere symbolic strategies and has to probe


Chantelle Ferri

LandEscape 42 Art Review

"Kooka" project in progress in studio. Created from natural and recycled materials, sticks, wire, rubber, foam, plastic and oil paint, for the "Discover Dunkeld; Lost in Sculpture project" 2013 size approx. 180cm x 80cm x 50cm


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Image from "Promised Land" Series. Digital art, variable size, 2015


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psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

Although the subject and materials may change from work to work, I always have a sense of awareness of the self, space in time and place which tie in together when I create. I often use natual motifs, psycological and spiritual themes throughout my work, which begins to already bridge a gap between any pieces which vary quite differently in materials or forms. I agree that at least within my own work there is a strong correlation between personal narratives and the work I create. Sometimes it may be the materials that lead me to a certain piece, other times it is the space or place which might determine the visual elements which form. For example, the piece "Kooka", a sculptural piece of a Kookaburra was created with a site specific location in mind prior to the commencement of the work. It was created specifically for the "Discover Dunkeld ; Lost in Sculpture"exhibition in 2013. The location for the exhibition was a sculpture trail in the bushland of the Southern Grampians in Victoria, Australia. I used both natual and recycled materials for the project as I am conscious of environmental sustainability, and renewable resources. This piece was my first sculptural piece and I wanted to make a sculpture which would somewhat camouflage itself within the natural landscape. So with that in mind I suppose within my work I also incorporate a sense of wonder and try to connect with my audience through these different narrative types. I have really appreciated the way Promised Land walks the viewers into a dream-like dimension dued to an effective superposition between an abstract, I daresay surreal gaze on the concept of landscape and a refined composition of tones. When searching for a point of convergence between physicality and


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Image from "Promised Land" Series. Digital art, variable size, 2015. Exhibited in the LOCO Project in Bondi Beach, 2015.


Image from "Promised Land" Series.

Image from "Promised Land" Series.

Digital art, variable size, 2015

Digital art, variable size, 2015

a psychological level you have brought a new level of significance to the idea of landscape, re-contextualizing the concept of the environment we inhabit in. This is a recurrent feature of your approach that invite the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

inject our emotions into a piece of art, at least I feel I do. So in some respect it creates a physical reaction for the viewer when psycholocial elements come into play within a piece.

I absolutely agree with your statement. I do believe an artist helps to reveal to viewers something unexpected about the world. We

"Promised land" encapsulates feelings of nostalgia and creates a place of stillness and quiet contemplations; almost meditative landscapes you dream up in that limbo between stillness and wakefulness. I feel as artists we collect moments in time, or memories. We document, re-evaluate and recontextualize. It is a process. My work is often several layers of production. It is with this process that each artist deciphers each moment in a completely different manner. The different hues I use within this series assist in creating a divide between our natural world and that of another realm.


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Image from "Growth from Within" Series. Digital art, photography, projection piece. Exhibited in graduate show for RMIT 2012


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I seek to create a world of wonder, freeing the mind and quiet contemplation – one that stirs the imagination to transform the mundane into the supernatural. Most recently in April this year I took part in another public art project in conjunction with a mobile art exhibition space called the LOCO Project, who seek to promote local artistic talent in the Sydney area. I was able to paint a temporary mural onto the side of the exhibion space, which was converted from a shipping container into a gallery space. The mural was a live art piece, so locals and beach goers near Bondi beach would stop and watch me paint throughout the afternoon. It was an interesting experience to have people come up and talk to me about the piece as I was creating it. I had painted the beach scene in front of me, using the hyper colours I used within the series of "Promised Land". Locals seemed to appreciate the work that was generated and the feedback was very positive. There is an extreme sense of tranquility I feel when I delve into these works. I find that the stress and anxieties we all succumb to in our daily life is completely unnessessary; that we should make a conscious effort to remember to take time to remind ourselves of the beauty and wonder in the world. Before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: during these years your works have been exhibited in several locations. What impressions have you received in these occasions? And in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Over the last decade my work has taken several different forms and continues to change and


