From experimental cinema to fashion videography, fourteen artists breaking the boundaries Since its foundation, Stigmart10 has encouraged a conception of art based on a dynamic dialogue between artists and audience, reflecting the interactive nature of the creative act itself. A winning formula, according to the doubled number of submissions - more than 3000 applicants have submitted their video works and CV in 2014 - and the increasing popularity of our project. We are glad to present this year's edition of Videofocus, our special Stigmart10 review focused on experimental cinema, original fashion videography and courageous documentary. Stigmart10 Team
Yasunori Kawamatsu keep becoming Yasunori Kawamatsu. What's the beautiful things? If Beautiful-things happened in my perception, I can say that my mind have Beautiful-things.
"I think of my practice as very research-based, but most of the inspiration for my work comes from chance encounters I have online, or indulging in other media. "
‘Seamless’ is a compositional performance mediated through the lens of two video cameras. An unidentified man sits at a table, he sonically manipulates a teapot, smashes it – then reconstructs it using Gaffer tape.
"The essentialist position of nature as “truth,” and art’s “duty” to closely observe and translate it as such, is no longer regarded as viable for contemporary artists. "
'Threadbare' was inspired by my experience being used for pediatric research on growth (1980’s –early 1990’s) that is considered a critical bio-ethical shift in the US from policy adopted after WWII and as a result of the Nuremberg Code.
"My intent in conversing the oldest and the newest art medium still manifests in my body of work. Earlier videos were mostly rotoscoped animation, where I drew on top of each video stills both digitally and non-digitally."
A main subject for scrutiny in my work is the space formed between the viewer and the artwork, the energetic material that gathers between the surface of the porthole (the work of art) and the body and consciousness of the observer.
"Recalling a moment in history the first female cosmonaut to have flown in space a moment which has manifested itself in our collective memory, I will attempt to take the viewer from this collective point of departure on my journey "
Jason N. Miller
" UPC Sex is a satire on the idea that if we allow ourselves to be manipulated much longer we may well become so much the product that the inanimate objects that were the bait, which led us morally astray for so many years, finally will replace us all together. "
"By combining processes of digital manipulation and the re-structuring of found footage, this cycle of experimental videos explores the impulse to gain control over an uncontrollable event and how images decay as much as memories."
One day, the Character appeared to me as a shadow in my mind. It soon cast itself on paper as an outline in graphite and ink. Then a silhouette, it grew in size, hungrily stretching across the page with brushstrokes. It embodied a sense of substance, and I, too, inhabited the space it was in.
"I Believe it is a Signal is an experimental video organized as a 6-part vignette, each section revealing the control structures within the video code. In the spirit of Nam June Paik’s early Wobulator work, this piece uses a process that deconstructs the video sequencing, making the pixels appear to rupture as it is being ripped apart."
"For me, the making of the video and the participation in the procession is a spontaneous experience, too. As the procession continues, the film continues to develop, a film with no linear structure, corresponding to another understanding of the flowing of time which is perceived in a cyclic manner. "
Joy Mckinney “Touch Me” is a complementary document to “The Guardian” photographic series. “Touch Me” began as a way to further explore how people responded to touch outside of their controlled environment. Thephotographs truthfully translated theintimacy of the moment and the gentle nature of the subjects that choose toparticipate, but these still images couldnot communicate the guarded nature ofthe responses received when it washostile and/or negative.
Yasunori Kawamatsu An artist' statement Yasunori Kawamatsu keep becoming Yasunori Kawamatsu. What's the beautiful things?
If Beautiful-things happened in my perception, I can say that my mind have Beautiful-things. If subject have Beautiful origin, What's the [Subject]? and what's [not Subject]? in this case, Subject is myself. What's the
Video work [WOMEN IN THE HALITE] 2010
It is like a sculpture that get construction by keeping. Being myself,,, keep certain and make relation of me to me by Typing my name.
I guess,,, Beautiful be happening by being myself Yasunori Kawamatsu
An interview with
Yasunori Kawamatsu Yasunori Kawamatsu' art is marked by a strong effort to destabilize the cinematographic language : most of his films are not conceived using metaphoric approach, but adopting a performative research. Yasunori, how did you get started in filmmaking? I was making Painting. It is an abstract Painting, the kind of common abstract work one can see everywhere. In this type of work, the focus is not only on what is represented, the conversion process at play is also important. In my case, the way I drew a line or the color distribution conveys meaning. In other words, it is a language. A method of Painting based on a language. I've already used this language before, it is based on causal relationship between the faculty to designate and recognition. More than this, I'm particularly interested in grammar, which is very similar to the syntax used in programming. It is a mechanism which allows you to see clearly, to understand, when correct descriptions are used. Japanese culture has developed, since ancient times, specific methods of relating to context. This is particularly apparent in the wabi-sabi aesthetics, found in haiku poetry, the tea ceremony or flower arrangements. I approach linguistic questions in the same way, seeking to express a painting's meaning by establishing a contextual reference. As in the history of painting, where pictured representation has shifted planes, I seek to shift meaning to a different plane. Paintings convey a characteristic sense of space. It is an illusion, a physical experience similar to some kinds of dreams. Film conveys a characteristic sense of time, related to change. When we perceive things, one could say that change is really the basis of this perception, we are actually acknowledging change. Perception of differences are naturally
included this process. In ancient Japanese culture, this is specificity is embodied in the concept of mono no aware, sometimes described as a sensitivity to ephemera and the transience of things. In this meaning of illusion, one generates a situation which can be equally apprehended with different meanings, or where the same words can be understood in different ways. We experiences images where the symbolic referent is fragmented, compressed, displaced, as a form of accumulation of connections in meaning. Increasingly used as a basis of creation, this form of graphic representation which can read as a dreamlike recollection might also possess a capacity to act directly on the individual, quite similar to that of Christian paintings. For this year' s Videoofocus edition we have
Installation view [danae/square sphere] 2014 at Patriothall gallery, Edinburgh
Installation view [differance] 2013 at gallery si:jac, Seoul
selected your work titled "Differance". How did you come up with the idea for video? 'Differance' is an image of a person typing their own name into a mock keyboard made of plaster of paris. It is a visual representation of the disparity that arises in repetition, and at the same time expresses the flat object that is language, leaping out into three-dimensional form. This resembles the way in an individual human being is first bestowed with a name, and then goes on to gradually acquire identity. There is an old Japanese proverb which states that 'The name reveals the form'. This proverb captures the idea that an individual's personality gradually comes to resemble their name. That is how much Japanese people believed in the significance of possessing words (names). Just as people see and experience things in different ways, there are a variety of ways in which this image can be perceived. One of the foundations of my work is the idea that 'there are no intrinsically beautiful objects. However, beautiful things come into being'. Because everybody experiences things in different ways, perhaps it is not the target of the image that is the issue. As long as this is the case, we can understand the target's perception as taking place on various levels. In other words, this is the idea that beauty exists inherently in the very core of the thing itself. Video work [differance] 2012
As mentioned previously, in Japan there is a strong connection between names and existence. It was felt in old times that by depicting actions by which the subject ('self') connects to the name they have always possessed, we may be able to bring out the beauty inherent in the subject. People wanted to create the illusion of meaning through 'names' and the 'self' that they give rise to. I am depicting the process by which 'name' and 'self' - those two things which we so strongly believed to be the same - gradually drift apart as we leap out from the flat, two-dimensional world of characters into the three-dimensional world of identity. Running in reverse to this process is the way in which fingerprints gradually come into being. They are treated as two-dimensional imprints in the same way as words. two-dimensions/characters (name) â†’ threedimensions/concepts ('self') â†’ two-
dimensions/fingerprints (pattern). A story in which we ultimately return to a two-dimensional surface - but a different one to the one we started out from. This work also contains sound, that is, the sound of typing. One interesting point here is that when we type, for example, the letter 'k', the keyboard does not make the sound of 'k'. Furthermore, we cannot express the sound of 'k'. Nonetheless, it is, without doubt, 'k'. That is just how ambiguous a situation we find ourselves in. How, exactly, do the names which we are bestowed with from birth influence our lives? Should we call this influence molding, or constraint? That is something we can only seek to find out for ourselves.
