“And if from the point of view of the human eye, montage is undoubtedly a construction, from the point of view of another eye, it ceases to be one; it is the purest vision of a non-human eye, of an eye which would be in things.” Gilles Deleuze
STIGMART/10 is pleased to announce the list of artists selected for our special Issue VIDEOFOCUS 2013: more than 690 video works were submitted for this year's edition. We thank you all for your interest in our review. Our primary responsibility has always been not only to explore the most significants trends, in videoart and experimental cinema but also to stress the rhizomatic nature of the flux of contemporary-ness .
We strongly believe that the ever-expanding role of the curator should not be considered in terms of conflict with the role of the artist. Due to the advent of technologies like DSLR, Digital Bolex and
microbudget cinecameras, in the last decade it came a true revolution in the videoart field. The fusion of two worlds, videoart and experimental cinema, is attested by the increasing number of videoartists cooperating with filmmakers in the last decade, though this synergy is not limited to the improvement of the overall quality in mainstream cinema terms, but shows the great potential of a new generation of video artists able to renew the cinematographic language itself from the inside. Stigmart10 Team
ALYSSE STEPANIAN………...……..…...………..4 EVELIN STERMITZ….……..………...…..………..9 STEFAN LARSSON………….……..……………13 BENJAMIN POINTER….….…...…..…………….16 JESSE RUSSELL BROOKS.….………..………….19 TAKAHIRO SUZUKI.….………....…………….22 MALIN ABRAHAMSSON………..……..………25 HALE EKINCI….…….……..……..…..……….…28 PAULA ALMIRON……………..………..……..…31 JUNG-CHUL HUR…………..…..…..…………..34 DANIEL HOPKINS.…….……..…………………37 AZAHARA CEREZO………..….….………….…39 LOUDWIG VAN LUDENS………..……………42 TOBAN NICHOLS……..…………………………43 CARL KNICKERBOCKER……….…..……………46 JING ZHOU……..……………...…………………48 JORDI PLANAS & ANNA DIAZ ORTUNO……51 AMELIA JOHANNES……......……..……………54 ERIC HYNYNEN………...…..…..………………57 BRANDON BARR……..…..……………………60 NAUREN WILKS.……..….….………………...63 BRUCE HUMPRIES……….….…………………67 ANTHONY MURRAY……….….…………………70 SOLIMAN LOPEZ…………………….……...…73 EDWARD RAMSAY MORIN……..…...……..…77 RON DIORIO……………..……..…………….…81 SANDRA ARAUJO…………….…..………………86 SAUSAN SAULAT……………….….……………89 JEANETTE GROENENDAAL…….…..…….……92 JYM DAVIS……………..….….……...…….….…..95
STEPANIAN “This work presents a series of scenes culled from my dream journal after moving to the US from a post-revolutionary Iran. The revolution had overturned the sense of cultural continuity and had disrupted socially accepted hierarchies; the sense of reality itself seemed under question. In 1980 Iran underwent a war with Iraq that was to last for eight years with countless casualties. My dreams revealed a subconscious guilt for leaving my family and Iran in the time of war, the fear of having to return, and the dread of facing self-exile for an unforeseen period of time. Seven distinct movements divulge a traditional storyline presented nontraditionally. The opening scene paints a surreal picture of the early stages of the Iranian Revolution, when it empowered the underprivileged that had a significant role in the overthrow of an elitist regime. A cleaning lady’s broom becomes a weapon symbolizing newfound strength. She jumps into the revolution from the wall-less bedroom of a young girl caught in the middle of social changes and role reversals.
The subsequent scenes completed over a year later reflect upon war and displacement. The young girl (Alice, played by Kellen Anne Kaiser) sets out on a physical journey in search for her lost identity. In a haunting scene she walks into a desolate outdoor film set to meet her newborn self, cradled in her mother’s arms. Later she learns of the shared anguish of her siblings, whose presence fails to offer solace as she yearns to understand a world turned upside down. My sister and I had left our family behind; when we saw our brother again, he had grown into a young man. I had taken the last plane out of Iran, just before the suspension of international flights. This experience is depicted atop a barren hill, where Alice chances upon the lone figure of her brother, whose broken leg, still not mended from childhood, bespeaks of his unresol-ved fears of leaving his family. Alice’s inner pain manifests itself in her bleeding palm, as she dances with her friends against a white background. She is then left to face her fears alone when she finds a soldier buried under a wall in a
concealed place. The final scene, set in an incomplete, empty interior, depicts her sister’s return to the safety of her own childhood, as Alice pleads for her help. The title of this work was derived from Alice’s monologue in the final scene, composed by my sister. It alludes to conflicts spurred by a culture shock and the uncertainty regarding what was once very familiar. As we looked for a voice of our own in the US, we felt that we were under constant scrutiny. The following text is my sister’s response to my dream journal: “ Being recognized or even worse being misrecognized; the spotlight was on us, for having been born in a currently unpopular place, having to defend and explain ourselves in the face of public and private persecution. This brought, in a twisted way, my own connection with history: the past and the future merging, and the present emerging from it. It has become clear to me that part of the pain of growing up was due to the fact that we hadn't done much growing up prior to this. We were children let out to play in a boundless playground. Hence the lack of caution and care initially, and the ensuing difficulties of adjusting upon graduation when the adult skills for making the transition were needed and lacking.
What Is My Name, Sister? 2011, 24:57 minutes, HDV, color, stereo, 16:9, NTSC Farsi, Armenian and English/subtitles, single or two-channel projection
The loss of security and stability, the sudden and shocking realization that historical atrocities were not left behind in the past.... intimacy and simple trust in the “new” leads one to wanting more, of the warmth of the familiar and safety of the old. I remember the inborn or inherited sorrow, so natural and secretly cherished, suddenly becoming a mark of our differences and hence embarrassing; a part of the culture shock that was to mold and reshape my evolution from what was once familiar and certain to the still incomplete and uncertain. Then at times, nostalgia was the most tangible thing left to deal with. Maybe this was “sweeter than having to face the realities of the past?” (Clarice, 2000)
Special circumstances led to the making of this work, which is not easily categorizable as either videoart or avant-garde cinema. Much of my past videoart was immediate and concept-based and I worked mainly alone, including as a performer. This work suddenly placed me in the role of an independent film director. With limited out-of-pocket financing, I took on many roles in all stages of its production. During the short pe-riod that I lived in New Mexico, access to the facilities at a local
college and the mostly volunteer efforts of a team of forty, including and professionals such as the DP, Joe Bacharka, played a pivotal role in the making of this film. In post, Philip Mantione’s sound design brought the images to life. I am grateful to all of them; this experience of camaraderie has reshaped my outlook and I see its influence on upcoming projects. Space does not allow for full credits - please visit the project site: http://alyssestepanian.com/Sist er.html
An interview with Alysse Stepanian
A photo by Lauren Rae Kovarik
"What Is My Name, Sister?" divided into seven movements, presents an inner "texture" rich of symbols, where dramatic themes like self-exile and the Iranian revolution taken from intense, real life issues, are filmed with an absolutely surprising surreal touch.
creative writing comes from putting myself in dreamlike states. After moving to the U.S. in 1979, I began keeping a dream journal. These scenes or movements were drawn from seven separate dreams, some presented almost verbatim. I think that dreams are symbolic reflections of our life experiences and since this work was derived from my dreams, this combination of fictional mythology and autobiography was innate.
doesn’t match the public dream and you have the courage to face the difficulties, you’ll have an adventure in the dark forest ahead, where new possibilities will open up to you. This is what Campbell referred to as the hero’s journey, which follows a pattern that is found in many narratives.
In an interview with Bill Moyers, Joseph Campbell stated, “The myth is the public dream and the dream is the private myth.” He goes on to say that if your private myth
In the year 2000 when I lived in New York City, I began volunteering my time at film and video organizations, which gave me access to their facilities that would
How do you achieve this balance between mythopoeic imagination and autobiography? In my dreams that are often quite vivid, I sometimes create art installations, paintings and photographs, and compose surprising sentences. In fact, much of my
When did you decide to make this movie?
even separate art from life itself. My brain doesn’t work in compartmentalized ways and my curations also reflect this characteristic. So this synesthesia occurs naturally in what I do. Before working with installations, video and digital media, I was a painter and a performance artist and even studied the guitar for a few years. Philip Mantione is my life partner and the composer and sound designer for the film. We work together on videos, multimedia performances and installations. Exposure to his working process has also impacted my approach. My creative vision is influenced by everything I have ever done or experienced. Art to me is a way of seeing and consciousness that cannot be categorized. It is a magnified awareness of relationships between concepts and occurrences. You say that "What Is My Name, Sister?” is not easily categorizable as either videoart or avant-garde cinema. Your film has the surreal touch of videoart as well as "filmic" qualities, even though is narration unconventional. Who is your ideal spectator?
have enabled me to make this work. I got involved with other projects along the way and left the city before that happened, so the idea percolated for nine more years. Toward the end of the film Alice dances against a white background. This scene reveals theatrical qualities as the "incomplete" interior. Moreover, saying that the film is divided in seven "movements", you borrow this word from the musical language. How important is this synesthetic approach in your filmmaking? I work across “disciplines” and boundaries that separate the arts and
I would like my work to have a transformative effect on its audience but I don’t create for any specific viewer. A while back when I considered myself a “painter’s painter”, life seemed much less complicated and it was very easy to fit into a group and to be known for the specific thing that I was focused on. In fact, my audience was dismayed when I consciously broke out of the world of painting. Philip and I always seek movement and change, so I would say that those who appreciate dynamism and diversity would be most interested in following my work. 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? Specialization is an academic mentality and as long as filmmakers and artists are produced in film and art schools, boundaries will remain. It may be that it is easier for me to
cross boundaries in the realm of the moving image, because I am basically a self-taught video artist and the skills that I’ve acquired have come from a variety of sources. You took on many roles in all stages of the production of "What Is My Name, Sister?”. This is usual when a videoartist, who works usually alone, breaks the boundaries becoming a filmmaker. Could you tell us more about this experience? I had to be very flexible and quickly learn the ways and ethics of the film industry, in order to be able to pull together a mostly volunteer group of forty people who were willing to invest their time, energies and resources into my work. The majority of these people were available during the film shoots only, so I had to fulfill many roles from concept to scriptwriting, storyboarding, loca-tion scouting, choosing the cast and crew, writing contracts, ma-king call sheets and shooting schedules and even providing meals. Often I worked behind the camera and with the exception of the outdoor scenes, I also took care of set design and costumes. In post, I handled the editing process. The teamwork and camaraderie on a film shoot is part of the art form, but as a painter and a video artist, I was used to working alone. I appreciated the generosity and dedication of the cast and crew and for having access to the professional experiences of others, such as the DP that I’ve mentioned in my statement. Especially in art films, directors perform multiple roles onset as both actor and operator even when they can rely on great collaborators. Just think of Pasolini's films, where he used to work himself as a camera operator although his cinematographer was Tonino Delli Colli, unanimously considered one of the finest in the world. In what measure autonomy in art process is important in order to maximize
Stills from What Is My Name, Sister? the control that any independent filmmaker has over the project, leaving so unique and "personal" mark? An artist might make compromises when all else fails, but I try to remain open to input from others if I feel that it will enrich the overall vision. The way you convey your ideas to people that are there to help you could ultimately benefit your work and bring out the best in everyone. As a filmmaker if you are able to communicate well, you’ll find that people will give up control in order to support your vision. Most people I worked with came from the film industry or were not familiar with video art. I was apprehensive at first, but found everyone very flexible and supportive of my idiosyncrasies. This was awe-inspiring and in a way, humbling. Could you describe your background, and how you first became interested in painting as a visual medium? How has it influenced your filmmaking? I came to the U.S. on a student visa, not knowing what I wanted to study. It took a year or so of very tough times until one night, I suddenly realized that I was meant to be an artist, which at the time to me it meant being a painter. This completely changed my outlook on life and brightened my days in very transformative ways. I rediscovered the world with every drawing and painting and learned to see things that had escaped my notice before. Learning to SEE when I LOOK is something that has stayed with me, has molded my life and has carried over into the other art forms that I’ve worked with.
Thanks for this interview, Alysse: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of? My past experiences have led me to realize that we need to look beyond prescribed social norms and expand our consciousness to include a deeper understanding of the ways in which we treat other animals. Last March I launched a curatorial program on Facebook called URBAN RANCH PROJECT with the mission to bring awareness to the interconnectedness of all injustices and human-made hierarchical prejudices. I am very troubled by the bondage and mistreatment of nonhuman animals and the largely unquestioned belief that all animals were created for the benefit of humans. Peter Singer argues that this religious notion that “humans are at the center of the moral universe” is still alive among humanists. For social justice to prevail, it has to begin from the base of the hierarchical pyramid that separates men from women, the poor from the rich, one race from another, and humans from other animals. The base being the widest, contains the most number of sentient beings that are abused and killed to satisfy the needs and desires of humans above, making nonhuman animals the suffering majority. As we climb toward the top, we notice that a higher number of “animals” are enslaved and sacrificed for the benefit of a fewer number of humans. These crimes and oppressions and our unwillingness to pay attention to them needs to stop, so in whatever creative work I do now, I look for ways of incorporating the
plight of these animals. “What Is My Name, Sister?” was meant to be a feature-length film for which I still have the script. Who knows, that might just happen someday in a way that will reflect my more recent amplified consciousness.
Alysse Stepanian Artist, writer, and curator Alysse Stepanian was born in Iran and currently lives in Southern California. With a background in painting (MFA graduate), her work is visually enticing and socially and politically conscious. Her videos, installations, paintings, photographs, web art, performances and curations have been presented in over 200 shows in 40 countries. In March 2012 Stepanian launched URBAN RANCH PROJECT on Facebook, featuring work in all media, bringing awareness to the interconnectedness of racism, sexism, ageism, speciesism, and other social and hierarchical prejudices; using the power of social media, URP strives to inspire change. www.alyssestepanian.com
A still from Votes for Women, 1901
Your last work, /"Votes for Women"/ has been created for the project 100x100=900 (100 video artits to tell a century) curated by Magmart International Video Art Festival and deals with the women's suffrage movement of the first feminist wave at the beginning of the XX century. The role of women in art history has intensely changed in the last years, not only in the contemporary scene, but also as concerns the recognition of the achievements of women artists of all periods.
late adopters have been for example France in 1944, for the cantons of Switzerland it took until 1990, Kuwait in the year 2005, and Saudi Arabia probably in 2015! This theme is in the foreground of the video piece, but other images include the end oft he Victorian Era, the rise of the anti-Semitic movement, and the first Nobel Prize winners, to demonstrate the strong impact of male supremacy on culture, politics, public and intellectual life. When you are talking of women artists in art history of all periods, which periods do you mean?
In your opinion, what is the role of women in art today? The video piece â€œVotes for Womenâ€? describes the year 1901, since each of the 100 selected artists received a year of the past century to work on in video art. I found it interesting to articulate the issue of the right to vote for women, since it just was in process to be permitted to women at the beginning of the century, and of course women struggled for this permission. Now, for most of us, it is unimaginable not to have the right to vote, but actually it is not such a long time ago since it exists for everyone,
There are mainly women artists mentioned since the 1960/70s in art theory and art history. Since these years the womenâ€™s liberation movement of the second feminist wave brought a late recognition to women artists. Earlier, women have been excluded from most
disciplines at art academies, for example nude drawing or sculpture has been too “dangerous” for them. It was rare for women to engage in art as an intellectual field, although there were a few within the male art circles, but their early history is not well documented and covered. Few women artists before the 1970s found late recognition also through writing art history and doing research nowadays in a feminist perspective. Nowadays, for the younger generation of “contemporary” women artists, certainly the social and political changes have impact on their life and their life as an artist. But the achievements of the earlier feminist movements should not to be neglected, despite the much better situation for women artists nowadays. Within the third-wave feminist movement since the 1990s, and the shift to global new media, redefining media art and creation of the area of new media art, it came to a strong involvement of the technologic-digital aspect in art. Since the technical field always has been and is even nowadays gendered as male related, women artists have to face new challenges in this field today. Con-
cerning the role of women artists in art today, I think, that the role of a woman artist remains always to be the role of an individual artist and in addition to that seeking collaborative exchange with other women artists. That means to learn from each other’s history by providing a female gendered thread in art and expanding this thread, thus including the technologic fields of art. But, I cannot speak for all women artists in answering this question, since it is hard to generalize the role of an artist at all. Nevertheless, women artists have to be aware that their career as an artist is still gendered viewed and treated differently in many aspects. Some questions in this field can be – where are the women artists and where is their representation and visibility in cultural institutions – how many women artists can you recall – what stereotypes exist about women artists – how do you view male greatness and male genius in the arts when subverting this to women artists – the relationship between gender and genre as well as between producer and consumer – images of women and women as cultural producer – procreation and
creation – object and subject in the arts? * In your video /INTO THE CEILING/ we have been impressed by the way you create an astonishing balance between a pure emotional approach and sociopolitical themes. How do you achieve that? The way I achieved to bring together emotion and socio-politics is somehow like we have to deal with situations every day since we are human beings. Sometimes I try to escape from reality in my pieces through seeing something that moves me and capturing this, but then there is always a real background to begin with the piece in its creation and bring it back again, to have associations, to have meaning beneath the only subjective emotional aspect. Since to deal in art only with emotions is not a very conceptual approach, it is also a way too romantic in our hyper-media-techno world. And who as a viewer is really interested in only emotions in art, guess this can be quite boring and is rather seen as non-art. Another aspect is that women are tied to
* For further reading see: Katy Deepwell, n.paradoxa’s 12 Step Guide to Feminist Art, Art History and Criticism, in: n.paradoxa, online, issue 21, September 2010. www.ktpress.co.uk/pdf/nparadoxaissue21.pdf
emotions as a gendered female label, while men are tied to the rationale, so it is maybe in interest to avoid the term “emotion” at all, as to see the piece as non-gendered. Was there actually once a historical art movement that dealt only with emotions? Guess this does not exist, since art is always a socio-political agenda, even in the age of the Romanticism the emotional aspect had its male reason. While in Romanticism it came to a split of rational world and the elevation of the male individual soul as the male genius, here in “Into the Ceiling” both ratio and soul are united in a way that it comes to the insignificance of the individual over socio-politics. But indeed, it can be quite romantic and emotional to watch a rainy day when leaving the rest of the world behind. Can you explain the influence of Lacan's theories on your works? The Lacanian theory is interesting as a post-structuralist view on the constitution of our individual self in a sociologic context. With the big Other as an alterity it distinguishes us in the symbolic order by language and law. In gender theory it can be interesting to analyze what forms this big Other and what forms us or our self through the Other, e.g. how is language and law forming and constituting a subject as an alterity? It can be interesting as an artistic practice to view the differences and also to question the big Other as a necessity, since as alterity this can be quite suppressive and not reached by identification. Women artists who are dealing with gender aspects use Subversion and Appropriation as an artistic strategy to disclose gender imbalances occurring in the symbolic order of our society. Through this the imaginary as the field of images, imagination, and deception can be redefined and restructured. The imaginary order is constituted by alienation of the Ego and the reflected image (of one’s body) while the symbolic order with its linguistic dimension structures the visual field of the imaginary. Lacan’s theory is a way too complex to explain it
in brief, but it is interesting to analyze art, or to create art with it as a psychologic theoretical basis. This can involve to analyze for example – Who possesses the gaze, who is forming the subject, who is defining language and law and its images, who is forming the regalia of power over the subject and constitutional processes? – and so on. Since I always have been very interested in socio-psychological relations, I found Lacan’s theory very appropriate when dealing with text, language, body, image, identification processes, self, object and subject, power, differentiation and distinction. What experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries? What is the difference between exhibiting, for example, in Spain and exhibiting in France, or Italy or in the United States? There are many differences in the organizational and communicational aspect; for example, organizations in Italy or Spain are looser while the American’s are more business like and precise. It is of advantage to know at least minor language skills of the different countries, even within Europe, and at least it is of great advantage to understand the different cultural aspects that lead to the different experiences when exhibiting in various countries and continents. It is interesting to understand the process of exhibiting art still as a nonglobalized issue, when viewing different exhibitions and festivals in different countries with their unique cultural organizational backgrounds. But actually all depends on the professionalism of the organizer, venue and host, but also on their time and budget, beneath other aspects. You are a photographer too. We have been impressed by the series Siegrid tanzt / Siegrid Dancing focused on movement and body, showing a very cinematic feel, reminding of the words /"to mount a camera on the body, introducing it into a glass cage"/ (Gilles Deleuze). The body itself
is a central theme in your artistic work. Actually, I don’t call myself a photographer, I rather use photography as a way of artistic expression and therefore I would rather say that I work with photography and images. “Siegrid Dancing” describes as a series how a woman is struggling and liberating herself as a metaphor. After a dance jam session, I spontaneously asked a friend, if she would dance in front of the white wall, so that I could capture her movement. The images turned out in abstract structure in a visible, literal and metaphoric sense. Through the longer exposure time and experimenting with this, she as a figure painted through her body motion movements that would not have been visible when viewing her dancing as a direct spectator. But since the camera can hold the vanishing body movements, the series became quite abstract until the real vanishing of a figure. With this, the vanishing aspect is important for de-subjectifying the character of an image, as to provide no immediate subject. When a body is involved in image making, it immediately becomes gendered and objectified. In particular, the women’s body is strongly commodified and objectified in visual culture, whereby the image becomes narrow for the spectator and is already pre-formed.
Through the vanishing abstract depiction, the body is liberated from its original form and can find new traces, as to pass the everyday body into something liberated, as to find the non-captive elevated soul and “… until at last the disappearance of the visible body is achieved” as Gilles Deleuze finally tells it. /"In this performative video work, a gendered communication role model is directed to an imaginary male opponent and describes how the usage of language can be defined as a relation and structure of power between the two social sexes."/ (Table Talk, video performance, 2008). Could you comment this statement?
Well, our societal structures provide a social behavior that is not gender balanced, and in communication between the sexes, it is obvious that the woman always encourages and pampers the man. But it is not to blame the man with this, rather we are raised in these structures since childhood, and this video provides a st parody on it like in a digitized 21 century slap stick comedy. The question is rather when leading a dialogue – How much attention is given to whom and what kind of attention and for what purpose? Unless women don’t get the same attention than men’s voices, there is a need to think about it. Actually also men compliment this video because they dislike this biased gen-
dered communication behavior, find it rather boring, artificial, and uneasy to deal with in a real dialogue. What are your next projects? I hardly tell anything about any future or current projects, because I think, that it does not bring good luck. So, when I am working on something everything is silenced until it is finalized. But I adopted this strategy also in a sense, that I can change the projects, alter and amend them. For me, it is just easier to talk about works that have been created, than about current occupation, because I want to keep the freedom of creation as a personal matter.
A still from Votes for Women, 1901
Evelin Stermitz, M.A., M.Phil., studied Media and New Media Art at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and holds the degree in Philosophy from Media Studies.
