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From experimental cinema to fashion videography, ten artists breaking the boundaries Since its foundation, Stigmart10 has encouraged a conception of art based on a dynamic dialogue between artists and audience, reflecting the interactive nature of the creative act itself. A winning formula, according to the doubled number of submissions - more than 990 applicants have sumitted their video works and CV in 2013 - and the increasing popularity of our project. We are glad to present this year's edition of Videofocus, our special Stigmart10 review focused on experimental cinema, original fashion videography and corageous documentary. We are honored to host Antonio Peláez Barceló's tribute to Javier Aguirre Fernández premiered at Cannes, who directed in his long career more than eighty films; the art of Sarah-Mace Dennis, whose work ranges from pure experimentation to fashion videography and commercials, the exquisite imaginery of Ann Oren, the short film by the talented Canadian artist and writer Gillian McIver, and much more.

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Sarah-Mace Dennis

The brain is such a fragile ecology. I see it as a kind of haunted landscape

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Ann Oren

Exaggerated behaviors surface as films, videos and installations, while provoking the limits of the spectacle

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Marta Ferraté

I aim to dissolve the line between the different states of conciousness, thus broadening the concept of reality

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Patrick Tarrant

People emerge over time from their collective, soft-focus anonymity and present themselves for this long-lens portrait


Kate Burgener

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Working with overlaps combines different times, spaces and movements

Gillian McIver

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Photographing Richard Serra, from the ongoing series Field Recordings

Nicolas Morrison

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3:59 seconds. As they elapse, a huge black space and two spheres reveal sequences and two independent scenes.

Antonio Peláez Barceló

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How To Begin A Film About Javier Aguirre, a sui generis experimental documentary

Lea Petrikova

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Captain Brierly, a metaphor of absurdity of existence that cannot be explained

Philippe Leonard Philippe Leonard emphazises a mastery of both analog and digital techniques to create moving images

In the cover: Marta Ferraté Torra, Retrouvailles/ Reunions

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Sounds from the Emergent State Six channel video installation, 2013 Commissioned by the State Library of Queensland for the exhibition Live! Queensland Band Culture.

Sarah-Mace Dennis Sarah-Mace Dennis is an interdisciplinary artist working across the disiciplines of public projection, video, performance, creative writing and installation.

bourne Writers Festival as ‘an ambitious site-specific work, beautifully realised.’ Sarah has written, directed and edited short films, corporates, music videos and commercials.

Her experimental approach to projection and narrative has earned her major video commissions for the QLD Multicultural Centre, the State Library of QLD and Metricon Stadium. In 2012, her public projection work Moving over the Shoreline, won her the inaugural ArtsHub Award for an emerging artist. Developed in collaboration with ethnic dance groups and Brisbane’s local migrant community, the project was described by Lisa Dempster, Director of the Mel-

Her work has featured in international film screenings, events and exhibitions including Transart Festival, (Berlin, 2013), The International Film Festival in Detmold Germany (2010 and 2011) Performance Studies International (Utrecht, the Netherlands, 2011), World Dance Alliance (New York, 2010), the Next Wave Festival (Melbourne, 2010) and the Biennale of Electronic Arts (Perth, 2004).

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I came to understand, and move through the world, through a series of unusual subjective atmospheres. It was perhaps, one of the most challenging yet remarkable experiences that I will ever have. Swallow is a four channel video installation that is shown across four large screens, each approximately five minutes in duration. Moving across each of these projections, images of six different female characters appear and disappear at different intervals throughout the work. Speaking to each other from across the room, each woman recounts her own experience of waking up in hospital after a near fatal car accident, and realizing that she had been there, in a comatose state, for almost four weeks. Recovering from an injury like this is complex. There is a lot of wondering that goes on and a process of trying to figure out who you are, and to remember who you once were. So as I began to rebuild my brain, the concept of being a person, with a consciousness and an ‘identity’,

Since its creation, STIGMART10 has been focused on the potential of a new generation of video artists able to revolution the cinematographic language itself from the inside. Sarah-Mace's art practise breaks the boundaries between performance, video and installation. Her works, whether they are videoart installations or music videos and commercials, are marked by a strong effort to destabilize language and media through the use refined cinematography and even fashion setup, which are renowed from the inside according a viral way of conceiving art. In Swallow, multi channel video installation, you face the consequences of waking up with neurological damage, playing six female characters yourself, who represents different versions of the same person during recovery. Could you introduce our readers to this work in development?

In 2008, after a near fatal car accident, I sustained severe brain trauma, which left me physically and mentally paralyzed. For some time,

Sarah-Mace Dennis, Behind the scene (photo by Robert Varkevisser)

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A still from Do You Protest in silence, 2013 Video

was something that consumed a lot of my attention.

plastic brain that kept changing and modifying itself in the different stages of my recovery.

While I was still at university, I made a lot of work that emerged from an interest in early representations of the female body, particularly those taken by Freud’s assistant, Jean Martin Charcot. So I became really interested in psychoanalysis. For some reason, reflecting on that interest was something I did a lot during my recovery.

Defining your artistic vision, we daresay that your personal experience is your main source for your works, even when they face political or sociological themes. Where do you get the ideas for your work?

At university, I remember somebody talking about this idea that ‘the personal is the political.’ I mean that is a feminist idea right? I think it was originally spoken about by Carol Hanisch. But I remember one of my lecturers talking about it in the context of the work of Louise Bourgeois. And that was an important idea to me – that art might be able to translate something from the things that were happening to you to somehow change that way that other people thought about the world.

The brain is such a fragile ecology. I see it as a kind of haunted landscape, the conditions of which can change drastically in very small spaces of time. I think I gave up believing in an idea of a unified subject a long time ago. So if there is no ideal subject, then there is nothing that can ‘lack’ or depart from that version of reality. I think we all perform different versions of our identity every day. So in Swallow, these six women - who talk to each other from screens on different sides of the room, are sort of ghostlike representations the different parts of my

I think I’ve always thought a lot about the world around me. I’ve always been quite critical of systems of power, because there are so many

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Sarah-Mace Dennis, Behind the scene (photo by Rober Varkevisser)

Your collaboration with the cinematographer Richard C. Bell and other artists and choreographers has an important role in your earlier work: fashion-style shots, or the use of chiaroscuro lighting from the upstage side of the camera, make your films present a refined taste. Could you tell us something about these experiences?

instances where those systems fail, or perhaps corrupt the things they are supposed to protect. I think I saw a lot of that when I was younger. I grew up in Brisbane and my memory of being a teenager is that it was still quite a conservative city politically. But what that did was to encourage an amazing underground culture that evolved a lot around music, especially punk. And so there was a lot of resistance to these authoritative systems that seemed to emerge and feed off their own power in a lot of ways. People were kicked out of shopping centers just for having a Mohawk or piercings, stuff like that.

I trained in collaborative, interdisciplinary arts practice and the School of Arts, Griffith University. It was quite an experimental place, where we were taught to think across mediums, and to investigate the ways that different practices could change, or help to extend our creative ideas.

So I think a lot of my friends joined bands, and used their music as an outlet to speak out about the things around them. And I was in a band for a while, but somehow film and the moving image seemed like a more familiar place to me. I think I am in a lot of the work I create because I’m trying to use my own body to talk about my experiences in the world, often in a way that will make people look at things from a different perspective.

Since graduating, I have worked as an artist and director. In fact, I studied film and television at TAFE (technical college) while was I was still at high school. So I think that even from a young age I have thought quite cinematically, and this has always influenced my creative practice. Every project I create begins from an idea and

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A sequence of stills from Swallow

lighting.’ But then of course he will add something from his own experience and aesthetic to that idea or style.

a set of images that start to play out inside my head. Because I am a filmmaker and an artist, I think I come to all areas of my practice as a kind of director of ideas. This means I come up with a concept, write it down, and then think quite spatially to imagine how characters will move through space to tell this story. Because of my interdisciplinary training, I’m always thinking across multiple cinematic layers and trying to create a balance between performance, aesthetics and narrative.

There are other times when I seek out collaborators. For Drafting Season, I knew I needed a choreographer, and I was incredibly lucky to work with Leah Shelton and her incredible team of dancers. In the early stages of that project, when I was looking for somebody to work with, I came across her show reel and there was just something about her work that my body responded to. And this is important – I think my best work has come from collaborations with other artists who respond to the world with similar creative styles and processes.

I think being a visual artist you always have a really strong visual picture of what you need to create, and it can sometimes be a challenge trying to explain that to other people. The first time I shot with Richard was a cool experience, because we see the world in a very similar way. From that point we started to develop techniques and a vocabulary that we keep building on as we continue to work together. I talk to him a lot about Rembrandt and Vermeer, and often show him paintings before we will do a shoot. And in pre-preproduction we will map out aesthetics for particular shots and scenes. So I will say something like ‘this one has Vermeer style

In your video Do You Protest in Silence?, trying to force the boundaries between documentary and videoart, parodying infotainment TV-shots, you have a discussion with with Joe Strummer, singer of 70's band "The Clash". This operation reminds us the technique developed in the 1950s by the Letterist International known as "detournment", made popular by Guy Debord fourty years ago, how-

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ever, while in the 70s these kind of operation had a precise political aimed intent, in your work multiple interpretations are possible, and the viewers seems to be not led only to a specific idea. Is it a post-ideological view, or we can say it is a constant aspect of your art?

I trained in cultural theory parallel to studying contemporary art and creative writing. So I guess the linguistic turn, and what happens after that with post-structuralism is important to my conceptual processes. My intention is never to use my work to propose any ‘grand’ narrative statements, but rather to generate multi-channel propositions that people will hopefully continue to consider, long after each show is over. Because of the experiences I had when I was younger my ideas always come from a very political place. But very early on, when I was still at university, I think my obsession with philosophy and theory sometimes overpowered a lot of my process. As I’ve kept working, I think I’ve become more comfortable with not

Sarah-Mace Dennis, Behind the scene (photo by Robert Varkevisser)

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A still from Do You Protest in silence, 2013 Video

A still from Do You Protest in Silence?

knowing what every single piece of a project means and allowing parts of my work to be more speculative or exploratory. I think I just got to this point where I realized that art shouldn’t read like an essay. It comes from a different part of the brain, and what makes art important is that it can provide the world with a different kind of experience.

to use my work to ask questions that make people think more deeply about the conditions of their world. I suppose I would describe it as a kind of gentle unfolding of ideas. And this is something that characterizes all of my work, not only as an artist, but also as a director and editor. I think I somehow have an indirect approach to storytelling. This means that events and ideas are disclosed slowly, rather than being revealed in one hit.

The conversations I have with Joe Strummer in my work are definitely political in their questioning and deconstruction of the world’s present capitalist existence, but this conversation asks questions rather than provides answers. Because that has become something that is really important to my approach at the moment,

But it is also quite speculative. In this work I move between the formats of documentary and video art. I don’t know if it is a parody so much as it is a deconstruction of these different moving image and television styles. I suppose it is

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despite of the fact this kind of cooperation producted many masterpieces of the 70's, like satirical art-house movie Qui etes vous, Polly Maggoo? realized by William Klein and Raul Coutard (J.L Godard's DoP: Breathless, Vivre sa vie) What do you think about the potential of this kind of collaboration?

The relationship between fashion and video art is very interesting indeed. But I think it is a relationship that extends beyond fashion alone, and bleeds into a wider question of style. When I am making a work it isn’t just a collaboration with a fashion designer, but also a stylist, production designer and cinematographer. So all of these ‘departments’ – to use a film term, work together to help me to generate an aesthetic for the project. It is possibly because I have done some commercial work as a director, that these traditional film processes now influence the way I make my art. But again, because of the way I trained, even when working commercially, I think I approach the ‘idea’ of fashion in quite an analytical way. One example might be the music video Relapse that I directed for Australian electronica artist Anise. The song was so powerful to me in the context of human relationships and the roles that we play to keep ourselves and our love for somebody else together. For a while I had a studio at the Creative Industries Enterprise Centre in Brisbane. My space was upstairs from the CEA Fashion Incubator, a program that nurtures and helps grow emerging fashion labels. When I was developing the concept for Relapse, I went to the Fashion Incubator to find a designer to work with. That is where I met Sharka Bosokova, whose clothes appear in the video. like turning the medium back on itself somehow. I think this project somehow exposes the constructed nature of all media images, hopefully in a way that allows audiences to really think about the authenticity of the information they receive.

I immediately fell in love with Sharka’s style, which is edgy yet feminine. This was appealing because it said a lot to me what it means to be a woman who has an identity that has moved beyond the traditional stereotypes that have circulated throughout mainstream media for so long. So I think these clothes were a base for generating a cinematic atmosphere, which was enhanced with styling, makeup lighting and design.

While many contemporary art practises like installations and performances were in the past intertwined with fashion indeed, in the last decade many videoartists have embraced this world, often in a Situationist and provoking way (for example, Francesco Vezzoli's interviews and fake trailers). However, apart from commercial purpose, the exchange between these worlds is today often underrated,

This is also the case with my work Drafting Season, which was based on Australian Rules football. In Australia, I have had an amazing collaboration with stylist Lucille Korponay. It’s a process that begins with fashion. I will often e

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A still from Relapse - music video for Anise

In your statement about Swallow you say "Overlapping inside the gallery space, these cinematic sequences provide an intertexual account of severe trauma, and what it means to experience the world through cognitive frameworks that are drastically changed." Could comment this sentence?

the first moments of a creative process searching magazines for images that I use to construct a kind of mood board, which provides a useful visual base for my conversations with cast and crew. I really love magazines like Dazed and Russh, because I think there is something edgy and even a little bit underground about the way they tell stories about fashion. So I will often sit down with a whole pile of images, and talk to Lucille about the kind of atmosphere I am trying to create. Like everybody I work with, she will then add something from her own experience to my ideas about aesthetic and style.