I present this work as a visual representation of that thought, and hope that it will become a cause of reflection for the viewer. We have been really impressed by the painterly-materic qualities of your video: a suggestion to connect cinema to the sense of touch. Could you introduce our readers to this peculiar aspect of Differance? Our fascination with images stems in a large part from their expressive power and the particular standpoint which they hold in relation to time and space. However, they are often thought of as lacking substance. It is said that this is because they lack immediacy (relationship to the 'here and now'). As we go about our lives, we are, at all times, in connection with air. However, we do cannot feel the air which is constantly around us, nor
can we see it. It seems that the ability to sense air is something which we have done away with in order to be able to carry on existing. I believe that by reconnecting with that lost sense, I can propose a new way of experiencing the world. In the same ways that babies, who do not have access to the realm of language, touch things in order to be able to grasp their essence, I believe that the sense of touch is necessary in order to re-obtain words. That does not mean 'immediacy', but seems rather to be the source for pulling out our experience of the world. And that means closely depicting the situation on the surface. Reflecting on the intrinsic interest of the raw materials is one way of adding character to expression. The main material used in 'differance' is plaster, a material which is widely used in carving. Plaster reacts to water by emitting
Video work [differance] 2012
heat, before tightening and hardening. This process bears a similarity to the relationship between words and cognizance. Words fix our existence in place, and allow us to see regularity in the world. Starting off from a crumbly, unstable powder state, after combining with water, the plaster gives off heat, hardens and coils around the fingers. This process forms the link between flat and three-dimensional, and surely heralds the start of a new tale following on from the end of the story of identity and fingerprinting. It is just as if our very existence were emitting heat and transforming into an intrinsic being.
And white is a very strange existence. Surface has been suggested that the state close to zero as possible. I behave as if there is no surface is ensured. When all is visualized, it becomes the same as that no. May be a trade-off at all I would have been collected in the same way it. We have been really impressed by your early work titled "WOMEN IN THE HALITE" marked by a simple and at the same time masterly cinematography. Could you introduce our readers to this amazing short film?
In your work frames are often domined by a strong presence of white. Why?
I think that it is fair to say that this is a key concept of expression that I decided with this piece of work. Firstly, I need to say work's concept.
The color has a meaning unique cultural respectively. White will be seen a lot of that you have a sacred meaning even in the world. The same is true in Japan. It has been speculated whether not the cultural background of the age materials such as salt was valuable as one. That feeling has also affects the current.
â€œThis work quoted Novel of [Women in the Dunes](written by Kobo Abe) . This story about Men who was caught by women. She lives in Dune. Women forced to Men to rake out sand. such a sand as women, such a women as sand. She(sand) robbed his something, before he knows. His mind which swung for a while is absorbed smoothly by the woman. He will
Video work [differance] 2012
Video work [danae/square sphere] 2014
penetrate routine work, and will discover the meaning of his life on dune, at the same time. ‘Rake out sand’ is meanless. but I felt this is symbol about psyche of Japan. That is the occurrence of a meaning which from a meaningless act, and pleasure of alive. The man must be found out something from there (meaningless). I wished to express this beauty. It dispels believing the importance of an act simultaneously.”
Its the same as the number 0. There is nothing, and yet we can see there is nothing. The fact that we can see nothing is in itself a big contradiction, and it makes evident the existence of a strong spiritual knowledge ( ). This piece of work tries to make all of that into a visible format, and show the extent to which our spiritual knowledge influences and controls us. This piece of work shows three women linked by salt. A long time ago, salt was used as currency. The three women are giving salt to the person on the left. At the same time, they are receiving salt from the person to their right. In other words they are moving, but they are maintaining the equilibrium.
I am fascinated by memories of being nothing. It is Emptiness in Jpapanese. It exists, but it doesn't exist. This is a big contradiction.
Video work [differance] 2012
They exist, but they don't. And then there is the main piece. Two separate concepts are becoming one. The images show the two concepts losing any disparities. They are different, yet they aren't. In these ways, we must discover the concept of life. We find that your art is rich of references. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? if I consider just one thing in this case. I must choise art work of Michael Craig Martin. It's only a cup of water. But there is everything. we can believe that something included in there.
It s taught me that important to believe for everything. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Yasunori. What's next for Yasunori Kawamatsu ? Are there any film projects on the horizon? More and more I am developing an interest in Language. In my recent work I created "danae/ square sphere" using Greek Mythology's Danae as a motif. Firstly, it is this work's concept.
Language is generally the most suitable medium for our awareness. Even so, just as we process them, we lose them. Doesn't that suggest that our consciousness has something like a mechanism for grammar? What if we have a common rhythm in our information structure that is ancillary (different from index and context)? In other words, it turns out that there is no problem with expression. It's a really simple idea and means that the world is rewritten into something different. My next plan, from October through November is to do an artist-in-residence that invited by La Napoule Art foundation in France at château La Napoule. There, I will create Kafka's "Castle" as a motif. With that story as the feature, the main character goes without achieving his goals no matter how he tries and is written into a state of affairs that are mocking him. Using that as the meaning of illusion, I intend "Detour from the Subject" to be my next work. Like a coffee siphon, it is going from the starting point and returning back to it again as in the recounting of a dream. When you return to the beginning, it's not the same. Yet it is also not different. Language have the power to convey this situation and that, as far as we're concerned, is the lead in to words as the introduction to an image which is useful. This is the meaning going from here on out as well.
This work attempts to make a square sphere, as a metaphor for visual notion of intersection. It s a simple idea and action, melting square ice onto a sphere plaster. Square sphere is strange word and subject, because a square sphere is impossible to find in this world. It is only a word or concept, but one can find it in my work. It is like the myth Danaë in greek mythology; impossible, beautiful, but nothing”
Yasunori Kawamatsu born to 1984 in Gumma Prefecture in Japan. He was graduate from the design course of Tokyo Institute of Polytechnics in 2006. He was started Artist career that part in a performance at Kunsthall of Dusseldorf in 2008, and he joined group exhibition in the Gumma Museum of Modern Art/JP in 2009, Edinburgh Art Festival 2010, Takasaki city museum/JP in 2012, also China-Japan contemporary art exhibition at 53 Art Museum in china 2014. He invited from La Napoule Art foundation on residency program at Cannes Fall 2014. email@example.com
This work reveals a special circumstance that is held by the words. It means that the things that cannot be shown will be expressed verbally. It is a really interesting piece.
www.kawamatsuyasunori.com dabada project www.kawamatsuyasunori.com/dabada.html
An interview with
Tiffany Funk We are glad to present Tiffany Funk's video work for this year's Videofocus Edition. Her video Portraits explores in an original way the fluid relationship between users and open community software. Tiffany, how did you come up with the idea for this work? I think of my practice as very research-based, but most of the inspiration for my work comes from chance encounters I have online, or indulging in other media. In this case, I was looking up tutorials for 3D motion-tracking software. I began to notice that many of these software users - a very large number, in fact made videos in which they mapped Terminator effects onto video footage they had taken of themselves in their homes. All of the videos I found were of young men in various personal
spaces, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. I didn't find any women, and the average age of the men seemed fairly young, around 20 years and even younger. However, the greatest variation was in the location of these men; there were entries from Russia, India, various South American, Asian, and European countries, as well as the United States. I wondered what it was about the Terminator in particular that attracted young men, regardless of geographic location, and what it was about this particular software - or software in general - that lead them to this particular militaristic, masculine, technologically dystopian popular culture figure. I was obsessed with findings these videos, and spent a few months searching for all the tutorial followers I could find.