Napoli / CAM Casoria Contemporary Art Museum, Naples, Italy / Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina,
Her works have been exhibited and screened at various venues such as the MMoMA Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Russia / Vetlanda Museum, Sweden / Centro Nacional de las Artes, Mexico City / Museum of Modern Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina / PAN Palazzo delle Arti
/ Museum of Fine Arts, Florida State
d’Art Contemporain du Val-deMarne, France / Chelsea Art Museum, New York, USA / International Museum of Women, San Francisco, USA. www.evelinstermitz.net
A still from Impermanence Trajectory - the limbic nest, film 2013
STEFAN LARSSON The refine nature originates from the primitive and vice versa. That refine nature is order and primitive nature is chaos. That the resistance between them will decrease until they converge in to a state of supreme clarity. In order to reach this state AUJIK project sacred artefacts that are a crossbreed of organic and synthetic entity. The following manifestations illustrates how they interact with their artefacts. Each artefacts consists of an unique and multifaceted Artificial Intelligence (AI). By transcending emotional inputs to the artefacts artificial limbic system the AUJIK members can reveal various
areas and aspects of the artefacts minds. Examples are the artefacts selfimage, consciousness, subconsciousness, gender, affects and spirituality. This symbiosis also leads the AUJIK members to a higher awareness of the self. The video is a collaboration with Scottish electronic musician christ who made the score. The concept of the film is how Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) transcends with human emotions. In the video several examples of this is manifested by an fictional esoteric group called AUJIK.
AUJIK was funded by contemporary artist Stefan Larsson in 2001. Stefan was born 1973 in Soderhamn, Swden. Lives and works in Otsu, Japan. MFA from Umea Art Academy, Sweden 2005. Works by AUJIK have been featured at Prix Ars Electronica, Ars Electronica Animation Festival, SIGGRAPH Asia, Japan Media Arts Festival, OneDotZero, CMoDA Beijing, Cyberfest St Petersburg, CologneOFF, Palais de Tokyo, STRP-festival Holland, Computer Space Bulgaria and Biwako Biennale. Also at Galleryâ€™s in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama and Berlin.
First of all we would like to know something of your background, and how your experiences has impacted the way you make art. By the way, what is the nature of your relationship with music I grew up in a small humdrum town in the north of Sweden and was mainly in to skateboarding, something that still inspires me. Took a Masters of Fine Arts from Umea university. For the last 5 years I’ve been living outside of Kyoto in Japan. Japan has a huge impact on what I do. It’s facinating how nature and concrete colides and the synergy it creates. I think that in Japan this is more destinct than anywhere else(looking at google maps gives an impression). Sometimes I imagine that the whole Japan is made of concrete and that nature is artificial. Like nature are small clusters that are randomly constructed. A couple of times each week I go visit some Shinto shrine in the forest that are walking distance from were I live. Even though I’m not a relgius person this gives me some content and probably has more impact on my art than I’m conscious of. Music is also an important element. Since i discovered electronic music in the mid 90’s - which was about the
same time I got in to art – it kind of brought me in to different directions that I guess I wouldn’t approach otherwise. I like listen to the same Autechre track on repeat, using it as a canvas building ideas on..I know it sounds a bit corny but it’s quite edifying. CGI and postproduction are very important in your videomaking: could you describe your art process? Most of the videos are first filmed with a DSLR-camera on a steadicam and then I motion track the footage and integrate it with the CG-material. Motion tracking can be quite tricky depending on the location and situation. In a video called ‘a Forest within a Forest’ which is filmed in a bamboo forest I had to set up plenty of tracking points on the bamboo tree’s and measure the distance to the camera to get a sense of orientation. Motion tracking is based on the alpha channels(black and white) contrast so it is important that the object you intend to add CG-stuff to has some contour, otherwise it is necessary to add physical tra-cking point. Also I shoot some HDRI-images at the filming location and use them as a light and reflection source in the 3D
A still from Impermanence Trajectory - the limbic nest, film 2013
software. This is very important in order to achieve some sort of realism. For render engine I always use Vray with GI(Global Illumination). With Cathexis most of the film was done with Chroma Key and motion tracking in a rather primitive way. It was the first time I used that method and the tracking process was quite easy, then I had to erase all the tracking points which was really a challenge for my temper. Then there’s the postproduction; 3Drendering usually looks flat and dull so I spend a ridicules amount of time experimenting with colour corrections, filters, layers and so on. To sum it up, it is very time consuming and I never get totally satisfied, but then the most important aspect of the work is the idea so if it can visually represent the idea I reckon it’s fair enough. What's the idea behind Cathexis? Could you eleaborate a bit the concepts that you ahve developed in this interesting work? The essential purpose with Cathexis is to illustrate various ideas and aspects of so called AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) or Strong AI. AGI is more vast and multifaceted form of AI that tries to simulate the human brain and
all of its spectrums. I think that by developing AGI it will reveal areas of the brain and our consciousness that we weren’t aware of before. In the dawn of AI-science(Alan Turing to the 80’s) it was more of a mathematical process focusing on one task. Currently it adapts many observations from the cognitive neuro-science field(and vice versa) as well as psychology and philosophy which implies new perspectives. With Cathexis there’s some examples of this decribed in a sort of naive and unconventional way. Primarly it deals with cognition, perception, the limbic system and, the mind, the self and gender as an artificial construction. There’s narration explaining the themes rather diffuse and confusing, to some extent influenced by haiku and kōans (as used in Zen-practice). We have been really impressed by a chapter of Cathexis titled AMYGDALA: "Hypothalamus is the morning star", could you introduce introduce our readers to "AUJIK"? When I first approached these topics of Technology, Nature and Consciousness it seemed like an intriguing idea to use some sort of concept so I created this half fictional(eventually real) esoteric cult called AUJIK. They have this belief about a refined and primitive nature; Refined as in AI, quantum mechanics, nano technology, DNA-research etc. Primitive as in soil, stones, vegetation, water etc. They also believe in animism and create artefacts that are crossbreeds of synthetic and organic materials that they transcends with. In the amygdala chapter they are questioning what is fear and anxiety – which has its core in the amygdala(an organ. part of the limbic system) – whether it’s just sensations, simulations of sensations or actually what we consider reality. The amygdala chapter is partly in-
spired by this panic anxiety program called the Charles Linden method which is about resetting the amygdala and building new pathways in order to recover. Your collaboration with the Scottish musician Chris Horne has been decisive for your video work. Instead of adding music as a pure background, as usually happens in mainstream cinema today, you have worked in parallel, in a fertile exchange of ideas and experiences. We would like to know more about this collaboration. I discovered Christ. (Chris Horne) music about seven years ago - about the same time I started experimenting with CGI and immediately felt it was probably the most suitable music I could imagine for my work. It has this sort of suggestive and yet nostalgic feeling to it. It also feels very personal and honest, as well as timeless(not influenced by any current trends or so). I had borrowed his music for two of my earlier videos so when I managed to get a budget for the Cathexis project I asked him if he was into it and he approved. I then started to send him raw material and sketches and he worked on the score parallel. At some points during the process I lost grip - mainly because some scenes were not technically feasible - and while listen to the early beta versions I find new routes and ideas.
for me. Thank you for this interview: what's next for Stefan Larsson? Well, the pleasure, the privilege is mine. At the moment I’m just about to finish a video I’ve been working on for 9 months. It deals with the idea of pancomputationalism or computational universe, in other words that the whole universe and it’s elementary particles posses the abilty of computer processing and therefor intelligence. Through April I’ll be part of a group exhibition in New York City called Nordic Outbreak which is organised by the Streaming Museum, it will then tour the Nordic country’s in fall 2013 followed by a world tour in 2014. Hopefully I’ll make a trip to NYC. Other than that I’m planing to write a book with illustrartions about AUJIK.
Now here's a question, but one that we're always interested in hearing the answer to. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? Spawning ideas. The initial step. Absorbing information from books, the internet, music, films and dreams and starting to structure it by making sketches and experiment with 3D sculpting. Then there is a long and winding road at the computer until I can start editing and adding sound and music. So the first and last steps are most rewarding and enjoyable
A sequence of stills from Impermanence Trajectory - the limbic nest, film 2013
BENJAMIN POYNTER In a Performative Save State is a site and time specific event to commemorate the completion of the [now] 950+ hour game project In a Permanent Save State. This was the same day as the removal of the game from the Apple store (Oct. 12 2012). A very thick atmosphere of censorship, politics, and art juxtaposed with the beauty and symphony of an ambitious video game orchestra fermented about. This performance is but another facet towards realizing the project's whole and, as agreed upon within the group, advancing the medium of video games into unknown, finer forms.
dream. Furthermore, has a root in cultural truisms which define the aesthetic and faith for those involved. There is an effort to deconstruct the idea of where the games we cherish 'come from' and an effort to deconstruct the video game form itself. It is an impressionistic criticism of human rights violations and consumerism which blinds the eye to subordination.Those who assemble the dreams of this world now have their own at a devastating cost. (Benjamin Poynter)
[Of the controversial mobile game projected and played to.] This is a cerebral, fantasy driven application about events that are true and currently exist. In a Permanent Save State is a game that falls into the evolving category of 'serious games' or if you will 'games for change'. The interconnected narrative it tells sheds nameless perspective upon the Western spectacle vs. the Eastern
EDUCATION University of Oklahoma Weitzenhoffer College of Fine Arts BFA : New Media Art Major, Art History Minor Graduation : May 2011 University of Nevada Reno School of the Arts, Church Fine Arts MFA : Fine Arts, Art, Technology, and Public Spaces
HONORS&AWARDS •Nevada Museum of Art, Film Festival Jury Award •Holmes Artist Scholarship Award •Clyde C. Clack Artist Scholarship Award •12th Annual Sheppard Gallery Student Artist Award •Who's Who at American Universities & Colleges •University of Nevada Reno Access Grant •Ben Barnett Scholarship for Creative Excellence •President Boren's Sooner Heritage Scholarship •Achievement in Editing, REDBUD Film Festival •Michael F. Price SHS •Madeline Colbert Steed Art SHS
You have aÂ formal training: how applied to programming, sound design, much in your opinion training in- color theory, and narrativity. Of course, none of this is fundamentally essential to fluences art? making a game, as a game can just In my eye, training is obtaining a consist of stoic blocks. Yet if I am the one scientific formula for how to create an subjectively planning a project, the interimage. From that, we can discuss artistic component cannot be different modes of training, whether that undermined. be in academia or just street-smarts. My drawing and animation techniques were "In a Performative Save State" is a mostly pre-defined before entering brilliant parody of consumerism,"In collegiate learning. However, I feel this a Performative Save State" is a question then speaks to the strength of brilliant parody of consumerism, in a conceptualist attitudes with visual art. digital world where alienation is Learning to apply a theoretical analysis passed off as "power of the indito my work has proven a substantial vidual".How did you come up with chore. To that regard, my self-criticism the idea for this work? from a theoretical viewpoint was incredibly formal. It is up to the artist to I suppose I came up with it, as I might hybridize both and simply make new easily fall into that category of an categories which transcend the idea of alienated individual [insert laugh]. I had being formal or not. just recently moved from my second game project entitled The Dreamer, that How much important is the inter- introduced a concrete political artistic component in your art pro- component into my work. Taking a cess? breather in that lovely, empty space If I am to interpret this question cor- between projects, I came across an early rectly, I believe it speaks to the cross 2012 article which reported on the 300section of different mediums possessed. worker protest atop a Foxconn complex. That, or mixed media towards creating These workers threatened, and were, to an end product. In such case, it is the commit suicide if they were not very life or death of my process. New financially compensated properly. It was media is seen sometimes as a on an update that the story mentioned conglomeration of existing mediums. manufacturing of Microsoft X-Box 360s. Indie games are not far removed from So a penny dropped in my head. I am that at all. A character's movement in a dissolved in what Guy Debord would call game is preordained by animation skills, 'the spectacle', galvanized by the just as animation skills are preordained promise of virtual reality as a member of by drawing skills. This and more must be the proliteriat class. When I had learned Butcher Rules that a list of workers actually died by
their own hand, per report from Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), I was rocked to my core. As an admirer of these devices, its fantasy, and as someone who had to pay his way through undergraduate by working a blue collar job. I was furious and wanted to take aggressive action. In your statement you say " There is an effort to deconstruct the idea of where the games we cherish 'come from' and an effort to deconstruct the video game form itself." Could you comment this sentence? It is to comment that the objects, as pristine and beautiful as I know them to be, do have an origin by assemblage of human hands. There cannot be home entertainment without the home to experience it in first. When I learned about Foxconn, I did not condemn video games as I love them undoubtedly, but I was more concerned. If someone as lost in Simulacrum as myself can be struck from that realization, then I was certain it would have an impact on consumer society. Your work deals with new media technology: do you think that new media art will definitely fill the dichotomy between art and technology? There are some who argue it can, already has, or that electronics cannot achieve an aura which classical mediums have
established itself as. It reminds me of, what some would consider a very tiresome, debates about video games as art. To that notion, I would have to ask for a solid definition of art. The history and postmodern affluence of the cultures we cater to deny art a uniform definition. Art can be defined in a chance moment for a chance time and place. I think technology defines its own criteria for art.
Thank you very much for this interview, Benjamin. What current projects or goals do you have in the works? With luck of a grant proposal, I may travel to Japan to begin work on a project which debunks illusions between living in American, online society and urban, Japanese sprawls. To continue in
that realm of Orientalism and virtual reality, if you will. And of course, my next video game project! You could say I give honorable pastiche to a popular, gotta-go-fast icon in an existentialist context.
JESSE RUSSELL BROOKS "I often go to a library or museum and watch people. I use to bring a tablet to sketch them~ But that really was an excuse. I don't know how to draw well. I watch men and women while they look at paintings and objects, books, panoramas, etc. I enjoy the moments of others. How do they hold a newspaper or sip from the water fountain? Are they wearing socks? Do their feet smell? Why is there dirt under this guys fingernails? He's wearing such a fine suit! Often children smile while being spoken too. Often men awkwardly joke to break the ice, then touch the woman who they are attending the event with whilst they laugh. I have
watched an elderly woman cry while standing in front of a Jackson Pollock. She wanted to touch the painting although security would not allow her. I've overheard confessions. I have stolen moments from lovers and warriors and from these people I have tried to duplicate their words in my life. Sometimes. I mean.. please don't get me wrong, I am not a criminal, Although I have heard a woman talk about how she wanted to starve her dog. In great detail she shared this with an strange partner whom didn't seem to believe it at all. It was only for a moment that I imagined I would do the
same. But alas, I don't have a dog. I would give anything to brush by myself in a crowd. To look into my life at some public event in just the same way that I have looked into these strangers' lives. At some social well to do event/ just so I can hear what comes out of my mouth. Just so I can rate how full of shit I really am. I want to catch myself being caddy or throwing a sincere gaze. Is this so difficult to understand?"
You have studied English Literature at Virginia State University. How much has this impacted on the way you make art? And what caused you to become an artist? I am a bookworm and somewhat belong to the school of “The more you read the more you know”. The way I learned about art and communication has been primarily through narrative. I had been challenged to write far more then I had imagined during my course of study at Virginia State University and I discovered an interest for capturing life on paper or video through that experience. Virginia State University placed me in various creative and educational scenarios that taught me how to navigate through different social atmospheres without subscribing to a particular or a required emblematic role. So when I began making video art and short subject film I was able to articulate a visual language that perhaps multiple cultures would identify with. That has been my goal. I have always practiced making and experiencing art in many different ways since I was a youth. Though, the reason I became an artist and professional filmmaker is because I enjoy investigating and communicating complex emotions and complex ideas
through imagery and by using middle of a busy road~ Pedestrians, different mediums such as video art, close calls with truck tires, heat installation, film or theatre to do so. raising from the asphalt, etc. When I present that experimental film I By the way, you are a self-taught sometimes do so with sharing the artist: do you think that self- story of how I left the camera on it’s taught artists have an advantage own. Sometimes I simply show the over artists with a formal edu- footage and do not share the circumstances of how or why this cation? film has come to be. The artists that are important to me are self-realized. There is no formal The moments I choose in my work education or maverick strategy for are selected by how I interpret the dialogue between non-narrative and that. narrative visuals. How I capture More than 40 years ago, the great images is just as important to me as filmmaker Robert Bresson (Pro- what may be experienced by viewing the images. I do indeed have a said: "the poetry comes from the spiritual approach to my work. Much tautness. It is not 'poetic' poetry. of the harmony that you have asked It arises out of simplification, me to comment on is never planned which is only a more direct way of or easily discovered. These moments appear out of nature and become seeing people and things". more plentiful as the result of In your abstract you have stated simplification. that "Mixing and matching moments on a secret canvas in my There is always an unknown aspect mind I discover evidence of regarding how I approach my work. harmony": how do you choose There is a constant presence of the unknown in all of us and that these moments? unknown quality makes us whole. As a performance piece I once placed Though, art is not complete on it’s a camera in the middle of a busy own. I work carefully to develop my street and walked away from it. The work so that it may be you, the camera collected about 10 minutes viewer who completes it. of what you may expect to see in the
Still From Make Me A Doorway, 2012
We would like to ask you some technical questions about your recent video "Make me a Doorway" that we have selected. Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your work? What technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work? You and Alexzenia Davis have established a fruitful collaboration: could you tell us something about this effective synergy? How did you two meet? Did you have similarities in your art at the time? “Make Me A Doorway” is a compilation of three poems: “Make Me”, “My Silhouette” and “A Lady’s Psyche” written by Alexzenia Davis. She wrote the piece based on conversations that we had regarding personality and identity. An important topic that we would visit a lot was How we may construct or naturally define our identity through an intimate relationship and how that effects our perspective of others~ and more importantly ourselves. Our discussion became broader over time to include examining actual past relationships and mementossuch as photography~ photos of past friends, family, lovers, video and film of them~ and how these items augment not only self awareness, but also how we remember those who pass through our lives. Finally, I screened two 50-foot reels of film for her. They both were of Erika Ewing, a silent actress modeling for me about 20 years ago. It was then that I believe Davis began to write the piece. Alexzenia and I had agreed to collaborate on a film together for some time but I am not sure that we both knew that 100 feet of film from my archives would become the origin of the piece. When Davis returned to me with her poetry I believe we both knew that we had a very sincere blue print to begin shooting with. Alexzenia and I do not have a similar approach to art or poetry. I think it is safe to say that we have different creative philosophies all together. Though, I think it is important to note that we used conversation to find a synergy. It was our goal to speak the same language visually and poetically.
I am influenced mostly by mood and performance. Technically, I enjoy light design and camera set-ups. I use cameras as if they are paintbrushes. I choose them based on the visual texture I believe the work may call for. Different ideas loan themselves to be captured with particular types of cameras. My goal is not to purposely mix media. That always becomes a challenge in post. Though, I believe some technical aspects of a camera as well as the very presences of a recording device is important in regards to how an event is collected as well as to the performance of a model. So I often have multiple set-ups in mind for several different cameras each day. When shooting Make Me A Doorway I originally had drafted an elaborate lighting design. Then at the last moment discovered reference material that beckoned me to use natural light. I spent some days at the locations where I had planned to shoot the actresses redeveloping my setups based natural light.
gies on aesthetics of collaborative practices? People have always been extremely creative. People also have had questionable principles behind their artistic goals since forever. However, technology is not innately good or evil. A collaborative practice using networking technology as a tool may become a cultural exchange, a political forum, a support system, etc. The aesthetic of a collaborative process is not fully dependent on the tool or a technology but on the artists who use these tools. 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 exists longer? Video art and cinema that contributes to the medium of film will always stand apart from commercial work that contributes to the mass marketing of products and ideas. I suppose that if my work’s final destination was for commercial use then yes, the line between video art and cinema will become very blurred. But, I think there will always be a frontier between the two never the less. What is becoming more vague is how we reference or identify video art in a media environment that is evolving and expanding extremely quickly.
There's a part of your statement that has impressed us "I have Here’s a question, but one watched an elderly woman cry that we are always interested in while standing in front of a hearing the answer to: what asJackson Pollock"... pect of your work do you enjoy She wanted to somehow to reach out the most? or inward to touch the painting I What gives you the biggest satisthink. I wanted to somehow reach faction? out or inward to touch her/ or perhaps be touched by her. Art is not The aspect that I enjoy most about just an item that may sit in front of my work is reflecting. Putting the you. This elderly person’s reaction to camera down and turning the the Pollock piece was in some computer off and remembering the strange way, part of his work during moments that you push through in my experience of it. order to discover what you have Let’s look at the online video captured on film or video. Applying ecosystem, which is emblematic these experiences to an everyday life for the recent boom of creativity. or at least thinking about how to do Web services present the works so. that are completely accessible for immediate feedback on a wide scale and attract massive attention. What is your take on the impact of networked technolo-
An artist’s statement “As often and desirable it is to view the idolized, celebrated, or admired in high praise and wonderment, the placement of such matter on the pedestal of glory and the monumental leaves open the possibility of a great downfall.
I am also interested in spotlighting subjects and utilizing black in the frame. I view black as a medium that does not hide the set or environment, but rather reveals further the problem or emotions of the subject. “ Takahiro Suzuki 707 Avon Street #1 Charlottesville, VA 22902 (540) 449 2293 (mobile) firstname.lastname@example.org
The moment of this realization and loss of overwhelming appeal is what leads me to make my works in film and video on disillusio-nment.
Education BA 2011 Studio Art University of Virginia
I express the dramatics of the situation by utilizing longer takes or creating works using a single take, treating the frame not as cinema, but as theater. The evocation of disillusionment then does not then come from editing, but rather the viewing of the experience from a single perspective.
Awards and Honors 2011 Juror’s Award for Photography, 64 ARTS National Juried Exhibition, Buchanan Center for the Arts, Monmouth, IL 2011 Aunspaugh Fifth Year Fellowship, University of Virginia
because I want to capture the person and not a performance. By giving my subjects too much direction, the primary thought becomes performing the marks given. And so, my directions have always been as simple as, “Sit on the stool and smoke a cigarette. When you’re done, put it out.” The simple direction, then, doesn’t force a I use this technique for a lot of my performance allows the subject work, black and white and color, but embody a character using their own filming in the long take or single take nature. is part of it. I sort of relate it to meeting a new person. There’s Dark canvas are not uncommon always the first impression and then in art history, just think of over time, as you have more Caravaggio's paintings and Bill interactions with the person and Viola's video . Have they had an learn more about who they are, the influence on your cinema? sentiments felt from the first meeting either strengthen or change in the No piece that I have made has been opposite direction. By using the a direct homage to Caravaggio or longer take, it pushes all of that into Viola, but I do quite enjoy and their use and one sitting, where sitting and embrace watching a character for an extended representation of the figure in space. period of time brings out certain My interest in using the dark canvas actually came from many days of characteristics or emotions. working on a film or being in the I also use non-actors and film with a photography lab late into the night. certain directorial approach, or lack I would take walks or long drives in thereof. Actors are trained to my car to unwind and relax. Because perform and evoke certain emotions humans are naturally diurnal, being and characters for the camera or out at night slightly heightened all stage. For my works, I’ve never been my senses to be more cautious and it too interested in capturing a was during that time that I really performance, but rather capturing a started to notice subtleties in the I started taking person. And because I use non- landscape. actors, I always limit the amount of photographs at night spotlighting the direction I give them. Again, this is figure, using the black to try to Low key lighting, as well as black and white, has been largely used in noir films marked by dark atmospheres, however, in your work B/W evokes deep emotions, unmasking the inner identity of your subjects.It's not just a matter of cinematography, indeed. How do you achieve it?
expose the subtle details and characteristics of the subject. From there I started to slowly work it into my film and video pieces. "Amitosis" shows a real cinematographic feel, indeed. What is the border between art cinema and videoart in your opinion? I don’t know if there really is a clear and definitive border, and I think it’s really up to the artist and maker to place the definitive distinction (if one even exists) between cinema and video art. Since so many cameras and media of expression are available now, a lot of things have become interchangeable. The same camera can be used for cinema and video art, a single website (like vimeo) can host cinematic pieces and art pieces, or a flat screen monitor can be used to display an art piece in a gallery, but the same monitor can be used to watch a movie inside the home. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? It would definitely be shooting the works. It’s also the most stressful and high-pressure aspect of the process because I want to get everything right, but I would also say it’s the most enjoyable.