Maybe this statement relates somehow to two things I have already said. I mentioned that these women, or ‘characters’ that appear in the work are different versions of the self that I during my recovery from severe brain trauma.

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vary dramatically as my brain started to heal. So on the one hand, the way I perceived the things around me in the world would change quite dramatically depending how well my brain responded according to certain events and situations. So when I say that the installation provides an intertextual account of severe brain trauma, perhaps what I mean is that is provides an intertextual account of identity, which of course, is much more dislocated and plastic with an injury such as this one. I mentioned earlier that I have trouble with this concept of a unified subject. I don’t think that we are bodies with lines that can be easily categorized or read. Rather, we are intertextual beings. We come to know and experience different parts of the world depending on how we ‘read’ things on any particular day. This means that our identities are abstract assemblages of different experiential and intellectual surfaces that are always changing. I don’t think our memories, or perceptions of who we are come back to us in any kind of linear order. They come back in fragments. When you walk into the installation you will find a series of screens with women talking. The idea is that you hear a kind of ‘orchestra’ of voices, or a dialogue that doesn’t quite make sense at first. But the longer you stay in the space, the greater the sense you will get of who these women are, and the complexity of their story. But like so much of my work, these conversations pose more questions that answers. I hope this is a story that people will continue to think about a long time after the show is over.

And if you think of that in the context of poststructuralism and the death of the author, then there are numerous layers of textual meaning that start to emerge in this work. During my recovery I passed through a succession of remarkably different cognitive states. Although incredibly traumatic, it was also a very transformative process. But experiencing a recovery as remarkable and dramatic as mine, was really an experience of a series of different versions of myself, where my ability to understand and navigate the world would

A still from Relapse - music video for Anise

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You have a Master of Arts (Practicebased research) in film, media and theatre from UNSW. How much training influences your art?

I think my really early training in creative arts, and even in film and television while I was still at high school, have really shaped the way I think and function as an artist. Maybe those experiences activated some kind of synaptic pathways in my brain that helped me to develop an approach to my work that has really evolved during the development of my practice. The exposure to critical theory in that early training, as well as in my work tutoring in cultural studies and design at different universities since 2004, has also been really important in giving my practice a solid conceptual grounding. More recently, it has been interesting to move outside of the institution because it has given men a lot of space to consider what my work means to people from different backgrounds. Thank you very much for you sharing your thoughts and the preciuos anticipations about your work in progress, Sarah. What are your future artistic plans?

Well at the moment I’m in London, working on Do You Protest in Silence? and Swallow. I hope to finish these projects off in the coming months and potentially secure some exhibition opportunities, either in Australia, the UK or Europe.

Sarah-Mace Dennis, Behind the scene (photo by Robert Varkevisser)

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move outside of the institution because it has given men a lot of space to consider what my work means to people from different backgrounds. Thanks for you sharing your thoughts and the preciuos anticipations about your work in progress, Sarah. What are your future artistic plans?

Well at the moment I’m in London, working on Do You Protest in Silence? and Swallow. I hope to finish these projects off in the coming months and potentially secure some exhibition opportunities, either in Australia, the UK or Europe.

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Stills from Do You Protest in Silence? Multi-channel video installation in development, 2013-14

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Do You Protest in Slience? is a multi-channel video installation that explores relationships between politics, class systems, climate, and the future of the planet. Intersecting the aesthetic styles of infotainment and documentary, the work unfolds a chaotic audio-visual environment, where sampled and newly recorded footage moves quickly across television monitors and larger screens. Combining footage of public protest events: where the cards I drop are inscribed with messages that encourage people to think differently about the world, with video sequences that show me having imaginary conversations with political leaders, celebrities and rock stars, the work asks what it will take to change the conditions of the planet. One example of these conversations is a discussion I have with Joe Strummer, social commentator and lead singer of seventies punk band The Clash. Sampling a scene from the film Rudeboy (1980), I film myself in front of a green screen, having a newly imagined conversation with the now deceased rock star. I then cut some of characters out of the film in post-production, replacing them with footage of myself sitting next to Joe at the bar, or dancing alongside him on stage. ‘So is it possible to create real change?’ I ask him. ‘Or will people just somehow replicate the same political structures that existed before?’ Answering me with the original line from the film, Joe says: ‘Well I think the left wing is better than the right wing is because at least its not for the few. The many slaving for the few.’ I have already filmed some conversations with Joe Strummer and hope to do more with footage of politicians and celebrities as the work develops. These short conversations will be edited across multiple screens with a style that mimics the rhythm and pace developed in other areas of project. Although this work is still in process, when complete I intend to show it inside a chaotic audio-visual space, where television screens are stacked and haphazardly positioned amongst images projected on to two larger screens. Walking around the crowded installation during the work’s nine minute looped duration, you might get the feeling that you are inside a kind of burial ground for recently out-dated screen media equipment that is awkwardly arranged and flashing haphazardly. I want to design the whole exhibition space so it is almost as if the audience has been transported into the future and is looking back at the remnants of technologies now dissolved. This feeling will be accented by the video sequences that flicker and move quickly across

the screens. Re-contextualising my practice by giving it a new conceptual focus, these cinematic sequences will be deeply political in nature. On one screen, sampled footage of the nuclear explosion at Hiroshima will flicker on and off, while images of Fukishima power plant, edited in a similar rhythm and style move across to another screen, and then around on to another. In other sequences displayed on different screens at the same time, sampled imagery from the news will flicker throughout the space. This will be punctuated by the repeating phrase: ‘who did you vote for, who did you vote for’ on one screen, while ‘did you vote in silence’ flashes in in on another. Throughout the entire installation the phrase: ‘with the corporations doing nothing’ will flash on and off, appearing at different moments on each of the different screens. But these sequences of fast paced, flickering imagery will also slow, allowing audiences time to reflect on the onslaught of text and imagery. During these quieter cinematic moments, footage of myself – standing in public spaces and dropping cards that encourage people to think differently about the world – will appear. On one screen I will stand in the middle of Hyde Park, holding a card that says: ‘do you ever think about changing something, about doing something differently?’ while on another I will find myself in the middle of Brisbane with a card that says: ‘can you imagine what it would be like to be at worlds end?’ On yet another screen, the text ‘what do you remember’ appears, before fading into beautifully shot and edited landscapes that I have filmed in Australia, Japan and the UK. On another screen, text will fade in with a much slower rhythm than before. It will say ‘all these things dissolving, with the corporations doing nothing.’

Sarah-Mace Dennis, Behind the scene (photo by Robert Varkevisser)


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A still from InContact

Ann Oren My work reacts to performativity culture, as viewers have now also become performers. When everyone is both a viewer and ”a star”, the line between exhibitionism, voyeurism and spectatorship turns ambiguous. Through the investigation of the different elements our daily lives are comprised of, I react to our fantasy realm’s roots in Cinema, The Other and Technology, with a particular focus on our transformation from being friends to being performers and audiences. I own this culture in order to create a dialog with it as I play with the formation of one’s desire, creating liminal spaces between performer and viewer. Exaggerated behaviors surface as films, videos and installations, while provoking the limits of the

spectacle. In my feature film project InContact I examine intimacy in our universal state of voyeurism, evoking an age of lost romance and melodrama. A love triangle unfolds through an online platform called InContact, which is a crossbreed of facebook and reality TV, giving users a perpetual live video feed from their friends' computers. Filmed entirely through the InContact network, iPhones and surveillance cameras, InContact explores levels of spectatorship and exhibitionism in our everyday life, when everyone is both a viewer and a performer. InContact also investigates the sways of iconic cinematic women on the psyche of the everday

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A still from InContact

woman, as one of the characters enjoys reenactments of classic cinematic scenes for her probable InContact audience. My following project Penelope sprouted from this layer of the film. Penelope is a collaged video, whose only character is weaved of appropriated footage of iconic female performances from fifteen films such as And god created woman (1956), Casablanca (1942), Blade Runner (1982) etc. It is a reflection on the construction of the woman as a staged fantasy generated in cinema. Through the removal of everything but the woman in the frame, Penelope is constantly spot lit on a dark stage. Penelope is the ultimate cinematic woman re- staged into a monologue, defining and eulogizing the cinematic

woman, whose role will forever remain a 20th century staple. Ann was born in Tel-Aviv, she received a BFA in Film&Video and an MFA in Fine Arts, both from the School of Visual Arts, NY. Her work has been exhibited and screened at The Hammer Museum, The Moscow Biennale for young art, The Tel- Aviv Museum, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, WRO Art Center’s Media Art Biennale, MediaLab Prado, Madrid, APEXART, PS122, Anthology Film Archives, The Tel-Aviv Cinematheque, The Carnegie Mellon Film Festival and FILE Festival, Brasil. She lives and works in New York. Ann Oren www.AnnOren.com

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An interview with Ann Oren

Ann Oren

Photo by Dan Keinan

viewers (or “amateur performers”) on realityTV, Youtube, Instagram and so on, they are no longer mere viewers they have become also performers and producers. Consumer technology and its social platforms have given viewers new stages to perform on. By watching actors and media productions on a daily basis throughout their lives, they have inevitably acquired some understanding of acting and producing. They tend to imitate professional standards to the best of their ability and they have also gotten used to watching viewers like themselves on all these new stages, so amateur performance skills are becoming acceptable. When viewers who now double as performers become contemporary “stars”, the line between exhibitionism, voyeurism and spectatorship evaporates and with it so does the illusion of the separating screen.

Penelope is not a set of clichés on the iconic female performance of the XX century: all Ann Oren's videos remind us of Gilles Deleuze's profecy "the brain is the screen" (from his essay "Image-Time" on the nature of cinema). Even watching this work, the space between performer and viewer, through a constant game of reflections, become ambiguous. Your research aims to provoke the limits of the spectacle, creating a sort of double-take in the spectator's head: using your words, "everyone is both a viewer and a performer." Could you introduce our readers to this concept? If in the past the viewer was restricted to being seated in the dark movie theater or in front of the TV set passively watching staged actors, now viewers are watching other

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A still from Penelope

How did you select the film fragments of Penelope? Have you used a specific criteria?

the frame, Penelope is constantly spot lit on a dark stage." Could you explain this aspect of this work?

I re-watched notable cinematic female characters throughout the 20th century, at first those from my own memory and later digging through online lists of most memorable femmes fatales and so on in order to reach a collective memory as well. Even-tually I “cast� these fifteen characters. The particular shots I used formed organically into Penelope, since what would normally be a writing process had to be a video editing process of the different characters, into a monologue. It was like sculpting with the frames until Penelope surfaced.

In order to re-stage the characters and transform them into Penelope, I pulled each one from its original film narrative; eliminating sound from other characters as well as creating a spot light effect to reveal her and eliminate the rest of the frame while staying in a cinematic language. As a result she is performing a monologue, spot lit on a dark stage. More than 50 years have passed since the International "Situationist" pamphlet by Guy Debord: the manipulation of mainstream moving-images had a remarkable political aim for the French philosopher, while nowadays artists seem to be attrac-

In your statement, you say "Through the removal of everything but the woman in

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ted by found footage manipulation in order to explore deep psychological issues, whether the footage has a "private" source (old super8 home movies) or not (fragments from mainstream films). In your works, you success in mixing these two aspects, creating a sort of "micropolitics of desire". How do you achieve this balance between "political" and "private"? To me, the political in art only works if communicated through the private. If politics are found in my work it's perhaps the politics of spectatorship and desire. The private I associate with narrative. Surfing the line between these two realms is where I pathologically find myself, even in my feature film InContact neither side is more dominant. My work is always almost narrative but not really trying to tell a story as it is self reflective. I use narrative elements only to the point of penetrating the emotional psyche of the viewer and there I present an exaggerated, critically affective space. I could dive further into the narrative or make a more direct critical statement but I am attracted to the perplexing gutter in between. This way it leaves the viewer to mix thinking and feeling inside the work, as if uncomfortably belonging in it. But it’s not a calculated process, the work just naturally always ends up this way.

A still from Penelope

What's the future of found-footage art in your opinion? What will be the influence of platform like vimeo and youtube? Every new project I start with the question: Do I need to create original material for it or is there something already out there that I can use as material to appropriate and sculpt with to bring my idea across?

to using found footage now more than in the past. The influence of platforms like vimeo and youtube is exactly what I explored in InContact, we all have new stages now to perform, produce and showcase ourselves on, without a critical intervention, and in most cases our audience is our friends.

Not just footage, also images and text. It’s a digital sustainability of sorts, trying to make work that reacts to our point in history, as there’s a loss of relevance for material ownership inherent in the internet culture with its excessive material and excessive reposting of material, that’s why many artists are attracted

It has become a norm for communication and consequently we have shifted from being friends to being performers and audience.

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Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Ann. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? What are your next projects?

experience of reality in his time (written in the 1930’s) and the video will capture its added relevance when read today, in a time when people read less and consume images rather than experiences. Instagram culture is its perfect manifestation.