A still from Portraits
In your work we can recognize a deep introspection: do you think artâ€™s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artistâ€™s expression? Do you think that art could play an important role in facing social questions? Could art steer or even change people's behavior?
delineating "high" or "low." Artists need each other, and we need to have multiple forums for discussion. Everyone should be given an opportunity to act creatively, and use this creativity to enact the change they want to see. Artists should be enablers. How did you get started in filmmaking?
I'm a believer in how Roland Barthes describes of artmaking in his seminal essay "The Death of the Author"; basically, once the work is sent out into the world, my duty of performing the text has now been passed onto whatever audience it is lucky enough to find. In that way, I think art certainly plays a very important role in society, as they are the ones who ultimately designate meaning. While one artwork might not constitute a movement, many artworks can. This is why I am so dedicated to the idea of artists as educators and philosophers and cultural critics. I also like to think very widely on what constitutes an artist, without
I got started pretty young. I made monster movies with a home video camera and my younger brother was the only actor, wearing these awful but hilarious fake beards and wigs. We also played around with animations. My parents were always incredibly supportive of creative play. Maybe that sort of intimate filmmaking, with very few actors or none at all, and the use of found footage, started with these experiments. We find that your art is rich of references. Apart from Donna Haraway, the author of
A still from Portraits
A Cyborg Manifesto, can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? While a lot of my research-based references are the cybernetics greats, like Norbert Wiener, Alan Turing, and media theorists like Marshall McLuhan and Vilem Flusser, I always fall back on my love of science fiction. I loved John
Carpenter movies, and, of course, The Terminator, as well as anything by Paul Verhoeven, especially Robocop and Total Recall. But I was a huge reader of science fiction and weird fiction, and I still am. The more ambiguous the horror, the better. I love H.P. Lovecraft and his non-human centered mythos, Philip K. Dick, David Foster Wallace, and the subtle horror of Flannery O'Connor and
As an artist, how important do you think it is to teach what you practice? It's very important. Like I mentioned, art for me is akin to pedagogy. Also, in teaching what you practice, you have the opportunity to find likeminded individuals, and you can find a cohort of collaborators. The Chicago scene is often underrated, nonetheless we have found it very interesting and rich of young experimental filmmakers, often working with low budget, but with great results. What do you think of Chicago artistic scene, from a filmmaker's point of view? The Chicago art scene is amazing in so many ways, one of them being the supportive community we have. Despite it being a big city, you see the same cast of characters wherever you go, which gives a small-town feelings when you wander into a random gallery opening. That can be very nice. Also, the social practice vibe amongst artists here is staggering. Because Chicago isn't LA or New York, many artists here are far less focused on commercialism and more interested in connecting with others, starting all kinds of initiatives, and becoming involved in local political and social movements. Theaster Gates is just one amazing example amongst many. You are currently writing your dissertation focusing on John Cage and Lejaren Hillerâ€™s HPSCHD: could you introduce our readers to this fascinating work?
Borges. I'm also addicted to survival horror video games. I think these stories and their premises highlight how we abstract very precient, human problems, like poverty and aging and war and lonliness, and attempt to formulate answers to these hypothetical, but relatable problems. I remix, quote, and steal so much from all of these, and throw in a bit of the mundane to temper it.
HPSCHD is a little-recognized but amazing spectacular collaboration between John Cage and the computer musician Lejaren Hiller, Jr. in 1969. Cage was a fellow at the university, and was brought there by Hiller with the promise that they could figure out a way to make computer music. They used the University of Illinois' supercomputer to generate sounds and scores for the musical portion of the event, and invited others to collect film and images to project in the university's sports arena. Thousands of people came to the one night event. Unfortunately, the film footage and most of the photographic documentation was destroyed in a fire, so very little remains except for some reviews and descriptions, as well as some of the computer print-outs for the generated scores. I'm particularly interested in the programming portion, since Hiller had to find out how to
A still from Portraits
translate the I Ching, a coin-casting prognostication method, into a readable program for the university's computer. I explain the programming process as part of the ultimate performance, and ponder how the computer - as a room-sized calculation machine used originally for ballistics research for the military - could translate from wartime tool to
artistic medium. Suffice to say, this translation was not at all easy. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Tiffany. What's next for Tiffany Funk? Are there any film projects on the horizon? Currently I'm finishing a film project in which I used facial recognition software to identify faces
from episodes of The Maury Povich Show that look like the mourning Madonna, or Pieta. I'm fascinated by how the very rigid template of each of these episodes casts women as these weak and fragile figures, but also punishes them when they appear strong or aggressive. We often make fun of these daytime "trash" television shows, but I think we're still so heavily influenced by the tropes they portray.
Aside from that project, I've started on some short films that reference both Poltergeist and The Shining, particularly the female characters and their relationship with horror and victimhood. I'm also hard at work on my blog, http://fetalcircuit.com, where I repost interesting articles about cybernetics and art along with my own articles, criticism, and artwork.
Kevin Logan An artist's statement ‘Seamless’ is a compositional performance mediated through the lens of two video cameras. An unidentified man sits at a table, he sonically manipulates a teapot, smashes it – then reconstructs it using Gaffer tape. Jump cut edited, what starts as aural documentation evolves into an electroacoustic composition. If Laurel and Hardy were to have extended their ineptitude into the practice of musique concrete, their 1932 short film ‘The Music Box’ may have been a precursor to this.With a nod to the oeuvre of English
comedian Tommy Cooper, ‘Seamless’ objectifies the faceless entertainer, dislocating the event from its history. The title ‘Seamless’ makes reference to kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of fixing pottery with lacquer resin seams, whilst also winking ironically at the virtuoso dance music DJ in his / her endeavour to make the transition from one record to another imperceptible. Although the incitement by traditional ceramic restoration methods is one of a more esoteric nature, this strategy for a composition takes these notions and re-purposes
Still from tambourine experiment #2 (questionable cause) 2011 Digital Video 00:28 (Loop)
them. Its inspiration extends from Vaudeville to Metzger’s 1959 manifesto ‘Auto-Destructive Art’, from the unpredictable humour of Fluxus concerts, to contemporary laptop electronica. My practice-led exploration of sound through performance has developed into an investigation of how, by means of a processing of the sonicevent via technological re-staging, concepts of authenticity can be destabilised. By engaging with conventions of listening as they are established in Film Theory, and reconsidering late twentieth century Performance Art’s contested definitions of
‘liveness’, I am asking how is the ‘real sonicevent’ mediated through technologies? And, how is the ‘live’ re-presented through these mediations? In particular low-key and low-fi sequences of performed tasks, re-constructed, re-purposed and ‘re-punked’, bringing into question the authenticity of their first instantiation.