It might sound like a silly reason for enjoying it the most, but it’s because I get to be up and active and meet and interact with people. So much of the research, writing, and editing requires sitting for long hours, many times alone to focus on the work, it’s nice to be up and about. Are there any new projects on the horizon? I do have several new projects in the works: one for a video installation and another for a short film. The video installation is a portrait piece based on the myth of Echo and Narcissus. The idea is still very raw and evolving, but I’ve been interested in working with reflective surfaces as a medium of projection or installation. It seemed natural to work with that myth as the steppingstone to experiment with my interest. The short film is the project I’m currently working on to shoot and finish in the next couple of months. Without giving too much away, the film is about a character’s perception of fate and predetermination. The character’s journey or troubles with understanding the matter goes along in a manner similar to Dante’s journey through the circles of hell in The Divine Comedy.
MALIN ABRAHAMSSON Besides being a painter, you are also a video-maker and you produce installations too. Do you consider yourself a postdisciplinary artist? I really like the idea of being postdisciplinary, but I must point out that I actually stopped painting in 2010. Since then, I’ve tried to find my own voice with time-based work, and I now work with animation and installation. The final presentation of the animations is very important to me, and since every exhibition space and/or place is unique in its own way this approach requires a lot of thinking on your feet and an open mind in regards to medium. If we compare your recent video CC: color composition I with the paintings that you made years ago we can recognize a Mondrian touch and moreover a marked preponderance of red. Could you talk about your process of choosing color
combinations? The Mondrian reference is interesting. I don’t think of his paintings when I work, but his work has had a huge influence on me. His retrospective at Moma in 19951996 is probably the most impressive and influential show I’ve ever seen: I had just moved to New York when I saw it, and I remember stumbling out of the museum feeling like I’d just walked through a door into a wide-open space. That space continues to be intriguing to me and I think a lot about physical environments and contexts when I work. When I was working on CC: color composition I, I was imagining it as a large-scale projection inside a dark and dirty industrial space, like a parking garage or something similar. It’s always a challenge to bring life to works that are positioned outside the expected art context, i.e. without the clean white walls of a gallery, etc., and I really like to take
that on. In this particular case, the intense reds were intended to charge and bring a little bit of drama to a gritty and utilitarian non-art space. At this point it is a very intuitive process that has developed over time while painting. As we can read in your statement, you have recently started to use animation, special effects, and interactive software into your creative process: do you think that still exists a dichotomy between Art and Technology? Moreover, art makes use of modern technology more and more: do you think that technology is assimilating art? I don’t perceive a dichotomy between art and technology. The various computer software and projecting/play back equipment, etc., that I use are tools for realizing my ideas. How something is created isn’t
necessarily so interesting to me: it’s the final work that gets my attention. That‘s not to say that people who invent techniques or are really great at experimenting with new technology don’t have my respect – far from it! – but I’m less curious about art that puts expression second to medium and/or process. In regards to my own work, I’m perfectly happy to talk and answer questions about what software I use and so on, but it’s not what I find most important. Ideally, I want aesthetics to trump medium. 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? If I stick with your categorizations, it looks to me like video art is being pulled further and further into the world of cinema, and that the narrative is what is bridging the gap between these two previously separate practices. The human impulse to group and classify is pretty fascinating–perhaps especially
so when it comes to art–although I personally often find labels both disturbing and limiting. When I started working with animation, for example, I quickly learned that this particular medium comes with a set of surprisingly persistent expectations, and I still struggle with what to call my practice to avoid this kind of categorization. But to return to your question: the word “frontier” by definition implies a set of clearly recognizable borders that can be transgressed, and this is what artists throughout history have been attributed with pursuing. But there’s always some overlap between terms and genres, and I personally believe that this transgression often is a byproduct of genuine curiosity on the artist’s part and less often a deliberate intention in and of itself. Now that public art has become ubiquitous in a way it has never been before, more and more artists are also invited to explore new mediums in various public settings, and the specifics of these projects (such as location and scale, for example) often dictate a blurring of the line between mediums. In this sense, I think there
are few remaining “frontiers”. These ideas are slowly being watered down and have little relevance in the contemporary art world. You have often exhibited in collaboration with other artists: we would like to mention Zenith, a collaborative exhibition with Etta Sefve in Beijing. The artist Peter Tabor once said that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between two artists? I absolutely agree with Peter Tabor, and I would say that this is the very reason I love to collaborate with other people: it adds a dimension and/or context to the works that wouldn’t otherwise exist. The project with Etta Sefve in Beijing was collaborative in the sense that we were living, working, and thinking in the same space for a month, and our separate works were
CC: color composition II is a 4:30 innumerable movements and Transformations. Principally an attempt to visually bridge the gap between the zeros and ones of digital creation and the analogue world of painting, this nebulous piece is most accurately perceived as an abstract “temporal digital painting”. Butcher Rules
lots that are scattered around Rochester, and visually focused on the two forces of the city: construction and destruction. Within the exhibition hall, Ricky and I used salvaged building materials to create structures that were in active dialogue with Rochester’s past and present, and our individual paintings and joint drawings were simultaneously linked and separated by graphic lines that ran throughout the space. In “Fail Better”, Todd and I were As a collaborative project, both really forthcoming with our “in between” was both very poetic personal and practical and civic-minded in its response to circumstances, piling years’ worth time, space and place. And while it of work into the small exhibition was clear that the show contained space as a visual testament to our works by two different artists, the commitments, sacrifices, and productivity. As chaotic as the space materials, the color-coding and the deliberately charted exhibition may first have seem, we had space were clearly the result of a carefully considered the placement much wider dialogue that included of every single object: a pile of both Blue Cease and the City of drawings on the floor sat next to a Rochester. bucket of gesso that held up the corner of a naked stretcher that in What's next for you? Have you a turn leaned on the wall and framed part of a painting, and so on and particular project in mind? on... In this respect, “Fail Better” was definitely more a collaborative I’m back in the studio now, working, site-specific installation than simply after a couple of weeks between a joint exhibit. It was also widely February 23 and March 10, when appreciated: I don’t think I’ve ever one of my animations was shown in had a show lead to so many lengthy a series of nightly public projections conversations about what on 125th Street in Manhattan. The constitutes success and failure. New York-based arts organization chashama gave me access to My project with Ricky started out chashama 1351 to show a piece with the idea of showing our work called Solar Cycle 24 on the street together, and to explore the every night. Not visible in daylight, relationship and common ground in the piece started every evening at our respective practices. As we dusk and stopped in the morning as arrived in Rochester however, and the sun came up again. met Blue Cease, the Executive Director and Curator at Rochester In some ways, my time-based work Contemporary Art Center, it quickly doesn’t exist until it is installed for became clear that we were in for a exhibition so it’s been great to see much bigger project: based on our this slow-morphing animation common subject matter of reverse-projected onto three large architecture and construction, Blue windows (roughly 10’ tall by 20’ suggested that Ricky and I consider wide, or appr. 3 meters tall and 6 making the show a conscious meters wide), in the midst of the response to the City of Rochester. In relentless urban activity. During the preparation, we spent several days first test-run an older man came driving and walking around the city walking by, stopped, and asked: and its surrounding areas together What is this – a church? I treasure with Blue. He is extremely moments like that: when a piece knowledgeable about the local momentarily can transcend its own history and an engaging guide, and existence as a work of art. he took us to the massive Kodak Plant as well as showed us how to sneak into the subway system that was abandoned the 1950’s. in active dialogue with each other within the exhibition space, but I think my shows with Todd Kelly and Ricky Sears are better examples of true artistic collaborations. In both of those cases, the intention was to create a joint response to something very specific: with Todd it was the definition of failure, and with Ricky it was a geographical location (Rochester, NY).
Malin Abrahamsson Photo by Swan Eath An inter-disciplinary artist increasingly curious about the relationships between color, composition, pace and place, I’ve spent the last couple of years staking out a new path for myself by embracing animation, special effects, and interactive software into my creative process. Initially triggered by personal loss and the subsequent weariness over adding more objects to a society already stuffed to the rim, my past as a painter led me to the exploration of time-based media with a particular interest in digital stop-motion animation. To that effect, my latest body of work is best understood as animated paintings: a label that aims to neutralize the use of digital code and its potential interference with how the work is perceived. Digitally born and created with a video camera and numerous computer software, these pieces embody the desire to make aesthetics trump medium; not an uncommon artistic undertaking, but one that can be swayed, and sometimes temporarily derailed by mistaken assumptions that equalize animation with entertainment, or insist that digital art by default must be based on (f)actual research or information dissemination. Primarily abstract and without sound, my animated paintings are individual investigations of chromatic calibration in motion. The creative process behind each piece rests solidly on an aesthetic calculation where color and composition together form the X-axis to the Y-axis of pace that in turn relate to the Z-axis of scale. And just as in my public projects, these polychromatic and deliberately paced pieces are intended to be experienced on a scale that takes the distinct characteristics of each screening location into account; ideally creating a dialogue with existing
functions, histories, and physical structures.
We titled the exhibit “in between” as a reference to the numerous empty
HALE EKINCI “A flying elephant lands on a suspension bridge and throws a red ball at me; a man with an alligator skin box full of gum; a neighbor drops bulgur balls from her elbows … Using personal experience, dreams, imagination, Turkish culture and language, I strive to recreate my memories through a fantastical lens that juxtaposes real life situations with ephemeral imagined incidents. I meld together these different aspects in my visual work, sound pieces and writing. My videos and mixed media works on paper contain many layers of seemingly unrelated objects to create a magical reality. My stories and sound pieces combine this method with direct translations of Turkish sayings and Turkish words/sentences immersed in English. “As a foreigner living in the US, I often feel misplaced. Sometimes this is a soothing ex-
perience, other times it is a cause for loneliness and disorientation. Since missing home is a dominant part of being an alien, I address these emotional, psychological and physical displacements through the reminiscence of place and time. I create an alternative to the lived life, immersing dream-like elements and inventing memories, to feel more connected to my current environment. This makes up for the fact that nowhere really feels like home anymore. Whether I am on a bus, in a boarding school, or a completely†different country, I try to make every place I am in a kind of home. †Wherever I am, I try to recreate my roots. “Theorist Homi Bhabha describes the condition “in-betweenness” as the focus of art about displacement on the journey itself, the condition of being in transit between places with
different languages, customs, material culture and ideas. My work utilizes the experience of “in-betweenness” in order to create a new hybrid identity that draws on the physical surroundings and cultural climate of the new place. By doing this, I am creating work based on my existential migration—a chosen attempt to express something fundamental about existence by leaving one’s homeland and becoming a foreigner. Sometimes, this migration takes me to places even farther than a real final destination, into a new imagined place with lived details of the whole journey. (Hale Ekinci)
What in your opinion defines a work of art?
young artists these days. There are a lot of non-profit galleries and gallery districts opening up. Art from Istanbul is I think it heavily depends on the art and actually pretty "hip" right now, as most of "Middle Eastern" art is. There are context. I could think of a candy wrapper in a gallery as a work of art. I definitely differences between Western think the artist gets to say what is art or and Eastern art, but not in the not. If you ask me what kind of art I like, traditional oriental sense. I think I could summarize it as follows: because we are more used to and something that makes me think, wonder, immersed in daily violence, Eastern work tends to be more contradictory, gets me frustrated, gets me excited, gets me feel something I wouldn't have angry, in your face, raw and perhaps felt at that time when I encounter it (I violent, in a good way. I think some of love "running into" art), art that the Western art tends to be too hygienic, overwhelms me, makes me feel small, but that's also a broad generalization which I shouldn't make, since especially irrelevant, useless etc. I like when art I consider myself in that group. challenges you. It's like philosophy. I also like art that I can't stop looking at; Might we ask what has driven you to yes, I am still a bit of a sucker for goodlooking things, no matter how much move to USA? they say I shouldn't (the theorists that The ability to double major, or change is)! my major midway through, and do something in addition to art. And the You were born in Turkey, but you have scholarship of course. studied in the United States. Have you contacts with Turkish artists? What does the art scene in Turkey currently look You have teaching experience in like? By the way, do you find there is a fictional video and non narrative as well. difference between Western art and How this experience makes an influence Eastern art? on your artwork? I don't have many artist friends from Turkey, but have a bunch of designer friends from the days that I worked there as a designer. The art scene in Turkey is very vibrant and welcoming to
The most important advantage of teaching is being bombarded with new creative ideas on a daily basis, and being inspired to create. When I see a good project, I immediately want to
make more art myself. It is also very rewarding to exchange ideas with young minds, or open up the conservative ones. I love challenging them. We have been impressed by the fact you have quoted Homi Bhabha, who describes in-betweenness as the condition of being in transit between places with different languages, customs, material culture and ideas. This reminds us a statement by Gilles Deleuze dealing with Carmelo Bene, italian artist: " Will make you a foreigner in your own language or make a foreign language your own or make your language an immanent bilingualism for your foreigness". We would like to examine in depth this aspect of you. I love being a foreigner on purpose. Shutting down your ability to comprehend the language surrounding you is a different kind of satisfaction. Also, challenging people's understanding by exposing them to different renditions of foreign language is very appealing to me. My latest installation used an elementary school technique to learn language called "fis", where you hang words on a folded sheet on clothes lines and rearrange them to form sentences. I used both sides of the paper with the pronunciation of the opposite language. In the end, both American and Turkish people could
understand what they are saying themselves. I am fascinated by this translation process and understanding. There is so much we can learn and understand from each other without the language.
extracted from a drawing that I did years ago and don't even have anymore. Finally, I brought everything to After Effects and put it all together. I played with the idea of adding English subtitles with a Turkish style spelling, but left it out and used that idea on a different We would like too ask you a question installation. I guess I could say once I about synergy between art and am happy with the story, the rest isn't technology. In one way, art makes use of too hard to imagine. modern technology more and more, but do you think that in another way You have also produced a video entitled technology is assimilating art? Are we "Alligator Skin Box Full of Gum": what going towards a world in which art will was your inspiration for it? be more "technological" and in the meantime technology will be more I love telling the story of "Alligator Skin "artistic"? Box Full of Gum". It all started from procrastination. For my first narrative I think technology is just one of the text class in MFA, I had no clue of what many tools an artist can use. I always I was gonna write for the first feel like nothing can replace the assignment (no rules). I left it till the tangible. There is something unique last day, and was trying to come up with about experiencing something in person something on the bus (I love doing work or being able to touch a work. Even on transportation as well as people looking at a bright giant printout of a watching). Luckily, I saw this guy that I digital work evokes a different feeling loved observing on the bus (I used to see than seeing it on a typical screen. That him on and off). To my luck, that day he being said, I think art and technology had a large, structured purse made of are definitely influencing each other and alligator skin and was chewing a gum as effecting how each one evolves. For if his life depended on it, while watching example, you can definitely see a other people in a piercing, criticizing contemporary sense of design that way. Across from him, there was a appeared with the developments of the strange lady reading one of those web platforms. Or consider glitch art, cashier-side cheap magazines with a that didn't even exist until technology scowling face (I refer to it as "snack started to mess up! It's a very attractive reading" in the video which is a direct idea to think of technology becoming translation of a turkish adjective to more "artistic"; I think as we get used to describe insignificant things). I just and bored with "efficiency" and started channeling and exaggerating "usability", technology will more and what I saw on the bus in that story. It all more apply artistic and creative ways of started with the description I wrote expression. down for him on the bus: "alligator skin box-like purse loving man" I thought he We would like to ask you some technical deserved to be (fictionally) swallowed by questions about your recent video his purse considering his mean stare "Butcher Rules" that we have selected. and how viciously he was chewing that Can you tell us about your process and gum. set up for making your work? What technical aspects do you mainly focus on By the way, we noticed that you use in your work? yourself as the subject for a lot of your work. Why is that? This is a great story as I applied a very specific process to this series of videos. It's not because I couldn't find an Almost four years ago, I wrote a story actress (I could have found better actors called "Butcher Rules" based on a crazy for sure) :) I took a couple performance dream I had many years ago (without based classes in my MFA that definitely the intension of turning it into a video effected my work. This series of videos piece). Once I decided to make the video are very personal, not necessarily series, I brought the story out and autobiographical, but they definitely highlighted the parts that were crucial contain a lot of my childhood to the story line or visually interesting experiences, cultural traditions and or straight up bizarre. Then I created a Turkish idioms. I felt like having me in it flow chart on Omnigraffle to create a was only a logical extension of all these more loosely connected look on the details. In a way, they are also more story to mix things up (looking like a surreal reimaginations of some of my rhizome more than a beginning-middlememories. end sequence). Based on that, I created a storyboard, shot pieces on green screen and collected/collaged still am always interested in hearing the images as well as made props from answer to: some of your works handmade paper pulp (like the brain or characterized by the use of your native the elephant mask). For example, the language: do you think that it is possible houses on the cloud scene were actually to do without a global language, a kind
limit the power of art? Or enhance it? I always remember a good advice from a filmmaker I knew "never show what you say, never say what you show". I think art is a bit like that too; why make visuals if you can say it in words? Because you find new, unimagined meanings in art, that get restricted by the meanings we get from words. The openness of interpretation, feeling and even frustration is what I love about art (most of the times). Sometimes, adding a charged text can even enhance that experience. I love being able to communicate through a language people understand such as English, but there will always be those things that I can never fully translate from Turkish, like the Turkish word "can". I think those words are usually very cultural and historical-based. Why not try to "show" the meaning of those words?
Hale Ekinci 2011 COLUMBIA COLLEGE, Chicago, Illinois Master of Fine Arts: Interdisciplinary Arts and Media 2007- 2008 UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, Gainesville, Florida â€˘ Took courses in Digital Media Arts Master of Fine Arts Program 2006 CONNECTICUT COLLEGE, New London, Connecticut (magna cum laude) Bachelor of Art: Computer Science Art (Design Concentration) 2006 Selected Scholar: Ammerman Center
PAULA ALMIRON Paula Almiron is a dancer and actress. Shee studied theater at the National Conservatory of Arts (IUNA) and she is a graduate of the School of Contemporary Dance “Arte XXI”, directed by Oscar Araiz. In 2007, she won a scholarship in the School of Julio Bocca, and in 2008 she won the Dance Scholarship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts of Argentina. She works as an interpreter under the direction of argentinian directors Alejandro Ullua, Oscar Araiz, Pablo Sanchez, Maria Jose Lucas Condro, Brenda Angiel, among others. In 2012, she directs the video work "Place where something is thrown", with which it forms part of the Biennale de Danca do Creara (Brazil), Research Frame Festival (Portugal) and
Surreal Platform Festival (Berlin).
When something happens, when we act, I usually think in circumstances. I think a context like something that must be carefully analyzed, as a highly specific reality, where that is happening is deeply influenced and determined. If I understand by context then all that surrounds an event, both physically and symbolically, in "Place where something is thrown" each object is taken to other possibilities of "contextus", or rather to erase any context. What appears in our unconscious after taking our everyday world out of context? It would seem that objects are again “materiality”, or that we are not longer what we thought we were. I’ m interested in actions, in all things we do with objects. I think we have a limited range of actions in relation to each object. With a pen, we know how to write, how to draw, and a few more actions. We live using things just with the idea that objects must “be useful” for something. I don’t agree with that. I’ m interested in the relationship between body and
things; in finding our own physicality when thinking about objects as characters. In my inner “utopia” things are not useful for us, but we are useful for them. “What does an object needs?” Only by taking out of context ourselves and all the objects that surround us, I can be able to think in an answer to that question. From a technical point of view, I decided that the video location had to be a photography studio, to propose a place as neutral as possible. A place where each object, even each person, is out of context: as far as possible to their own way of acting. In this new space, where all (persons and objects) are “lost”, I can find something new, a new identity of things, and even a new identity of myself. Joaquin Bachrach - the artist who composed the music and sound of the video - told me that after watching again and again the work, he noticed that the mattress and the dancers were the same. He started to see the dancers as objects and the mattress as persons. He worked on the soundtracks with this idea
on mind: putting them on the same level. My work is a study of the relationship between things and humans. Sometimes I dream about the idea of leaving people with just a few objects on a desert island. Maybe - for need, or for being bored, I’ m sure that, as time passes, they will begin to interact with objects in a different way. This work aim to release, even for a moment, our everyday objects of the obligation that they have to be useful for something. That idea overwhelms me.
You have a formal training and you've studied Theater and Dance in Argentina, your native country: how in your opinion training impacts on your work?
showing them my particular point of view: that' s why I do it.
unnecessary "mistery". That was the harder job.
How important is the role of improvisation in your work?
I think that with formal training you get to a deep awareness about yourslef as a "sign" in a scene, or in space. There are elements that training brings to light: like compositive elements in the scene, rythm of what is happening, temperature of an action, some ideas that I use to think when I'm creating.
My proposal is to discover again an objet. So, if I had said "THIS is the way to touch the object, to look at it, to interact with it"... it would have been a contradiction, not acceptable for me. I propose to forget for a minute what we normally do with an object, and then the improvisation does the rest. The "creative IMAGINARY" of the perfomer or even of myself does the rest of the job. So I made a script guided by improvisations.
We have selected for publication your interesting video entitled "Lugar donde algo se arroja", whose translation is "A place where something is thrown": can you describe a little bit about your creative process? How do you even come up with such creative concepts?
Your work is intrinsically connected with the chance to create interaction with audience: when you conceive a work, do you think to whom will enjoy your work? Well, I create to communicate something or to show a different point of view, the way I see things. I think that my creative process is, for now, a little bit selfish! But I certainly expect to generate something inside the audience by
The music and the sound of you artwork has been composed by the artist Joaquin Bachrach. What is your relationship with sound? And how did this effective collaboration begin?
As I explained before in my statement, this work wants to give a different point of view of the way we interact with objects. I decided to do this, in a place where each object is out of context: the grass on the cement, the mattress falling from the sky, two neutral bodies interacting with objects... Once you propose to look at objects with different eyes, a new universe appears. This is the universe I'm interested in.
What are the differences in collaborative methods between I worked the sound with Joaquin thinking in "climax". It was important dance and video, besides the obvious difference in style? to conserve something "simple" of the action, and not to add an
Still from Lugar donde algo se arroja. Paula Almiron
For me, the difference is with video, I can guide audience's eye and do focus in a particulary aspect of a concrete action. For example, I found very interesting the way the mattress was being moved by our hands. That' s the importance of the action: what happens in our body doing it. So filming allows me to zoom into the skin of the performers, the fabric of the mattress: this is when "materiality" appears. Also, we shoot some scenes with GO-PRO cameras and we were able to show, at least for a moment, the point of view of Emanuel Luduena, the other performer. That was really interesting for me. Your works have been shown both in Europe and in America: when you show in Latin America are you perceived as an Argentinean artist or an Argentinean/American artist? I think as an Argentinean artist.
What are you working on at the moment? What are your future plans? This year I'm working with argentinean choreographers Diana Szeinblum and Lucas Condro, in a work that will premiere in may in Buenos Aires, where the focus is on the human-object relationship. Besides, I'm planning to film another video in march.