Right now I’m working on TMQW, a contemporary take on Robert Musil’s novel “The Man Without Qualities”, a video pairing selected quotes from the novel with Instagram photos from random users. The protagonist in the original novel Ulrich, is preoccupied with the

“A world of qualities without a man has arisen, of experiences without the person who experiences them… private experience is a thing of the past, dissolved into a system of formulas of possible meanings.” The Man Without Qualities, Robert Musil, 1930-1941.

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From the project Retrouvailles/ Reunions

Marta Ferraté In this project, “Retrouvailles” (Reunions), I explore the invisible, the non-pysical, (dreams, visions, messages, the imaginary world).

that goes beyond reason, and a return to the primary source that unifies all things. It is a return to the origin. A return to the true essence.

I aim to dissolve the line between the different states of conciousness, thus broadening the concept of reality. It is a reconnection with our instincs and our intuition. A reconnection with the innate knowledge

Marta Ferraté

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An interview with Marta FerratĂŠ

Marta FerratĂŠ

We have been really impressed with your cinematography: a sense of suspended time is present in your videos, in every shot of "Retrouvailles� we can recognize a stunning balance between a materic approach, marked by a strong attention to the details, and an ethereal vision. How did you develop your style?

seems that transparences and specific transiction between different shots in your video works are not only aimed to suggest a temporal shift, but represent an effort to make a new language, where time-space nexuses are ignored, and present and past are only a successions of apparitions. What is the role of incertainty in your works?

Nature, time and vibrations play an important role in my work. I used them to re-connect with the underlying unity and source of all (life) things. The result of this process inevitably entails a state of contemplation and consciousness.

I am interested in what I do not know, cannot understand and what is not entirely visible. I like to question my own beliefs, perceptions, and knowledge that becomes the foundation from which I explore in my work.

From a technical point of view, In "Yasmina' s sail-back-home" you use a particular editing, dissolvences and trasparence. It

I hope this leads the spectator to question their own existence.

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From the project Retrouvailles/ Reunions


A still from Yasmina' s sail-back-home Video

that come from a greater power. It is about widening the different modes of understanding reality.

In your statement you say "The line between the different states of consciousness or vision is dissolved, broadening the concept of reality." No description is fit to describe an artist's vision, however, we daresay that this short sentence is a sort of manifesto of your works. Could introduce our readers to this concept which is a recognizable sign your filmmaking?

In your work "Visits" we can note a fluid concept of time and space, according to a Bergsonian thinking of perception. At the same time, fluid (shot of water, etc) are present in your videos. What is the role of fluid in "Retrouvailles"? Like the images in the video, the purpouse of water is to take us to another state of consciousness, another world. Although this choice was made intuitively. There is not a premeditated philosophical concept behind the choice of water. Sometimes, intuition knows better than reason which is also reflected in the nature of water.

In Western society and the modern world we connect with the physical world that we can see, whereas in other cultures, altered states of consciousness such as dreams and trances are considered vital to what they believe to be real. The subconscious realm can reveal messages

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A still from Yasmina' s sail-back-home Video

we belong and are in tune with the world around us. It means to re-connect with our true essence, our true nature.

You are a multidisciplinary artist: your works range from videos to Ink on paper marked by a materic approach. What is the influence of techniques experienced on different media on your videomaking?

What's next for you, Marta? Have you a particular project in mind ?

I guess that it mainly influences my processmaking. I treat the editing of the video as if I was working in a collage or any other discipline. It starts kind of “randomly�, but of course my interests already exist, so nothing is truly random and eventually the video slowly take shape.

Yes. I have just arrived from an intense residency in Morocco. It was a sufi pilgrimage, where rituals, beliefs, music, trance and animal sacrifices took place during the entire week.

Retrouvailles, Vibrations, Resonances. They are all word dealing with intuition. Could you explain what these terms exactly represent for you?

So, my next project will be an evolution of my previous investigations which focused on the multiple levels of reality.

To me all these terms, like intuition, mean to return the primary source, the origin, where

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Butcher Rules

A still from Brokenflo (10 mins, HD Video, 2013)

Patrick Tarrant Brokenflo is an intermittent serial portrait that explores the rhythm and deep structure of cyclists involved in their daily commute. People emerge over time from their collective, softfocus anonymity and fleetingly present themselves for this long-lens portrait before disappearing again into the flux and flow of the city.

cription of time itself, of which he writes: “its essence being to flow, not one of its parts is still there when another part comes along” (12). Another quality of this window cleaner portrait is the function of the window as a motif that reflects notions of the mediated self, but which also signals an idea of the city as a cinema of multiple screens. Similarly, in Brokenflo, not only is there an inherent editing logic to be found in the repeated everyday journeys, the traffic lights that break the cyclists’ flow, and the intermittent occlusions produced by the traffic itself, there is in the very shallow depth of field, the narrow street and the line at which cyclists must stop, a sense of these subjects presenting themselves within a frame, or upon an invisible screen. This is part of what I see as the ‘deep structure’ of the cyclists’ activity — the sense that this everyday activity is not only

An earlier film portrait of mine from 2011 (Everything Is Everyday) focused on a window cleaner at work, and observed the rule that each shot to make it into the film had to be recorded on a different day. This meant that every edit had the clear function of signaling a new day, while also raising a question about the subject’s persistence and longevity. What part of the subject survives these cuts? What part of the subject is replayed, revised, missed and remembered from one day to another? The human subject here is reminiscent of Bergson’s des-

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A still from Brokenflo (10 mins, HD Video, 2013)

structured by time, space and lived experience, but that it is also somehow cinematically inscribed, as though its very structure contains a cinematic secret.

also radical about this match on action is the uncanny sameness it reveals, right down to the detail that the same bearded, red-jacketed man is immediately behind our subject in both shots.

As with Everything Is Everyday, in Brokenflo we see subjects presenting themselves, day after day, but never in quite the same way. In one instance a match on action — the turning of a head — appears to show an orange-jacketed man from different angles at the same instant. But a barely noticeable change in colour of his undershirt from black to grey reveals that this is a different day, and that this temporal gap has been sutured together through a technique that András Kovács calls ‘radical continuity’. The radicalness of this technique comes from its ability to reveal an important conceptual or aesthetic continuity across discontinuous time and space. What is

My research concerns itself with the way that subjectivity is distributed across time, and therefore, with the interplay of montage and duration within the portrait film. --

Bergson, Henri. The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics. New York: Citadel Press, 2002. Kovács, András. Screening Modernism: European Art Cinema, 1950-1980, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

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An interview with

Patrick Tarrant Behind an apparently neutral, clinicalcinematography and an accurate use of long lens, Brokenflo escapes from the serial portrait clichè to explore a sort of rhythmic pulse, communicating a sort of empathic feeling. Could you explain this aspect of your video? I’m interested in trying to represent the lived experience of everyday duration through montage. So the empathic feeling you refer to might be understood as something more than a desire that we might have to understand and be close to these cyclists who wait at traffic lights. Perhaps what really draws us to them is a sense that they have been captured in their everyday-ness in particular. It is in this state of waiting and anticipation and boredom that we see the drama of thought playing across their faces for instance. And we might reflect that it is when they are forced to occupy time that they must also occupy, and be, themselves. Patrick Tarrant

Although surveillance may be a part of this film, it is not the part that interests me, because any drama arising from the cyclists’ exposure to us is a familiar drama. What I do find interesting is the idea that we are watching people exposed to themselves, and I think our empathic relation to them can only grow every time they return, since their return is likely to be experienced by us, in quite unconscious ways, as an expression of their growing trust in us. The repetition inherent in these cyclists’ journeys is therefore a fundamental aspect of our relation to them, as it is in our sense of the everyday, and in the pulse of the montage. This pulse can partly be attributed to the idea that when I am making a film over time I feel myself to be making a montage in particular, taking advantage of the ways that montage opens us up to otherwise inaccessible temporalities and offers a glimpse not just of people over time, but of subjectivity itself, as something in motion and in time, often adrift in an everyday duration.

Robbe-Grilletian vision of time, memory and perception. Could you introduce our readers to this work? After completing my PhD this was my first attempt to just go out and find a film. I spent two days filming on the trains and around the rivers and bridges between Queens and Manhattan. The film is all hand-held and uses only sync sound. These two restrictions become softened by the fact that the hand-held camera appears more stable because the footage is slowed down four times, just as the sync sound seems to be something else, for the same reason. I particularly enjoy the way that the harmonics of the noise of the machines of the city become a feature when the pitch is lowered, which contributes to a sense of the city playing its own symphony. Not long before this I had seen James Benning’s RR, which accounts for my first long take of a subway train travelling over the

We have been really impressed by "Slow Boat To Queens ", a 2009 work, and by its

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A still from Slow Boat To Queens

Queensboro Bridge, as well as my dwelling on the vectors of movement within this and other shots. The film is in many ways just an exercise in collecting images that interested me on the day and assembling them to bring out new possibilities and tensions. But of course what interests me is in part a product of memory, including my memory of films by other filmmakers. More than that though, I had previously been in New York just four months after 9/11, so I see a haunting quality to planes in the sky around New York, much as similar images haunt the documentary Man On Wire (Marsh, 2008).

city block). In Slow Boat I wanted to communicate something like being stuck inside the belly of a living machine, and it is perhaps against that ambition that a sense of time must be reckoned with. That’s to say, when you’re trapped inside a machine, time loses its usual meaning and becomes instead a cold metric for your being stuck and slowly going nowhere. Speaking of "Slow Boat To Queens", we note that a recurrent characteristic of many of your artworks is experience as starting point of artistic production: in your opinion, is experience an absolutely necessary part of creative process?

That was one quality that motivated me on the days of shooting, although I also rein this in on the whole so that it serves to illuminate a more general sense of the metropolis as a haunted machine. There is an episode of the 60s American TV series Lost In Space called ‘Trip Through the Robot’, which takes place largely inside the ailing character of The Robot (who, in the words of IMDB, has grown to the size of a

For me the pleasure of making a film lies first in the drama of the experience as it plays out around me. This drama of course includes boredom, indecision, and fear, but it is also the drama of the unexpected. What is unexpected can be unexpected in an immediate sense, such as when a plane appears to trace the curvature

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Butcher Rules

A still from Brokenflo (10 mins, HD Video, 2013)

of a sculpture that represents the globe. But another kind of surprise occurs when something like a narrative emerges; and this narrative is both a sense of my developing experience — of things congealing, of ideas forming — and another loose narrative that may or may not inform my edit and may or may not be commu-nicated to an audience (a narrative hinting at despair for instance).

after day, was waiting to see if they dropped into the tiny frame that was preset and defined by an incredibly narrow depth of field. Another drama is contained in the idea that even though I see many of these same faces around my neighbourhood to this day, and experience a very strong pull towards them, sadly they seem not to notice me. You are not only a videoartist, you are a writer too. In what manner literature influences your videomaking?

My point here is that the films I make are a synthesis of the ephemeral narrative of my experience and the loose narrative that I choose to communicate. I also like to work over time in a way that allows me to move back and forth between filming and editing. Each of these is an experiential time and space that can contribute to a dialectical emergence of new expressive forms. The most dramatic aspect of making Brokenflo, apart from seeing people return day

The writings of Deleuze, Blanchot, Bergson and Paul Arthur have been important to me in recent years as I have tried to wrestle with montage, the everyday, real duration and portraiture. These writers were crucial in my efforts to write about Pedro Costa’s depiction of memory and duration in Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie?

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A still from Brokenflo (10 mins, HD Video, 2013)

(2001). As far as fiction goes, tricksy writers like Borges, Umberto Eco and Walter Abish peaked my interest in my undergraduate years, and I feel that I continue to flirt with those kind of labyrinthine, prismatic and abysmal forms which facilitate something like the space-time that we see at work in Grillet’s script for Last Year At Marienbad (Resnais, 1961). Nathaniel Dorsky’s Devotional Cinema offers delicate insights and introduced me to the importance of intermittence. Brokenflo was originally called ‘Intermittent Serial Portrait’ until a filmmaker friend bullied me out of it (too ‘artspeak’ presumably)!

signifier of persistence as well — nothing persists like that which is always disappearing. We have quoted in our previous question the French writer and filmmaker Alain Robbe Grillet, however we would like to know your opinion about one of the most important directors of the last decades, Pier Paolo Pasolini, writer and filmmaker as well, who has defined cinema "the written language of reality". Do you agree with this definition? Taking this question and the next one together, one of the threshold concepts that we try to get students to master is an idea that reality is always meaningful, long before they have thought about how to deploy it. Reality is encoded twice in the sense that it has been used before and given meaning, but also in the

But intermittence is absolutely central to my representations of subjects who span the strange space-time of the everyday, because intermittence is the flickering space of difference on the one hand, but also a dramatic

35


sense that the one who perceives it is themselves encoded to read and write reality in certain ways. I think this idea is difficult because it causes two kinds of problems for students. On the one hand they need to learn how to frame worldly materials so that those materials become articulate at all, and then articulate in the right kinds of ways. But at the same time they also need to learn to respect the encoded meaning of the materials themselves and their own reading practices. This means getting a grip on the history of representation — the prior encoding and usage of these materials — while also exploring ways to work with these materials differently, or augment their meaning in a sympathetic way. As an experimental filmmaker I don’t feel in need of a definition of cinema that reconciles the reality of the indexical image with the fictional context in which it is deployed. But as a teacher of narrative filmmakers I tend towards a concept like ‘narrative world’ — what Robert Stam calls ‘the authenticated motifs of the narrative’ — where authentication of ‘a real’ is established through a system of narration built upon reliable codes. Such a system either utilises ‘real’ images or it doesn’t, but it makes allowances either way, and it exploits the encoded nature of the material from which those images are crafted, accordingly. In that sense the real is just one more motif in need of authentication. Your works have been screened in many worldwide festivals focused on experimental cinema, like the Chicago Underground Film Festival. What experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries?