Still from To Have & To Have Not 2012 Digital Video 03:50
The first time we have watched your work Seamless were really impressed by the way you have adopted a performative research in digital media avoiding any metaphoric/metonymic approach to filmmaking. How did you come up with the idea for this work? I am from a Contemporary Art background, and as such have less respect for the grammar of filmmaking than if I’d been trained in film or media.On saying that I have also worked in sound design and there is a great deal about the combination of the audio/visual in cinema that influences this work. One of the more obvious references is the misalignment of diegetic and non-diegetic sound, especially in the genres of comedy and horror. I should emphasise that
central to my practice is the ‘sonic’ in its many guises. In Seamless, what starts as performance documentation evolves into an electroacoustic composition,and ends assomething else, I’m still not quite sure what.It is filmed using two tripod mounted mini-DV camcorders. The sound is recorded using two condenser microphones and two homemade contact mics (which record only matter-bound sound). All the sound recording equipment is visible in shot, which of course is sacrilegious in the world of filmmaking. Alternating between pointsof view underlines the re-staged nature of the performance.Thevideo is jump-cut edited, a sort of secondary act of repair, of breakage and
Installation view All night long you’ve been looking at me. Digital Video 00:46 (Loop). ASC Gallery, London. 2012
reconciliation. The video is not arecording of a performance, but an expanded ‘sonic-event’.
introduce our readers to this fundamental aspect of "Seamless"?
As you rightly point out in your question,in my work the performative is as much a research methodology, as it is a ‘type’ of practice.
I’ve always had a particular liking for Japanese pottery, and at the time of making this work I was looking at the sonic properties of various types of ceramics. I’m also very interested in yobitsug (the practice of repairing pottery by inserting alien ceramic pieces), and tomotsugi (The practice of repairing pottery using only original fragments). Ihad been exploring how these might be comparable to sampling and plunderphonics as compositional methodologies.
As for how I came up with the idea, well, It is one of many works exploring crossdisciplinarycombinations. It straddles film, performance, and sound composition, and as such I think it is awkward in any one camp. I like to think of this video piece as being a little difficult or obstinate, uncooperatively tongue-incheek. The title of the work referes to the ancient Japanese art of kintsugi: could you
The original tilte was ‘Seamless: The Sound of Kintsugi’, however I decided that this occidental appropriation was somewhat problematic and did not need to be made explicit in the title.
Still from Re(c)order(ing) #2 (Quartet) 2012 Digital Video 01:00 (Loop)
Still from Her Master’s Voice / His Mistress’s Voice 2011 Digital Video 04:26
As you say, itmakes reference to kintsugi the ancient Japanese art of fixing pottery with lacquer resin seams. Kintsugi in turn relates to the aesthetic of wabi-sabi, that which accommodates deterioration and decay. In kintsugi the re-assembled ceramic conveys traces of time and event, in a similar way to that of the re-presentation of performance.Wabi-sabi could be seen as an anti-aesthetic, an ancient re-punking. Just as amplification epitomises the spatiotemporal rupture that shapes aural perception post-recording technology. This is analogised with the bonding of elements in a kintsugi ceramic, it assimilates the event and its reproduction.
This is an interesting question, very open ended, but also highly specific to my current concerns. Recently I have become more and more interested in ‘everydayness’, by which I mean the quotidean, the non-exceptional, the run- of-the-mill. The scrutiny of everyday routine experience has fascinating philosophical and creative implications. The things that I find most engaging at the moment are the sounds and noises that go unnoticed. The clicks, hums, bumps encountered on a daily basis, rather than ‘interesting-sounds’. This has parallels with the non-virtuosic and the non-auteuristic, which has a great provenance within avant-garde art and music.
The title also has a less esoteric reference, winking ironically at the virtuoso dance music DJ in his/her endeavour to make the transition from one record to another imperceptible, smooth, seamless.
As I write this at my kitchen table (the same table that Seamless is performed at), my refrigerator clicks on making a plethora of whooshing, whirring, drones and thrums.
We daresay that your daily experience is very important for your artist practise and thinking: could you explain this aspect?
I think the‘eventlessness’ of what-happenswhen-nothing-happens may be aviable antidote
Still from Seamless (redux) 2014 Digital Video 09:55
to the ubiquitous workings of modern goal driven capitalism. Marcel Duchamp said something or other about the sound or music which corduroy trousers make when one moves. For me this still suggests a very relevant way of hearing/seeing/thinking. It could be considered a specious question, indeed, nonetheless we have to ask you: does your art change people's behavior? Do you aim to create a sort of "micropolitical" artistic act reawaking in the spectator the awareness of his perception mechanisms and models? Again a very good question, my answer to the first is, I donâ€™t know you would have to ask the audience, gallery goer, spectator. But it would be nice if it did. The second question is a little more straightforward, or at least easier for me to answer. The simple reply would be, yes.
Here I will try to resist the urge to make broad statements and grand suppositions about the creative process. But, I do honestly believe that all forms of creativity are political acts in one form or another. So, yes a politic with a small â€˜pâ€™ is very much an oblique strategy within my work, to liberate a Brian Eno phrase. As touched on in my answer to your previous question, any artist output that questions, challenges or circumvents the dominant market forces has a socio- political element. In this respect Performance Art has always lent itself to an act of defiance. This also leads to a whole raft of questions regarding definitions of liveness, the role of documentation, and the restaging of event based art practices. The title Seamless is a combination of what might be considered highbrow,the Japanese applied art form, and lowbrow, the reference to House and Dance music. The disregard for filmic convention, the comedic as a discursive device, the unidentified performers slapstick act of destruction,the cack-handed attempt at restoration. All of these, I consider to be
Still from To Have & To Have Not 2012 Digital Video 03:50
micropolitical gestures and have a metapolitical consequence. Your performance reminds us of Fluxus' early films. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Yes, I’ve always felt an affinity with Dada and Fluxus. I like impertinence it tests boundaries. I’m afraid I will have to be very unoriginal and clichéd and mention Duchamp again, in particular his ‘In Advance of the Broken Arm’. For those readers unfamiliar with it, it is simply a wood and galvanized-iron snow shovel, shop bought, ready-made, and that is it. Although it may not be my favourite work by him, when I first came across it many years ago it completely reconfigured my grasp of potentiality. I consider it to be a work of performance, the action takes place between the object and the language. I am fascinated by how a title and the thing it names can collude. In this example the most mundane of objects when combined with the most elementary of words, fashions a complete scenario, an entire
event frozen in time (no pun intended). It is a ‘sculpture’ with a backstory and future narrative. Perhaps more relevant to the piece we are discussing, is the influence that cinema and comedy has had on my work. I’m a big fan of the films of Jacques Tati, not because I find them particularly hilarious, but because the sound design is so audacious. But, for me the highlight of this sonic/comedic exchange would have to be in the 1929 Laurel and Hardy short film ‘Wrong Again’. In which Stan and Ollie make their usual highly idiosyncratic observations, in this case on the mindset of the rich. These observations, communicated to the audience via intertitles, are emphasized by a particular hand gesture. The gesture is accompanied by a sound effect, made I believe by a Swanee or slide whistle. This film is unusual in that although silent, it includes synced sound effects. The use of this sound effect is inconsistent and clunky to say the least. For me this film is a real oddity, a couple of years earlier it would not have been possible as the technology did not exist, a
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couple of years later and the use of sound in ‘talkies’ had developed to the extent that this level of audio ineptitude would not of been acceptable. The troubled use of sound, in addition to a level of pathos that only the likes of Laurel and Hardy could add, makes this short film equal to any Beckett screenplay or contemporary performance work. I’m beguiled by art works that employ humour while disputing the physical and psychological parameters of the world around them. This is similar to my ‘acting-out’ the material and sonic properties of a teapot in Seamless. Infants engage with the world on a speculative level, often risking unknown dangers in order to accrue knowledge. I find a credulous preoccupation, both with sonic things and event based things, to be the most useful gadget at my disposal. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Kevin. What's next for Kevin Logan? Are there any film projects on the horizon? A present I’m amassing a stockpile of lo-fi and fugitiveaudiovisualmaterial, what I call sonic-
deeds. They are made using a variety of mobile devices and cheap digital video recorders. These shun the allure of high definition and crisp resolution, for the relatively crappy democracy of instant capture. I’m enjoying working with fairly high end audio and low end moving image, this is an unusaul trade off. I’m also exploring different ways of dissemination, making some works to be shown exclusively on phones and/or tablets, and others purely for online access. This approach to moving-image takes from field recording and phonography for its methodology. I would compare these short video works to tracks on a recorded album. Like a compedium, the individual elements may be underwhelming when encountered individually, taking on a greater significance through their relational drift. firstname.lastname@example.org www.kevinlogan.co.uk Kevin Logan is currently a PhD candidate with CRiSAP(Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice), University of the Arts London.