"A place where something is thrown” (9:40’) A context must be carefully analyzed as a highly specific reality, not comparable to others, in which the “phenomenon” that take place is deeply influenced and determined. If I understand by context then all that surrounds an event, both physically and symbolically, in "Place where something is thrown" each object is taken to other possibilities of "contextus", or rather they are taken to erase any context. What appears in our unconscious after taking our everyday world out of context? It would seem that objects are again “materiality”, or that we are not longer what we thought we were. Credits: General Idea and direction: Paula Almiron Video Co Direction: Nacho Mileo Realization and general production: Joaquin Bachrach, Paula Almiron Video Production: Huevo Films Creation and interpretation: Emmanuel Luduena, PaulaAlmiron Almiron Paula Original Soundtrack: Joaquin Bachrach Director of Photography: Tomas Ridilenir Camera: Nicolas Posada Juan Ignacio Losada FX: Martin Weiss Gaffer / Photography Assistant: Andres Gatto Grip: Nicolas Posada, Andres Gatto Edition: Joaquin Bachrach, Nacho Mileo, Paula Almiron Editing assistant: Nicolas Inn Filming Assistant: Paula Budnik
JUNG-CHUL HUR "Event Horizon" is an abstract short film by Korean artist, Jung-Chul Hur, with music written and composed by French artist, Fundamental Harmonics. Over a time-span of 7 minutes, synchronized with music, various scenes explore constant change of colours, lines, shapes, forms, patterns, lights, reflections and structures. According to Fundamental Harmonics, the music introduces elements of hypnotic dub techno loop, eerie atmospheric synthesizing, repetitive voice samples and distant choirs, with a powerful lowspectrum energy beyond. Both music and film were inspired by astrophysics “Event Horizon”, the main motif for this project. Event Horizon introduces a theoretical boundary found around black holes beyond which no light or other radiation can escape its gravity. As the music explores those boundaries where the properties of universe seem to bend, the music extends time and stretches the perception through various compositional elements. Moving images constantly penetrate and distort time by shrinking the original footage, causing it to speed up, as well as repositioning structures, creating new forms and generating distorted forces, where the viewer is being exposed to various levels of gravity. Viewers will experience an
A still from Fundamental Harmonics - Event Horizon
intense sense of anticipation, tension and surprise. The work explores how our eyes and ears respond to this nonnarrative and purely abstract cinematic experience. It combines a range of diverse abstract visual elements to create a dynamic representation of the horizon - a spectacle in itself. (JUNG-CHUL HUR)
Jung-Chul HUR is an artist, designer, curator, academic and also a video performance artist (VJ) born in Changwon, Korea in 1972. He did his B.F.A in Industrial Design (Major: Visual Communication Design) at the Konkuk University in Chungju in Korea from where he went on to complete an M.A. in Visual Communication at the Kent Institute of Art & Design (Renamed as University for the Creative Arts) in Maidstone in the UK between 1999 and 2000. His work, abstract and mature, graphically poetic and humorous, which encompasses video, animation, sound, illustration and book art has been shown at over 100 international festivals, galleries and on TV stations in Asia, Europe, and South and North America. His video work has been shown at Video Lisboa (Portugal 2001); Bangor New Music Festival (UK 2002); ‘Breakthrough’, Smithsonian Institute (USA 2003); Microwave (Hong Kong 2004); Media Art Friesland Festival (Netherlands 2005); Athens Video Art Festival (Greece 2006); OPTICA (Spain 2007); VideoMedeja (Serbia 2008); Irpen Film Festival (Ukraine 2009); Abstracta (Italy 2010); Emotion Filmfest (Germany 2011), Thinking MEDIA (Korea 2012) to name just a few.
A still from Fundamental Harmonics - Event Horizon His digitally produced book art works ‘Element’, ‘Element 1’ and ‘Element 2’ are in several permanent collections, including the special collection of the National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Tate Library at the Tate Britain in London, UK. As a live video performance artist he is a member of the DJs/VJ collective called Wrong Disco and was a resident at Club Culture in Bangkok from 2007 to 2009. He has performed at many different cultural events and various clubs. In order to promote young talented artists who use digital media as a form of artistic expression, Jung-Chul has started to curate short film/video art shows for galleries and festivals. Jung-Chul is the festival director of FRESH a festival of international video art and short film which presents contemporary media art from around the world to Bangkok biennially. Jung-Chul lives and works in Bangkok, Macau and Seoul. From 2003 to 2012, he taught Communication Design at the School of Architecture and Design, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) in Bangkok, Thailand. Since 2011, he is also a Visiting Professor of Communication and Media Programme at the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) in Macau SAR. Jung-Chul currently teaches at the KUB School of Design, Konkuk University GLOCAL Campus in Chungju, Korea. Butcher Rules
Could you describe your background, and how you first became interested in video as a visual medium? I have several different but interrelated professions and specialties. I am a Korean video artist, videographer, designer, curator, academic and also a live video performance artist (VJ). I have a graphic design background from Konkuk University, Korea where I did my BFA in Industrial Design with a major in Visual Communication Design. I started to produce experimental motion graphics after joining an MA in Visual Communication course at the Kent Institute of Art & Design (renamed as University for the Creative Arts) in the UK between 1999 to 2000. I am also the director of ‘FRESH a festival of International Video Art and Short Film’ which presents contemporary video art from around the world to Bangkok biannually. The festival was established in 2005 and since has held 3 editions. I participate in the creative industry in several countries as a creative director and freelancer. I currently lecture media and design related
courses at Konkuk University in Korea and also at the University of Saint Joseph in Macau. As a live video performance artist I am a member of a DJ/VJ collective called ‘Wrong Disco’ with two French DJs, DJ Will and DJ Baptiste (aka Fundamental Harmonics). I started VJing in 2004 and have performed at several cultural events, clubs and corporate functions. Around 14 years ago, attending art college in the UK, I worked with a variety of different conventional and digital mediums such as drawings, prints, two dimensional computer graphics and ‘book art’. I was opening myself to any possible form of visual expression however once I started to work with the moving image, which I saw as a nontangible form in a sense, it was the catalyst for a final shift from analogue to digital. Finding myself interested in the visual arts but deeper involved with video gave me a kind of relief, also in material terms as conventional mediums proved to be quite expensive. Soon after I started submitting my first video pieces to festivals throughout the world. Being able to make multiple copies and send out simul-
taneously to multiple events was one mundane events happening on the of the advantages of the easily repro- street to interactions with my friends and beyond. I would playback what I ducible nature of video. recorded and transfer these mateI see myself as a constant traveller, I rials to a computer to work on. It was have not really settled down at a an amazing and life changing single place for almost two decades. experience. For over 14 years I’ve I currently live and work between been using video camcorders, now Bangkok, Seoul and Macau. evolved to record in full HD format Whenever I move around there are using SD cards instead of the limits to what I could bring with me. previous MiniDV tapes. Before it was But my laptop and video camcorder very time consuming transferring always follow me as if life-long videotape to computer. Now HD companions.At some point, I started video can transfer directly but in turn to see video as quite similar to requires large quantity of hard disk human beings. Video is a medium space. It allows me to work with high which first existed on a tape, and definition sequences but in exchange now in digital format, but if there is brings on other technical issues. no electrical charge then the video is unable to be seen even if the work is Video camcorders have been a masterpiece. It is dependent on constantly improved in line with external factors to exist. To me it is computers, both in hardware and real and palpable but at same time it software. This has allowed increaisn’t. I think we, human beings, are sing flexibility in the manipulation of also similar in this sense. It’s a huge footage, a significant change and question for me that our life feels so development both in workflow and tangible and immersing but yet is creative possibilities. likewise transient and ethereal? What about our after life? How do we These technological advances have prove our existence? What is truly greatly influenced my work and its processes. After beginning my physical or metaphysical? moving image production using What progression or changes purely a computer for abstract have you seen in your materials? pieces, this technology allowed me to How has your production pro- record visuals and sound to generate figurative and live-action video cesses changed over the years? pieces as well as audios. Thus I In 1999, my first series of moving became aware of the importance of image pieces were entirely produced sound design for moving images. on a computer without using a video camcorder. As I had a graphic design However, despite this transition over background from my previous these 14 years I have identified a undergraduate studies, it was solid common thread to my pieces, probably a natural transition to simple and minimal images but with evolve from two-dimensional graphic absolute control of all elements and images towards animation software, variables. experimenting with motion graphics which were purely abstract and Can you tell us about your progeometric. It was the beginning a cess and set up for making your personal exploration of the notion of work? What technical aspects do time. Gradually I started utilizing you mainly focus on your work? still photography images to form It varies greatly depends on each animated sequences. From that project, although I have mainly two experience I learned that any kind of working methods. When I have a source could be used for creating commissioned video project or a moving images. clear intention for the outcome of a personal video art piece, I begin Soon after, I started using a video these projects with contextualizacamcorder occasionally loaned by my tion, thematization and conceptuaart college and began capturing lization. visuals and sounds on MiniDV tapes. Around 2001, I acquired my first own The opposite is capturing a moment video camcorder. It was a small Sony as a starting point. I usually try to Handycam. I took this very portable take my video camera along camcorder almost everywhere I went wherever I go. If I encounter any visuals or events and captured scenes examining interesting every aspect of my context, from spontaneously appear I am compel-
led to record. I personally see every moment as consisting of a sequence of overlooked images. As Confucius once said ‘there is beauty in everything, but not everyone sees it’. To me it is a very compelling process to explore the original captured images in anticipation of the emergence of new transformed images. I think I am a kind of perfectionist in this sense, and usually try to get clean steady shots if possible to help me in processing the captured sequences into a smooth final result. In my recent pieces, for several years now, I have applied a simple extreme slow motion technique. Specifically transforming a few seconds of an original event into a stretched or expanded final piece that often becomes over several minutes long. Finding or discovering sequences that have an artistic cogency is crucial, also a time-consuming process but I try to enjoy it. If our eyes are able to see the world at a different speed, then surely we will discover whole new worlds of imagery. This working process invites me to experience how these glimpses, which we are surrounded by but usually escape our attention, can be freely transformed once captured as digital format. Could you describe the relationship between your video making practice and music? Music and sound are essential to my video production. Since I began my video art career, I have produced some experimental and independent music videos. Currently I am working on an independent music video for the Thai artist ‘Art Thomya’. Music is an area which I wished to expand on, hoping to compose my own tunes but until now was hampered by lack of personal technical experience. As I mentioned I am a founding member of the ‘Wrong Disco’ collective as a VJ and in recent years have also collaborated with one of our two DJ members, DJ Baptiste Mauerhan aka Fundamental Harmonics, on alternative projects. As he is not only a DJ but also a talented electronic music composer, it has exposed me deeper to the process and technology, facilitating my evolution in this field. I introduced his compo-
Stills from Fundamental Harmonics - Event Horizon sition into an experimental video project and was invited to produce the visuals for his newly released music track. I constantly strive for originality both in my videos as well as audios. Although I cannot technically compose a tune yet I am however constantly working with sounds. Digital tools allow me to capture sound and with editing software I manipulate and experiment to transform this into exciting and surprising new forms. We would like to focus a bit on your interesting work "Event Horizon", whose stills can ne admired by our readers in the pages of this issue. By the way, what was your initial inspiration? “Event Horizon” is an abstract short film produced by myself with music written and composed by the French artist Fundamental Harmonics mentioned earlier. This video piece runs over 7 minutes, synchronizing with every detail in the music. Various scenes explore a constant transmutation of colours, lines, shapes, forms, textures, patterns, lights, reflections and structures. According to Fundamental Harmonics, the music introduces elements of hypnotic dub techno loops, eerie atmospheric synthesizing, repetitive voice samples and distant choirs. Both music and film were inspired by astrophysics, the main motif for this project. Event Horizon introduces a theoretical boundary found around black holes beyond which no light or other radiation can escape. As the
music explores these boundaries where the properties of the universe seem to bend, the music extends time and stretches perception through various compositional elements. Moving images constantly penetrate and distort time by shrinking the original footage, causing it to speed up. Structures are repositioned, creating new forms and generating distorted forces, where the viewer is being exposed to various levels of gravity.Hence viewers will experience an intense sense of anticipation, tension and surprise. The work explores how our eyes and ears respond to this nonnarrative and purely abstract cinematic form. Thus this combination of a wide range of diverse abstract visual elements creates a dynamic representation of the horizon - a spectacle in itself.
revolution in the field of artistic creation. What's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
My two main streams of practice are both video art and VJing. Having started VJing in 1994 my collective Wrong Disco in Bangkok was subsequently formed in 1996. We are currently working on rebranding ourselves in order to broaden the spectrum of our performances, evolving into new cultural and social contexts. For me live VJing and conventional video art are deeply inter-related and frequently my video art pieces influence and become part of my VJing material. Likewise during VJing I often discover new ideas that reflect back onto my video Your film was inspired by art, a truly symbiotic relationship. astrophysics “Event Horizon”, and at the same time it reveals a In addition, over 14 years I have scientifical approach to amassed an extensive archive of perception through the use of video recordings both on MiniDV repositioning patterns. Could you tapes and hard disks. Unfortunately comment this symbiosis between so far I have been able to explore only a tiny fraction of this vast science and art? resource for my video art pieces. One might see science and art as two Unused materials, specially in this very different entities but in my quantity and variety, are truly vision they have always been closely overwhelming and I feel many inter-related. Examining the history inspiring images are awaiting to be of art, one finds science constantly found. contributing to the art world with the My plans are to revisit this archive, development of physical materials tapping into what feels like a neverand innovations such as pigments ending source of new although recycled imagery. I yearn to discover and new mediums. Recently this relationship was hidden sequences and curious to see augmented by computer and digital what I can achieve with them. technology opening a new world of Actually I have very clear ideas for creative possibilities, with artists several future projects and invite you exploring the potential of these new to discover them soon. and fascinating tools to start a
DAN HOPKINS An important aspect of your work is the interaction with sound artists. In mainstream cinema the soundtrack is often marginalized, filmmakers seem to be even less aware of the creative exchange between artists operating with different media. What's your relationship with musicians? I love music; it is an important part of my inspiration to make work. I worked as a sound editor in film and TV for a period of time, and that had a big influence on my work. The films made for and with musicians are very much a bigger chance to experiment, to try things out. These things then feed back into my short films. I hope to develop more relationships in the future that are more collaborative, at the moment I have been working with musicians on a commission basis. They ask me to make a film for a track to promote a record, or because they like what I do and want to see that synergy between us. I am also create music as the alias landcrash. Being involved as a sound artist as well as a filmmaker helps understand where the music comes from.
Your Movement series highlights the invisible connections between inner landscapes and "actual" places. How did you develop your style? I work a full time job as a university lecturer in film production I also have a family. The movement series is and was a chance to make films when I can when I have some time on a train or bus, or out walking. The success of them was due to also researching and attending film festivals. I realised a place for them. The style of the films is a personal one. I believe that all writer/creators/makers of films can only make personal films. These are films that come from the heart and also put yourself on screen. I am quite an emotional and sensitive person this I feel comes through in the films. With the movement films I have found a way of making films that I can do. That can be done around my work and family, and not hinder that.
The biggest impact the DSLR has had is to do with shooting landscapes. With HD digital video you can. Before it was only really film that you could shoot landscapes. The DSLR that I have allows me to do this. I make films, the tech always is changing. I go with what we can do, what is possible. I’m looking forward to when compositing is easier to do in production as I feel as an artist’s filmmaker that could be interesting for me. My production process has developed and allowed me to make films when I want to sometime solo, which has helped with budgets. Though working as an artist on your own is not something I would advocate, working in a team is allot better allot more challenging and creatively inspiring and you create better work. But not always possible. How long does it usually take to finish a video?
Have the advent of DSLR-cinema had a radical impact on your filmmaking in terms of "cinematographic language"? How has your production process changed over the years?
Depends on the brief I get or I set myself, the last music video I did for camp stag took about 3 days. The last film did for myself Movement # 4 as an artist took 2 years.
I generally take longer to make my own films, as there are no set deadlines for me to follow, when I am working with a gallery, musician or record label there is deadlines. So I make decisions based on this. With Movement # 4 it was a process of discovery it was the first film I shot on DSLR and I didn’t have a goal for it completely when started making it. That is why it is one of my movement films. It is an experiment.
am making work that is relevant. Having an audience in integral to making any art form. Knowing that people will
lik and take something from my films is a driving force, and it nice to have as well. What are you going to be working on next? I am currently promoting my latest film Movement # 4 to film festivals and art galleries. next up is creating several one off films. Around several topics including farmers gateways, football fields and disused nightclubs. Though these films are all in the early days of discussion with art galleries and funding.
Your works have been screened at many important experimental film festivals in the world, like Naoussa and Tirana Film Festival. Is the thought about an audience influencing you somehow when you are shooting? I like to make films that people will see and take something from, and to also challenge conventions of what it is. I try to stay in touch with what is happening in the experimental film world so that I
In his latest film Daniel Hopkins continues his Movement series with Movement film number 4. This film represents Hopkins continued exploration of movement onscreen and in moving images. The images within Movement 4 are static for the most part; they represent an antithesis of the previous movement films, where the images moved quickly. The equipment has dictated the pace of the Movement films that they have been made with, and continue Hopkins passion for crafting moving images out of anything to hand. Movement 1 to 3 was created with mobile phones and basic consumer digital stills cameras. The work created with these films was fast and heavily manipulated. The success of these films led to funding for the latest film. This funding was from the research department of the University Hopkins works at, Staffordshire University. As well as an artist Hopkins is full time Lecturer in Film Production. This film Movement 4 looks very different it is in High Definition and is of a high image quality. This changed the films ideas and development. This film is more about the subject matter and less the technology. This is to do with the lack of character and glitches to the high definition images. This series of films have created a body of work that has been defined by the technology that has created it and also the limits around it. They have also been a test bed for ideas and development for other films to come from. Daniel Hopkins (b.1976) is a Filmmaker, Sound Artist based in Staffordshire, UK. Daniel Hopkins work is concerned with the landscape around his everyday life. Current films and sound pieces have been about the environment, noise pollution and travel. His Movement series of films are about travel and the landscape whether that be a internal landscape or an actual place. Hopkins work has shown at many film festivals over the last ten years including Tirana International Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival. Movement on Screen Festival, Liverpool, UK. Australian International Experimental Film Festival, Naoussa International Film Festival etc. He has also had many sound and film commissions from the Arts Council of England and a variety of Record Labels. Specifically creating films for electronic musicians.
Restrictions are a common theme within Hopkins work. Films in the last 10 years have only included 1 actor. Hopkins is more interested in the space left by Humans than human beings themselves. The landscape and mans place within it is integral to Hopkins work. What is left behind after a human beings presence. These concerns have led to work about light pollution, noise pollution. And the architecture we put up to get to places. Roads, train tracks and waterways. This has created a body of work that is informed by its technology as much as its subject matter. The technology of man’s quest for travel and to better his self, and the constant development of the filmmaker’s tools.
AZAHARA CEREZO Nowadays we are seeing more and more exhibitions focused on artists from developing countries. This trend started in the end of the Eighties, just think of "Les Magicienne de la Terre in Paris " which represents a milestone indeed, however after twenty years, despite phenomena like the "biennalization" (the largescale diffusion of Biennale exhibitions in the world) the art market seems more and more polarized. What's your opinion? The idea of “exotic” or “the other” has always been present in human thinking and knowledge, but the globalisation and the recent crisis has made that certain developing countries acquire more importance. As a consequence, these countries are now economically stronger and they can -and they do- invest in arts so that the people from the other countries pay more attention to them. Developing countries are spending every time more money
in art, promoting their artists and sending them abroad and also buying art from other countries and bringing home artists from other places. So I think that the importance of the developing countries is more due to a change of the economic model than an innocent fashionable phenomenon. Your arworks are often is intrinsically connected with the chance to create interaction with audience: when you conceive a work, do you think to whom will enjoy your work? I usually do not think of who is going to enjoy my work, but of how to show it and this affects and involves somehow the user or the viewer. When I am absorbed in that process of working, sometimes I consider necessary to include some interactive or reactive elements. Do you think that art could play an important role in facing social questions? And what role does the artist have in society? could Art steer or even change people's behavior?
I think that the different forms of art are necessary in all societies, because they make the society think, consider limits and explore options that had never examined before. In fact, since the art is done in the society and not for the society, it is inevitable that art has a relationship with social issues. However, there are different approaches to that connections depending on the artist or the space where the artwork is going to be shown, among other elements. The art can contribute in one way or another to make some social situations visible and, eventually, to change them. I appreciate and believe in the effects that an arts movement or an artwork can cause, but personally I do not usually think of projects that have as a first goal to change things, this may come later.
Tell us something about your recent experience at the Digital Arts Studios in Belfast: how do residencies and travel influence your art?
In my case, I consider that moving is something enriching for my work. I do not think that travelling is essential to create, but I do think is important to be active. As a consequence, I try to make the most of the changes that happen in my life to learn and work on new things. Experiences such as the residency at Digital Arts Studios provide the place and the tools to the artist and, most of all, give him or her the chance to focus on the work and nourish him or herself from a productive environment that respects the art and the artist. By the way, you have moved from Spain to Ireland: how much this ha informed your creative process? It has been a wonderful experience. In my case, not only allowed me to go away from the negative atmosphere that we have in Spain, but also to know other approaches to the art practice and the art administration as well as other ways of considering art. I moved to Northern Ireland and there is a quite small artistic
community there, more than in Barcelona or Madrid, where I had also been living before. This is often something positive, because it makes you feel part of the artistic life faster, although everywhere there are power relationships that you, as a stranger, cannot change and obviously, you cannot expect being recognised for your work as first. Everything takes time, and so does this. Your work deals with new media technology: do you think that new media art will definitely fill the dichotomy between art and technology? 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 exists longer? I do not think there is such dichotomy, but a series of transfers, possibilities and maybe limits between both fields. Thus, and in this aspect I think as Claudia Gianetti that the technology itself does not produce anything creative. Creativity uses technology as a
means and not as an aim. This is something that I, as someone who has practically grown up with computers and the digital world, struggled to understand. On the other hand, this digitalisation intensifies the mix among disciplines. The image expanded through the screen and gave rise to the screensphere, as Roman Gubern says. Then some artistic practices that question the original cinema were born. At the beginning, there was a try to separate videoart from cinema, but I do not think that this rupture has ever existed or at least, not completely. There are several cinema directors that have used videoart as part of their broad artistic creation (Peter Greenaway or David Lynch, for instance) and at the same time, the video and, more recently, digital tools have changed the way we understand cinema nowadays. Thank you for this interview, Azahara. Just another question: what are your upcoming projects?
I have been working on a video called “The last battle” which is going to be screened at the Forum of Cultures 2013 in Naples. After that there is a world tour around interesting festivals and venues like the Athens Video Art Festival, the International Motion Festival (Cyprus), the Now&After Festival (Moscow) or the Gallerie Chartier
(Connecticut, USA). Besides, I am working on another project, “Comentaris a la ciutat pantalla” (“Comments on the screen city”) with the artist Mario Santamaria. The proposal has been selected by Sala d'Art Jove (Barcelona) and is going to be part of this year public events and exhibitions.