A still from Brokenflo (10 mins, HD Video, 2013)

I haven’t had many festival experiences where I’ve been in attendance, but notwithstanding the small sample, I think Images Festival in Toronto is an amazing festival run by delightful and brilliant people.

my silent film I largely shrugged it off. Perhaps this is because my elevated heart rate during the screening meant I couldn’t really enjoy the rhythms of my film anyway, a sensation I also experienced at Leeds Film Festival.

I also met filmmakers like Jodie Mack and Scott Stark there, and academics like Mike Zryd and Tess Takahashi, and I was generally so pleased with everything that when someone answered their phone during the screening of

What I do know is that seeing experimental film programmes enables you to consider your own investment in being ‘chosen’ for a festival alongside a clearer sense of the curatorial thinking behind the programme. That doesn’t mean you

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don’t still think about texting the programmers with a WTF!? on occasion, but since you would never use your phone in a cinema you are forced to sublimate; you don’t illuminate. What are you going to be working on next, Patrick? I plan to unite a Ken Jacobs-style technics with some of the biggest flora in the world.

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Butcher Rules

A still from Jacks (video loop, 2 mins, 2013)

Kate Burgener Jacks is a video piece searching for a visual approach to memories of my childhood. „Memory derives its interventionary force from its very capacity to be altered - unmoored, mobile, lacking any fixed position. Its permanent mark is that it is formed (...) by arising from other (a cirumstance) and by losing it (it is no more than a memory).“ (*)

laps seems a suitable art practice to me. Working with overlaps combines different times, spaces and movements. The shadowy setting stands in contrast to the highdefinition quality of current images that to me often prevents transparency and poetry, restraining intuition and autonomy of perception. Also other video works of mine, for example beheaded hostage concern with issues of perception and violence, operating with overlaps and with blurred pictures.

In my art work the cirumstance is the early death of a family member. Losing the memory means also repeating the loss. The memory is composed of fragments, the pictures seem to be dizzy, shaps show up distorted and unsharp. Before drifting into sleep in a phase of „being inbetween“ unconscious pictures can touch you in a uncanny way.

The rope skipping (filmed with a little girl who remembers me of myself as a child) is one of the games in childhood that seems to last forever but contradictionally is also a way to bring time to a halt. A condition of being out of time and space and moving on a spot similar to the issues of memory. It is a practice of banishing fear like the game Jacks that can be played as long as you need to.

The alternation within memories affects time as well as space and movement. To visualise that phenomenon in film work, operating with over-

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A still from Jacks (video loop, 2 mins, 2013)

Text to be written on the wall beside the video installation (as shown in the Exhibition: Cantonale13 Berne CH 15.12.2013-26.1.2014)

Walking on the seaside finding pennies we hidden in love sweet smelling days threatened by memories of following time skipping on life for hours and hours banning the terrifying fear hanging in the air playing Jacks in the gap between the livingroom carpets just on the day when death came by over and over again in the hope to turn time back lost the small pathes of my childhood cries of seagulls recalling the past from a uncanny dark spot buckles of shells in salty green water spilling over my sticking out knees holding hands on a long sideway walk being on the outlook for the chalkstone man drinking bottled milk in the schoolyard the tin top with the delight of a creamy film.

Different speeds of skipping, jumping backwards, bouncing on the spot, like a dreamwalker on a path that was wellknown once. Visiting my birthtown a few years ago I realised that the lanes and pathes I followed as child were still emotionally present and had more meanings to me as many other things. The soundscape of Jacks is in the same manner as the pictures a mix of fragments, different speeds, playing directions and places: Rope skipping, voices of adults and children, faint orchestra sound and dome bells from Venice as well as cries of seagulls. Kate Burgener

(*) (Michel de Certeau: The practice of everyday life, Merve Verlag, Berlin 1988, S. 86

with best thanks to Wilma

39


An interview with

Kate Burgener Kate Burgener's video Jacks reveals a cinematographic sensibility very far from the video-installation of the mid 90's€ (think of Studio Azzurro, video-theatre works for example) and at the same an incredible effort aiming to subvert the perception mechanisms, confirming that the frontier between Video Art and Cinema is growing more and more vague in the last decades. Kate, how did you come up with the idea for this work?

Kate Burgener

of time and space, trying to remain present and aware, and in consequence not to lose completely one’s footing. To express different aspects rope skipping as a game in childhood maintains moving on the spot, as well as repeating and also alternating between being on the ground and in the air. As in other video works threat and also perception mechanisms are themes, for example in beheaded hostage the notion was to show the view of the victim as well as the preparation for recording by the terrorists, illustrating an usual and common action, that makes the issue even more uncanny.

The idea for this work was to look into the subject of my biography, searching for a visual approach to memories of my childhood. Through abruptions in my biography unconscious pictures pop up from time to time in a uncanny way. The concept was to superficially show a playful light heartedness and to underlay it with threat. One methode of banishing fear is transfering it into repetitive activities, and therefore stepping in a way out

As you mention in your question the video Jacks has a close approach to cinematographic aspects, for example: the setting of the camera and the picture excerpt as well as the dramatury of a slight set story and the practice of organising time and movement in different ways.

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A still from Jacks (video loop, 2 mins, 2013)

What thinkers have influenced your peculiar vision of time and space?

to me. An other artwork called chic-o-mat, an interactive system shown at the Ars Electronica Festival 2007, was based on Strangers to ourselves of the psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva and operated also with the methode of mixing images and playing with the idea of strangeness within the self.

A few years ago I discovered the hungarian writer Péter Nádas. Especially his book „Parallel Stories“ impressed me very much. The different threads in the dramaturgy link irregularly up to one another. Nádas jumps around in time and space over the last 100 years without giving a clear indication. Time and space change often unnoticed and cause together a new setting.

Derrrida’s concept of deconstruction and also Deleuze’s idea in short that cinema is a practice that focus on the organisation of time and movement influenced my art practice. The question for him is what does it do? and not is it true?

In my Masterstudies Gender and Cultural Studies in Art, Media and Design at the Zurich University of the Arts I came across Michel Foucault’s Heterotopie, as spaces of otherness. Spaces being absolutely real like the path from my childhood in one of the video layers, but also becoming unreal in the combination of different times and spaces. Memories seem to be one of the spaces of otherness

We have been impressed with your use of overlapping: while this technique was widely used in the 90s, you are able to bring new life to this form, which become in your hands a powerful tool aiming to avoid sense and subvert unconscious perception. A similar attempt can be found in

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Butcher Rules

A still from Jacks (video loop, 2 mins, 2013)

Guy Maddin's film Brand upon the brain, with different results however. Could you introduce our readers to role of this technique in "Jacks"?

dreams and also to traumatic experience. Not only the overlapping but also the picture excerpt is based on the idea of fragments. Because you brought up Guy Maddin I became aware that he also often focus on one part of the body like hands. In Jacks the focus is on the feet.

The alternation within memories affects time as well as space and movement. Working with overlaps combines different times, spaces and movements. Maddin operates more often with the methode of quick cuts and image inserts. His film Brand upon the brain deals also with the aspects of memory and the past, dreams and nightmares and with the question, where we come from and who we are. In Jacks the overlapping subvert a easy perception trying to avoid clarity and giving imagination and intuition a stronger role. Upcoming pictures of the past are fragmental reconstructions of the brain’s memory achievement, similar to

We have been impressed by the balance between absence and presence in your video, which is not conceived€ as a classical balance, as the relationships between solids and voids in architecture for example, but a sort of coexistence between past and present in imagination and perception. How do you achieve this balance? To find a balance between absence and presence I operate on the one side with my intui-

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From shilly-shally

tion and also with coincidence, on the other side I have a clear concept for example of the dramatury. It is a game with contradictions of space, time, speed, composition and video fragments. An other contradiction is the combination between a playful light heartedness and threat. The balance is very fragile and how to visualise deeper layers is often an emotional decision. I try to form this balance also in a poetic approach.

track has not a diegethical aims, but tend to sabotage the common perception mechanims like in the films of the french director Alain-Robbe Grillet. Could you introduce our readers to this aspect of your filmmaking? Audio is a difficult thing to me. I try to sabotage the common perception but not in a strong way like Grillet. I edit the sound with overlaps and with changing speed and sometimes directions. Sound recalls highly individual and emotional memories probably in a closer way and even less censored as visual perception.

In shilly-shally, my newest video piece, balance itself becomes a topic, two bodies wrapped in a bag are rocking back and forth. "The soundscape of Jacks is in the same manner as the pictures a mix of fragments, different speeds, playing directions and places". Audio has a huge importance in your works. the use of sound-

Often the point of beginning is a basic soundtrack, as in Jacks the noise of rope skipping or in shilly-shally the lullaby Lavender's Blue. The sound of rope skipping is probably fami-

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liar to many as well as the lullaby. Editing the soundtrack in different speeds and overlapping them distorbs the immediate feeling but also creates a rhythme that supports the visual level. Other sounds in Jacks are for example the cries of seagulls. It is also a soundscape that attained a certain universality. In shilly-shally one of the four audio inputs running with the lullaby is the sound of snowballs being thrown at a glass window from time to time. You videoart pieces present a masterly use of editing. Apart from the techniques we have previuosly faced in our interview, like blurring and overlapping, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work? That depends on the subject of the work. Collage or a kind of digital assemblage is a technique that fascinates me also in works like the series chit-chats operating with fragments that already exist, organising and sampling them into new arrangements. In my video practice the color settings and saturation, the blurring, also transparency are like model assembly. I applie also templates. In video practice the rhythm is very important to me. When I edit a video cutting it is like breathing.

safeguard clause 2011 digl touch-up, 47,2 x 58 cm pigment print on portfolio rag 1/3

We have found interesting the balance between high definition and techniques aiming to deteriorate images. Could you explain this aspect of your work? Coming from painting too, I try to reach a pictorial quality through digital media. I was always interested in structures, textures, irregularities, disruptions, gaps, dissonances and fuzziness. For that Maddin for example operates with analog methods like sweat on the camera lens. I try to get to this point only with digital devices. To deteriorate images doesn’t mean that they have to be in low definition, on the contrary showing high definition illustrates my intent.

on telling fictional stories in a satirically meaning, close to docu-soap productions. The video beheaded hostage 2005 was my first video that emphasizes the perception as well as the techniques of overlaps, bringing up different perspectives of perception and questioning also the medium itself. My video works became shorter, often conceived in loops. With regards to content one could say that I have moved more towards expressing emotions, exploring the hidden beneath the surface, being closer to myself and visualising atmospherically density.

Your video production is very miscellaneous: how has your production processes changed over the years? Initially my video work was more focused on shortfilms like Bride, Bride & Bones 2001 and

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nine men’s morris 2011

spick and span 2011

digi touch-up, 46 x 58 cm

digi touch-ups, 44.5 x 58 cm

pigment print on portfolio rag 1/3

pigment print on portfolio rag 1/3

What are your next projects on the horizon, Kate?

bidden statements are placed in spaces of otherness.

At the moment I am working on several big digital touch-ups for an exhibition in Berne. I will continue with videowork similarly to Jacks and shilly-shally for sure. I am also writing a script for a video art piece based on anonymous interviews. The aesthetics of this kind of recording is also characterised by methods like blurring, overlapping or using black bars, portraiting behind tinted and coated glass. All these formal elements create a threatening atmosphere on the visual level. Socially for-

Further as a part-time art lecturer at the Unviversity of Education in Berne I am planning a Sabbatical semester in autumne 2015 to attend film and video modules of an art academy.

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Butcher Rules

A still from Photographing Richard Serra, Video

Gillian McIver stands on territory that looks "public" - a shopping precinct nestled among office blocks but actually isn't. Ironically if you just walk into the street a metre or so away you can legally photograph the sculpture. Hence the choice of the Browse Video specs. These are quite difficult to use, seeing as they have to be worn as glasses. So you can't move your head normally, yet you have to try to appear normal, else the point of the subterfuge is gone ...

"Photographing Richard Serra" synopsis Who owns the city? What is a public place? What is public art? How does art intrude on our everyday experience of the city? Does it? I have passed “Fulcrum”, the huge Richard Serra sculpture at Liverpool St station many times and always admired it. In order to investigate these questions, I took my analogue Canon AE1 camera and a roll of film and a pair of Browse Video specs which record HD video, down to see “Fulcrum”, ready for whatever may happen.

This is the latest of an ongoing series, FIELD RECORDINGS that are short pieces filmed in an unstructured and often clandestine way. Most of the Field recordings are made in one take, in a single continuous shot. Voiceover (always mine) is recorded simultaneously. No effects and the fewest cuts possible are made. The idea is to present direct experience and the thoughts that occur at the moment the experience is happening.