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modify. Responses to each work have been quite varied. I felt the strongest response was actually during the years at art college – for example, questioning the types of mediums I had used. The descision between painting and photography; which medium would communicate what I wanted to say more efficiently. I enjoy painting, it has a tactile quality, you really feel you are creating something from nothing. There is something quite exciting about a blank canvas and letting your hand create the images that lie within your mind. However, the wonder of photography can capture a specific point of view, an angle, lighting, the subject, different exposuers; all such diverse variables which come into play. The response always seemed to lead back towards photography, as it always played an integral part of my image making anyway. I was still able to manipulate my imagery in photography as well, through the wonders of programs which would allow me to change the saturation of colour, contrast, brightness and hues. I am still able to recreate a scene from my imagination, only it was through a more disconnected process of computer generation. I no longer had a paint palette in my hand. It all came as a result of the click of a button. But I do not feel deterred by any feedback and commentary on my work. It allowed me to grow and enhance my experience as an artist. Sure there have been times when the critique of a work was not as I had expected, that I felt I had somewhat failed in the work I had created. But these experimentations are what allows you to find your true style as an artist. Feedback is important for one's growth as an artist, though it should not directly influence your style or technique. Often I am grateful that someone even has a unique opinion to offer about my work. It makes me feel like they have tried to understand my point of view. Even if

their interpretation is slightly different to what I had intended, I take great pride that for even just a moment, I made someone consider a point of view they had never considered before and I think any artist would probably say the same. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Chantelle. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

My work seems to be taking a more digital approach at the moment. I have had some recent experimentation with video projection and I can see myself exploring perhaps in a more video based approach to my work. Over the past year or so I have been experimenting more with my photography and long exposures of my friends fire twirling, with Northern Beaches Fire Twirling in Manly, Sydney, Australia. The images are layered with light from both the fire and LED poi and dragon staffs. I have then been editing the images similarly to my other kaleidoscopic projects such as "Towards the Light" and "Growth from within". This is an ongoing project which I continue to explore, the light and colours are so enchanting it's hard not to be transfixed by the swirling motions of the wonderfully skilled fire twirlers. I can see this project developing further. I am currently travelling the world for several months, seeking inspiration and searching for my next dreamscape location. Who knows where I may find it. Thank you LandEscape team for your interest in my work and allowing me this opportunity to discuss it in more detail. I hope you were enlightened by my responses.


Chantelle Ferri

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Image from "Natural Magic" series, digital photography, size variable, 2013


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LandEscape 5 Art Review

Colin Rosati Lives and works in Toronto, Canada

An artist's statement

D

ata Library is a collection of virtual objects. The manipulation of everyday objects, especially technology, food and domestic objects that we have intimate connections to, changes our relationship to these objects. By digitizing these objects, using the digital tools and language I can juxtapose content of objects and create new meaning. By applying colours and manipulating the objects I decorate these virtual objects within a sort of domestic virtual space I am creating an impossible virtual space. I am exploring the boundaries of authenticity, suspension of belief in virtual spaces.

Colin Rosati

Colin Rosati is a Toronto based multimedia artist. Colin’s mediums are painting, 3D modeling, Max MSP, video, installations, interactive electronics and performance. He has studied at Ottawa School of Art in Fine Arts program and currently studying at Integrated Media OCAD University. Colin's work often revolves around virtuality and physicality. He explores the line between the two and exploring the absurdity of the inevitable transcoding that happens. In part documenting the contradictions as well as drawing attention to the complexity in defining either.