Azahara Cerezo is a Spanish visual artist born in 1988. Her work focuses mainly on social changes, social movements, physical and virtual public space and the connectons of these elements with power. She ofen takes as a startng point a piece of news and then she analises it in depth, asking questons, trying to link it with other issues, thinking about how to deal with it, eliminatng all that and restartIng again in a usually long process untl a project comes up. She works with audiovisual and new media and her projects are mostly shown as real-tme interactIve installatons, experimental videos and ephemeral actons on the Internet. Azahara Cerezo has been an internatonal artist-in-residence at Digital Arts Studios (Belfast) and has shown her works in the Golden Thread Gallery (Belfast), the Natonal Library (Buenos Aires), C arte C (Complutense Arts Centre – Madrid) and CC La Bтbila (Barcelona), among others. She is one of the artsts taking part in 100x100=900, a project that gathers 100 videoartsts to explain the 20th century which will be exhibited in Naples – Universal Forum of Cultures 2013.
LOUDWIG VAN LUDENS First of all we would like to ask you what in your opinion defines a work of Art. A work of art is defined by its statement and radiating power. A work of art is a communication form, ideally a metaphysical dialogue between the artist, his work and the viewer. A work of art is an equaliser for the sound of the universe. You are a multidisciplinary artist: how do you choose a particular media for your works? And what technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work? My work is based on the anamorphic mirror distortion, whether painting, sculpture, photo, video, light membranes or installation. Everything in my work is subordinated to the statement, the medium is determined by the kind of work, mostly mixed media/multi media and combined techniques.
The technical aspect is focused on experimentation/ invention based on experience, research and intuition .You are able to face political themes in an oniric-ironic dimension. Do you think that any authentic artistic gesture reveals always an hidden political, social nature? Not necessarily, but this oniricironic dimension is found in the works of many artists from Hieronimus Bosch to Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp, Frieda Kahlo, Andrei Tarkovsky, Francis Bacon just to name a few from the past. I see in today's art, particularly in street art, video and music video art more and more oniric-ironic qualities and statements that reveal a lot of socio-political aberrations. What inspired you to realise "Heil gott"?
I was inspired to make this video during Pope Benedict XVI visit to Berlin on 22.September 2011. In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle martyred in Rome. According by definition the Pope is 'infallible'. Therefore I question the paradoxical behaviour of the Pope inter alia, his address to the Jewish Community, his speech at the 'Reichstag' and the ceremony of the Holy Mass at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, (Historical venue of the 1936 games under the patronage of Adolf Hitler.) Last but not least, his faith. The Holy Father seems to trust more in a heavily armoured Mercedes-Benz SUV and a bunch of MIB's (Men In Black) when it comes to his security than in his Lord. I find it highly questionable, to denote a man as infallible who acts in such a way. I am fallible. I will not throw the first stone. I just try to understand the contradiction between word and deed.
industry, the political and social consensus, the increasing monopolisation of the media. A video artist, however is free to create immediate, unadulterated, I do not consider myself a cinematographer. Some of my works authentic and is (ideally) only are visually distorted documentaries committed to the realisation of his vision. This difference (border) The basic Idea is the visualisation of made in one take, others are between cinema and video art will meticulously made space the String & M- Theory as well as remain. installations of mirrors lenses and the visualisation of the Wormhole lighting documented by photo or Theory from my perspective and Thank you for this interview, video, others are improvisations understanding of the same. dependent on the theme. The videos Lou. Just another question: What and photos as works are just the are your upcoming projects? I learned about the mathematical visible tip of the iceberg, I work model of theoretical physics known with analog or digital recording My upcoming projects: as 'The String Theory and Supertechnology, for cutting videos I use 1. 'Live Membranes' a multimedia string Theory' devised by several iMovie without special effects. installation performance with physicists among others: the Sometimes it's like an alchemical experimental music. I will build and theories of Leonard Susskind, experiment, sometimes as a play the 'Loumatic' and the light Michio Kaku, Michael Green, John Sisyphean marathon construction. membranes. Luca Fogagnolo plays Schwarz which led to, or were the bass, trombone and electronics, summarised by Edward Witten as Arthur Colombini sings, plays guitar the M-Theory. These theories about In these last years we have seen and electronics. Various events are that the frontier between Video physics and the works of Peter Art and Cinema is growing more scheduled. Sloterdijk his 'Critique of Cynical 2. I organise the second edition of Reason' and the trilogy 'Spheres' on and more vague. Do you think the art festival 'Friction Art Berlin'* philosophy and cultural studies have that this "frontier" will exist theme 'Entropy'. The festival is inspired me in my work to explore longer? scheduled for autumn, it will last a the invisible layers of perception week and consists of a base which led me to develop my Some borders are becoming more anamorphic mirror video/photo permeable, others are strengthened. exhibition and numerous site specific satellite events. It is about technique and light membranes. In the authors cinema, the the friction between different artists After years of experimenting with expression forms of video art have and their positions. This year, I will diverse mirror installations, lenses become a matter of course. By and lighting I have been able to contrast, in mainstream cinema, the cooperate with various curators, art visualise my vision of the String & filmmakers are subjected to a whole space owners, galleries, clubs and M-Theory. range of constraints which solidify the borders. The boundaries are set 'Artist Dock'. by the financial interests of the We are very impressed by your Anamorphic video technique inspired by the String theory. Could you introduce our readers to this unusual aspect of your art process?
Could you describe your process from a cinematographer's point of view?
LOUDWIG VAN LUDENS
Excerpt from 'Ludens Anamorphosis' by Jean Sorrente "But here, everything takes place in a parodic mode, and this is the breaking of taboos, not their reaction. They are put into play, made play of in the game made between what is seen and what is said. And if one remembers that the artist-photographer is called Ludens, one understands the playful dimension of these esthetical, political and ideological paradoxes. As Baltrusaitis wrote: ‘Anamorphosis is not an aberration where the reality is subjugated by the mind’s eye. It is an optical trick where the apparent eclipses the real.’ With Ludens, this eclipse is instead an unveiling, a revealing. The ideology elicited by every image does not stop reality intruding, as an ironical mirror image."
Full text at: http://loudwigvanludens.weebly.com /ludens-anamorphic-work.html
I question the achievements of the Homo Faber from an anthropological, sociocultural and spiritual perspective.
The human animal builds its world with the help of tools and aligns its spirituality with it. With the distortion/equalization of its creation, I question the technophile approach of 'Homo Faber'. I use low-tech tools - photographed or filmed reflections of mirror installations, without computer manipulation exempt for
editing. The work is structured into distorted and undistorted visual reflections and representations of a reality, wherein the visually undistorted presentation includes a substantive distortion and equalization of societal consensus. In the case of 'Heil Gott', I was inspired to make this video during Pope Benedict XVI visit to Berlin on 22.September 2011. In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle martyred in Rome. According by definition the Pope is 'infallible'. Therefore I question the paradoxical behavior of the Pope inter alia, his address to the Jewish Community, his speeches at the 'Reichstag'. The ceremony of the Holy Mass at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, historical venue of the 1936 games under the patronage of Adolf Hitler. Last but not least, his faith. The Holy Father seems to trust more in a heavily armored Mercedes-Benz SUV and a bunch of MIB's (Men In Black) when it comes to his security than in his Lord. I find it highly questionable, to denote a man infallible who acts in such a way. I am fallible. I will not throw the first stone. I just try to understand the contradiction between word and deed. The sound track is mixed from the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's " Messiah. recorded 1936 at the opening of the 11th Olympic games. Crowd cheering from the Reichstag from 1939. Live broadcast of the Pope's speech at the Reichstag from 2011. First showing at the group show 'Naked Factory' at the 'Kunsthalle M3' Berlin in 2011.
Last showing at the 'Cyber Fest 2012' at 'The State Hermitage Museum for Contemporary Art' in St. Petersburg
Loudwig van Ludens
A still from Semaphore (of Dendroid Origin)
Semaphore (of Dendroid Origin) single channel video, running time:14:11, 2011
“Conceived as an origin video to the photographic series Dendroid--a collision between the digital landscape and landscape photography--Toban Nichols expands on this investigation with Semaphore. Traditionally, a “semaphore” was a train signal that indicated the state of the track ahead and how a train should advance, such as: clear, caution or stop.
pretation of the surrounding environment and the transient ebb and flow of the techno-distortion high-lights how visual/ digital information invades our daily routines. Additionally, Semaphore considers the exponential rate of technological advancement (predicated by Moore’s Law) and society's unquestioning forward march toward a mutable and unforeseen future.”
In the video, we see scenes of two people in a domestic space which alternate between panoramic vistas of rolling foothills, a craggy coast and an urban shipyard. The semaphores--the man and woman--perform seemingly arbitrary gestures which then allow the viewer to proceed into the meditative landscapes. Keeping with his distinctive process of manipulating technology, Nichols elevates his deconstructionist tendencies creating vibrantly colored star-burst explosions and kaleidoscopic “semaphorms” that whimsically transform and dissolve back into the scenes.
Craig M. Corpora (Art) Writer
The digital distortion layered on top of picturesque tableaus (and the canned sounds of nature) suggest the way technology has mediated our inter-
Toban Nichols, is a deconstruc-tivist artist living in Los Angeles. His work has been seen inter-nationally in SCOPE New York, SCOPE Basel, the Digital Fringe Festival in Melbourne Australia, Les Territoires in Montreal, as well as The Seattle Art Museum. After earning a Bachelors degree in painting, he moved west to study New Media at the San Francisco Art Institute in California where he recieved an MFA in Digital Media and Videography. He has been granted a residency with the Experimental Television Center in New York, and awarded the Juror's Pick at the Art-
House Film Festival in 2009 for his video entitled "BATTLESTATIONS!!" In 2012, Nichols launched an artist series line of pillows, and created a photo app for iDevices worldwide. His work will be seen at the University of Virginia in Charlotte & a new public installation in Los Angeles, California. More work can be seen at www.tobannichols.com.
A still from Semaphore (of Dendroid Origin) What in your opinion defines a work of Art? Over the years my definition of art has broadened and stretched. I used to think calling something art meant that it was absolutely a part of one of the proper visual art disciplines. It was easily recognizable as a piece of art. A painting, sculpture, drawing, print, etc. I would say I was kind of a stickler for keeping strict definitions. Taking history classes and looking at a lot of art certainly opened up my mind to the many possibilities of what art can be. Now as my own work has grown from painting and drawing into printmaking, photography, digital manipulation, video etc. I don't really have a simple definition. Honestly, anything can be art now, as long as the artist can contextualize it. You have a formal training in painting you received MFA from San Francisco Art Institute: how in your opinion has training informed your art production? Moreover, do you think that artists with a formal education have an advantage over self-taught artists? Along the same line as the first question, I have always felt like a formal education was essential for an artist to grow their skill, nurture the talent, and of course
learn about the art world's history. I felt that way all the way through graduate school at SFAI. Even as I experienced a 3 month long creative block my first semester in San Francisco that almost derailed my education, I still felt like it was a worthwhile and necessary part of becoming a professional artist. I guess part of that problem is the word "professional". In order to function in the art world, one really has to have a handle on how the system works and how to infiltrate and make connections. You also need a set of tools that education delivers to not only make your work but also navigate the emotional and career ups and downs that come along with this life. I know it sounds ridiculous considering all the pain in the world but I do feel that being an artist and making a lifetime career out of your work is a tough job. One where you are the captain of the ship, guiding it through, no one else is spearheading your career, no matter how many galleries or agents you employ. It's all ultimately up to you and you alone. I have experienced crushing depression and have been faced with decisions I didn't want to make. You have to work through that and hope that you've been prepared for it. I really feel I wouldn't have made it this far without my school experience. But there are definitely people who make it big
without a formal education. Plenty of artists have a rich career and no formal training. I think those people have either been very very lucky or are much smarter than I am. I really mean that, I'm not being facetious either, I truly mean that people who make a living w/out an education have to be incredibly clever or smart. By the way, as a videomaker, do you find that your Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting plays a role in your process? As I learned about painting and developed my style and interest in it, I could see a change on the horizon. I knew that I was growing out of painting. I wanted something more for my work. I saw a different kind of expression and a different medium informing me. I wasn't sure what it was for a very long time, I just knew it was coming. My first video works were referred to as "motion paintings" because I needed to call them something that acted as a bridge between the world of painting and video. They honestly seemed to me like paintings that were moving. I was interested in the same set of ideas I had as a painter- texture, color, heavy line use, outlining, etc. And I believed that those early video works were functioning like paintings. In hindsight I see now
that wasn't actually true, I was just using the bridge as an excuse not to be a filmmaker or video artist. I was trying to hang on to the painter moniker, like it had some special significance in the history of art. Kind of silly now that I think about it. But I was a very serious person back then, at least in my head when I thought about my work. I stayed within a set of self drawn rules and followed them tightly, creating new rules to govern my work. I try very hard to be free-er now and recognize when I'm headed down that road of building up walls and rules. We would like to ask you some technical questions about your recent video Semaphore (of Dendroid Origin) whose still can be admired in these pages by our readers. Can you tell us about your process and set up for making this work? The idea for Semaphore came from a body of my print work called "Dendroid". It acts as an origin story for the Dendroid prints or a prequel, in movie terms. The original photos and footage are from several locales in both Northern and Southern California. The inspiration came when we moved house from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2009. In the first year of moving, we made monthly and sometimes weekly trips from LA to San Francisco. I missed San Francisco so much at that time but also found LA to be incredibly interesting. Traveling the road between the two cites is pretty boring by anyone's standard but we found that breaking off from the main freeway and discovering more scenic routes revealed some gorgeous vistas. To me, these places seemed hidden and not used by the majority of travelers who wanted to be in either place sooner rather than later. Taking routes like the Pacheco Pass to get to San Francisco rather than the 5 Freeway, showed the lushness and true beauty of California's native landscapes. In Semaphore the man and the woman apparently performs "arbitrary" gestures: this practise, often practised in contemporary theatre and videoart as well, assumes in your video a real cinematographic feel. Has it been difficult to direct actors in order to achieve that? The actors play the role of "Semaphores" or signals that show travelers (alien or human) the direction they should go. The arbitrary gestures act as signals or signs to the viewer, providing decipherable information. Depending on the actor it can be really hard to communicate what you want. Luckily, the two in Semaphore were really quick and good at their craft. I had initially sat down with each of them separately to explain what the video was
about and give them the motivation for their characters. They both did a great job and only in one particular scene did we have any trouble at all. The lady semaphore has a scene on in the middle of the swimming pool giving her signals and the poor actress was scared of water and wearing three inch heels while she turned. I had to hold my breath not to laugh because there were a few times that she screamed and would almost fall during the filming. I feel horrible saying that, I shouldn't have been laughing at all. I'm horrible! In your opinion, in what way has technology changed our interpretation of the surrounding environment? I like to think that we have used technology to show the beauty of nature and the environment. I want to show people things & places they haven't seen before. I grew up as a TV kid and make no apologies for it, I learned about the world around me and in other far off places because of technology at a young age. I wanted to venture out into the world because of what I had seen on TV, it's what made me first want to move from sleepy Kansas to California, and what made me want to go to Europe for the first time in High School. I was determined to go on adventures through technology. I do think now most of us have our heads buried in our cell phones and can easily miss what's going on around us. I'm just as guilty of that, though I also use that smartphone as a lens on the world. I'm often looking at the world through that cameraphone or my DSLR. Interpreting the view and providing context. You have a very rich CV. What experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries? What is the difference between exhibiting, for example, in Switzerland and exhibiting in Australia or in the United States? I have had great experiences showing in other countries. I've always been so welcomed. The first time I was asked to exhibit outside the United States was the first time I felt like this choice of career could actually work out. I felt like I had "made it" finally. I know that sounds silly but to be recognized and have your work shown and achknowledged anywhere outside of your own studio is a big thrill. I can be painfully shy at times especially when it comes to talking about my work. And it has often been hard walking into a show somewhere your work is up and not knowing anyone or having only spoken to people on the phone or email. That first interaction is suffocating sometimes. I have really had so many great experiences showing abroad and
in the US. Only a couple of times have things gone wrong. Once, in an installation of a book project I did, the book was stolen from the gallery twice! I had to replace the book two times for the show to continue. And when something like that happens you have to ask yourself a few questions about how to handle it and whether to move on w/ the show or not. http://tobannichols.com/tobannichols.co m/oppobrium.html As for differences in exhibiting in other countries and the US, I would have to say that outside of the United States, I've always felt like those I've worked with were very excited and appreciative to be working w/ me. There was an underlying good energy that flowed between us. I know I always feel that excitement and appreciation but not everyone does.
Thank you for this interview, Toban. Just another question: what are your upcoming projects? I'm working on a new photo series involving people making abstract shapes shot from above. Another body of work based on something called the "Lost Decade" between 1978 and 1983 that contains new sculptures made of paper. And, I'm also continuing my product line this year that birthed the BROllow pillow collection http://tobannichols.com/tobannichols.co m/The_Bro-llow.html) & branching out into new things, possibly a plate collection. I've spent most of the year so far conflicted about my work so things are moving a bit slowly and I'm trying to snap out of the funk. Cross your fingers for me, ok?
CARL KNICKERBOCKER Before focusing on image making, you have studied History and Sociology. How much this experiences have impacted on your art? And what caused you to become an artist? A large influence. Looking for themes to explore, one, I would think, tends to visit interests that compel an aesthetic response. There are social, cultural and philosophical issues that deserve my efforts to construct an artistic reaction. I'd finished college and was young enough to think I had something to say. But, also aware I didn't have the chops to write, make music or otherwise effectively communicate what I thought was interesting to me. There was a review of the book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" in the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, this would've been in 1984, read the article, bought the book. That's when I started drawing. Painting and such came later. By the way, Do you think that selftaught artists have an advantage
over artists with a formal education? No. At least not from my perspective. I spent probably ten years learning how to draw the figure and still life to some kind of passable representation of what could be called "art", or at least what I thought art should look like. And, of course, then I felt comfortable enough to break the rules, so to speak, of what the larger culture calls art. Think I could've saved some time by learning the basics at art school. The "self-taught" versus "academic" artistâ€Ś is that still a big issue? I don't read the art critique journals. For others, I see no advantage between the self-taught or academic. I categorize my style as Suburban Primitive and leave it at that. Do you visualize your Art before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin? Whatâ€™s your process? I do visualize and have an idea of what a painting, and now video, will look like. The process is to consider a topic or theme that I want to explore. I start
writing an outline, and doing very rough sketches. Wrestling through this early process a narrative becomes defined. I make the paintings and props/puppets. Start shooting the action, and undoubtably, new artwork is needed or maybe the story evolves. For example, in SP #6, the man in the chair was to only be in one scene. But once the shooting process started he became an integral part of the story. 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 exists longer? My first response is that it's all semantics. You're making me think about definitions. I'll say cinema is broad and objective. Videoart is narrow and subjective. The process of making and showing moving pictures is becoming democratized, so I'm thinking the frontiers will necessarily become blurred. Terrence Malickâ€Ś a cinema videoartist.
We would like to mention your interesting artwork entitled SP #6 that we have selected for this issue: what was your inspiration for this piece? Can you talk about the development of your techniques and imagery? In SP #6 I wanted to take a look at western religion, alienation and Shakespeare's "all the world's a stage" phrase. The chore was to represent man's alienation from nature. To do this I had man, not coming out of a womb, but being "born" falling out of a tube structure. They "fall", or maybe corrupt, through wild nature/paradise - the fall of Adam etc. The men in cages is the alienation imagery. The interior scene is the madness of the struggle of where/how we think about our selves (would that be the existential?). The scene with the masks and church organ music is the formalization of embracing an image of our self. The play is a morality play (and all the world's a stage). The guy in the chair, who is in most of the scenes, may be God, or a simple viewer which gives the action meaning or maybe it's me. Then again, the audience is welcome to conjure their own narrative. Looking at my notes, the initial focus of the film was on Social Darwinism… guess it wandered off. The technique is to make paintings. The paintings are acrylic on canvas, roughly 30" x 50". The "puppets" are microcell foam, I paint that as well. I shoot as much as possible on my own. Two friends, Rob and Stacy, came over
one morning to do the complicated puppet manipulation. Rob brought his camera for a couple of two-camera shots. Edit on FCP X. Lastly, compose and perform the soundtrack on Apple Garageband. What experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries? What is the difference between exhibiting, for example, in Europe and exhibiting in China or in the United States? I've never been to a screening outside the state of Florida (United States). Can't speak to any differences to the reception of the work based on geography. I'm happy to be included in any film festival. That a fair percentage is outside the US is a plus I suppose. It's just part of the game to chase opportunities to show one's art, wherever that may be. There may be a better response to my work in continental Europe. I'm still relatively new to the videoart/film culture.
Came to the conclusion I needed to shoot my own stuff. So looked online, considered the video cam or dslr option and went with the Canon T3i. Bought it in February 2012 and went to work. I like it. I got my Mac and Final Cut Pro X setup in July 2011. Taught myself how to work the stuff… still learning. Getting additional lens was good. More gear is generally good. Find that I'm doing more green screen shots as I become familiar with that technique. Lighting is an adventure. Putting illumination on painted surfaces, both tedious and exciting, as mentioned, an adventure. What’s next for Carl Knickerbocker? Are there any new projects on the horizon?
Looking forward this year to the reception of the work I did in 2012. Mostly the SP #6 short. Also waiting to see how a project I contributed to in Naples, Italy, is realized. It's the "100 x 100 = 1900's" collaborative work looking back at and examination of the 20th century through the perspective of videoartists. I did the year 1910. You are shooting using a Canon T3i. Website is www.9hundred.org. Has the advent of DSLR-cinema had Next video project hasn't begun as yet. I a strong impact on your filmmaking? have a title and images in my head. It's going to be a look at the place where I How has your production process live, which is equidistant 42 miles changed over the years? between DisneyWorld and the Kennedy Space Center. Will probably involve I've only been making moving pictures orange trees, alligators and the peculiar since 2009, so not a lot of video nature of Central Florida. experience. Used other's to shoot my first three shorts.
A still from INNER SHRINE digital poetry, video/animation year of creation: 2011 duration (min:sec): 02:30 http://www.jingzhoustudio.net/projects/inner_shrine
JING ZHOU INNER SHRINE, a synopsis
Inspired by the poem "Journey Home" composed by the noted Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore, combined with my writing, "Inner Shrine" reveals the emotional and spiritual journey in searching of one's soul. To find the inward space of one's ownâ€”the home of the heart, one has to experience life to the fullest. It is the most intricate encounter that wanderers have to undertake, through which they find the essence of their existence and the answer for who we are.
SCRIPT (POEM) Inner Shrine The time and path that my journey takes are long. I came out on the chariot of the first gleam of light, and pursued my voyage through the wilderness of worlds leaving my track on many a star and planet. It is the most distant course that comes nearest to oneself, and that experience is the most intricate which leads to the utter simplicity of a tune. The travelers have to knock at every alien door to come to their own, and in the end, one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine. The eternal moments travel through channels of light; never can one grasp the mere feelings nested close to the heart. I am.
An interview with Jing Zhou Welcome to Stigmart, Jing. First of all would you like to tell something about your background? I was born and grew up in mainland China. Traditionally trained as an artist and designer, I came to the United States to pursue my Master of Fine Arts degree in the late 1990's. Now I teach art and design at Monmouth University in New Jersey, USA. As a Chinese woman artist living in the western world, I am aware of art, philosophy, and mythology from both cultures.
that characterize a Contemporary Art?