"Photographing Richard Serra" is a short experimental film about taking photographs of public art in a place not - technically - public. I also have seen - very often - people trying to photograph it and being chased away by security guards. The reason is that the sculpture

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An interview with

Gillian McIver Your film "Tarkowsky's river" is the result of a series of journeys to the upper Volga, the place where Andrei Tarkovsky was born. How did you come up with the idea for this work, and when did you decide to start this incredible journey? There are number of factors like threads which weaves together to create the Tarkovsky's River project; it isn't just the film, it's also a series of photographs and a book. I suppose the genesis of the project happened back when I was studying Russian history and I was a fascinated by the way the Russian culture developed across a massive geographical landmass, with remote and ancient villages dotting the landscape. After finishing film school, I began a series of projects that brought me regularly to Russia, which included working with a Russian television company. On one trip, I decided to go and visit Yurevets, the place where Tarkovsky was born. It was quite hard to get t; we had to take a boat and it stopped at lots of little villages along the way. The landscape is extraordinary, and I filmed everything with my video camera, but I had not at that moment intended to actually make a film. Later on I returned to the place where, among other things, we shot a short arts documentary for television. Over time I amassed a large body of photographic work documenting the place, and I decided to develop it into a book, which encouraged me to turn my video footage into a short, highly personal narrative film.

Gillian McIver Gillian McIver is a Canadian based in London, UK. She studied history, literature and philosophy at university before moving to Europe and training in Photography and Film/Video in London. Following her studies she formed the Luna Nera collective of site specific artists, making many large-scale international projects. She works as a film maker, curator and a writer.

overwhelming, spiritual, tough and yet so inspirational. Travelling is a not only a source of inspiration for you, but a fundamental aspect of your art practise. Could you introduce our readers to this fascinating concept? I have always been interested in history and culture, and travelling offers an opportunity to really explore both first-hand and in detail. When I go to any place, I spend a great deal of time before hand researching about the history and the culture of the place, so although I don't necessarily know what I'm looking for when I get there, I am able to analyze and process the implications of what I'm finding. This normally leads me

Of course, I've always been interested in and appreciate the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, particularly Mirror. And the poetry of his father, Arseny Tarkovsky. But Tarkovsky's River is about much more. It's about the human encounter with the landscape -

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A still from Photographing Richard Serra, Video

fiction films. My favorite film-maker is Peter Greenaway, and he certainly influenced me by the lush visual elements of his films; Alejandro Jodorowsky's films also delivered this exhilarating visual thrill. Both filmmakers have extremely serious intellectual intent behind their work; it's not just a spectacle. What I learned from them, is to connect immediately with the audience through the visual and the emotional, and let the intellectual and conceptual aspects work their way in subsequently, over time.

to some new ideas that spur me creatively and help me to develop my projects. Apart from the great Russian filmmaker Tarkowsky, can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? I'm influenced not only by visual art and cinema, but by philosophy and literature as well. I love Anselm Kiefer's sense history and how he embeds it into his work without manifesting it overtly. Gaston Bachelard has been a strong influence on me; especially The Poetics Of Space, which I've taken as a kind of manual. At university I discovered the writings of Henri Lefebvre, and particularly his Critique Of Everyday Life, which made me realize that art needs to inspire and invigorate, and not just be an object for the audience's passive consumption.

In your short experimental film "Photographing Richard Serra" you take photographs of public art in a place not "technically" public. Besides the ironically intent of this act, this work belongs to a cycle titled "Field recordings", focusing on the concept of live experience. Could you introduce our readers to these works?

I watch films a lot, both documentaries and

The field recordings are an ongoing project

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A still from Photographing Richard Serra, Video

that the concept of “public art� that isn't public, and public art that we don't really see, even though it's massive and right in our faces, is actually really interesting and I thought the film might encourage people go out and open their eyes bit more. The privatization of public space is something which I find quite concerning and disturbing.

that I started to do as a kind of everyday practice. I don't do them every day, but I do like to explore and think with the camera, and so from time to time I take a camera out to explore and I document this process of exploration with these short absolutely direct little films. What goes into the film is exactly what I'm thinking that particular moment, and they have very little editing.

It could be considered a specious question, however, we have to do it, Gillian: what caused you to become an artist?

Because I'm interested in the city, and exploring spaces, the field recordings really are about that. They are quite experimental because I really don't know what I'm going to find, I don't know what I'm going to think about what I find, and I really don't know what it looks like until I have a proper look on the monitor. Sometimes I bring back sessions and I look at them, and they're just not interesting, I can't see how anybody could find them interesting and so I don't do anything with them.

I've always been interested in art and literature. My original studies were in literature and history, but from the very beginning I saturated myself in art, particularly cinema. It wasn't a great big leap to go from consuming art and cinema to making art and cinema. My practice actually constantly moves between sitespecific art, documentary film-making and experimental film. I also write non-fiction, art reviews and articles about arts and cine-

With "Photographing Richard Serra" I found

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ma. My practice actually constantly moves between site-specific art, documentary film-making and experimental film. I also write non-fiction, art reviews and articles about arts and cinema. And from time to time I do curating. So you could say that art is the fabric upon which my whole life is lived, in many different ways. Now we wonder if you would like to answer to our clichĂŠ question: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? The most satisfying thing during the creative process is to feel that I have grasped onto the unique point where my personal understanding and the communicative element fuses together. When I know the thing that I'm making can communicate with the audience, and then it all starts take shape. What are your next project on the horizon? I'm doing many different things, but principally I'm developing a book about the relationship between cinema and visual art. And I'm out there promoting my recent film Taking Over The King's Land, which is a 23 minute documentary about art.

A still from Photographing Richard Serra, Video

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3:59

Butcher Rules

A still from движение, video, 03:59

Nicolas Morrison 3:59 seconds. As they elapse, a huge black space and two spheres reveal sequences and two independent scenes. Is this perhaps showing a fraction of the story, maybe fragments of it; if so, fragments of which story? We really do not know. We only know that some of them were part of a research made by Muybridge. That’s the source of those images. However, what is certain in this brief sequence is that they have long ceased to be what they were.

darkness. The space of this image is interrupted by these two spheres of light—the images that appear in their center. Secondly, the spheres project some kind of a cryptic narrative, and a rather accelerated sequence. The fact that both spheres are generating independent visual information, adds difficulty to the associative capacity of the observer. The left sphere shows, in most cases, images of unknown men and women, while the sphere on the right is presented as an aerial panoptic. Finally, an underground sound accompanies the entire video, filling the atmosphere with a spectral and phantasmagoric veil. The common apex is a disturbing mystery.

Three relevant aspects merged and braided in a single movement—First, the space of the image has been redefined, and now is dominated by

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A still from движение, video, 03:59

In the same axis of what David Toop considers a “sinister resonance” the audio that we listen in "движение” evoke us a certain tremendisimo; underneath it lies the evocation of an ongoing drama. We can also relate the audio work with other sound pieces that suggest the advent or outcome of something dark and tragic. An example of this is the music composed by Thomas Bangalter for the film "Irréversible" by Gaspar Noé; in which the objective was to generate a stressful and repulsive atmosphere, entailing a high density of psychological drama. In the song “Rectum” we find one of the decisive moments of this condition. Here the sound triggers/evokes/calls forth/summon/elicit a scene of stifling physical space and extreme violence, the climax of the grotesque.

The images seem to evoke a time long past, from which we could endlessly speculate about their meanings. They arise from the unknown to the sense of uneasiness that grows with the movement. These images run, and we are unable to apprehend them; nor can we identify the actors, because they are part of that dead space, where identity has been erased, and only gestures left. Everything else is lost. The emphasis of the spheres suggests only a small proportion of this immensity of loss. Agamben defines: "It refers to everything that, both in the collective and individual life, at every moment we tend to forget; it refers to the infinite mass of what is deemed to be hopelessly lost". Another important element in this work is sound. The sound adopts a single tune with the images, through a dissonant and underground character. The emphasis given to this piece seems to indicate the intention of maintaining observers in a suspended tension. It is not a pleasant feeling. At times, it is a sharp sound that spontaneously generates an alert. It is by far the most unstable element of this work, and it operates by increasing its intangible and irrational condition, which -like the spherescannot be controlled nor explained.

It is in here where we can find an echo with the audiovisual work of Morrison, which achieves an indefinable feeling of restlessness and discomfort—the manifestation of an intangible presence. It conveys what David Toop so accurately expressed: “sound is a present absenceand silence is a present absent". Ignacio Rojas

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An interview with

Nicolas Morrison

Nicolas Morrison Apart from the evocation of an ongoing drama, which is continuously frustrated with great masterly skill, Nicolas Morrison's unique vision "движение" stays away from easy dystopic interpretation, and its cryptic narrative is a pure non-narrative form very hard to find in today's experimental filmmakers. How did you come up with the idea for this work, Nicolas?

these resources generated a kind of visual whirl. Once "inside" this mood I began to notice how these aesthetics features were linked to the plot. The crisis of the story suppressed and developed in lines, figures, planes, tones. The drama of the spirit is expressed in grotesque scenography, in the makeup, in the painting. The faces are depicted as objects of pain and suffering, the body as the mystery between the interior and the exterior.

The first factor that stimulated my interest and curiosity for the video was a long and continuous session with German expressionist cinema. Together with my girlfriend, we had a kind of cinematographic marathon in which we saw films like "The Last Laugh” (1924), "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920), "Metropolis" (1927), "The Golem: How He Came into the World” (1920), "Nosferatu" (1922), “The Tresure” (1923), among many others.

It is well known that the aesthetics of this film genre have their origins in the homonymous artistic movement at the onset of the 20th century; as a painter, this fascinated me: the con– nection between painting and cinema regarding the plastic matter, the body, the object. The presence of the material world as a tool of access used to generate a cinematographic reality. This way of facing cinema led me directly to Andrei Tarkovsky’s films, and finally to one of the scenes that, so far, seems to me to be the most sublime sequence that I’ve ever seen. Even though this scene is diametrically different

The first thing that impressed me was its visual content: the staging, the makeup, the exaggerated performances, the angles, the sequences, all

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A still from движение, video, 03:59

ception mechanims like in the films of many French directors of the Sixties. Could you introduce our readers to this aspect of your filmmaking?

from the visual conditions and rhythms of expressionist cinema, in my opinion this scene maintains deep ties regarding the ability of cinema to achieve a “new-objectivity” contained and hosted in the objects and in its presence. I’m talking about the dream scene in the film "Stalker" (1979) by the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, in which we are shown a series of objects immersed in the water while the camera flies over as if it were a satellite travelling around a planet, exploring its surface in search of something.

The expression soundtrack is usually used in the movies to present a sonorous piece that accompanies a specific visual content; it is -in the majority of the cases- an index of a feeling, an emotion, an act, etc. The element "soundtrack" responds to a spatial and temporary simultaneity with something. In case of “движение” the sound is an independent event, a phantasmagoric entity that, although it coexists with the image, expands in a parallel position in time, hidden and remote; its origin or identity is uncertain. There is a rupture in the logical continuation of the events, a sabotage against the illusion that a group of elements in perfect coordination might suggest. The sound is independent of the visual content of the images although these are ambiguous, they contain an origin, an identity). This factor is essential since it engages the existing differences between the sound and the image as agents of communica-

The visual information is beyond poetically suggestive, and presents -according to me- a dilemma that originates from the cinematic experience. What exactly is moving: the camera or the scene? Although I can't really explain how I came across with the idea for my video, I have no doubt that the origin of движение is a result of that scene. Audio has a huge importance in your works. The use of soundtrack has not a diegethical aims, but tend to sabotage the common per-

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3:59

Butcher Rules

A still from движение, video, 03:59

tion like vehicles of content, and how it is that our perception tends inevitably to generate associative readings between what you see and what is heard. Therefore, the sound is not the object that produces it, it differs from the image. The sound is on another plane, it does not belong to the world of objects. At the moment of listening, it separates from the phenomenon that has created it, so we can say it is the residue of an action that has ceased to be. Thus, the sound is in the past; more than an object or a thing, it is an event. The importance that audio has acquired in my latest works comes from the difficulties and challenges that imply working with this evasive and mysterious entity.

“history of video art”. I devoted myself to gathering all kinds of video footage, without any intention of making a video. So I didn’t start producing actual videos until long after. In the beginning I was more interested in the exercise of recording, the act of capturing and manipulating. I began to assemble my video camera with magnifying glasses and different objects used in the optics (spyglasses, targets of microscopes, periscopes) and to film my own paintings approaching its surface, its matter, reducing greatly the distance between the paintings and myself. I was interested deeply in the optics used in chemistry and by the alchemist theories regarding the transformation of matter, the decomposition of the physical world. I had the need to see from another position, from another scale. This involved a journey towards the reduction of distances, to amplify my contact and intimacy with my own work. The problem was that at this scale it was impossible for me to find

How has your production processes changed over the years? My first approaches to video were quite experimental, flexible, free, and even innocent, since I never had any type of formation on how to use editing software, nor had I any knowledge of the

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A still from движение, video, 03:59

some fixed interpretation of my work, because instead of facing a horizon or landing in an inert surface, the horizon was destroyed and so were the references and definitions. Therefore, the answer to the question would be yes: the change and the need to have certain nomadic functions regarding my work, has meant not only to produce in a diverse and spon- taneous way during the years, but also it has allowed me to undress something that freaks me out. I refer to the development of a specific skill in search of a virtuosity I cannot declare a definition to my works, because they’re simply not dead and once they are “complete” they no longer belong to me. So I assume and use the transformation and the change as an access to the surprise, to the contemplation of something alive and fertile.

would be to present a system based on sequences, methods and so on. My notion on the creative processes is not restricted to the production of a work, to its origin or even to its existence. In my opinion, creativity doesn’t have a fixed origin or a certain model, it’s not sterile. I consider my process as a unity, in which resemblance is outside the scope of the literary description. Your video art pieces are refined works. What technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work? That is a very good question because it is something that I don’t have very clear or defined. I suppose that I suffer from a certain kind of obsession with matter, the physiognomies, the objects (I guess that these obsessions are part of my background as a painter).

Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project?

I am interested in the image that occurs as result of the material existence of all reality. I try to deal with the video not as a simple mecha-

Creative processes usually are quite difficult to explain, because trying to communicate them

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Nicolas Morrison

A still from движение, video, 03:59

nism according to an anecdote, I am interested in detecting components that esta-blish its unity, detect its cracks, connections, imperfections and inconsistencies, which are also part of this unity and denote the particula-rities of the video as a support. If I thought of the video as an object, I could suggest it as an amphora. Let’s suppose that within it inhabits a corpse, decaying matter contained by this ritualistic object that certainly is also being transformed.

beyond a narrative, a linear development, the cinematic film ena-bles us to experience unity, because it is a real experience. Then, the video has the power to express truth and sense even within an ambiguous or seemingly illogical framework; can please reality or distort it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Nicolas. What are your next projects? I have been living in Australia for 10 months so far, and since I came here I’ve been tremendously impressed by the quantity of insects that exist here. I thought immediately “I have to work with them” (in collaboration of course, I don’t want to enslave them nor to abuse them to reach my goals).

This unity provides sense and coherence to the anecdote which reverberates within the amphora. In this way the amphora, the ashes and the anecdote are a single image that can be expressed in any of these three participants. At the same time, we’re able to experience the physical characteristics of the objects through images because within them inhabits the substance of those objects The fact that the video -as a resource - can provide cinematic reality is fascinating, because

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So I’ve plans of trying to create a composition interpreted by different insects. The idea is to perform some kind of intuitive music, but at the same time, every insect will be assigned a specific instrument which I’ll define once I come up with the audition criteria. I am also de-


A still from движение, video, 03:59

going collaboration with the development my work. To Daniela Balcázar for helping me with the eof diting and execution of the video and also for showing infinite interest and willingness to participate with my creative nucleus.

veloping an audiovisual project focused on the importance of sound and music used in different ritual ceremonies. At the moment I'm very interested in knowing more about a site called "tophet", mentioned in the Old Testament. This place was the land where children were sacrificed in worship to the god Moloch. The name derives from the Hebrew toph or taph, which means "drum" and that at the same time means "burn".

Finally, I'd like to thank to the Stigmart 10 team for showing interest in my work and helping it reach its essence, which is to communicate and be seen.

This implication of the sound at the moment of naming a place in which the man was in a direct contact with their deities it seems to me to the fascinating and extremely suggestive in regards to the relationships between sound, instruments and faith - The presence of the invisible or the immaterial. I would like to thank Oscar Araya and Sean Black for patiently helping me with the translation of the texts. Ignacio Rojas for kindly offering to write the text in this article and his on-

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How To Begin A Film About Javier

Aguirre Butcher Rules

Antonio Peláez Barceló only short films, in the 80s, as the films for children he directed were #1 blockbusters, he filmed the first monologue in a feature film: “Vida/Perra” (“Life/Dog”). And right until our days, he's been creating unique pieces of art with only one shot (“Continuum”), one static shot (“Voice”), 117 variations about a kiss (“Variations 1/117”), superposition of images (“Dispersion of light”), almost infinite literary quotes talking through an ever-growing circle (“Zero/Infinite”), etc. Aguirre is so different of himself that he seems to be very different persons. But none of them moves a finger to promote himself. He prefers staying at home reading, going to the cinematheque or, in general, devoting his life to learn about art.

How To Begin A Film About Javier Aguirre “How To Begin A Film About Javier Aguirre” is a short film that comes from my personal experience working with experimental Spanish filmmaker Javier Aguirre and also from viewing all of his avant-garde films (short-films and features). Aguirre is a paradox himself. He worked as a comercial director, and in my short film he confesses he did it on purpose because he knew the kind of films he liked could not be made as features. But, at the same time, he was creating experimental films as the seven short-films called “Anticine”, experiments with sound poetry like “Vau 6” or another one made by scratching directly the celuloid as “Underwelles” (in which he uses personal footage of the visit of Orson Welles to Spain). I always thought that Aguirre deserved a book, a thorough study, that could delve into the many different techniques he has applied in his personal films (and from time to time in some scenes of the comercial films he directed). But I didn't know how to do that book, so I thought I could do a film. And, as you may guess, I found I didn't know either even how to begin a film about him. Aguirre hasn't filmed

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That's one of the reasons why I did “How To Begin ...”, because I wanted to show Javier Aguirre to the world. In Spain he's well known by the experts and the people who work in cinema, but unknown to the great audience. Some of his works (“Anticine”) have been bought by Contemporary Art Museum Reina Sofia (the most important museum of contemporary art in Spain), other works have been shown at different museums, but


sound, like his concepts of “dimensionation”, the editing based on the acting he practised with Esperanza Roy in the long shots of “Life/Dog”, the superposition of sounds in “Variations” or images in “Dispersion ...”, etc. And, mainly, “How to ...” remains short (and will always be) when it tries to show the relation between Aguirre and the writers he has adapted to the screen like Samuel Beckett, Jorge Luis Borges, Rafael Alberti, Fernando Pessoa or even the thousands presented in “Zero/Infinite”, an abstract film that includes of all Aguirre's thoughts in some of the best writers of the world words. I know I may seem like a “hooligan” of Javier Aguirre, in fact I confess at the beginning of my short film that I consider him the best director, that his name is the one I always say when I'm asked who's my favourite director. But discovering an artist who's capable of applying and even creating so many artistic techniques to his works, who's also capable of “selling” himself consciously to apply his knwoledge and relations acquired in comercial cinema to his personal, avant-garde, experimental cinema, discovering Javier Aguirre is admiring him. Although he doesn't devote a single effort to promote his works (“if someone wants to see my films, he'll finish seeing them”, he sometimes says). “How To ...” has been now preselected in Spanish Goya Awards (Spanish Oscars), has been (and will be) at many different festivals, is one of Aguirre's favorite short films (yes, he really likes it!) and, mainly, can be an invitation to discover an outstanding artist.

unfortunately today there seems to be no place for unique filmmakers as he. I know Aguirre investigates and thinks a lot about his films before he does them, during production and specially in post-production. I only knew I had to interview him, his wife and most admired actress Esperanza Roy, a specialist from Reina Sofia Museum and some other specialist in art. I didn't think about it until post-production. I confess the title started like a joke, I liked how it sounded “How To Begin A Film About Javier Aguirre”, but I didn't want to do a shortdocumentary TV-style of “talking heads”. Besides, I have seen all of (or most of) the personal films of Javier Aguirre and I knew a doc about him couldn't be a “conventional” one. So I had to rewrite lots of times and even I improvised some of my off-voice, I took parts of his films that I liked and threw them randomly to the timeline of my Premiere Pro, I even manipulated the image and the sound of his films, and I also took for granted his subtle sense of humour. But, of course, what I've done seems to be only an introduction to the works of a man who not only has created some forms of beauty completely unseen, but who has an enormous knowledge of art in all its forms and who has used his knowledge to open different ways of expression in cinema, creating a personal way to show cinema can really be an art ot the 20 th and the 21 st century. In this sense, there's no place in my short film for Aguirre's theories about film, about cinema. “How to ...” may be too short, because it doesn't talk about Aguirre's studies of

AButcher still from Rules“How To Begin A Film About Javier Aguirre” 61

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An interview with

Antonio Pel谩ez Barcel贸 Could you tell us the first time you fell in love with Javier Aguirre's cinema? When you decided to make this film?

Javier Aguirre, eclectic Spanish filmmaker, during his career has shooted more than 80 films embracing different genres and styles, working as director, cinematographer and producer.

I've known Javier since 2000, more or less. In Spain everybody knows his wife, Esperanza Roy, as she's been the star in lots of films and plays. But my sister, who's a journalist and had interviewed she and Javier, told me about Javier's "strange films". I read a book about him and soon afterwards could watch some of his films (the short films of Anticine, Life/Dog, Continuum, Voice, ...).

His avant-garde films (short-films and features) range from sound-poetry to materic works for celluloid, and his cinematographic theories on sound and editing are astonishingly innovative. His works "Anticine" are available at the Contempo-rary Art Museum Reina Sofia.

They were so different, so complex that really touched me. So when I had a radio program, one of the first interviews I did was with him, and we also gave him the first award we made in that program. We kept in touch, mainly because if you want to see Aguirre's films you have to be continuously looking for them, as their screenings are very rare. And finally, I worked as his AD in "Dispersion of Light", a film that I finally edited during over a year. Until January 2013 I haven't thought about

and critic, shooted an hommage to Javier

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Javier Aguirre "(How To Begin A Film About Javier Aguirre) : a not conventional documentary about a unconventional director, preselected in Spanish Goya Awards and screened at Cannes Film Festival, Short's corner.


making a film about him, because I knew how Aguirre works and I thought I couldn't reach his level of excellence.

one was a single shot fixed, with no movement at all, and afterwards a film about 113 variations of a kiss, or a film with a point getting bigger, or several shots superimposed, or abstract forms, or fotogramas painted with Orson Welles on the screen, etc. Javier doesn't have a style, as we usually know it, he tries to experiment in every new film and that is, paradoxically, his style: being constantly changing.

I always thought I could write a book about him, but in January '13 I was editing a short documentary about Spanish engineer Arturo Soria and I asked myself "Why can't I do this with Javier Aguirre? What if I play with his films and try to be Aguirre but in my own way? Wouldn't it be a nice way of explaining who he really is and what he's doing?".

A documentary about Javier couldn't be a “conventional” one. You haven't realized a typical talking-head documentary, trying a different way to explore his cinematographic work. An experimental filmmakers needs an experimental documentary, indeed. How did you develop the idea and the form of this experimental documentary?

"Aguirre is so different of himself that he seems to be very different persons." This is really a Borgesian definition. Could you comment it?

I'm really glad you see it this way, because Aguirre is really Borgesian too and in fact "Variations 1/113" is based on a very short poem by Borges (who recorded it also for Aguirre). You know, filmmakers use to have a style. At their beginnings they seem to look for it, and when they find the style they're comfortable with, they fix it. Aguirre doesn't. As he says, after doing a feature avant garde film in a single shot continuously moving, the next

I had a general idea in my mind, but the first thing I did was interviewing Javier and Esperanza in a very conventional way. Then I did the same with art critic Javier Maderuelo and film&video curator Lola Hinojosa. They were very useful for completing my vision of Javier, but I knew I couldn't do a "talking head" documentary. So I wrote a script, did myself the voice over and saw it, and it didn't convince me.

A still from The Minute, 2012 A still from “How To Begin A Film About Javier Aguirre” (Some of the published stills are from Javier Aguirre’s films)

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Then, I thought I shoud trust in Aguirre's tools: a very subtle humor, chaos, overlapping of scenes, etc., and based on him I played with my own tools and with things I've experimented when I've worked with him. I really tried to play in the editing with the whole material (inter-views, Aguirre's films, my voice, etc.) and have fun with it. But it wasn't good enough, so my wife, Amparo de Santisteban, who has helped me with production and interviews was always pushing me in the editing to improve it. And I really enjoyed it, although she pushed me a lot!!! A strange phenomena is happening in the experimental film scene in the last decade: beyond the spread of essays on cinema, it is even more evident the lack of documentaries about figures of filmmakers and videoartists who have broken the boundaries of the production systems: though their lives are rich of biographical gems, often documentarist do not want to face a "specific matter" like experimental cinema. What's your view about it?

Butcher Rules

Sure, I really agree with you. But actually I think that cinema art comes and goes according to very short waves. In documentaries, we're living now the wave of "researching the boundaries between reality and fiction", and that's mainly because film critics think that's what contemporary cinema is about. An innovative filmmaker will come and he'll do another thing and then the short wave wil change. I think that films should be very important for discovering art.

A still from “How To Begin A Film About Javier Aguirre� (Some of the published stills are from Javier Aguirre’s films)

Myself I've learned more about contemporary art watching Aguirre's films than attending exhibitions or even studying. We don't have to think about big studio movies or even big tv movies or even little tv movies. Wherever there's an artist, there should be a filmmaker to show us what he does and also to make him thing about it.

But although there are no cuts, Esperanza herself is the one who does the editing, changing the mood of her character abruptly. That's something that hadn't been done until then.

The relation between other arts and cinema can and should be very fruitful, and documentarists shouldn't be afraid of it, because films about artists can and should be really artistic.

The "right option" should be a transition between moods, but as Esperanza gives voice (without abandoning her role, Juanita Narboni) to the characters that don't appear, she "cuts" the scene with her acting, doing herself an imaginary shot and reverse shot at the same time.

Could you introduce our readers to the concept of Javier's theory of editing based on the acting?

In 1981 Javier filmed the first long featuremonologue of film history: "Life/Dog (Vida/Perra)". It consists of very few continuos long shots of Esperanza Roy as the only protagonist.

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These instructions were marked to the second by Javier during the three months of rehearsals before the shooting.


Often critics are suspicious of filmmakers whi have worked in both experimental and commercial works. It's a common problem. Even the Italian director Mario Bava was in Italy underrated by critics until his films were "rediscovered" by Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton ten years ago. How do you explain this fact?

ly terrifies me is the very short term vision that we impose ourselves. You come out of a film and you have to twitter if it's a "masterpiece" or a piece of... Most experimental filmmakers have earned their lives working in things different than cinema, but as you say, Mario Bava and Javier Aguirre made a living with commercial works and that allowed them to do what pleased them in experimental cinema.