Jennifer Wanner The essentialist position of nature as “truth,” and art’s “duty” to closely observe and translate it as such, is no longer regarded as
viable for contemporary artists. Instead of simply re-presenting a Romantic failure, my video works, botanical watercolour paintings,
Jean Baudrillard’s “simulacrum” (where the ability to distinguish between “the model and the real” has been lost among the mediations of cultural constructs), and Paul Virilio’s theory of “substitution” (in which “virtuality destroys reality”). Floral still-life painting has a history of working in a manner reminiscent of collage. Seventeenth century floral still-life painters would create idealised bouquets depicting flowers that would often bloom at different times of the year. These artists would generate their composite subjects from a variety of sources (sketches they had done, books of botanical engravings, how-tobooks). I construct both my stop-motion animations and works on paper using the Internet’s image database of the most common genetically modified plant crops (corn, canola, soy, cotton, tomato, tobacco), which I download, print, and carefully cut out. The videos, collages, and watercolours are composed of images that are “transferred” and “spliced” onto other images to create a new “modified” whole.
and collages serve as critiques of our continued human drive for dominance over nature, as well as our complacency towards that dominance. These works act as propositions for both nature (or “wildlife”) cinema and botanical art in a time of virtual, high-speed systems, influenced by
In the silent stop-motion animation Herbacentrice I generate the images by cutting out photocopied transparencies of GMO plants, and photographing them in new plant combinations on a lighting table (traditionally used to view slides). The title Herbacentrice is collaged from the words herbaceous and cockentrice (an edible monster constructed for feasts of the fifteenth century). Herbacentrice is comprised of 12 short vignettes based on the format of the underwater nature films of French scientist and avant-garde filmmaker Jean Painlevé (1902 – 1989), who believed that nature film-making was “a means of democratising scientific research”. Painlevé deliberately anthropomorphised the underwater creatures he filmed in order to engender sympathy and understanding from his audience towards the natural world. My art practice draws not only on art-historical conventions, but also on various scientific objective means of observing and representing the natural world – botany, genetics, and the camera. My work attempts to operate between two Romantic realms: fascination with mastery over natural processes and unease with what our technology might unleash.
An interview with
Jennifer Wanner How did you come up with the idea for Herbacentrice? Our perceptions of and relations to the natural world in part motivate my work. The stop-motion animation Herbacentrice evolved out of an earlier video work called Florilegium that was completed in 2009 for my graduate thesis exhibition at the University of Western Ontario. Florilegium is a full-colour, stop-motion animation that features ink jet paper images of genetically modified plants that are recombined into alternative plant forms and emerge from a rip in their paper background while a selection of piano works by Eric Satie play. Anthropomorphic characteristics and relationships evolve between the new plants. A few perform courtship rituals, while others have developed the need to cannibalize one another. In my next animation, Herbacentrice, I wanted to address how, as humans, we have been manipulating nature long before we cracked the genetic code, so I began experimenting with the use of black and white transparency images of GM plants on a flickering, florescent light-table background in order to achieve the look of an historical, scientific film with the use of digital technology. The transparencies also provided an “x-ray” view, so you are able to see one plant digesting or regurgitating another. I decided that this work needed to be silent to suggest that it is a scientific and objective record, rather than adding a musical soundtrack, which implies emotion.
Your art research has been deeply influenced by the French filmmaker Jean Painlevé. When did you come across Painlevé's stunning films?
There are twelve vignettes in Herbacentrice with each one showcasing the behaviors of a new plant form. Painlevé’s choice to anthropomorphize the natural world to engender empathy from his audience towards the natural world was another strong influence that carries forward in my animation Herbacentrice.
At a studio critique during my graduate studies at the University of Western Ontario professor
and artist Susan Schuppli was reminded of the nature films of Jean Painlevé after viewing a short segment of my animation Florilegium. She introduced me to a mesmerizing three-disc DVD set entitled Science is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé that The Criterion Collection released in 2009. The vignette format I use in my animations comes out of Painlevé’s short episodes that focus on the activities and relationships of a certain type of creature.
We find that your art is rich of references. Apart from Baudrillard's essays and PainlevĂŠ's cinema we have just quoted, can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Several contemporary artists inspire various directions in my work, in particular those artists who incorporate more than one discipline in their practice to investigate and discuss the multi-faceted nature of a concept, such as Shary Boyle, who represented Canada in the 2013 Venice Biennale. I also look to art history to inform my work. The painstakingly, precise detail of seventeenth century Dutch floral still-life painting has always held a fascination for me. During my research in graduate school I came across the working methods of Dutch still-life painters who would
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generate elaborate bouquets that were composite images of flowers, fruits, and vegetables that bloom and ripen at different times of the year â€“ a remarkably contemporary actualisation. I felt that these combined compositions employed a process similar to collage. This led me to the notion that genetic engineering also uses a process that is not dissimilar to collage when an isolated genetic trait is transferred into another organism. This chain of thought is what inspired me to construct both my stop-motion animations and works on paper using the Internetâ€™s image database of the most common genetically modified plant crops. Stop-motion animation is a wonderful technique but it is an extremely difficult process too.
How long does it usually take to finish a piece? I actually began making stop-motion animations during graduate school in order to make my projects more expeditiously because my detailed botanical watercolours were taking far too long to finish and work has to be completed in a timely manner during a two-year program. Had I known that I was rushing into yet another meticulous and time-consuming process I might have thought twice. However, I did enjoy the immediacy of the digital camera and computer animation software. The animation Herbacentrice was created in two installments. It was originally 2 minutes 57 seconds, but it was later extended to 6 minutes 2 seconds for The 2013 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art. In total it took me Captions 6 details
approximately eight months to complete, with four months of cutting out the transparent images by hand and another 4 months photographing and animating the images. In Herbacentrice you succeeded in exploring the natural world through a scientific sensibility. Do you think that a huge dichotomy between art and technology exists today? I feel that technological creation and development stems out of human needs or desires and can be elevated scientifically, sociologically, and politically as the answer to our problems. Contemporary art, however, uses this technology as a tool to question that very same technology and our human motivation and drive to control the world we inhabit. Contemporary art and technology, although they often have disparate motivations, can interact critically.