LandEscape meets

Colin Rosati An interview by Josh Ryder, witht he collaboration of Dario Rutigliano landescape@europe.com

Ranging in a wide different media, Colin Rosati's works accomplishes the difficult task of establishing an effectiveexploration of the liminal space between Virtuality and Physicality in which perceptual reality and imagination coexist in a consistent unity and are marked with an atemporal feature. One of the most convincing aspect of Rosati's practice is the way he creates an area of intellectual interplay between perception and memory, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials from contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Colin and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after your studies in Fine Arts at Ottawa School of Art in Fine Arts, you joined the program of Integrated Media at the OCAD University, where you are currently studying. How did these stimulating experience influence you as an artist and how did impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Coming out of OSA I had training as a painter working with abstraction. After being exposed to 3D modelling programs, interactive coding and video art I started to become interested in Juerg Luedi


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exploring how technology is changing our perception of the world and how it engages viewers. Im seeing interactivity as more exciting place to explore. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Data Library, an extremely interesting video that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit directly at http://www.colinrosati.com/ in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

For this animation I scanned objects with a Kinect Camera and a free app that produces low quality noises scans. I downloaded free models, modelled and manipulated these 3D objects. Then compiling series of objects, multiplied and manipulated some of the meshes of them leaving evidence of how I produced the objects and creating a cohesive visual narrative was the next step. Even in a virtual context where the digitized objects have the ability to warp and multiply, I am interested in reintroducing a feeling of sincerity into these contexts or at least play with the ways in which the realness is conveyed in video work. For example I use multiple POV camera shots which are a visual que for audience to connect that is there POV looking in this space. One of the most epiphanic feature of Data Library is concerned with the relation with Perception and Experience in the unstable contemporary panorama. The way you question the intimate consequences of constructed and imposed realities as has detail from myFunerals, Performance

reminded me of Thomas Demand's works: while conceiving Art could be considered a


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purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes

beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take


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this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process...Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I lightly reference my experience but liberally tend to abstract in my work. I take the approach that science fiction has in which the narratives are taken to some sort of extreme but are making a point about contemporary society. In this animation I focus on how perception can be emulated with visual tropes

that simulate an intimate space as well as contrast that space with a totally impossible that is part of the 3D medium. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Facetime: in this video you explore the blurry boundary between collective memory and identity, investigating the psychological nature of the cinematic image. In particular, when I first happened to get to know with this work I tried to relate all the


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visual information to a single meaning. I later realized I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

This video documentation of this performance has more systematic process than intuitive processes. The video uses two Max MSP

programs I developed. The background layer is a randomized montage of video footage I compiled. The program systematically selects videos to jump to rhythmically. The second program I developed was a 3D model tracked to the position of my face. Both of these components symbolically represented constructed and virtual identity. I felt the need to make a visual metaphor about how indentity is constructed with social media as a document of our lives and a medium to share information about our self. I am critical of the privatized nature of these social media platforms, how


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Art Review

limited they are which in turn affects our relationships and how we self identify. In an overwhelming media landscape it is important to recognize how this mediation homogenizes our experience and the apparatuses in which we are exposed to media. Your careful exploration of the boundaries of authenticity can be assimilated to an investigation about the emerging of language due to a process of self-reflection, that you have eloquently accomplished in the interesting Facetime. What has mostly

impacted on me is the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to signs, and in a wide sense to re-contextualize the concept of a track of our existence. This is a recurrent feature of your approach that invite the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of


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LandEscape 42 Art Review

the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

The landscape we live in is very encrypted, often times technology is made as a black box so you can’t open it up and modify it. I feel its important to be critical and rehash our online identities, and frame how we deal with media. In my work I often play with a technological deterministic view to take this media landscape to an extreme and see how it is stretching the perception of ourselves.

Your work is particularly concerned with invariant beauty generated by digital technologies and the way it transcends time and space, in a way that has reminded me of Henri Bergson's view on the nature of Time: this is clearly revealed in the impetuous way modern technology has nowadays came out on the top has dramatically revolutionized the idea of Art itself: in a certain sense, we are forced to rethink about the materiality of the artwork itself, since just few years ago it was a concrete materialization of an idea. I'm sort of convinced that new media art will


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Colin Rosati


Colin Rosati

LandEscape 42 Art Review

definitely fill the apparent dichotomy between art and technology and I will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to assimilate one to each other...