In Spain happens the same with Javier Aguirre, and the problem is that I guess that Tarantino wouldn't like his films. Anyway, as I said before, film critics work with different fashions or very "short waves". I'm also critic myself and something that actualButcher Rules

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The problem is that there're very few film critics who know about experimental cinema and, besides, you have to forget the "author theories" when you consider the commercial works of these film-makers.


A still from “How To Begin A Film About Javier Aguirre” (Some of the published stills are from Javier Aguirre’s films)

For me, their commercial works allowed them to have fun, improve their technical skills and, mainly, made a living of cinema, because usually you can't live of the "commercial revenues" that experimental cinema offers.

nes is supposed to be a festival, but I think it's mainly the biggest film market around the world. In that context the appearence of a short film like "How To Begin A Film About Javier Aguirre" was really shocking.

"How To Begin A Film About Javier Aguirre” has been screened at Cannes Film Festival, Short Film Corner, which is one of the most important showcase for short films in Europe. How did you this experience?

By one side, we received lots of praises, people really liked the documentary and told us that they would like it to be longer, to know more about Javier Aguirre. By the other side, they didn't know where to place a film like this. It's a documentary, but it's also experimental. It has a narration, though it says it doesn't. It's about art, but is not a conventional doc about art. But what really surprised us was that lots of people

The Short Film Corner war really a big experience. You know, there everybody (or almost everybody) wants to sell or buy short films. Can-

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A still from “How To Begin A Film About Javier Aguirre” (Some of the published stills are from Javier Aguirre’s films)

knew about experimental cinema, and were really eager to watch films like "How To ...". All of this encouraged us to keep on working on this way of filming, and going on talking about Javier Aguirre, of course. Thanks for your time, Antonio. What are your next projects on the horizon?

Although we're actually showing "How To ..." in different film festivals and exhibitions, the next big project is doing a feature documentary about Javier Aguirre. I 'm actually searching for financial resources, but when we consider the time has come, we'll do it with wathever the budget, because I think that with Javier's help

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there is almost nothing else we need. Anyway, I'll keep on working on art documen-taries (short or features), and I think this year I could finish a short doc about an exhibition of Spanish artist Ana Vazquez. I promised her on 2006 I would made her rich and famous with a doc, and she believed me. I think one of these days I'll finish doing it. Finally, in a more commercial way, I'm showing right now a doc about Spanish architect and ingeneer Arturo Soria, who invented and built the Linear City and who's been almost unkwon in Spain. So I think I'll keep on working on artists, on not very popular but very good and very interesting artists. Lots of thanks to you.


Autobiographnel Butcher Rules

by Lea Petrikova

Lea Petrikova Autobiographnel was created as a conclusion of several different impulses – literature of Joseph Conrad, maritime iconography and nautical visuality, orientalism and postcolonialism on the opposite site, my interest in poetry slam, spontaneous prose and fictional (auto)biographies. From the formal point of view, it can also be defined as an outcome of all the artistic techniques I've been into at one time – drawing, painting, experimental video, use of found footage and work with my own voice.

Captain Brierly as a very strong symbol of the human oddyssey of modern life, a metaphor of absurdity of existence that cannot be explained, predicted or satisfactorily analysed. In this particular work of mine I want to follow up, somehow, with Conrad's literal method of handing the story over by narration – I revive the Brierly's lifestory again and renarrate it, in a similar manner as Conrad did, briefly, criptically, vaguely. However this time it is Brierly himself who gives his own interpretation of his last moments before the jump under the surface. Burdened with the weight both in his pockets and in his head, he delivers his last speech or he possibly writes the very first essay, somewhere between the ocean and the core of reality.

At first, I found myself captivated by a supporting character from Joseph Conrad's novel Lord Jim – Captain Brierly. This character isn't very detailed in the novel - in words of several narrators the reader gets a brief idea about his strange fate that remains eternal mystery, enigma, never-solved question. I personally understand the character of

He speaks by my voice and gets his story over, at the same time, it is me – the author – who

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this area. Autobiographnel is a story and commentary. It is a renarration of a tale heard sometimes before and at the same time it is just a spontaneous thought of presence.

convey my own version of the tale in the authomatical stream of consciousness and free associations. Eventually Autobiographnel becomes a fictional autobiography of Captain Brierly as well as a real autobiography of the author, an exact record of my mental map. The visual part is composed of different materials: found-footage (naval photographs, sea shanty), my drawings and animations inspired by Conrad's literature and colonial documents, original, mainly abstract shots and recitation of my text that forms the soundtrack of the piece.

I don't try to aswer the eternal question “Why?“ but rather revive the tale before the question could have been asked. The enigma of Captain Brierly stays. And so does the riddle of life as my work endeavours to interpret.

These elements are put next and above each other, they form layers in the same way as stores the mind memories, emotions and impressions. Sea - life – memory – time – authorship – sea shanties – context - narration – tales: these are the elements that the film tries to explore. Context of the video is Brierly's story, nevertheless it is not necessary to understand it only in this way – as the context is always relative it is up to the viewer which story he will catch or add and how will he define what he had seen, for the field of explanation remains widely open and Brierly figures as a clue in

A still from Mare Clausum, 2014 Butcher Rules

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An interview with

Lea Petrikova

The first time we have watched your work Autobiographnel, we have been really impressed by the number of artistic techniques you use -drawing, painting, experimental video, found footage- achieving an incredible balance: in your statement, you define this work as an outcome of all the artistic techniques I've been into at one time. It hasn't been simply a way to experiment different artistic media, but an effort to explore your personal and artistic background.

order to show it off or just enumerate all the handled methods. Obviously this way signifies the most personal and internal part of my expression, in a way very revealing. Albeit nothing is clearly stated about me, I would admit that the film represents my own autobiography too regarding both the form and the content. The text is composed not only of my interpretation of Captain Brierly, but at the same time of facts and elements I took straightly from my life (e.g. little allusions to lyrics of my favourite song are included). I find the genre of autobiography very complicated as the art should supress the ego more than stress it. There occur too much “I am“ in the modern and postmodern art.

Thus we daresay that even if the plot of Autobiographnel is not autobiographical -the film is inspired by Lord Jim - the way you have realized it is very personal. Could you introduce our readers to this aspect of your film?

Autobiographnel is made in the same way I was doing films in the very early period before I started to study art and film at university. I have always understood this way of combining more methods as a kind of modern Gesamtkunstwerk, or at least I make an effort to make the film function like that. It comprises all the mentionned techniques I devote myself to but not in

However in fact every each piece of art is an autobiography and I wanted to challenge myself to work with this, from my point of view, very controversial genre itself and examine it. I understand the film also as a completion of certain period of my life when the literature of Joseph Conrad and naval imagery figured as a

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In your video "The Minute", an experimental documentary dealing with the concept of human time perception, you show a very different approach to filmmaking, a "cold" cinematographic vision, marked by the use of wide angles and static shots. How did your early work differ from what you're doing now?

rich complex of deep personal meanings for my temper at that time, and in a way they still work like that. The medium of moving image presents an efficient and immediate mode for me how to cope with certain state of mind. Particularly the digital format gives the artist huge possibilities of creating everything he wants, at the same time it keeps a virtual distance as it lacks the film material.

I wouldn't divide my work this way. My approach in “The Minute“ was surely distinct from how I created “Autobiographnel“, however it is still an integral part of my expression mode till this day. I have to admit that more viewers get similar feelings when watching my works in general, that there are two or even more ways how I deal with reality – one which is conceptual, “cold“, made from distance and the other marked with deep immersion into the topic, more cinematographicaly treated, maybe personaly touching and fulled with narrative. I find myself opposed to any categorization. Public always tend to create certain image of artist, a myth that is hard to cross. And art for me presents, before others, a voyage beyond your own shadow with uncertain success. Artist should consciously break every preconception in order to examine the unknown, actually to be able to meet this unknown at all.

I interconnect this cold, but potent and fast medium with the very hand-made approach of drawings and paintings to create kind of balance. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a project?

Creative process depends on the particular type of piece. Sometimes I work in a very intense flow of direct creation, which was the case of Autobiographnel, other time I base it more on a research and longer contemplation about the right approach. However when starting anytime, there must be an obsession with the topic, an enchantment with the idea and a very strong trust in the chosen course.

A still from The Minute, 2012

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A still from Autobiographnel Butcher Rules

huge role in the novel, however you have chosen it to start from this secondary character in order to begin your film. In this way, Captain Brierly become a strong mythopoietical figure, in your words "a metaphor of absurdity of existence that cannot be explained". Could introduce our readers to this

the summits, you have to come down again. Many artists just remain in the position they found thriving and tend to repeat their known, experienced methods. However, in words of Marina Abramovic, “real artists always change their territories, and they go to the length they’ve never been“. I always try to get to the core of the topic by the most appropriate way of expression, regardless of the category to which its form is commonly ranged.

Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature

This is a very good point. The concept of minoration captivates in the way how it can be used in reinterpretation or artistic remediation of an existing artwork, still maintaining the original artwork's energy as it extends the knowledge capacity of it. And Conrad's litterature suggest itself in this use being full of accompanying characters that surely have not huge roles, but somehow operate and live though being minimalized.

I perceive a development in my work neither in the form nor in the choice of topics but in a certain sharpness of vision. If the vision has become more out of focus or less, let the audience judge. “Autobiographnel“ is a completely newly created world, as a living being, “The Minute“ is an unbiased, impartial study of common existing reality.

They move and help immensely to create Canrad's world. The minoration is done also in order to bring to attention the ambiguity of a meaning or rather of the meaningful interpretation. My

Although both of these videos eventually question the same problems – individual perception, notion of reality, existence of a being - each does it with different attitude and this possibility of variety gives great freedom to me.

Bovary. When reading the Conrad's novel for the first time I found myself to be deeply touched by the Brierly's character. The more I focused on him, the better I recognized the almost invisible, non-transparent generous role

In Autobiographnel you make an operation of "minoration", in the Deleuzian sense*, of Joseph Conrad's masterpiece "Lord Jim": the figure of Captain Brierly apparently hasn't a

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A still from Autobiographnel

it has not – the general, common sense and meaning understable to all. Speaking about my video, I can say that it tells a story of Captain Brierly, but it is nothing but a clue. A clue neither to reality, nor to understanding, nor to the true.

that Conrad gave to him. He is put as a juxtaposition to the main character of Jim and his shadow actually rests for the whole novel although his story is done in several pages. History of literature is made not only by the main characters, also by small characters whose purpose is greater than it could seem to be at first sight.

All the characters of Lord Jim bear a deep saddness, the eternal human sorrow from the very obvious realization that we can never understand each other, knowledge of the everlasting solitude of a man. And so I pass it along.

Speaking of your work, you say :"The enigma of Captain Brierly stays. And so does the riddle of life as my work endeavours to interpret." Even though in your film the "plot" is present, the narrative structure is not traditional, different interpretations are possible, reminding us of Robbe Grillet's famous statement "It is human existence that has to create sense at every instant". Would you better explain this aspect of your art?

Let’s speak about influences, Lea. You mix different techniques, like the Czech filmmaker and artist Jan Svankmajer. Apart from him, have any artist from the older generation inspired you?

Even though I don't feel specially inspired by one particular personality, there is a bunch of artists and filmmakers who I admire and who have greatly broadened my point of view, each in a very peculiar way. To name but a few: film director Todd Haynes, especially his masterpiece I'm Not There. Painter and author Leonora Carrington. Dennis Hopper, both as film director and great photographer. Andy Warhol. Federico Fellini. Sergio Caballero. Bruno Dumont. Joseph Cornell. Alejandro Jodo-

The cornestone of my work is an emphasis on the evident existential fact, that the art as well as the human existence cannot be satisfactorily explicated and every each being's subjective experience of reality perception cannot be actually tranfered and understood at all, as Robbe-Grille captured. Czech poet Vladimir Janovic wrote in one of his poems, that a man is rich just by what he has not. And so the art is rich as well just by what Butcher Rules

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rowsky. Henri Michaux. Chris Burden. Kenneth Anger. Larry Clark. Ben Rivers. Edward Ruscha. Pierre Hughe. Alex Cox. Czech painter and photographer working also with moving image Barbora Slapetova. And many others. I prefer art full of contradiction, personalities who does not convey to any particual movement, always standing on the edge though being successful. You have attended the Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. What do you think of the Czech contemporary artistic scene from a filmmaker's point of view?

Currently I am a third - year student of Film and Tv School of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) which is considered to be one of the best film universities in Europe. At FAMU I study at the Center of Audiovisual Studies (CAS) that offers education not only in film but also provides a complex portion of art history and theory and new understanding of contemporary cinematographical practice in gallery context including experimental filmmaking, video art, live cinema, performance, video-installation and others. This environment gives the students a pleasant possibility to orient themselves both in artistic and cinematographical contexts of audiovisual production. I would describe the contemporary artistic scene as a quite enclosed, too much self-awared territory with very staked out boundary lines, still someway affected by the totalitarian past, which is fixed by the evident factors as is the propotion and position of the state in general and so on. However I think it is necessary to keep in mind the differentiation of the terms “scene“ and the reality of local art in general that is, to my mind, much more interesting and diverse than the officialy recognized tight artistic milieu.

A still from Autobiographnel

What are you going to be working on next?