Dennis E. Cosgrove points out in his text Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape that early nineteenth-century Romantics looked to both art and science in their examinations of the “urphanomen” – the essential pattern and process of the natural world. Their interest in nature had less to do with control and mastery over the land, than with control over the very process of nature. My watercolours, collages, and video works examine the two disparate Romantic notions of fascination with mastery over natural processes and unease with what our technology might unleash. Cultural theorist Ryan Bishop states in his article Animation/Re-animation, “As science became more enamored with not only finding the secrets of nature but of mastering them and turning the natural world to the will of human society, the concept of animation, converting dead tissue into a living being again, captured the imagination of artists and scientists in Europe in
the late 18th and early 19th centuries”. This infatuation with the “simulation of life” still persists in contemporary technology-driven society, coupled with the “unconscious anxiety…[that] the very technologies that deliver humans this divine-like power might not always deliver what they promise”. The Canadian scene is often underrated, nonetheless we have found it very interesting and rich of young experimental filmmakers, often working with no budget, but with great results. What do you think of the Canadian artistic scene, from a filmmaker's point of view? My training background has primarily been in visual art as a painter and drama as a scenic
artist and designer. I entered into the Masters of Fine Arts program at the University of Western Ontario as a painter and came out with a new enthusiasm for stop-motion animation. I have mainly been involved in the visual art community rather than specifically filmmaking, so I can more comfortably speak to how visual artists in Canada have used filmmaking and video in their art practices. Some of Canada’s most internationally acclaimed artists, such as Rodney Graham, Stan Douglas, Rebecca Belmore, Marcel Dzama, and the collaboration duo Janet Cardiff and Georges Bures Miller, include video and film in their art practices. The boundaries between mediums often blur in many of their projects. Contemporary art historian Christina Ross claims in her essay Experimental Video in Canada and the Question of Identity that although there is not one unifying Canadian video art aesthetic there still appears to be a
similarity of concern between various video artists, such as an “in-between-ness” – particularly, between reality and fiction. Several younger emerging visual artists, who use video and film in their practices, for example Kent Monkman and Brendan Fernandes, carry on this “in-between position” through dealing with identity politics. Both established and emerging Canadian filmmakers and visual artists have been fortunate with the support of national arts funding institutions, such as the Canada Council for the Arts established in1952 and the National Film Board of Canada established in 1939. However, some emerging artists have historically been awarded smaller financial grants, which can at times lead them to being more resourceful with their production aesthetics. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts,
Jennifer. What's next for Jennifer Wanner? Are there any film projects on the horizon? I have recently been awarded an Alberta Foundation for the Arts project grant in support of a new series of fourteen collages and one large watercolour that will be entitled Periculum, which in Latin means: trial; proof; danger; peril; risk; liability. Using the similar collaging process as Herbacentrice I am downloading images of the most endangered and threatened plant species throughout Canada from the Internet database instead of the most popular GM plants. An individual collage will be generated for each of the thirteen Canadian provinces and territories. The fourteenth collage will represent all of Canada and will contain an endangered plant species from each of the provinces and territories. This fourteenth collage will then be translated into a large
detailed watercolour painting. A stop-motion animation that uses this related concept is still in the development stage. With this proposition to “genetically collage” all of the endangered plant species together into one specimen we would only have to concern ourselves with protecting one plant species rather than a diverse range of them – a system of “efficiency”. These botanical collages and painting act as another futile and preposterous proposal to help restore and protect what we are on the verge of destroying. I would like to thank the Stigmart10 team for affording me the opportunity to discuss my various projects in their publication.
An interview with An artist's statement Threadbare was inspired by my experience being used for pediatric research on growth (1980’s –early 1990’s) that is considered a critical bioethical shift in the US from policy adopted after WWII and as a result of the Nuremberg Code, which protected vulnerable bodies from medical experimentation due to their inability to consent to the research. This shift, which I could discuss in detail if interested, inadvertently opened up what is now a billion dollar industry that that has used recruiting and retention methods of pediatric research subjects to sustain its growth. I made Threadbare thinking of how I could explain this complicated situation surrounding bio-power and the clinical gaze to my seven-year-old self who had learned a lot about the world and her body through stop-motion animation films. I’m also interested in the use of film as a production devise because it holds a physical history/memory of its use similar to our own bodies.
Kirstin Reeves Why have you used 16mm footage for this project? There is a particular reason linked to the ephemeral qualities of this rare format today? Yes, several traits associated with 16mm film’s physical form made it an irreplaceable tool in Threadbare. I wanted the project to present the human body as a vulnerable but resilient material resource within the transformative lens of the medical gaze. I thought of the film as a formal metaphor of the human body because 16mm film is also a vulnerable and resilient material. People as well as film emulsions are affected by both intangible and physical contact. For example film is altered by the invisible touch of light and it projects a physical memory of its use. Projections of a
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film’s history will not discriminate between unintended scratches and breaks, or intended edits and direct animation. Film is also resilient, surviving its systematic use (and abuse) within cameras, projectors, and guillotine splicers. Personal experiences can transform us in unforeseen ways and our bodies can hold a physical memory of these events. Though our physical memory may not be as transparent and accessible in human form as it is within a film’s material, I hope the use of film will evoke a feeling of the phenomenon in my audience. Stop-motion animation films had a huge influence on your conception of body in art: could you introduce our readers to this peculiar aspect of your art training?
between the body and media. At the same time that this formative experience occurred, I was captivated with stop-motion animation within children’s programming on television. Medical photographers photographed me at an early age because of various physical abnormalities I had due to a bone disorder called rickets. When I was about eleven-years-old, I found a series of these photographs in a folder while waiting alone in an examination room. I was shocked at my appearance in the photographs. They portrayed the bone disorder rather than me as a person, which challenged the internal picture I held of myself. I remembered that when they were taken the process had felt similar to portraits taken at school, but the clinical photoshoot resulted in images that captured me as a medical subject: specimen, material, object.
A formative childhood experience with medical photography led me to engage in art production as a means to understand complex relationships
I became obsessed with (as well as freighted of) finding photographs of myself in medical books. I wondered if I would be recognizable to myself
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because many text used tightly cropped segments of human subjects, concealing the personâ€™s identity through formal initiatives. Though I never came across images that were of me directly, I eventually found images that felt as if the subject could have been me. This feeling of sharing an experience through media increased when I discovered fine art photography and films. I realized by producing still and moving media artworks of my own, I could gain more of an understanding of my life in relation to the clinic as well as the potential of media to not only reflect the world but to affect it directly. I learned many lessons through stop-motion animation as a kid and I thought the form would continue to help me understand the world as a filmmaker. I initially choose to use stop-motion animation in Threadbare because I wanted to spotlight the necessity of communicating to children immersed in clinical research that they
were being used as clinical subject. I understood first-hand the need to process the experience no matter how non-invasive or necessary the research might be. In addition to the reference to childhood educational films, the stop-motion animation technique visually contributes to the concept of the transformative power of media upon the body. Usually stopmotion animation is used to bring inanimate objects to life in film. By applying this technique to a human body, the production method is seen controlling, restricting, and manipulating what would otherwise be a souvenir body for the sake of the media rather than the individual. Threadbare contains a profound critique of the pharmaceutical industry system . How did you come up with the idea for this work? I started Threadbare as a means to address
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what I believe is a bioethical oversight regarding the use of pediatric research subjects in the United States. I was researching the United State’s policy on the use of children as clinical subjects because of my participation in pediatric studies. I discovered that in 1997 the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act (FDAMA) was enacted. This act loosed the pediatric bioethical restrictions established when the Nuremberg Code was adopted in the wake of World War II. The first principal of the Nuremberg Code is to exclude the use of vulnerable subjects who cannot give consent to their participation in various forms of scientific experimentation.
been limited. To support the new initiative set forth with the FDAMA, pharmaceutical companies were granted a six-month patent extension for any drug tested on children. Pharmaceutical companies used the initiative to create profits on drugs that had not previously been marketed for children, which opened up a untapped billion-dollar pediatric market-base. As a result the amount of pediatric research subjects increased from approximately 1,000 to 10,000 a year in the US. Regardless of the needs and methods of research, I think children should understand what they are experiencing and why.