Collapsing of mediums is happening- art is referencing scientific processes, advertising branding, fashion etc. I take inspiration from cybernetic and distributed works. While technology is becoming more invisible we definitely have immediate reactions in our bodies. The materiality is of new media art is interesting to consider, I feel expanded cinematics, our bodies as interface and cyborg bodies, play a large role in that materiality. The explicit materiality of technology is also something to consider. It is the artist’s role to not be a product of these technologies but use them as tools to reveal something about society. As the artist hand is replaced by the camera, the mouse and these tools the materiality is mediated and is often nestled between sleek technology and technological manipulations of our world. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice ranges from 3D modeling, Max MSP and video to installations, interactive electronics and performance. You seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, and besides works marked with a strong technological feature that we have been discussing so far, you produce also interesting paintings as the one from your Difference Machine series... while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

The influence of one medium to another has a large impact on my work. I often have a painterly approach when it comes to making new media works- gestural throwing things together, removal and showing the traces of a poorly made object. In my 3D work I see a direct correlation to painting. Dealing with space, form and colour. With each medium has its own specificities- I am learning that new media processes have a direction that painting cannot fill. I would like to mention your hand holders paradise series: in particular, I have appreciated the way your


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Art Review

thoughtful nuances of tones give a tactile feature to the canvas that reveals the way your work your evolves around virtuality and physicality: any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

My palatte has a connection to photoshop tools, a sense of shallow space coming from painting history and also digital tools like layering and masking. I often start sketches in photoshop, where I make decisions about colour I wouldn’t in an analogue context. I think it has something to do with the colour wheels, and ease of colour choice. Then the paintings take on their own life in which I respond and make colour, form and shape decision. The surface of the canvas is honest and enduring while the screen is always changing it has a much linear or clear way of dealing with history than paint on canvas. Colour specificity is one signifier that painter carriers with them. I see this constantly turning up in my 3D and video work. Before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: it goes without saying that positive feedbacks are capable of providing an artist of an important altgough not indespensable support. In particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

The only overt consideration of my audience is in interactive installation- and often what sensor I use and what space the piece is in dictates the manifestation of the interface that the audience can interact with. Otherwise I don’t think of videos in terms of how many people it will appeal to, although I do get excited about like and watch counts on online videos. I make video and painting work with the idea that other people that follow the same

ideas will find interesting and hopefully can add something to these conversations. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Colin. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Yes, I am excited to be involved in a show in Toronto this coming November called The Wrong New Digital Art Benialle at Xpace Gallery. I see my work evolving into larger scale interactive video projects, mobile phones to access art work, immersive 3D technologies like all the VR head sets as well as hopefully collaborating with other artist, musicians and performers.


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LandEscape 5 Art Review

Mikey Peterson Lives and works in Chicago, USA

M

ikey Peterson’s meditative images merge with jolts and jumps via real-time shots and quick-cut edits. Light contrasts through darkened backgrounds, and classical elements—water, fire, air and earth—create abstracted spaces. These distortions, equally influenced by pre-CGI science fiction films and experimental cinema, aim to disturb the viewer’s self-perception and sense of place. Subtle events appear dramatic and nature's movements become surreal. Footage is manipulated and taken out of their original context in order to relay other truths about the world that they are from. To advance this process of displacement, Peterson manipulates the ambient sound from the source recordings to compose a cohesive soundtrack, moving the viewer into abstract meditations, urban chaos, and dark surreal spaces that paradoxically envelop rhythms of tone and light.