I am currently working on my graduation project, a series of audiovisual fragments. I am just finishing one part of it, called “Mare Clausum“, another work in which I somehow deal with the topic of sea. This work is concieved as a visual essay on private, portable sea - a sea in a suitcase, a sea in mind, a sea that flows deep inside everybody. I am also completing a dance film shot in one of the most architecturally interesting Czech galleries – Gallery Benedikt Rejt in Louny. Websites: vimeo.com/leapetrik

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Butcher Rules

Philippe Leonard (Canada / USA) An artist’s statement

Philippe Leonard lives and works between Montreal and New York, his artistic practice focuses on still and moving images, through film, photography, performance and installations.

Festival (Germany), O 'Gallery (Milan), Museo Nitsch (Naples), Struts Gallery (New Brunswick), the French Alliance of Saint-Nazaire (France), etc. As a cinematographer, he is involved in artistic, documentary and commercial audiovisual projects, using a broad range of cameras and formats: Super 8, 16mm, 35mm, HD, etc.

His theoretical and aesthetic reflections focus on the complex temporality of still images, the spectral dimension of physical space, and sensory documentary practices. Distributed by Light Cone and CFMDC, his work has been showcased in notable international contexts, such as the Rotterdam International Film Festival (Netherlands), the Festival des

Philippe Leonard emphasizes a mastery of both analog and digital techniques to create moving images. He is a member of the Montreal collective of experimental cinema Double Negative.

Cinematheque of Bologna (Italy), WNDX (Montreal), EXiS Experimental Film and Video Festival (Seoul), European Media Arts 76


An interview with Philippe Leonard training could even stifle a young artist's creativity: what's your point about this?

Hello Philippe and welcome to Stigmart. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?

I think that too much theory can kill creativity and you need to be careful with that in the academic context. Especially at the MFA level where you need to justify every single move you make. It can be good to deepen your understanding upon your own work but it shouldn’t replace the act of making, at least in my own opinion.

I think this is a tricky question to answer because art is a notion defined from a cultural standpoint. For me, living in North America, it would be seen as something made by an artist with a specific intention, whether aesthetic, political or conceptual.

Between high school and University I spent couple years experiencing life and all sort of odd jobs. My filmmaking practice began during that period and I developed an approach outside of the school. When I got back to University and enroll in the Film Production BFA I knew what I wanted to do. I think that sometimes, the problem might arise from the lack of “real world” experience. The school provides context and limits within which you can evolve. It feels safe to be in that environment and I think it is necessary to step outside at some point to avoid academic suffocation. To get back to the first part of your question I would say that acquiring knowledge about art is really good to be aware of its historic background, what has been done

The artist is a position in society; a job as many others and the product of labor made by such a person is called art. But as I mentioned before, it’s cultural and even historical so the notion of contemporariness is trickier! Would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold a Bachelor's degree in Film Production that you received from the Concordia University and you're are currently studying for a Masters in Fine Arts, with a focus on film production: how have these experiences of formal training impacted on the way you produce your artworks? By the ButcherI Rules way, often ask to myself if a certain kind of 77


A still from Workers Leaving the Office 2013 | 35mm | b/w | silent | 2min

and avoid naive assumptions about it, but it can also make the act of creation more complicated, self awareness might arise as a barrier.

Commissioned project for Labour in a Single Shot workshop led by Harun Farocki at the MIT Media Lab. Using the Lumiere brothers' Workers Leaving the Factory as a premise, the selected filmmakers were invited to produce a short two minutes film using a single take to depict labour. I used a 35mm hand cranked camera, as an homage to the Cinematographe used by the Lumiere, to capture workers leaving their office in Boston's financial district.

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 works? 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 think of myself as a light hunter using black boxes to trap his prey. With optics and mechanical devices, I capture and shape light to keep a trace of experience.

on, the process of capturing repre-sents the longer part of the work because I can stand beside the camera for hours just for one frame. I could use an intervalometer to simplify the process but I prefer to control the exposure manually with a shutter release.

Whether I work without a camera in the darkroom using enlargers and optical printers or with hand-crafted devices, it always has to do with light, lens and some kind of photosensitive surface. Sometimes the ideas arise from making; sometimes they are imagined and planned ahead. In both cases it remains a tedious process and film can be very time consuming. For the series on time exposure that I’m working

It’s like breathing and it makes you more aware of the light impressions that are happening as you hold the shutter open. I am trying to demechanize the apparatus, bring it in a closer relation to the body in the same way the brush is for the painter or the pen for the writer. 78


A still from I Was Here

2012 | DCP | b/w | 5.1 Surround | 6min

and avoid naive assumptions about it, but it can also make the act of creation more complicated, self awareness might arise as a barrier.

These images were captured during a long afternoon spent sitting in front of the Pantheon in Rome, paced by the sound of a shutter regularly opening and closing for long exposures whose duration was counted off in a whisper.

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 works? 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 think of myself as a light hunter using black boxes to trap his prey. With optics and mechanical devices, I capture and shape light to keep a trace of experience.

At precise intervals, the photosensitive surface recorded the constant flow of tourists, peoplewatchers, cars and animals as they moved, stopped, gathered, and took photos. The historic building thus reveals itself as a magnet whose pull on people has lasted for centuries. I Was Here is a reference to the common phrase often found scratched on public walls, marks left as visible proof of a person’s visit to a place.

Whether I work without a camera in the darkroom using enlargers and optical printers or with handcrafted devices, it always has to do with light, lens and some kind of photosensitive surface. Sometimes the ideas arise from making; sometimes they are imagined and planned ahead. In both cases it remains a tedious process and film can be very time consuming. For the series on time exposure that I’m working on, the process of capturing represents the longer part of the work because I can stand beside the came-

Like that age-old practice, travel photography is an attempt to record a person’s presence in a particular place – a photographed place taken home as proof. The soundtrack comes from the same place, but from a different timeline: it was compiled from the audio tracks of amateur videos posted to YouTube. These audio snippets, all recorded in front of the same landmark, tell a collective story through each “I” that has recorded a visit to that same piazza. The clips of murmuring crowds were then edited and manipulated to give them a particular synchronization with the images. 79


A still from State of Mind 2010 | 16mm | b/w | live sound | variable lenght

ra for hours just for one frame. I could use an intervalometer to simplify the process but I prefer to control the exposure manually with a shutter release. It’s like breathing and it makes you more aware of the light impressions that are happening as you hold the shutter open. I am trying to de-mechanize the apparatus, bring it in a closer relation to the body in the same way the brush is for the painter or the pen for the writer.

Electric impulses transforms stimuli into informations being processed by the brain. Using photo-sensitive electronic cells to transform light into sound, this film uses electrical energy as a vector to create an expanded cinema experience. The video shown here act as a preview only.

Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with your interesting work I Was Here that we have selected for this issue and whose stills have been admired by our readers in the starting pages of this article: would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?

of about ten minutes was required for that specific image to appear. That is why the busy streets of Paris seem to be empty; the passers-by didn't stay long enough in the same position to cast their shadow on the plate. The only person that stayed in place for the whole duration of the exposure is that man getting his shoes polished on the street's corner.

My initial inspiration, although it was somewhat unconscious at the moment of creation is the famous photograph by Louis-Jacques-MandE Daguerre called Boulevard du Temple taken in 1838 from his studio looking at the street of Paris that bears the same name. What is Butcher Rules particular about this image is the figure that appears at the bottom left portion. It is the first human being to be inscribed and fixed on a photosensitive plate in the history of photography. This process called daguerreotype needed a lot of light to do so and thus an exposure time

To me this image as an incredible aura and opens a world of dreams and magic. A parallel between our perceived reality and the one created by the mechanical eye over time. It is dealing with the notion of optical unconscious, where the indexical nature of the apparatus can reveal things that are actually there but that we aren't aware of, in this case an accumulation of many slices of time in a single frame that isolate a figure in a ghostly post-apocalyptic tableau. 80


110th/Broadway

in place long enough to cast their presence on the film while the shutter of my camera is opened. This is where it connects with Boulevard du Temple. Time reveals fixity while movement vanishes.

Boulevard du Temple became my reference in retrospective, when the work was actually completed and I researched this notion of time in primitive photography. The main trigger for I Was Here actually happened when I was living in Rome and reading On Photography by Susan Sontag. She talks about the nature of traveling photography and how people are fragmenting their environment in order to understand those places they don’t know.They frame, cut and remove little parts from a complex reality to simplify it. It also acts as a proof of having been there. Hence the title I Was Here, in reference to all these tourists, but also to my own presence, during five hours to observe them in front of that massive piece of architecture that has been there for centuries seeing all these fleeting human beings appea-ring and disappearing.

One of the visuals that have mostly impacted on me of this stimulating video is the skilful usage of the white which does not play the mere role of a background, and it suggests me a reference to Bill Viola... Would you like to tell us something about the development of this video and of your "video-palette" and -if any- the works that have influence you?

That’s very interesting because to me it is the least important aspect of the piece. It just happened to be an overexposed area of the frame due to the time exposures, I could have blackened it out with a red filter but I didn’t happened to have one with me at that moment.

I was at first hoping to get a result where you could see the immobile structure around which a cloud of souls would have been breathing to accentuate this idea of ghosts, people that have been there. What I ended up with is far more interesting than the original idea because you have a mix of both. Moving bodies are dematerialized by time while people holding the pose for their friend to take a picture are remaining

The work is a hybrid between 16mm film and digital post-production. I didn’t quite saw it as a video at first but more like a single channel film for the cinema. After experiencing it as an installation in a gallery space in Paris I understood that it was in fact best suited for that context. The piazza that 81


occupies the off-screen in the film is extending in the gallery space in front of the projection. Just like the tourists in the film, the visitors of the gallery are walking, stopping to look the monument and walking again. They might also cast shadows on the screen, unifying their presence with those tourists in Rome. That rhythm of people moving in public spaces and the fascination they have for monuments are the main inspiration for that piece. If I have been asked to choose an adjective that could sum up in a single word your art, I would say that your it's "kaleidoscopic": I can recognize an effective symbiosis between apparently contrasting forms, that establish a productive energy capable of giving autonomous life to the artwork itself... and at the same time it forces us to meditate about the inner struggle between opposite forces, that seek for an equilibrium... an human harmony that comes in response to environmental instability...

It probably has to do with the fact that I’m a Libra! I’ve always been interested in the dialogue between contrasts and how a middle point can be expressed at their intersection. This inner life, or even life in general is made of opposite and that’s why I think most of my work is black and white. I like this balance between light and shadow, the gradation of tonal values on a grey scale. Very high contrasted imagery is also something I enjoy. Expressing extreme ends of the spectrum entering in a dialogue to occupy the space of the frame. I think of it as the Yin-Yang, something organic and very alive.

A still from I Was Here

makes sense in a gallery. On the other end, you have this trend in museums where they put experimental films either on loopers or monitors thinking that they pertain to the art world and should be experienced amongst paintings and sculptures. On the experiential level it doesn’t make sense because most of those films have been made for the cinema. If you take them out of context they become something else. I think that in most cases, what you refer to, as a vague frontier is more something like video art using cinematographic production values to look better. I don’t see the frontier expanding too much on the other side, except few experi-mental programs in festivals that take account of the video art production as well. Or maybe the fact that artists like Steve McQueen is moving to the feature film world?

While crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts? By the way, in these last years we have seen that the frontier between Video Art and Cinema is growing more and more vague. Do you think that this "frontier" will exist longer?

There is a place for cinema I think and it is clearly not in galleries. I get frustrated when I see a feature film being played in a gallery or museum setting with a little hard bench in front of it. It might be a way to exhibit a film as an object owned by a museum but it is certainly not the right context to experience it. I think that the main difference between video art and cinema is the attention span needed to experience the piece and the intention of the maker. A film like Omer Fast’s 5000 Feet is the Best that plays with a cyclical narration and can be entered at any point is a good example of cinema that

Your works have been awarded several times: it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even 82


without asking to the artists that I happen to interview, since -even though it might sound the simpler one- I receive the most complex answers: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?

Considering my process, the answer to this question is very simple and it is the main reason why I still love to work with film after all these years. The latency of an image trapped in the celluloid, waiting for the chemical reaction to be revealed. This process of appearing, like the haunting of a form that casted his shadow in the matter. The afterlife of a moment in time, brought back to the present in the darkroom. That precise moment is magical to me, I am always fascinated to see these images appearing. Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Philippe. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

I am working on this time exposure series that will be shown as an exhibition during the spring 2014 in Montreal. It will be articulated around the notion of public spaces and the monumental to pursue my explorations initiated with I Was Here. There will be a series of films (made for a gallery space), some photographs and probably a live expanded cinema performance to open the show. I will post more information on my website www.philippe-leonard.com in the next couple months. I am also developing a series of analogue filmmaking workshop that I want to bring in different parts of the world. I wish to democratize these practices by showing aspiring filmmakers how to do it and be independent from any kind of production structure.

influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback ofyour audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?

If you receive an award or grant that is geared toward the production of a piece it might influence it by generating parameters or constraints like it’s the case with commissions. But I don’t think one should ever make something having in mind the reaction of a potential public or even worse, which awards can be given to the work while making it. Showing to the public is always a great experience whether it is well received or not. I think that any filmmaker or artist wants to share that moment with the viewers, whether in a direct or indirect manner; it’s all about communication at the end of the day. I mean, when you put your work out there you want it to be encountered otherwise you would just keep it for yourself. In fact, feedback is important to make your thinking evolve.

If there are people from collectives or organizations reading these lines that wish to host such workshops during the summer 2014 in Europe they can reach me in the bio section of the website by clicking the info button with my email address. Thanks to Stigmart for sharing my work in this publication!

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