Is it just a matter of making Art during these last years? Inspired by nature and multiple cultures, my artwork explores our common humanity and reflects my spiritual experience. Creating artwork required me to continuously realize my nature, restudy my culture, and adapt new thinking, which resulted in a new perspective on life.
My understanding of Chinese philosophies has shaped my thinking, conduct, and personality. On the other hand, western art, literature, and philosophies have also inspired me and have opened new ways of thinking.
At the core of my art is an attempt to attain moments of transcendence, to reach the artless-art, emptiness, and egoles-sness. Thereby my artistic creation is a process of deciphering my life journey, through which I discover the inward spaces that we share.
You are a multidisciplinary artist and you art production ranges from what could be the features
What progression or changes have you seen in your works?
A still Rules from Butcher
How has your production process changed over the years? Continuously adapting emerging technologies, I develop personal visual languages that express universal ideas. Since I like to explore different concepts and tackle various media, the changes of my works never stayed in a fixed-pattern. F or my creative process, generally I like to start with an idea or thought, and then work on visual and technical aspects accordingly. Now let's focus on your work Inner Shrine: we have read that it has been inspired by a wellknown Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore. Could you take us through your creative process when starting this project? By the way, does your process let
A still from INNER SHRINE
you to visualize your Art before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin? After many years of being away from my homeland and family, I was touched by Tagore's poem "Journey Home" which motivated me to create "Inner Shrine" by combining my own writing. What I wanted to express was not only about physical journeys, but more on spiritual journeys of finding oneself. Once I decided to visualize this poem, I started to work with the raw video footages that I collected throughout the years. My work process didn't not let me to visualize the final work before creating. It was an intuitive and emotional process, which brought me much challenge and excitement.
awards is a positive feedback from others, of which one should be proud. The creative process is an intuitive and personal experience, which lies within the artist. Moreover, what are in your opinion some of the challenges for a sustainable relationship between the business and arts?
you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of? I am finishing an interactive visual art project "Living Mandala: The Cosmic of Being" which will be exhibited at EVA London International Conference in Summer 2013.
I am sorry that I cannot provide many thoughts for this question, because I have little experience on this. Besides producing your art you also teach: you are currently Associate Professor of Art in New Jersey. Does this experience impact on your art practice?
Your works have been often awarded, and it goes without saying that feedback and especially awards are capable of support an artist. But do you think that an award could even influence the process of an artist?
My design teaching experience requires me to be aware of emerging technology, social issues, and the current art/design movements. My continuous study and research help me in both the classroom and the studio.
I don't think so, as long as the artist knows what s/he is doing. Receiving
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Jing: what's next for
ANNA DIAZ & JORDI PLANAS First of all we would like to ask you what in your opinion defines a work of Art and what is the nature of your relationship with sound. Any question about the nature of art could be Art itself. Art is questioning, exploring, asking, thinking, and experiencing... Nonetheless for something to be art has to imply a
private agreement between the spectator and the piece (a dialog, or its lack too). The “producer” of this art is just the want to pull the trigger, the one that takes the time and gives the space to materialize such questions. Anyway, questions about “what defines a work of art” are a topic that many artists have been questioning and tried to define all across art history so it’s kind of difficult
for us to proclaim a definitive perspective about it.Sound is something tactile, moldable with shapes and physical textures; that’s why it has so many forms of reception. This inseparable relationship between shape-reception is something we like to wonder about.
Both of you have a formal training: Jordi has received a Master in Digital Arts and Anna graduated in Audiovisual Communication. How much in your opinion training influences art? And how your experience abroad in Germany has informed you? Formal education is interesting in the way it affects its participants; group discussions, permanent attention to new academical achievements or perspectives, links… Things that go beyond the academical content let people work and get involved in new ideas and processes. On the other hand academic content nowadays is something easily findable in forums, webs, tutorials… Nonetheless academical orientation and its collective benefits are always good inputs, at least for us. Studying abroad is always a good thing to do: new lectures, new subjects, new groups, new perspectives… It encourages discussion and learning things you couldn’t approach in a local academic context. In my case (Anna), it was a good way to get in contact with avant-garde and experimental cinema as well as Queer & cultural studies approaches. By the way, do you think that artists with a formal education have an advantage over self-taught artists? In this fragmentary situation it’s easy to get lost between bunches of untidy information and consequently difficult to lay out a coherent discourse. Formal education could be a good tool to use as compass. But in fact, everyone is selftaught, because an artist learns
basically through praxis, error and the questioning of formulas.
be very pedagogical when we talk about what we are doing, do we?
-In the work that we have selected, which is entitled "U-RAW" effects have been applied randomly: how big is the impact of randomness and improvisation in your art practice? Can you describe a little bit about your creative process?
By the way, do you think that nowadays art could even act as a substitute for traditional learning, in a process in which active learning could be carried out through experience despite of information?
Nowadays everybody talks and discuss about “random effects”. We don’t thing that “random” really exists. We prefer to say “error”, which is a more political attitude against perfection (in design, technology, functionality… aka cognitive capitalism). With this piece we couldn’t predict the results but they weren’t random since we chose to manipulate the images in a chaotic way. For us was more a game or a joke: if the principle of technology is ruled by entropy we just wanted to add some chaos and watch how beautiful it could become. Anna is involved in the development of educational programs, and she's part of the collective “Jetuilelle”. What is the importance of this type of artistic outreach in relation to your work as an artist? Art is in itself a process of learning; so teaching is for us a kind of natural act of the whole creative process. We don’t believe in traditional learning, so we encourage the practice of art as a way to achieve knowledge. And since we understand teaching as a double way of transmission (teacher-student are equals) we are also learning things at the same time. It’s difficult to say how or what exactly influenced our work, but maybe it could be said that we tend to
JORDI PLANAS 52
Of course! Practice is the essence of learning. In education nowadays we don’t talk about “knowing facts”, we talk about “learning processes”; and dealing with art is a very complete process since it involves lots of different information to process.It seems nowadays that the legitimacy of art as a scientific knowledge is something commonly assumed (take into consideration the educative experience in Finland!) and sooner or later it will be something completely extended. It’s very interesting what it is happening after “15M” or “Occupy” movements, which have basically achieved the erasure of boundaries in a lot of ways: in the case of education they are proposing us a “common-based” access to knowledge, in which we leave behind a “cartesian” stiffness. 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? For us there isn’t such a frontier. The “frontier” lies maybe on the ways of exhibition, but nowadays it's easier to find good movie screenings in museums than in common movie-theaters. So this “frontier” it may no longer exist
Thank you very much for this interview: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
We have just begun to label our collaborative projects under the name of Little-Endian (link to http://littleendian.info/), the new collective weâ€™ve just created. At this very moment we are
both focused in personal projects but already investigating for new LittleEndian works. We will be involved with robotics and hydroponics and we would like to add a more interactive approach to our works. Of course, we would like to continue the research in the line we just mentioned above, and that is the possibilities of image alteration through irregular technological procedures; the error as a way of creative success! We are also attending to the TOOLKIT
Festival (link to http://www.toolkitfestival.com/program ma/), and we are willing to share this experience with other artists and professionals who are working in fields we find very attractive.
The digital image isn't finite, the information saved in binary language is perpetually inscribed in the archive and the pixels maintain the established order without mutations. Instead, photographs or movies that our parents filmed in Super 8 both suffered a chemical degradation process that removes the stills over time.
The piece starts with a super 8 footage from a trip to Shanghai, which has been digitalized. Frames were exported as bitmaps and have been treated as "RAW DATA" in an audio editor. Effects have been applied randomly and then the archives have been reopened again as images, which showed changes and distortions in the order and the information contained in the pixels. The video shows the degradation process the images have undergone. The audio is a composition of the sound emerged from the modified images mixed with the real audio, which has been captured during the shooting of the Super 8 scene.
The mechanism of human memory works the same way as a chemical film. Memories become partial, clear and mix so that they acquire dimensions, smells and different nuances. However, the machine per se is not able to create and rewrite its archives in a synaesthetic key as the memory does. This piece works on the digital image file in terms of sound to grant a "random" factor in the arrangement of pixels, thus giving it a more human behaviour. This deteriorates the established digital information and carries out a process that, without human intervention, the machine alone would never be able to elaborate.
More info at: http://little-endian.info
AMELIA JOHANNES My experience of migration and displaced cultural identity has directly influenced my creative investigation to focus on the duality of identity: South Africa/Australia, white/black, self/other, memory/history, sameness/difference, one/other. These opposing dualisms also unite to generate an experience of inbetweeness and hybridity that within the context of lived traditions are ambiguous and elusive. The creative method I employ is to collect visual data to be used as raw materials for artworks. Raw video footage is edited to emphasis patterns of rhythm, transforming the original material into visual abstractions that investigate the uncertainty of identity. My art practice is informed by a desire to clarify tradition, memory, ritual and perceptions associated with the construction of the self. I am interested in using raw video as found footage, in particular family videos, which are re-interpreted through the editing process as a way of comprehending the
construction of the self. Ritual and tradition are educated through shared memories and family discourse, however both memory and discourse are incorporeal entities that require form. This corporeality can be captured in the family video, which in turn can generate fragmented knowledge of lived traditions and cultural heritage. Family Crockery (Whiteness), 2011 collates visual repetitions of white objects. Crockery is the point of focus in this experimental video, the tangible object in family memories captured in the video frame. This is an abstract piece that concentrates on whiteness as a constant. The pattern of whiteness is represented in the crockery, which is associated with colonial history of the object and food as a lived tradition in the South African family. Video content has been created from extracts of family videos, which have been fragmented and cropped to creatively experiment with repetitive
arrangements. Found family videos have been mirrored, doubled and flipped during the editing process to remove the original meaning and classification of the raw video footage, creating sequences of lyrical imagery to deconstruct the ambiguous identity. The methods I employ assist with creating abstract video art that both technically and conceptually explore Fragmentation. Editing techniques, such as zooming and cropping, are used in conjunction with stylistic corrections, such as saturated colours and contrasted tones that heighten the pixilation of the found footage to exemplify the messiness and fragmentation of the hybrid identity. I creatively employ editing to construct personified videos with abrupt tempos and staccato edits as expressions of my idiosyncratic perspective.
A sporadic soundtrack for Family Crockery (Whiteness) has been constructed relative to the manner of the video as a support to the rhythmic visual content. Pulses of sound emulate the cropped sequences that pulsate across the video’s frame and along the duration of the video’s sequence. My editing style experiments with the materiality of video, which is inspired by the editing techniques displayed in experimental films, such as the dreamlike edits of Maya Deren’s early films or the use of multiple video channels in Roberta Friedman & Graeme Weinstin’s Bertha’s Children or in the opening sequence of the 1970s version of the Thomas Crown Affair, as well as the experimental use of found footage in the works of Martin Arnold and sequential patterns of found footage rhythmically collated in the video works of Christian Marclay. My video works are choreographed to create a visual sequence that conceptualises the importance of repetition as the defining factor of tradition, which reflects my creative focus on family, tradition, memory and ritual as components of identity that are certified by means of repetition.
First of all we would like to ask you what in your opinion defines a work of art and what caused you to become an artist.
secondary resources have educated my conceptual practice in learning about the Coloured people’s position of inbetweeness in society and history similar to my dualistic experience of For me, art is an expression of the self; it identity: homeland/diaspora, can be used as a tool to inform others. A history/memory, black/white. work of art manifests from an artist’s individual perspective and Sometimes making art is a way to ask creative desires; this parallels my questions, at other times it could be a way to answer to: do experience of art and my interest in conducting research as a personal you think that the main art’s purpose investigation into identity, which for me is simply to provide a platform for an takes form as works of art. artist’s expression? You have a formal training: by the way, you have recently completed Master of Fine Art in Melbourne: how much in your opinion training influences art? Do you think that artists with a formal education have an advantage over self-taught artists? My art practice is research focused and did benefit from studying a Masters of Fine Art (By Research). The institution can support the researchbased art practice; it can provide the artist access to resources and ideas not usually attained. However, there are also restrictions within the institution; it can take an artist’s individual exploration in a different direction to what they wish to personally express. Ultimately, I think it’s important to understand your artistic desires and be able to feed your art practice with the right source/s of inspiration that will lead to a growth of creativity, whether it is from formal training or as a self-taught artist. As you acknowledge in your artist statement, your experience of migration has a deep impact on your creativity. And your interesting piece Family Crockery is strictly connected with colonial history of your native country... There is a historical connection between my birth country and colonisation, which through research and lived tradition has informed my fragmented understanding of cultural heritage. My experience of migration has in turn developed an experience of displacement, both from the experience and knowledge of this history. In the video Family Crockery (Whiteness), I have associated the colonial white object, namely crockery, as a signifier for what connects me to the Coloured South African family. This concept came about during my research of family narratives, traditional recipes and historical documents, such as Mohamed Adhikari’s Not White Enough Not Black Enough: Racial identity in the South African Coloured Community (2005); these
family record, however this record is brought into new light once it is put through the editing process and therefore to some degree I can see that it is given a new life. The resultant videos are abstract and therefore bring a different perspective to the family video. My intent is to clarify the contents of the original footage, which is done so by creating patterns of repetition that cut through the messiness associated with the uncertainty of identity; this fabricated pattern also reflects the autonomous existence of the original VHS For me, art is an expression of the self; it footage. allows artists to transform an intangible In these last years we have seen that concept into a corporeal art form. My methodology for making art is the frontier between Video Art and to question via exploration; to conduct Cinema is growing more and more vague: do you think that examinations that result in informative art works. The artworks I this frontier will exists longer? create are fragments of my The line between Video Art and Cinema is slippery; they are inspired and investigations, which are not final responses to my explorations, but instead influenced by one another and aim to generate additional tangents of have in turn manifested a variety of cinematic video art pieces and research that continue my innovative concepts and develop my experimental cinema works. I think that creative thinking as forms of artistic Video art will continue to develop as an art form and many works will continue to expression. be influenced by the There’s social commitment in your techniques of cinema, nevertheless I art production and in 2011 your think Video Art and Cinema sit along a scale of gradation where the works have been selected at Create the Example, Human Rights similarities between the two mediums Arts & Film Festival, in Melbourne. will inspire innovative works and the vast differences will maintain this Moreover, after reading your artist statement, the following frontier between Video art and Cinema. question might sound some rethorical: do you think that art What are you working on at the moment? What are your future plans? could play a social role, steering or even The direction in which my art works and changing people's behavior? concepts are heading towards is inspired I believe art can be used as a device for by my current research social commentary; it has the ability to into anthropology and the use of the ritual object in tradition. This concept is bring awareness to political topics from innovative and different a further development of my perspectives. My art investigations overall creative investigation into the construction of the self within the context concentrate on identity theory and cultural heritage, both of which are of family, memory and embedded with social and political tradition. I am currently conducting research and collecting resources as connotations, however the intent of my artworks is to move away from making tangents of investigation to inspire social commentary and to direct my works of art. concepts towards an incorporeal materiality, exemplified in the sensory image and lyrical rhythms of my experimental video art. As we can read in your artist statement, the editing process plays a crucial role: we can recognize that it gives an autonomous life to raw materials... do you agree with this? The raw material I source is reinvented during the editing process, the original material already exists as a
ERIC HYNYNEN ERIC HYNYNEN Curriculum vitae Born Sydney 1971 email email@example.com website www.erichynynen.com ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS 2009
Master of Fine Arts, Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki 1999 Bachelor of Arts (Visual Art), Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia 1992 Bachelor of Science (Environmental Health), Curtin University of Technology, Perth SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2011
Vanitas, Galleria Huuto, Helsinki 2011 LSD Skull, Brunswick Street Gallery (video space), Melbourne 2011 Lunch, MUU Gallery Studio, Helsinki 2009 Office, Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki 2006 The New Icons, Kurb Gallery, Perth, Western Australia GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2012
The Snowball Effect: North Finland Biennial, Oulu Museum of Art 2012
A still from Film Noir
Ghost Lights '12: New Nordic Media Art, Malmitalo. Helsinki 2011 Celeste Prize Finalist Exhibition, New York 2011 Madatac III, Contemporary AV Arts Festival, Madrid 2011 Zeitgeist, The Archetype Gallery, Sydney 2011 Ars Auttoinen, Auttoinen 2010 Factory Superstars, Cable Factory, Helsinki 2010 Artists 2010, TR1, Tampere 2010 Haihara 10, invitational exhibition, Haihara Art Center, Tampere 2009 Never To Retire, Vantaa Art Museum Academy of Fine Arts Graduate Show 2008 Lens Politica – Public Art Intervention, Helsinki. 2008 Alternative Party – New Media Art Exhibition, Cable Factory, Helsinki 2008 Master Class, FAFA Gallery, Helsinki 2007 Still Moving, Photography Show, Galleria Vincent Art Awards, Perth 1999 Edith Cowan Graduation Show, Perth
Lounge, Berlin, Germany 2012 Signes du Nuit, Paris, France 2012 Sweden 2012 Trash & Underground Film Festival, Tampere, Finland 2012 100 International Film Festival, Tehran, Iran 2011 Videoholica 2011, Varna, Bulgaria 2011 Toronto Urban Film Festival, Toronto, Canada 2011 Video Spinning Top, Plovdiv, Bulgaria 2011 Azyl 2011, Slovakia 2011 60 Seconds Short Film Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark 2010 Arktista Vimmaa, Rovaniemi, Finland 2010 Doc Lounge, Helsinki, Finland 2010 Filminute International Film Festival, (finalist) 2010 Love & Anarchy 2010 (Helsinki International Film Festival), Helsinki, Finland 2010 One Minute - Film and video festival, Aarau, Switzerland 2010 Crominute, Croatian One Minute Video Festival, Croatia 2010 For Fun, Art on the Silver Screen, Helsinki 2009 Fox Off Short Film Festival, Helsinki 2009
VIDEO SCREENINGS 2012
Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, Jihlava, Czechoslovakia 2012 The 8th Berlin International Directors
Germany (Winner of competition series)
First of all we would like to ask you Could you describe your background, try again later. A video work typically what in your opinion defines a work and how you first became interested goes through several versions until the final one is reached. of Art. in video as a visual medium? Difficult question. For me a work of art is I grew up in Perth, which it must be said, something made to engage the senses,. It is not particularly culturally minded. My should have no practical function. first real exposure to art was when I went to Finland for a holiday (to visit relatives) The best works of art suck you in and ended up staying for three years. The aestheti-cally and in the process convey experience was truly culturally enrian idea, concept or emotion. It addresses ching. On returning to Australia, I enthusome aspect of the human condition, but siastically began my art studies. It was it is acceptable, perhaps desired, that not until several years later during my this is not too obvious. MFA studies back in Finland, that I first took a moving image course and was Besides your studies in Fine Arts, you hooked. I was excited by the possibilities also received Bachelor of Science offered by the use of movement and form Curtin University of Techno- sound. Previously, I had mostly painted logy, in Australia, which is your with some sculpture and photography. So from the start my video work can be seen native country. What is the importance of this type of as an extension of my painting practice. artistic outreach in relation to your work? Do you visualize your Art before creating? Do you know what it will My science degree was completed before look like before you begin? Whatâ€™s I started making art, so is not directly your process? applicable. I have always had an interest in science, especially biology, and some Usually I have an image of what I would works are influenced by science. like to produce before I start. Of course during the process things may work out My world view is essentially biologi- differently. Then it is a matter of working cal/existential. I can see that our socie- on the material until a satisfactory work ties and structures mirror those found in is produced, resolving the piece fully. If nature. Of course we are also a part of this does not occur then I will discard the nature. work, sometimes I may put it aside and
Now let's focus on your video Film Noir, that we have found very stimulating: by the way, could you take us through your creative process when starting this project? The project began with the idea of making an alternative horror movie, about a stuffed toy serial killer. Having no budget, actors or exact story, I just put on a suit and gas mask, then began shooting some scenes. I also collected many old toys from Helsinki flea markets. One of my personal favorite scenes involves the spinning of a doll that has been cut in half, using stop-motion animation. I then scoured the internet for vintage and horror movie footage which I thought would have the appropriate feel and add complexity to the characters emotional state. Then it was all digitally edited together, working with several layers. The work is more of a psychological horror movie, as it is quite abstract. The viewer must sometimes work hard to decipher what they are actually looking at, but the atmosphere and interesting images are what count.
A still from Film Noir
A still from Film Noir
What are the most important influences that have moved you as an artist? My artistic influences are varied, mostly painters and film directors. I am very interested in visual art, music and film. Some of my influences include, in no particular order - Guy Maddin, David Lynch, Andrey Tarkovskiy, Gottfried Helnwein, Anselm Kiefer, Francis Bacon, Goya, Germaine Dulac, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Joel-Peter Witkin, Nietzsche, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Naomi Klein, Peter Singer, John Pilger, Bret Easton Ellis, Minimal Art, Industrial music, DADA and Surrealism. We have read that your videos have been screened also at the International Film Festival, Tehran, Iran: what experiences have you had exhibiting in a country far from mainstream? What is the difference between exhibiting, for example, in Europe and exhibiting in Australia?
I was pleased that my short film was selected for screening in Tehran, although I could not attend personally. People are essentially the same everywhere and certain themes are relevant to everyone. It is always great to have an interested appreciative audience, wherever that may be. In my experience European audiences are the most active and culturally aware. There appears to be much more public discussion about art and audiences are larger. Art seems to be a conspicuously underground activity in Australia. Thank you very much for this interview: our last question deals with your future plans. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of? At the moment I am back in Perth painting and making new video artwork. I have plans for a short film, based on the story of a fly that can't fly, that is, a walk.
Butcher Rules A still from Prolonged Sequence of Intensifications, Densifications and Disruptions
BRANDON BARR You have formal training, and you have studied Fine Arts in USA: in your opinion how much training influences art? By the way, how has your art developed since you left school? Training is simply a way of conditioning or disciplining your body and mind to be able to continually think and act within the context of your profession. For me, this was art. I think that is why four hour long figure drawing sessions in your undergrad are important because you have to push yourself through that entire length of time and endure the mental and physical strain of the process. This type of endurance continues on through the rest of your schooling and career, so I guess the idea is to be able to absorb it. In some ways, that is what the rest of your life as a practicing artist is like regardless of your medium...one long drawing session with intense focus and mark making. I knew that after getting my BFA at the Kansas City Art Institute I wanted to take some time off to get experience outside of academia. I remained in Kansas City, MO for a
few years and during that time developed a body of work that I was eventually able to show at Charlotte Street Foundations Project Space gallery. Much of the work required financial support so figuring out ways to find funding became a large part of that process, along with balancing studio and a job, but that's how it is. So, I think after that experience I realized that sustainability is important in your studio practice. When I have an idea in mind that feels right, I usually won't stop until that project is realized, and after the experience of developing that body of work I had a better understanding of my material, financial and psychological capabilities to see an extensive idea through. Moreover, you took Sociology classes at Florissant Valley and this seems to have informed your creative process: we would like to ask you: what role does the artist have in society? Hmmm..thats an intense question that I think has a multitude of answers, but here goes. The artist role in society is to pull out a chunk of that society and chop it up,
rearrange it, dissect it and reveal its composition, but in a way that also engages the viewer. Hollywood Cinema is considered an art, but it can sometimes put you in the passenger seat while it drives. Art "with a capital A" can put you in the driver seat, act as a road block or even an interesting pile of trash on the side of the road. Also, I do not feel that artists present answers, or at least I am not interested in giving answers..maybe I should have left this question blank, but my point is that artists present the public with a new way of looking at something that has been there all along; however, now its been flipped, turned inside out and put on view to challenge the public. This gets filed away in their psyche to act as a new reference when engaging with the rest of the world. You defines yourself as an interdisciplinary artist with an emphasis in digital media. Do you think that nowadays still exists a dichotomy between art and technology? In your opinion is an exaggeration to state that technology is assimilating art? I don't think that there ever really
was a dichotomy between art and technology. If the medium is there, the artist is going to use it. Similar to how kinetic or Dada artists responded to the industrial revolution by integrating mass produced objects and machines into their work. Artist now use all forms of digital media; anything from the internet to interactive sensor based technology, but perhaps some are more interested in integrating and really dissecting the impact that technology has, which is what I mean by an "emphasis in digital media". For me, exaggeration simply refers to the sensory overload or hypermediated state in which we live in where the effect of mediated experience is heightened to an extreme. So, I do think that technology is assimilating art and art is assimilating technology. During 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 exists longer? Yes, I think that it will exist. As I have stated before, the goal of some "Cinema", although not all, is to take you on a ride. Some even go as far as to create a technique and aesthetic that almost completely controls the viewers throughout the experience.