In Slip Away, shot on Lake Michigan’s shoreline in Chicago, nature distorts of its own accord. It is the combination of water, earth, wind and sun that creates layers of abstract spaces. The scenes are organic, but direction, contrast, speed and sound are manipulated. Through this process, technology and nature work together in this one-shot video. Buildings hide behind an impressionistic haze, as conflicting symbols of industry and nature seamlessly layer. We see the buildings erase and reform differently, just as memories diverge from the experiences they intend to mirror. Memories emerge as an alternate reality we create and revise over time. These visions skew, as our minds focus on fragments of the original experiences - sometimes these visions warp the event to the point where they no longer represent the event but create an alternative version, a dream-like new reality that can influence our present selves. Maybe our selves and our lives are built upon this process of useful mis-remembering.

In Born Again, the metamorphosis of a gull emphasizes the consistent change that nature has put upon us as living beings. We are in constant physical and mental flux and always in a state of aging and learning. In this single-shot, the gull appears meshed within its environment. Natural elements work together to transform its appearance and location, creating natural, yet surreal, imagery – like a dream or a fractured memory. Speed is slowed down to emphasize its movement. Sound is manipulated to create a sense of displacement and to emphasize a shift in the event. Scale is altered to show that all change, no matter how small, is substantial. Size is relative, and major shifts within our world are overshadowed by what is larger. By showcasing this transformation, the subtle becomes dramatic. In Light Cycle, white light streaks back and forth across black space at different rates, absorbed by the woman’s face and then cycling outward again. Each flash and spark declares its unique presence through assigned sounds, sampled and manipulated from the original source. It is as if the light were the only living element in this fluctuating environment that appears blank and stationary. The initial illusion of motion reminds us of fantastical travel through space and time as we try to connect the visual and aural data into meaningful patterns of cause and effect. The “return” to our world makes us question what is more uncanny; the science fiction or the reality. Nothing stands still in our world. From our daily commutes to the gravitational pull on Earth’s tides to living beings pulled from birth to death, we live amongst and within infinite events where everything is changing. In Peterson's work, this evolving imagery is familiar, yet surreal like memories that we can almost touch. What we see and hear is in constant flux, and the same can be said of what we view as Truth and Self.


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Art Review

Mikey Peterson An interview curated by: Josh Ryder, curator and Dario Rutigliano, curator with the collaboration of Katherine C. Walker landescape@europe.com

The very first feeling I received when I had the chance to get to know Mikey Peterson's works, is that Arts are not separated at all, and that it's always possible to go beyond any artificial dichotomy that limits the intrinsic symbiosis between a rational approach with an emotional sensibility. Peterson's work shows how this synergy is not only possible, but at a certain point unavoidable: his incessant search of an organic dialogue between several viewpoints offers to the viewer a multilayered experience capable of establishing an area of deep interplay where we are invited to explore unexpected relationships with reality and the way we perceive it. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating works. Hello Mikey and welcome to LandEscape: I would start this interview, posing you some questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and during these years you have been involved into many workshops as an art educator : how did this experience influence your evolution as an

artist? Does it still inform the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Hello and thanks for having me. I've always felt that art and education is about sharing and building off of ideas. When we teach we are learning and vice versa. Though I teach classes that parallel my professional work, I'm always looking for new mediums to explore or teach whether it's collage, stop motion animation, GIF creation or photography. The great thing about filmmaking and video art is that it's naturally interdisciplinary. For example, I'm able to explore and combine cinematography, sound, writing, and animation. Due to my focus and interest in these mediums, I'm always learning something new and bringing this knowledge into my present work. For example, I've taught several animation and collage courses, and I have recently incorporated these techniques into a music video for the band, Thanatos. It's important for me to have my teaching and art-making interconnected. Your artistic approach is marked out with a deep multidisciplinarity and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, ranging from video to audio composition and performance: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize Juerg Luedi