FDAMA was motivated by the real need to provide children with correct dosages of medications they were being prescribed. Because of the Nuremberg Code’s pediatric research restrictions, studies to develop specific pediatric dosages of medications had
In your works, especially in Threadbare, we can recognize a deep introspection: do you think art’s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artist’s expression? Do you think that art could play an important role
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in facing social questions? Could art steer or even change people's behavior?
enhance our ability to communicate and understand the world around us.
Yes, I think people need to feel known, seen, heard and understood. I believe behavior between individuals and communities can shift dramatically when people are allowed this sense of empowerment and knowledge. Art can perform as a platform to host these humanizing efforts for either artists themselves or the subjects that artists/filmmakers make visible through their work. Survivors of traumatic events such as violence as well as societies ability to process such events can be limited by conventional language. I believe it is important that art act as a visual language to speak the unspeakable and to enable ugly and difficult topics to be seen through captivating forms. Also, makers who use artâ€™s inventive platform to move form, technique, material, or technology forward for cultural purposes, provide us all with new tools that continue to
How did you get started in filmmaking? I was producing multi-media art installations in Indiana, a predominately rural area of the US, as an art student and wanted to make my work more visible. I thought filmmaking would be a more a transportable method to distribute my work while still providing my audience with a durational and immersive experience. In 2001 I produced Monstriss, which is a 70-minute live action and animated experimental narrative video. This piece gave me the foundation and confidence to continue producing moving image works in a larger more prominent scale. Your video production is very miscellaneous: how has your production processes changed over the years? I ask my projects what formal direction they
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need to best convey the message being asked of them. I am extremely interested in investigating how various forms of media perform within the world. My investigation and process has become more pointed over the years. I am currently using found footage for several projects because of my criticality of the production of research subjects. I do not want to produce my own research subjects while criticizing others for doing the same. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? I love connecting with other filmmakers as well as audience members through the projects I produce. Filmmaking and art has given me the opportunity to meet and get to know people across the world. I feel a sense of purpose engaging in this work, which keeps me in the studio.
Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Kristin. What's next for Kristin Reeves? Are there any film projects on the horizon? I recently finished two projects: a media installation, [What Is This Feeling], that includes a series of 16mm film stills housed in medical x-ray light boxes from film loops that I had been using in a 9-projector film performance, Je Ne Sais Plus [What Is This Feeling]; a film score for the play The Midnight City running at the Steppenwolf Garage Theater in Chicago through October. I am also working towards completing a second 9projector performance piece What Is Nothing in addition to a few other short films yet to be titled.
From a still shot from Painting, Suh injects pigment dispersion into an egg yolk using a syringe.
Luscious yet repulsive image of egg yolks systematically laid out.
Tiffany S. Suh
Suh in Los Angeles, California. (Photo Credit: Kangil Ji)
An interview with
Tiffany S.Suh Your work Painting reveals a remarkable reflection on the history of art making and the nature of artistsic creation itself. How did you come up with the idea for this work? The idea for this video project organically expanded from my painting practice. At the time I was learning how to make traditional egg tempura paint that was made of egg yolk and pigment dispersion. The tactile process of separating the yolk from the egg whites and puncturing the yolk to mix with pure pigments became a painting performance on its own that I wanted to preserve and capture. I visualized laying all these egg yolks and injecting one color into each yolk— an unconventional definition of painting a picture.
I approached painting not as a twodimensional image but as a moving image that referenced and modernized the history and the act of painting. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? I’m not the type of person to sit down with a sketchbook and wait for “inspiration.” Creative process needs practice. It’s a progressive state of mind, where you constantly train yourself to think and observe differently from others. When I start a new project, I approach it with several different materials and spend a lot of time experimenting. I take ample time mapping out all the possibilities of an idea. One idea from a project can give birth to a new
The artist's hand laying down the first yolk.
idea for another project. As long as I have that momentum, I feel good. We find that your art is rich of references, which is common for artist whose works show a remarkable postmodern vein, like you. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? David Hockney is my biggest influence. I’ve probably seen all of his interviews and most of his books by now. Not only are his paintings AMAZING, but his interdisciplinary practices in stage design, photography and printmaking make him one of the most distinguished artists that contributed to our generation of artists. He “corrects” photography by photo collaging and depicts accurate time and space; he treats
photography like a painting. Hockney encouraged me to broaden my spectrum in art making and not be oblivious to the relationship between art and technology. Besides the meta-art aspect of your video, we would like to explore the painterly quality of your filmmaking. From the first time we watched your work Painting we had the impression that your use of color is not merely aimed at achieving extremely refined composition: your cinematography seems to be deeply influenced by the emotional potential of color: could you better explain this aspect of your shooting style? I didn’t have a solid plan before filming this
Colorful pigments inside the eggs.
video so it was mostly all improvised. There were few images in my head that I wanted to capture, but the rest just all fell into place. That was the beauty of this video in particular because it was hugely dictated by my instinct and emotion. I even see it as a direct record of my creative process and brainstorming. I always need strong images to work with before filming and I knew that there was something interesting here— rather repulsive yet luscious colors and materials. While I was filming, I was still unraveling my thoughts about the possibilities of what this image could mean. I always have direction with a little bit of uncertainty in my cinematography, just like how I paint. Your video production is very miscellanous: how has your production processes changed over the years? My body of work may appear miscellaneous, but I was always interested in the relationship between painting and video. My intent in conversing the oldest and the newest art medium still manifests in my body of work. Earlier videos were mostly rotoscoped animation, where I drew on top of each video stills both digitally and non-digitally. I exploit low-budget production because I believe that your budget becomes your style. Now I am experimenting with pure filming, editing and After Effects. Could you introduce our readers to your recent work "Portrait of Picasso”? My recent work “Portrait of Picasso” all started when I purchased a vitrine from the Art Institute of Chicago Prints and Drawings Room. They were getting rid of old frames from the museum so I got my hands on the vitrine that once held Picasso’s “Untitled (Devil)” from 1952. It was a remarkable material to work with as an art student, and I knew that my appropriation to a historically loaded object like this was most suitable to exhibit at my BFA Show. It was going to be a wild juxtaposition to have an institutionalized object display alongside hundreds of art students’ works. I ended up projecting a footage of Picasso drawing on
A close shot of the injected yolk from above.
glass to give an illusion of a ghost-like Picasso drawing from inside the vitrine. I rotoscoped a portrait of Picasso on top of his drawing of a woman. This project also became politically charged because I, a female artist, was challenging and exchanging the roles of an artist and the subject with Picasso. I became very aware of my place as a Korean American artist and this project opened up an opportunity to reflect my own identity as an artist. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Tiffany. What's next for Tiffany Suh? Are there any film projects on the horizon? Thanks for all the thoughtful questions. These days I am learning some intensive After Effects, and it is a whole new type of post production. It’s exciting to learn about the possibilities of visual art executed with digital tools. I cannot ignore that we are living in this day and age where technology is rapidly developing. Technology becomes relevant in everything that we do and that goes the same for art. I am currently working with digitized VHS tapes of my family from my childhood. Right now it's in the early stage of experimentation with After Effects. There will be a lot of experimenting!