You see this a lot in contemporary action films where it is shot after shot of these high octane sequences that are constantly grabbing your attention. I feel that this can be dangerous and it is rather discomforting to know that this mechanism has that capability, and that some film producers are becoming aware of this and utilizing it to their advantage. This is where the frontier still exists and for me it is about presenting more options in that viewing experience or pushing that exaggeration to an extreme until it is abstracted and a sense of endurance is created. Your installations are intrinsically connected with the chance to create interaction with audience: when you conceive a work, do you think to whom will enjoy your work? Not anyone specifically, but you start to get somewhat of a sense as to who your audience is the more show your work. I often go into third person mode or step outside of myself when nearing the end of a piece. Sometimes you can get too closed inside your head space and lose sight of the overall effect or haptics the piece is going to have in the end. You have to remain aware of that throughout the process along with many other things.
We would like to mention your artwork entitled "Prolonged Sequence of Intensifications, Densifications and Disruptions" that we have selected in this issue: what was your inspiration for this work? Growing up in the Midwest of the United States, you often experience natural disasters like tornado's or intense lightning storms that can instantly take out any structure. They are sometimes really intense and frightening experiences that quickly bring you back into the actuality of the human condition, which is constantly being subjected to natural forces. There are more and more of these types of events like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornado's being captured by eye witness cell phone cameras that then get uploaded online to youtube. It is something about the hand held quality that adds rawness to the video that pulls you into the experience; even more so than high budget films do. I'm interested in that constant mediation of our lives, rather its personal or major events, through digital devices that act as memory banks that can be broadcasted for millions to see. These online platforms then become hubs for real life and fictional events that often get re-appropriated or mixed together.
A still from Prolonged Sequence of Intensifications, Densifications and Disruptions
There is also the digitization and compression process that takes place when uploading this imagery online that is easily taken for granted. So, I wanted to activate these various techniques and processes, but to a destruction scene in a science fiction movie that is saturated in computer generated graphics. The sequence was put through a video glitch technique, commonly known as datamosh, which exploits the compression process in the computer and abstracts the imagery. This video was then projected large and recorded with a cell phone camera adding another layer to the piece. All of these stages combined creates an ambiguous intensity that pushes the viewer through layers of simulation and reality.
respond to your work who have a different perspective than in the U.S. For example, the series of work I created while still in Kansas City, MO dealt a lot with this theme about water and the various physical and metaphorical properties it has. Here in the U.S. the discussion is more about water shortage or the political aspects of it, but in somewhere like say Italy, the meaning behind it also takes on anything from relaxation to birth and sometimes certain work is just received better in other countries. I had one piece that drew a small crowd while on display in China, but here it was seen as perhaps more lighthearted or humorous.
It is also really interesting to see the amount of support from the citizens and sometimes government in other countries. From my point of view the art scene in Brazil is really exciting and there is a lot of enthusiasm What is the differencebetween surrounding it. exhibiting, for example, in in the United States and exhibiting in What's next for you? Have you a China, or in South America? particular project in mind ? Besides USA, you have exhibited in Brazil and recently in China. What experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries?
Exhibiting in other countries is always a rewarding experience I plan to continue my current work of because you get to see how viewers glitched video projection and digital
prints. It has been a really exciting series to work on that keeps building momentum, and I want to start pushing the pieces out into a more three dimensional space, which I plan to do after this interview.
Brandon Barr Interdisciplinary artist with an emphasis in digital media. Birth: 4/28/1986 Resides: Alfred, New York Education Master of Fine Arts, Electronic Integrated Arts, Alfred University, Alfred, NY Bachelor of Fine Arts, Interdisciplinary Arts, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO Associates in Fine Arts, St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, St. Louis, MO Experience ACADEMIC INVOLVEMENTS Secretary of the Florissant Valley Fine Arts Club Vice President of the Florissant Valley Fine Arts Club Student Ambassador for Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, MO
Still from Collide-o-scope, 2010
NAREN WILKS This work continues where my short film ‘Collide-o-scope’ left off, using composite viewpoints to depict an impossible reality. Here two cameras combine to create the illusion of a mirror, through which a character accidentally stumbles. The film is a re-enactment of a classic Marx Brother’s sketch, and uses filming technology and acting techniques similar to ones used in the silent comedy era. In doing so, I hope to directly reference the experimentation and playfulness characteristic of films made during that time, as I feel that these qualities allow me to explore my ideas in an engaging manner. (Naren Wilks)
3 minutes 24 seconds, PAL 4:3
Naren Wilks: a biography Born 31.01.85 in Yeovil, England. Lives and works in Bristol. Education U.W.E Bristol, BA (hons) Fine Art, 2006 Short films Lyrebird Soup, 2012 Journey on a bus, 2011 Collide-o-scope, 2010 Bridge Study, 2009 Commission Collide-o-scope (installation), The Public, 2011 Awards Best UK Film and Audience Prize, Fifth Cambridge International Super 8 Film Festival, 2011 Best Short Video, Flexfest, 2011 Audience Award, Wimbledon Shorts Film Festival,2010 Audience Choice Award, Takoma
Park/Silver Spring Experimental Film Festival, 2010 Honorable Mention, Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, 2010 Special Mention, Glimmer: 8th Hull International Film Festival, 2010 Special Mention, 11th Cellu L'art Short Film Festival, 2010 Best UK Film, Fourth Cambridge International Super 8 Film Festival, 2010 Special Mention, 11th Dresdner Schmalfilmtage, 2010
Still from Collide-o-scope, 2010 3 minutes 24 seconds, PAL 4:3
We would like to focus on your stimulating video "Lyrebird Soup". We have recognized in the mirror trick a successful homage to the great artist Jean Cocteau, revisited with a contemporary sensibility. Has Cocteau influenced your work? In fact, Lyrebird Soup was intended to pay homage to the mirror scene in the Marx brothers' Duck Soup.
For Lyrebird Soup I wanted to use the structural film 'base' as used in Collide-o-scope and add a narrative, whilst developing a reference to silent film. I combined my 'composite camera' technique to form the illusion of a mirror, through which a character stumbles. Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your work?
Cocteau has not directly influenced my work, but thank you for making me aware of him.
What technical aspects do you mainly focus on your video?
What was your initial inspiration for Lyrebird Soup ?
The technical aspects of my films usually inform the concept, so they tend to be a starting point.
The inspiration for Lyrebird Soup goes back to my film Collide-oscope, which was inspired by the structural films of Errnie Gehr, Kurt Kren and Takashi Ito.
The narrative is developed later, once I've decided which 'visual experiments' I wish my characters to explore.
What progression or changes have you seen in your works? How has your production processes changed over the years? I have progressed to making films which explore a narrative as well as a concept, in order to make experimental and structural films that are accessible to a wider audience. I've also started working collaboratively; when I first started making films I was a total control freak, insisting on doing everything myself. This is evident in my film Collide-oscope, in which I even acted.
Still from Collide-o-scope, 2010 3 minutes 24 seconds, PAL 4:3
Now we would like to focus on your video Collide-o-scope you have created it using just a single take, and four super-8 cameras. Could you tell us more about your creative process for this interesting artwork? Collide-o-scope was the culmination of many years work, a series of works informing each other, until eventually I arrived at the idea for it. The starting point was experimenting with multiple exposure photographs of buildings that looked alike, thusly creating a kind of composite space. With Collide-o-scope I manufactured my own space, and put a character inside it. The use of Super-8 was important because it predetermined the length (a Super-8 cartridge lasts for only 3.5
minutes), and from there a narrative was formed about a character who gives himself 3.5 minutes of 'magic' in which he hurriedly explores the idea of a 'composite camera' (my definition of a composite camera is: multiple cameras acting as one). The single take aspect also heightened the sense of it being 'magic' / a one-off performance. Your works have been often awarded. Awards often are capable of supporting an artist, but do you think that an award could even influence the process of an artist? Awards (monetary awards) have perpetuated my work as a filmmaker. The more awards I get, the more money I have to spend on future films. But in order to win awards, I have to make good films!
Thank you very much for this interview, Naren. What are you working on at the moment? What are your future plans? I'm currently working on a music video (a first for me), which will expand on the idea behind Collideo-scope, in a very ambitious and complicated way. I'm already stressing out! I'm also working on a small business that will offer a Super-8mm 'film-out' service, exporting video to 8mm celluloid.
A sequence of stills from “Don’t Forget to Breath”
BRUCE HUMPHRIES I have always been attracted to multiple facets of creating. I love juxtaposing one image/object with another image/object that have very little, if anything, to do with one another. In 1992, I began exploring different media in an education environment when I happened upon an experimental video course. I became obsessed with video making and began creating a series of off the wall, sick and twisted short videos under the moniker “Manic Kin Productions”. Not one to pigeonhole myself into a single medium, I began incorporating video into my sculptures. Literally. Televisions imbedded in fabricated steel and wood constructions would blast sound and image throughout the gallery space. Gutted television sets with video transmissions would become faces on figurative metal sculptures. Images of circuit boards would be projected onto twenty-foot walls where computer monitors were attached and video feeds would display various body parts. I would never leave the mindset that any object could be used in creating art. After numerous near electrocutions, I very seldom use electrical elements in my sculptures. I still work with video and continue to create sculpture but rarely do I combine the two.
Humor is one of the main elements in my work whether it is sculpture, video or drawing. It is a characteristic that I developed while growing up in a dysfunctional family. This defense mechanism was one method of escape and I have carried this trait into my artwork. By masking dark subjects with humor I find that the viewer is easily drawn into the artwork where they can discover another layer that is not as easily discernible and sometimes a little discomforting. I have always enjoyed the fact that my work can attract and repel viewers at the same time and, even though a viewer is unsettled by a work, there is still an element that allows them to relate to it. The artwork has a way of creating a new story for each viewer. There is a sense of euphoria that I have always felt when pursuing my artwork in the studio setting. I strive for those moments when the world is no longer relevant and I am truly a part of my work. When I take a moment to step back, I find myself refreshed and energized by what I have just accomplished. This makes the passing hours seem like minutes. The moment that all the disparate pieces come together is one of the most satisfying moments and only fuels this drive. The work
begins to take on a life of its own and I am able to begin seeing more than I had originally planned. Once the artwork has neared completion it begins to feel like part of my family; each piece a main character in their own right. (Bruce Humphries)
Don’t Forget To Breathe Synopsis Don't Forget To Breathe is a short video inspired by the exercise craze of the 1970's. Today more than ever we are bombarded with images of beauty creating a desire to duplicate this in our own lives. An absurd phrase in exercise class is "Don't forget to breathe" which can easily translate into this bombardment of imagery from television, internet, billboards, etc., telling us what we should eat, what kind of car we should drive and what our bodies should look like. Stop. Relax. And most importantly...... Don't forget to breathe!
First of all we would like to ask you what in your opinion defines a work of art. Art is so subjective and one person may consider something a work of art while the next person doesn’t. I think that it would be easier, in a way, if we categorized what we believed was art. This is a debate that comes up in a class that I teach at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. We recently read an article by John A. Fisher called High Art Versus Low Art that takes some interesting views on the topic. What is high art and what is low art and who decides? Is high art good art and does that mean that low art is bad art or non-art? In the article, high art was considered to be your traditional processes such as sculpture, painting and chamber music while low art was considered to be television and rock music. The problem we would have categorizing art in this manner would be that each category crosses over into the other categories and becomes convoluted and confusing. Not all of high art, in my opinion, is good art and I don’t believe you can call rock acts such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones and U2 as being low art. Dictionary.com defines art as “the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.” The type of art that I prefer does not fall under the general
publics view of beautiful. Joel Peter Witkin creates amazing photographs that deal with death and incorporates dead and dismembered bodies. I find these images to be absolutely beautiful but some people will find them morbid and disgusting. For me, good art is something that is going to transport me from the usual everyday humdrum aspect of life. Art is something that is going to grab my attention and make me think of the world in a different light. Good art will draw me in and captivate me long after the object is no longer in sight.
to realize the possibilities that working with multimedia offered. It also affords me the opportunity to use the materials that will best get my point across. I don’t think that I could ever limit myself to working with just one type of material. I enjoy working with one medium one week and being able to switch gears and work with another the next week. Exploring multiple avenues does create the frequent opportunity to merge the processes together. There is nothing more rewarding than when I am able to combine multiple media in a successful work of art.
How much important is the interartistic component in your art process?
Now we would like to focus on your interesting work entitled "Don’t Forget To Breathe": What inspired you to realize it ?
Allowing myself to work in different disciplines has been an important part of my process. I was lucky to have mentors that pushed me to create artwork using the different mediums that I was interested in. For example, I was studying experimental video in my undergraduate studies when that instructor took a new job, which resulted in the closing of that particular program. The only media I had yet to explore was sculpture. Those instructors suggested that I try to incorporate my passion for video into my sculptural work. This kind of exploration led to creating work that incorporated video monitors and audio components and, as a result, gave my work greater depth. It was a very exciting time in my education as I began
I have always had a love for animation. When I was a kid I used to watch Gumby and Davey and Goliath films. This love of children’s programming inspired me to make my own clay animation films. As an adult, I continued this passion when I purchased a stack of Eadweard Muybridge postcards that depicted his people in motion series. I took them home, started cutting out the images and began shooting them in sequence on video using the same concept from clay animation – one frame at a time. In the end, I simply took these still photographic images and reanimated them into a silent movie (Raw Olympian). I wanted to see what these images would
look like when brought back to life. “Don’t Forget To Breathe” was created in the same manner but by using manipulated found imagery from exercise records of the 1970’s. Again, I wanted to see what these old photographic stills would look like when brought back to life. Once I started seeing the moving image sped up faster and faster it made me think of exercising, breathing hard, etc. It reminded me of the phrase I have heard many times in exercise classes where the instructor continually tells you “don’t forget to breathe”. It seems like such an absurd thing to tell people. I wanted the viewer to start feeling the tension as the video progresses and begins to get faster and faster. I also wanted to add an absurd element by adding the dramatic catching of breath as the character stops for a moment and then jumps back in with more vigor. It reminds me of how as we age we are constantly fighting the aging process and the older we get the harder we fight it. The video also relates to the bombardment of imagery from multiple sources that are dictating the way that we should live our lives including how we should look. Can you tell us about your process and set up for making this work? The process began as I started going through and selling record albums. I was simply weeding out the collection and getting rid of the LP’s that I didn’t need to carry around anymore. Most of them were instructional records from the 1970’s. The ‘how to’ booklets enclosed with some of the records had fabulous graphics and photographs. I started scanning and manipulating this imagery and began wondering what they would look like reanimated. Most of the production was created in Photoshop and then put together in iMovie. It is basic software but it is much easier than working with videotape and the quality is beyond comparison. By the way, do you visualize your art before creating? Yes and no. It depends on what I am working on. There are times that images will pop into my head that scream to be created. Then there are those times that it is nice to just experiment in the studio and see what naturally comes out of my head. That process usually leads to multiple projects. I learned early in my art career to just let certain things happen. I may visualize a work in the early stages but there is an extremely good chance that by the time the work is completed it will look different than originally imagined. I enjoy the ‘not knowing’ aspect of creating. Art making is endless problem solving as you continually hit a wall and then have to figure out how to get on the other side.
There are some projects where curve balls are being constantly thrown at you and you have to learn how to adapt. If one way isn’t working out then it wasn’t meant to be. Usually the final project turns out for the better. 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 exists longer? I think that with the Internet and the easily accessible and affordable digital equipment that this frontier will continue to become more vague but only to a certain point. I do not believe that video art and cinema will completely merge. I believe that there will always be independent art films that will cross over to the mainstream but I think that there will always be a divide. In my opinion the general movie going public enjoys their high quality, big budget films. Obviously a lot of art films are shot on a shoestring budget and they don’t have the funding for promotion like the big companies. It really is a shame that there are so many lower budget films out there that do not get the exposure that they deserve. Thank goodness for the Internet as it makes video art and independent art films much more accessible. And since we you have stated that "there is a sense of euphoria that I have always felt when pursuing my artwork in the studio setting" we question:what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? I love working in the studio whether it is sitting at a computer desk editing video or working in the woodshop! That is the best part of being an artist. I love losing complete track of time and creating. I believe it keeps me in balance. It is a drug and I find myself jonesing to get back into the studio. Another satisfying aspect of losing myself in my studio is when I come back to reality with a finished project. On such an occasion I usually ask myself ‘where did that come from?”
masses but I found myself quickly becoming bored. Creating work that appealed to a broader audience was more than I could tolerate, my heart wasn’t in the work and it soon reflected in the quality of my work. My undergraduate degree is from the University of Kentucky and is surrounded by horse farms. This part of the United States is all about horse racing and if I wanted to make money I could have stayed and painted horse portraits. I did not choose art because I wanted to become rich. I would rather work in an office then compromise the path that my art leads me down. I think that many artists find the relationship between businesses and art challenging. Artists want to have successful careers but don’t always have a way to reach an audience that will connect with the work that they are doing. Getting connected to the right representation is one of the toughest things an artist can do. Thank you very much for this interview, Bruce: our last questions deals with your future plan: Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of? I always have multiple projects that I am working on. I am currently working on motion-activated marionettes and viewer activated hand-cranked sculptures. I am also busy creating a body of work revolving around freak animal crackers that entails digitally created and laser cut circus wagons and corresponding painted side show banners. As for video, I am searching for a venue to house video projections of more manipulated images of moving figures in a similar vain as ‘Don’t Forget To Breathe’. The thought of having multiple projections of giant animated people on huge walls, either interior or exterior, is really exciting to me. Finally, it looks like some of my video work will be shown at the Bad Film Fest in NYC in April 2013. That, to me, is such an honor!
What are some of the challenges for a sustainable relationship between the business and arts? I think that one of the biggest challenges between business and the arts is the general need to buy and sell a product. Artists work to create their vision and it frequently doesn’t fit into a neat little box. Due to the need of businesses to have a product that the general public can relate to, the two sides are frequently at odds with one another. I have tried the path of making art for the
A still from Buzz Me
ANTHONY MURRAY Growing up I found myself many, many times at the focal point of the camera, being the subject of modeling and film commercials. My father was an avid photographer and film enthusiast but it never really appealed to me until later in my life when I began pursuing my artistry. As a sculptor, I was always in need of decent imagery to send to a variety o f venues including lo cal and national art shows. Photography was more of a necessary burden at the time than a skill. I began to realize the importance of imagery and how it is perceived by others. But at the sa me time I had the feeling that this should not be a pursuit since there were already so many people with better skills doing photo graphy. I asked myself the question “How many pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge does the art world need?” Then I had one of
those brainstorm moment s and realized I could take imagery of my sculptures that no one else in the world can. So began my new genre called “Sculptography”. The camera I had at the time would also take video and so being in ever constant need for background imagery f or my sculpture work I decided to experiment and in order to show a bit more move ment than the usual stoic imagery of sculpture. I began to rotate my camera as I filmed. When I got back to my studies I would then compile the semoving images and they really struck me as being unique and different. The camera, however, was a bit shaky since I was trying to do this all by hand. Being both an artist and an industrial engineer I was able to invent and create a device for my tripod that would allow me to pan and rotate my
camera simultaneously. So with my new toy in hand I needed a colorful place to capture some random images on film and thought: “What better place than Time s Square NYC”. The result, which is now one of many, is the video called “Square Buzz ”. The best part o f this imag ery in my mind, is the complete random nature of what I am filming. Taking that m o ving imag ery now has new life and vitality as I use special effects to create a s ort o f “Live action Kaleidscope” w hich reflect s the true nature and vitality intrinsic to Times Square. "Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, but in the eye of the imaginative " Tony Murray
First of all we would like to ask you what in your opinion defines a work of art. A work of art is never spontaneous, it is defined by, and an extension of, the artist. In other words, say for example, a work of art is found that was previously unknown, people are less interested in it's particular aesthetic attributes, and more interested in "Who" created it. It's efficacy and value are directly related to the creative person behind it. What's your point about formal training? Do you think that it could even stifle creativity? Any institution devoted to helping people achieve artistic goals and aspirations is a positive thing. People can learn a great deal in regards to different types of media and also significant historic precedent for some types of art. Yes, it can hinder / stifle some depending on the venue or the professor. But a true creative is seldom obstructed by temporary walls. We have been struck by your concept of Sculptography. Could you please explain it to our readers? "Sculptography" is the combination of Sculpture and Photography. I consider it
a true "mixed media" of the 21st Century, since only recently, due to the advent of digital photography, has it been even possible to effectively combine them. I absolutely love photography. But my dilemma, at least visually, is "what can I photograph that no one else can"? "How can It be different"? The Brooklyn Bridge, Eiffel Tower and other Famous landmarks have been done beautifully, but at the same time, ad nauseam. Since I also do "Pressed Metal Sculpture" and "Re-cycled Plastic Sculpture" I realized I can photograph them in such away that it creates a different vision of the work. Very Important to me within this framework of media, is also the setting and backgrounds that my images are taken in. I specifically seek out new settings and interesting land formations for my work. In the end it looks ethereal but in reality it is quite real! Sculpture and video seem to be distant worlds. Your artist practice goes beyond this current opinion: so we would like to ask you what's the relationship between sculpture and videoart. Apart from "Kinetic Sculpture" many sculptured works of both abstract and realism are quite static. Yes, they have
inherent beauty and verisimilitude but lack the dynamic Even within a museum setting the work has to be surveyed in order to appreciate it. Even many photographic views of the same sculpture from different angles can never reveal its mass, weight, relative size or volume Video is literally perfect in giving a forth dimensional life to sculpture. Video breathes into sculpture an organic element. Suddenly, what was still is now moving, even if it's only the brain telling you that. So many other forms of art combine mixed media and I am very happy that Sculpture and Video are finding themselves to be long lost twins in this movement. I really feel there are limitless possibilities and potential within this field. Now we would focus on Buzz Me, whose stills can be admired by our readers in these pages.Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your work? What technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work? The process that I use began as a bit of a fluke for me. I was trying to capture images of the devastation to our county by Hurricane Irene. As I was filming the local creek I had to negotiate around trees and branches and water to get some
A still from Buzz Me
A still from Buzz Me
footage. I figured it didn't matter since I could edit out all of the mundane stuff later. As it turned out I was more enamored by the mundane than by the "Good Stuff". I capitalized on this and invented a device for my video camera that allows me to pan and rotate simultaneously. It becomes a kaleidoscope of imagery. I couldn't think of a more colorful place to try this out than in Times Square, NYC. For me, it is the random and unscripted capture in this video of just people, lights, cars and buildings doing the everyday, that I find exciting. . Since this is very new to me, my main technical concerns now are to create better quality footage. Some of the grainier and less focused imagery that didn't seem to bother me at the time, I now want to perfect. I also mentally fight being too scripted in my work. I'd much rather capture moments in time, than purposed imagery. I don't know if others do this or not, but I play songs in my head while I am filming in order to get a rhythm to the imagery. I want the viewer
to get lost in the "Feel", to be mesmerized without comprehending it. For me, video is a collective single image rather than a series of images. You are both an artist and an industrial engineer. What's the influence of technology in your art process? And do you think that still exists a dichotomy between Art and technology? I think if I had no technology background I would not be doing any of this fun stuff ! It's not so much the technical know how, but it affects how I view things. Essentially, If I have an idea in my head and I want that to be a reality, I reverse engineer it. I envision it in my mind, and then create it in a physical reality. I am not certain by the follow up question, but art and technology are inseparable. How would people know to use oil paints if the substrates and pigments were never created? Canvas, clay, lost wax, water colors, cameras, all are technology based.