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that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Most definitely. A relationship between sound and image naturally exists in our world. In order to create new environments in my work, I still need both mediums working together in order to create a believable multi-dimensional space. I'm interested in figuring out new ways for them to mesh organically. I only use the source footage to make this happen, because by using the video and audio from the same place there’s already a natural relationship. A common aesthetic already exists that I can work from. Douglas Trumbull and Ben Burtt are big influences. I grew up watching science fiction films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars, where the visuals and diagetic sound were completely alien to our senses, yet consistent within the world of the films. This was pre-digital, so the visuals feel tangible while the audio effects (due to field and foley recording) work organically within the setting. There's an underlying surrealism within the familiarity of these worlds that I'm attracted to, and the seamless use of image and sound help to establish their authenticity. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Slip Away, an extremely interesting work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit http://mikeypeterson.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you detail from myFunerals, Performance


Mikey Peterson

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tell us something about the genesis of this stimulating project? What was your initial inspiration?

I live close to Lake Michigan in Chicago, walk its beaches a lot, and I usually have a camera with me. There was never an initial plan to make this piece. I'm fascinated by nature's abstractions and the movement of light, so these are scenes I look for when I'm out shooting. Slip Away happened during these walks, as I began shooting anomalies within the shoreline. When I started experimenting with perspective and speed while editing, I got an overwhelming feeling of agoraphobia. I

was reminded of a feeling I had when I was a little kid experiencing the outside for the first time - where the world is so huge and surreal, and how these feelings connect to early memories that you can only partially remember. I like the way Slip Away subverts the viewer’s self-perception and sense of place, creating an area of intense interplay that invites us to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience: in particular, your investigation about the liminal area between physical and virtual reveals the intimate consequences of constructed


Mikey Peterson

LandEscape 13 Art Review

realities: while conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I think the majority (if not all) of the processes in our lives, whether art-related or not, are connected from direct experiences. As far as creative process is concerned, I don't think it's

fully possible to disconnect it from experience. No matter how conceptual, academic or clinical your work is, we are human beings who evolve and develop in individual ways. We relate every experience to ourselves whether it's conscious or subconscious. The very idea of art-making begins with curiosity and interest, and these curiosities and interests are unique for each individual. We all have different narratives that have led us to art making or other passions. There will always be a thread that attaches to the artist's individuality and his or her work. The dream-like ambience suggested by Slip


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Away has reminded me the concept of Heterotopia elaborated by French social theorist Michel Foucault and what has mostly impacted on me is the subtle but pervading sense of narrative: although each of your project has an autonomous life, there's always seem to be such a channel of communication between your works, that springs from the way you juxtapose ideas and media: German artist Thomas Demand stated once that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

When experiencing art, I'm first attracted and affected by its emotional pull. It's like hearing a great song for the first time - it can be emotional and almost primal. You aren't necessarily conceptualizing it on first listen, but you're giving in to it and letting it affect you on a pure emotional and psychological level. When I shoot and edit I'm searching for an image or movement that affects me in this way. It's after this process that I can start manipulating the imagery and sound to discover potential concepts. Whether exhibited independently or as a group, I believe my videos always have a narrative, but there doesn't have to be one for every viewer. When I'm working, a visual that I capture can create the spark, and it's this idea that usually spawns a story, situation, or emotion that I can relate the imagery to. I think it makes sense for my pieces to have common connections. All of my imagery is captured

from the same world where similar movements and cycles co-mingle. I also have a distinct aesthetic that emphasizes these actions. I'm collecting, manipulating and curating these clips, but nature is still controlling a lot of the action and imagery.


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LandEscape 42 Art Review

In Light Cycle you seem to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. In this sense, I daresay that the semantic juxtaposition between sign and matter that

marks out your art, allows you to go beyond any track of contingency... A recurring feature of your approach is a process of deconstruction and assemblage of memories in order to suggest a process of investigation: maybe that one of the roles of


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Mikey Peterson

Art Review

an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

I can't say that this is every artist's role, but revealing unexpected sides of nature in order to reveal an inner truth is definitely one of my goals. In Light Cycle, I want the viewer to focus on the light as opposed to the woman. We've seen the composition of a person's profile in front of a train window many times

in films, but we're usually drawn to the person in the foreground - not what's happening in the background. I wanted the light to come alive and play a prominent role in this scene. In order to do this, I removed any sense of a normal setting and gave each light a different sound depending on their size and movement. The light appears alive and moving as opposed to the train and woman. The light no longer functions as just an illuminator, but actively interacts with the woman. We are born from


Mikey Peterson

LandEscape 42 Art Review

light. This shift in movement and subject emphasizes our relationship with it. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Born Again: when I first happened to get to know with this experimental piece I tried to relate all the visual and audio information to a single meaning. But I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual unity suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal

understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

Universally, the bird image is full of symbolism, so it's hard not to focus on what this image means within the context. The symbolism of the trapped bird in Born Again is definitely present, but it's the relationship between nature's


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Mikey Peterson

Art Review

processes that I want to focus on. The question of why do these events occur naturally and how can the events relate to us as humans feels much more interesting than only focusing on the subject's symbolism. I think my process is intuitive when I'm behind the camera. I'm naturally drawn to these moments filled with motion, light and layers seamlessly working together. I'm hunting for them, but there is rarely a set plan of how to find them. When I'm editing, there can be a more systematic approach, such as in Light Cycle where I'm creating and assigning sounds to correspond to the light's size and speed. With Born Again, I let my intuition guide me until I focused on one specific pattern of the tide and its effect on the gull's image. By definition video is rhythm and movement, gesture and continuity. In your works you create a time-based ambience that induces the viewer to abandon himself to his associations, looking at time in spatial terms and I daresay, rethinking the concept of space. How do you conceive the rhythm of your works?

When I was about 7 or 8 years old my grandparents gave me a tape recorder, so I grew up recording sounds around the house and in my neighborhood. At the time, I didn't realize that I was recording ambient sounds and didn't know it was the beginning of an artistic process. It was a completely natural and pure sense of exploration, which kids generally possess. I just never let this go, and these early experimentations and my background in music helped me tune into natural rhythms that

exist within our world. In college, I had access to a camcorder for the first time, and I realized that I could find and collect visual versions of these natural rhythms. Now I focus on combining everything together to create alternate environments . These processes are


Mikey Peterson

LandEscape 42 Art Review

deeply rooted, so my approach is instinctual

and the Experimental Film Festival at Tribeca

most of the time.

Cinemas in New York City. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I

During these years your works have been

would like to pose a alquestion about the

internationally exhibited in several

nature of the relation with your audience: in

occasions, including the Lucca Film Festival

particular, do you consider the issue of


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Mikey Peterson

Art Review

audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

I don't let the viewer influence my videos'

content, but I do think about whether someone can be feel displaced and transported into the worlds within my work. I'm the only one who is fully aware of what the original footage is before it's transformed, so I'm constantly thinking about whether I'm giving the viewer


Mikey Peterson

LandEscape 42 Art Review

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Mikey. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Thank you so much for your thoughtful questions. It's been a real pleasure contributing to LandEscape. I just finished a collaboration with writer, Eric Elshtain, which is a multi-media response to Adam Schreiber's photo, "Presidential Moon." We performed this live at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Photography last April where Eric read his poems, my video was projected, and I typed his random recited words on a typewriter fed through effects processors and an amp. We were interested not only in experimenting with the relationship of words and abstract audio/video textures, but to share a real-time collaboration with others. I'm currently creating a blu ray and online version of the performance and film, and I have a few video works in progress that I plan on releasing in early 2016. And of course there might be other imagery that I discover and obsess over along the way.

too much or too little, and if the elusive imagery can lead the viewer to new ideas. I also love that there is no language barrier - that my work can communicate universally like painting or photography to purely emphasize us as human beings.

An interview curated by: Josh Ryder, curator and Dario Rutigliano, curator with the collaboration of Katherine C. Walker

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Landescape Art Review - Special Issue  

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