Thanks for this interview, Tony: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would likereaders to be aware of? Your welcome ! I could talk art all day long. I have had the pleasure of having some of my video work being projected outdoors in Maryland, Catskill,NY and Brooklyn,NY and a group video show upcoming in Cohoes, New York. I also have some potential works being reviewed. I want to add that one of the most significant aspects of video, in general ,is that it can be taken and shown anywhere. It truly is bringing more art to the masses.
A still from Paralel Tenis - Principle of Patience
SOLIMAN LOPEZ is an artist who straddles the plastic, media, new technologies and per-formance. Knowing these tools used at will as the script demands of her own message. Technically uses free software to generate content and contrasted with the physicality of the tangible or plastic. The processes on the body and its contrast with the machine are shown in pieces like "Human mistakes" or "Identity", where the image is captured to generate autonomously impor-tant photographic records of performative action. His approach to new technology is due to its proximity to speech communication theories and society. binomio on leading research much of his career. His recent projects include his recent participation in the First Biennial of Art Emerging Venezuela, the selection of his work
for the Media and Live Performance Shows Videolooking or project selection "Wanna Be" by the curator of TEDx Valladolid for the Laboratory Valladolid of Arts (LAVA) or his recent speech performative "Follow Us" for Audiovisual Digital Arts Exhibition and Contemporary Technologies, MADATAC, among others. His visual works have a strong con-ceptual and social, since for him, art and society are inseparable. Pieces of the same puzzle. In works of video as Paralel Tennis, the artist explores visually representation how social has differences between what might be called first world and third world. Visually the piece shows an empty tennis pitch in the city of Johannesburg (South Africa),
but the particular lies in the audio video. This audio is taken from a match of the highest worldwide. A tennis match between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The result is a sound and visual contrast on what happens in the first world and third world, in similar time. The parameters are the same but the result is totally different. The piece is part of a series of other 3 videos called "Principles of patience" which results in social work through very specific icons. Through these similes, the artist makes video art pieces close to abstraction and strong philosophical contents inside.
Currently the artist is exploring a new creative universe that was advanced with pieces like "Identity", a photographic work of over 8,800 passport photos that talks about the role of the individual in the age of digital imaging.
project in which the 3D digital portrait and alter egos are the crucial role. Avatars that are shown in relation to internet and interactivity of thousands of users. "MY JOB IS NOT INTENDED TO BE WITHIN THE PARAMETERS OF ART, INTENDED TO BE WITHIN THE PARAMETERS OF INDIVIDUALS, SOCIETY AND THE WORLD."
This line of work opened in 2006 is reaffirmed today with projects such as "Duo", a series of digital montages of robots portraits from fictional characters, or the performance "Follow us" in which the user interacts through Twitter I believe that art can change social network with real-time. social structures and is a great communication tool. Thanks to global projects caress these explores the possibilities of social structures and relates it to augmented reality as a means of the public. "Being a work of art visual communication. By four can not consist in the possession photographs "increased" by of such properties, hence that art mobile devices or tablets, must always be open to the presents an intimate scene as a possibility of a revolution" Arthur performance. This reflects on the psychology of the digital C. Danto, at the Transfiguration of the commonplace. environment today. Among his future projects is Social Robots, an ambitious
A still from Paralel Tenis - Principle of Patience
Hi Soliman, let's start this interview with our usual introductry question: Why you have chosen video as media for your art practice? I use artistic tools which contemporary context offers to me. As prehistoric men used crude tools for incisions in the wall or for spellings on the wall, I use the video as a language on the move. Image today has left the frozen stay to be in a continuous movement. Our eyes have got used to this dynamic information from what I understand it is a language that goes well with our time. Moreover, without our knowing, our environment throws at us we continuously receiving signals. Signs that after leaving under similar formats to those captured. The train led to Impressionism, those images "moved" by the speed reflected a time and an instant. Now, new technologies are the movement. Before focusing on your work, would you like to tell us something about your background? My training is very conceptual because I am an art historian. This training has positioned my work within very conceptual parameters. Everything starts with the idea, something mean. That seed is being completed through significance and finally appears as the work done. This form will vary depending on the media since the same ideas can be said in many ways, but there are someones that can only be spoken through the art in motion. I have been lucky to travel a lot since I was a child, my father's profession let us to do it. This circumstance has led me to be a very bold and outgoing. I venture to everything in the world of art. I also think that the training and research in art should never die, even if you suffer a lot with the investigation since has intrinsic disappointment in many cases.
Still, it is my passion and so I put it. Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? I think that the creative person has enabled mind a light frame that offers what later can become a work of art. Everything starts with that spark of light in the darkness, a spark that sometimes is sought through very thoughtful process research and sometimes arises spontaneously. After autoknowing process has begun, I try to find where is that light in order to contextualize it in a logical and meaningful parameter. It is currently the most creative step since the idea begins to be in a logical sense, aesthetic. A speech. Every time I feel more mature in these processes. Find this chain of associations takes an artist to really find the line that defines her job forever. Technically I use the tools that I mean are the best to develop the main idea. Sometimes, the camera appears static, displaying everything that happens, in others, the camera is looking to find something interesting. The concept is foremost in my work.Sometimes aesthetics goes to the background. Now let's getting in the matter of your work "Paralel Tenis" which as you have remarked deals with language relationship and human society difference around the world. What was you initial inspiration for this work? By the way, could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? Main source of inspiration are personal experiencies. Digital art is taking a strong importance in the art world but because it is a medium that we are facing daily. Right now I am faced with this text through a computer screen.
Learn about other cultures and have your eyes open to what happens on a day to day is the stone that supports my work. In this context, Parallel Tennis is a project developed in the city of Johannesburg. A city where social differences are evident. The project, through the game, simulates what happens at the same time in different parts of the world. Visually shows a tennis pitch court on the outskirts of Johannesburg. These images are accompanied by audio from a Grand Slam match between Federer and Rafael Nadal tennis player. The result is a completely decontextualized, where images are not faithful to the audio and vice versa. You have quoted Arthur C. Danto: "art must always be open to the possibility of a revolution". Do you think that Art could play an effective social role, maybe steering people's behaviour? And what could be the role of an artist in our society? Yes, I totally agree with the powerful way of communication. The image itself already is, but if we put more significance on it, the power of information is amazing. I think the artistic environment is one of the key pieces in search of a change in the society. Europe is going through a major social change and the artists we must unite them both physically and with our artwork. Art is reflection, is an invitation to thought, and must move the collective consciousness to a new model of looking at things, analyze the situation and respond to our problems. Thanks to art, many impossible things become possible. It's a great example of what you can expect to get with dedication, creativity, boldness and enthusiasm.
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 exists longer? By the way, do you think that new media art will definitely fill the dichotomy between art and technology? Art has always been technology. Artists have used all the tools available to them to get their work more effectively. The film on the other hand, like the video art, play with the image in a noticeable way. With the image and stories. Still, I think that video art has its own language so identified and unique. Licenses may be allowed, with a concrete conceptual aesthetic and perhaps the film (and especially the commercial) could never afford if you want to fill a cinema. We think that art is inevitably reduced to a very specific audience. Not because of the art itself, but because the interests of the people are varied. Best Video Art will keep the aesthetics of the "do it yourself" for a long time, as this is what gives it the character of personal and close immediately.
Large productions are cooler, far and have other purposes. On the other hand, I think that art and new technolo-gies will collapse largely traditio-nal art, as developed in a language in which new genera-tions are already well accusto-med. Digital natives read in a better way works based on new technologies that an altarpiece Dutch. This does not mean that I do not defend the art history and conservative trends. Some would not exist without the other ones.
we often ask to the artists that we interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? I enjoy achievements. When an artistic research gets results. That moment of satisfaction is unsurpassed. It's when you realize that what you're asking for begins to "works". That moment is like a drug, once the work is finished you just wants another and another and another, to re-experience the satisfaction in which everything mat-
ches perfectly. The audio, music, message, visual poetry, rhythm ... From that moment the work dies and comes alive in the minds of others. When they analyze it and make it yours. I enjoy making just art. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts, Soliman: what's next for you? Are there any upcoming projects on the horizon? Yes, of course. We must stay working and looking for the language that is hidden within each of us. I travel to Greece in July for an artist residency and shortly publish the project "Social Robots". Project in which I have worked 4 months and I have placed great hopes in it. You can visit the progress of this project and others at my website www.soliman-lopez.com I'm also developing a series of performance in which I bury different computers that includes on the hard disk a unique digital file. A reflection on digital art, reproducibility in art and many other concepts related to multimedia production. Thank you very much to you and congratulations for the initiative.
A still from Paralel Tenis - Principle of Patience
EDWARD RAMSAY-MORIN "The Titan" is a stop-motion adaptation of the "Prometheus Bound," attributed to Aeschylus. The “performers” in the piece are brought to life through a series of photographic images of mouths and eyes, which are housed within a number of different “screens” included in the stage set. To illuminate the photographs each screen is back-lit with LEDs. As I shot each frame in the animation, I changed the photographs, directly on the set, to correspond to the spoken words in the audio. In the stage set of "The Titan", the central figure, spatially restricted and physiologically fragmented, represents the physical and psychological condition of the Prometheus. The six additional “screens” flan-
king the central figure are emotive extensions of Prometheus, employed to underscore specific passages of the dialogue and reference the use of the Mask and the Chorus as a dramatic device in Greek Drama. In the Aeschylean version of the myth, Prometheus is not only being punished for giving the secret of fire to man, he is also punished for teaching humanity about the Arts and Sciences. Prometheus endowed these virtues upon humanity in an effort to undermine Zeus’s intent of destroying the human race. The text of "The Titan" is made up of segments of conversations where Prometheus recounts the events leading to his punishment, however, the dialogue of all
A still from "The Titan" Year: 2011 Running time: 04:45
the other characters has been removed, allowing Prometheus to “speak” directly to the audience. More than 2,000 years after “Prometheus Bound” was written, there are still many individuals and populations struggling against the constraints of oppressive governments and regimes. History has shown us, however, that reason, intelli-gence, and creative devices can be a power much greater than the mightiest of social and political forces, even the great power of Zeus. (Edward Ramsay-Morin)
An interview with Edward Ramsay-Morin First of all we would like to know something of your background, and how your experiences has impacted the way you make art. By the way, what's your point about formal training? I have been working in digital and electronic formats since the late 90's, including animation, interactive multimedia, physical computing, rapid prototyping, sound and video. My work is informed by the imagery of scientific texts and educational media that I have been exposed to through public television, museums, journals and textbooks. From these contexts, I am interested in exploring the intersections between intellectual, psychological, physiological, and metaphysical experiences. As an educator, speaking about the importance of formal art training is a loaded question. Though there are many great artists that have not received formal training, I would recommend anyone serious about art to go to art school. Not only does it provide a place for access to resources, it also offers a community of individuals with similar passions. When I was a student, I felt that I gained as much from my peers as I
did from my professors and mentors. As a teacher I try to promote that kind of experience. What is your studio process typically like, and how do you decide upon which materials you incorporate within a piece? Most of my work is animated collage, so like other collage artists, my inspiration comes from my collection of source materials. When I first started gathering materials, I was very specific in the sources that I would select. I was specifically interested in magazines, textbooks, and children’s books dealing with science that were published in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Today, imagery from those two decades are still my primary years of interest, however, I am much more open to include imagery from sources of subjects other than science. Though my work is still centered on how science an technology shapes and informs perception, extending my collections to include more types of content has allowed me to explore more interesting juxtapositions. Besides producing your Art you also teaches at Sam Houston
State University. We would like to ask you how has this influenced your career as an artist. Being a teacher places me in an environment and community centered on creative thinking and visual communication. As a professor of Computer Animation, I am interested in my students developing technical proficiencies, but I also want them to be focused on making connections to the human experience. Risk taking is also very important. Having this dialogue in the foreground of my experience as an educator keeps these ideas in the foreground of my own artistic practices. Now we would focus on your artwork "The Titan" whose stills can be admired by our reader in these pages. you tell us about your process and set up for making this work? And what technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work? I had been working in animated collage for years, and was interested in working with physical objects. I started this project with
A still from "The Titan" Year: 2011 Running time: 04:45
little direction, but I knew that I wanted to do something with human figures that communicated via “media elements,” and that these elements would impose a physiological constraint on the subject/actor. The idea of constraint led me to the “Prometheus Bound,” attributed to Aeschylus. The text of "The Titan" is made up of segments of conversations where Prometheus recounts the events leading to his punishment, however, the dialogue of all the other characters has been removed, allowing Prometheus to “speak” directly to the audience. The “performers” in the piece are brought to life through a series of photographic images of mouths and eyes, which are housed within a number of different “screens” included in the stage set. To illuminate the photographs each screen is back-lit with LEDs. As I shot each frame in the animation, I changed the photographs, directly on the set, to correspond to the spoken words in the audio. In the stage set of "The Titan", the central figure, spatially restricted and physiologically fragmented, represents the physical and psychological condition of the Prometheus. The six additional “screens” flanking the central figure are emotive extensions of Prometheus, employed to underscore specific passages of the dialogue and reference the use of the Mask and the Chorus as a dramatic device in Greek Drama. Since you have studied Computer Science, we would like to ask if there is still a dichotomy between Art and Technology: it goes without saying that nowadays Art is growing more "technologic" but at the same time we would go as far as to say that Science is growing -from a certain point of view a bit "artistic". What's your point about this? I think that many artists employing technology are interested in mediated experiences. Though they may be using technology as tools to produce works of art, they are also concerned with our relationship with those tools on different levels. The means of production is equally important to the product itself. The experience of the work, for example in interactive media where the viewer serves as an agent, is also significant in technology based art.
Regarding the Sciences shifting to a more “artistic” place, I would have to say that this may have more to do with cultural perceptions of both science and art. 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 exists longer? A lot of early video art seemed to be tied more to performance art than cinema, however, it is difficult to imagine Avant-Garde Cinema not informing the artists that were first working in video. Of course it is inevitable that Video Art and Cinema will overlap and share a visual language. Though Video Art seems to be more centered on non-narrative devices and abstraction, which may distinguish it from Cinema, the use of video in art installations positions the medium in a unique place regarding its form and how it is experienced.
me. I like my process to be responsive. “The Titan” was different for me since I started out with a script, however, a lot of the pre-production efforts, the building of the set and the editing of the text for example, gave me this freedom. I like the idea of finding clarity, or at least some semblance of it, while creating the work. Thank you for this interview, Edward: what are your upcoming projects? What's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of? Currently, I am working on a new collage animation which should be done by the end of the summer 2013, titled “As Dreams Sometime Do.” It will be posted to my Vimeo page when it is completed: http://vimeo.com/user7483649
Not to mention that art should have an effect, or at least should communicate something. After reading your artist's statement, the following question might sound some rhetorical: do you think art’s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artist’s expression? Do you think that art could steer or even change people's behavior? I think that art does have the ability to bring about awareness that can lead to change. I am interested in art that presents something familiar in a manner that makes it unfamiliar. In the process of recognition and/or reconnecting to the object, idea, or event, new perceptions emerge. Not every work art of can have a revolutionary impact, but that does not diminish its importance. Artists that are engaged in a dialogue that challenges existing conventions of understanding are engaged in a dialogue that has driven the human experience throughout our history.
Education • Syracuse University, MFA Studio Arts, 2000, Syracuse, New York • University of North Texas, BFA Studio Arts, 1996, Denton, Texas • Columbus State University, PostGraduate studies in Computer Science, 18 Graduate hours, 21 Undergraduate hours, Columbus, Georgia, 2003-2007 Professional Experience
one that we're always interested in hearing the answer to. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? To borrow a phrase from animation, I prefer to work “straight ahead.” Experimentation is very important to
• Assistant Professor of Computer Animation, Department of Art, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, 2011 to present • Assistant Professor of New Media and Animation, Department of Art, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, Louisiana, 2008 to 2011
SAUSAN SAULAT Writer Lisa Farjam in her foreword in ‘Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East- The Saatchi Gallery Exhibition Catalogue’, aptly states that the Middle East is too often seen with a narrow lens of terrorism and oppression and as a humorless, dangerous more than distorting the history of cultural activities. ‘The richness of Middle Eastern art and culture which was until that point ignored suddenly came to the forefront after 9/ 11’ says she. One’s identity is multi layered and hybrid - not at all stagnant, with multiple influences shaping it. Cultural pigeonholing as such is gene-ralized and inaccurate as no person’s identity can be reduced to his origin, as that
A still from To love is to let go? Video, 2012
is simply one dimension of his or her being. My work is informed by the perception of my home country of Pakistan and the Muslim world at large and its image in the eyes of the West. The explorations act as vehicles for me to conceptually articulate and legitimize my own presence as an Eastern artist in the Western diaspora. The pieces each flirt with notions of identity, orientalism and conceptions of the other, particularly with regard to women artists. Metaphors for tradition, gender, culture, sexuality, politics, violence and religion, all form my visual and theoretical oeuvre. The investigation is an attempt to chronicle my own two and a half year experience of being away
from home and examine the many artists and theorists who have shaped my understanding of the Eastern dialogue in a predominantly Western context. Although the process and outcome is fairly interdisciplinary, the two-dimensional work is heavily ornamental drawing from Arab and South Asian influences. This use of pattern not only lends itself to ideas of tradition owing to the relationship between geometry, calligraphy and its symbolism in Eastern art and architecture but also comments on the Western understanding of it, courtesy of it’s Islamic affiliation.
An interview with Sausan Saulat Hi Sausan, we would give you welcome to Stigmart with our introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? The idea reigns supreme, the space how it activates a space and how effectively concepts are communicated. Of course there isnâ€™t one universal answer to a piece of art, but all successful works should resonate with the spectator on some level, be it purely aesthetic but by more importantly giving the audience something to think about, to take back with them- good or bad. Could you describe your background? Moreover, how much in your opinion training influences art? I graduated from the Indus Valley School of Art in Karachi,
Pakistan and then subsequently from the Savannah College of Art and Design with an MFA in Painting. Education is very important, art theory in particular. An artistic career entails not just an ability/skill to craft works of art but more importantly an understanding of how that work fits into the larger discourse, art historical-ly. Why it is relevant, if at all. Art history, art criticism, an adequate knowledge of what is happening around the world artistically and otherwise is imperative. I lack the discipline to do this research on my own, so am a big advocate of the schooling system. Besides producing art, you are also a teacher. Assisting others spurs onward to continue and expand, isn't it? By the way, since you have taught both in primary
school and in universities, we would like to know if in your opinion art could play an important role in children's education. Art education especially in the formative years is what really shaped my artistic curiosity and interest in the arts. That is when it starts. Professors both at the school as well as at university level have the ability to serve as great catalysts for a studentâ€™s artistic curiosity. Teaching kids art can be so entertaining, because they are so uninhibited and absolutely love art. But even at the university level a teacherâ€™s role can be tremendous. I had a few great professors both for undergraduate studies as well as for the MFA and I thought wow look at their commitment, I want to be just like that.
A still from To love is to let go? Butcher Rules
The respect they garnered, their diligence, work ethics were so admirable. Plus their work filled me with ideas and excitement about my own future and the possibilities that lay ahead. That is a big deal, if you can do that you are really providing them with a voice and a drive. Now let's focus on your interesting video "To love is to let go? ": what was your initial inspiration? What’s your process? To love is to let go was my first foray into video works but being a traditional painter, I was very daunted by the thought of making something incorporating sound, space and motion. The piece is based on conversations with family members back home about the deteriorating political climate of my country. It serves as a video response to my own ambivalence, helplessness, guilt and apathy as I confront the events with feeble attempts to drown the noise and carry on with a safe and sheltered life abroad. In terms of the process it was slightly challenging in it that the piece was shot in a shallow oneroom studio space and I needed to find ways to ensure that tight space was activated, so the 5minute piece had enough happening to hold the viewers interest for that long duration. I did not want to rely solely on the activity of the video superimposed onto the protagonist and so tried to do some enactments to keep the space moving. Keeping the objects/props in all four corners of the room helped as they gave me the freedom to move about, making the piece less static. Initially the piece was black and white, I wanted to avoid color to harmonize the foreground and projected background so it had to be mono-
chromatic but later added a green filter. Your artworks are intrinsically connected with the chance to create interaction with audience: when you conceive a work do you think to whom will enjoy it? Tell us something about the separation between the audience and artist… Since graduate school my work has become more and more interdisciplinary. I went into the program with a very rigid idea of what the arts entailed, but the MFA made me realize that my outlook was much too myopic. I still do enjoy and practice figurative realism but have moved onto more new media approaches like installation and film especially because the former was much too exclusive, lacking accessibility to a wider audience and a greater dialogue. More than the audience the context is important, whether it references other artists, works of art, periods in art history, feminist subtexts etc. No artist makes work for himself and it is important that the audience is touched by the wit, material choice, concept or whatever it is that the piece employs. Not to mention that art should have an effect, or at least should communicate something. After reading your artist's statement, the following question might sound even rethorical: do you think art’s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artist’s expression? Do you think that art could steer or even change people's behavior? Yes, it can change people’s behavior, even if it is fleeting or short-lived. The way films and music can. It may not result in great transformations but a life without the arts is a bland exis-
tence. To say art is simply there for personal artistic expression renders it pretty useless. Why even bother exhibiting then? Artists need validation, so having no impact on a person makes the work futile and unsuccessful. Of course not everyone is left inspired and this really isn’t the artist’s burden, as the spectator has to be receptive too. But if they come into a modern art museum with a contemptuous disapproval for modern art, they really would not take much from it. Thank you for this interview, Sausan. What's next for you? What direction are you moving in creatively? Of late I have been moving towards new media works and am excited about this plunge. I have been fooling around with some editing software and hope to develop a substantial body of video installation in the next few years. I am also getting increasing interested in creating combines that integrate video with more sculptural surfaces, finding novel ways to project the pieces, giving them a secondary conceptual layer. Performance is another area I want to venture into.
Published on May 4, 2013
Published on May 4, 2013
submit your artworks to firstname.lastname@example.org STIGMART/10 is pleased to announce the list of artists selected for our special Issue VIDEOFOCU...