Behind the scenes of Painting being filmed inside Suh's studio in Chicago.
Oren Lavie I perceive art is a wormhole to the hidden, to underground currents that bubble up under the fine membrane of culture. A main subject for scrutiny in my work is the space formed between the viewer and the artwork, the energetic material that gathers between the surface of the porthole (the work of art) and the body and consciousness of the observer. Material that can be sensed, manipulated, that has a subconscious and physical effect. In my work I fluctuate between practices of documentation and fiction, between performance and video, and combine within the language of art genres that are not particularly common in this field: Horror, trash, comedy, and melodrama. These combinations let me erode and contemplate the meaning of language,
A still from Birth from the video series Rakel, 2014
continuity, and conditioning, and express the specific geographical place, time, and culture into which I was born; lacking a joint cultural history, based on a multitude of rough seams and a web of cultures from all over the world, cheap imitations and lots of extremism. I approach my videos from two directions that are seemingly conflicting, but represent in fact two aspects of a single entity. One is the deterministic approach: Life is rotten, death will erase all achievements, one's legacy is not to be found by adorning oneself in symbols of ethics, liberalism, and creativity. Art does not liberate, rather it binds in heavy chains of identity and new cultural dictates. The other approach, in contrast, relates to the world as a mysterious experiential playground, replete
I take the figure of the contemporary artist, the work of art, and the creative language through a process of defamiliarization, by means of various cinematic techniques borrowed from cultures and genre combinations, and signify the dark materials of which they are composed: the urge to be authentic and meaningful, the desire to succeed at any cost, the competitiveness, the exploitation, the failure, and the clichés that are a product of these components. These clichés are in fact recycled and presented in their reprocessed form. By embodying the female figure, with the full range of gender forms that it assumes and discards, I ask the viewer to observe the figure of the artist as one who acquires culturally-dependent qualities, language, and behavior, in the same way the drag artist refers to femininity as it is defined by society, and to compare issues that arise in response to various physical representations of man-woman-trans, with issues that arise in response to good-bad-real art. The works depict Rakel in various states, honing and simplifying her figure while she conducts herself in a purposeless world. And where the project's point of departure engages in sociological questions concerning the habitus of the artist, towards its end lofty philosophical questions arise, deriving from the concept of art as an independent entity: Do artistic acts and deeds have a higher, timeless meaning, or are they blowing in the wind, at the mercy of time, place, and the observant eye?
with pleasures, in which one can experience anything, can be anything, and can mainly play and laugh. My work, which serves as a mirror stationed to reflect that which seems to me self-righteous or moralistic, displays the very same symptoms that I criticize. Hence the viewer is on unstable ground and has sufficient doubts about the work's ethical position and where he is personally in regard to it. I repeatedly raise the possibility that even the greatest humanists enjoy seeing a light spray of blood on their television screen. My recent project, "Rakel" (2014), consists of a chronological video series, in which I embody a female figure who defines herself as an artist and portrays various stages of her professional and personal life. In this project I deal with the sociological and psychological dimensions of the meaning of the artist's existence, often ignored by the artistic discourse although constituting a very significant aspect of the artist. My point of departure is that the individual, and the artist as well, is not free, and that his perceptions and code of action are dictated by stronger overt and covert forces.
In addition, the issue of the signifying and definition of the other in the artistic field and in the social context continues to float within the fabric created; the weak other, who serves as matter in the hands of the opportunistic artist and is transformed into cultural and economic capital, the "creative" other in the social role play, the deviant and mentally unstable, and the other in the artistic community, who disobeys the strict rules or is disqualified from a sphere in which everything is correct, fresh, and contemporary. At present a camera and a computer are almost all I need in order to create. I photograph, edit, create visual effects, and even compose some of the music for my works. With all these I wish to lead the viewer on a tempting, intimidating, consoling, and inconsistent journey. I am happiest when a viewer of my works leaves slightly smiling, slightly frightened, and to a certain degree also with a distinct sense of vitality. Oren Lavie is an Israeli based artist and filmmaker. He is a graduate of the “Minshar” school of film and arts in Tel-Aviv (2006) and of the Beit Berl Art College Continuing Education Unit (CEU), where he received an excellence scholarship (2013).
An interview with
Oren Lavie Oren Lavie's art practice ranges from videoperformance to narrative fiction borrowing elements from different genres and styles like melodrama, trash and horror, revealing a post-modern sensibility reminding us of Toshio Matsumoto's provocative cinema of the Sixties. We are glad to review his video series Rakel, focusing on itâ€™s closing installment - Brain. for this year's Videofocus Edition. Oren, how did you get started in filmmaking? My fascination with films began when I was about 9 years old. I had a little secret box where I would keep newspaper cuttings and pictures of films. I knew the names of all the directors and actors who adorned the silver screen and I would stand drooling over the forbidden shelf of horror movies at the local video store. I made my first official movie at age 13, a day after my Bar Mitzvah ceremony, using a VHS
camera my parents had rented to document the event. I cast our cleaning lady as a housewife fed up with a life of bondage who decides to murder her family. Looking back from a mature perspective, it is interesting to see that I experienced the same symptoms typical of the childhood of other directors I later learned to know and love. When I grew up I chose to study art and new media. Making movies in the plastic arts suited me, as my attraction to the cinema has particular technical and physical dimensions in addition to the contents. I found myself attracted to the material, the language, and the technique just as a sculptor is occupied with the raw material of his trade. A combination of matter and spirit, duration and form. One of the major sources of inspiration for my work is technology. Part of my creative aspiration is the constant learning of new technologies, and I enjoy experimenting with it, sometimes as form and sometimes as content. I enjoy having full
A still from Birth, from the video series Rakel, 2014
control, even if on a domestic level, of all aspects of cinematic work. Technique and technology will forever be the language of the era, and I am always excited to gaze forward, to find new ways of telling the same familiar story. From the first time we watched Brain, we were impressed with the painterly qualities of your work, in particular with its grainish black and white cinematography. How did you come up with the idea for this film? 'Brain' is the last film in the 'Rakel' series and it is also the film to which I feel most attached. I sought to end the series with a quieter and more existential film that would give both me and the viewers more of a perspective on the other films in the series. Cinema often describes climaxes in the life of characters. I frequently find myself thinking about cinematic instances that describe the tedious intermediate moments between the climaxes, or the routine and boredom that emerge years after the headlines appeared. When only a vague memory remains, followed by the inevitable decay.
Dementia as well has always intrigued me. I am disturbed by the thought of people who completed world transforming actions and then suddenly come to be placed beside their actions, completely unaware of them, like inanimate rocks in a Japanese garden. I was interested in combining these elements in a movie in order to explore both existential questions that bother me and vague questions about art and creating, such as: Do our actions indeed have meaning? Does their memory or reflection charge them with meaning? Does oblivion take apart their meaning? What comprises the artist's identity and artwork? is it matter, spirit or memory? Another challenge that I chose to take upon myself was the choice of a static one-shot in a close-up, and of a dialogue that would contain an entire film. One that would encompass a range of sensations and concepts but still manage to hold the viewer's attention from beginning to end. I wanted to put the viewers into a meditative mode and to synchronize them with the film's stream of consciousness and with Rakel's dubitable logic and mood.
A still from Blind, from the video series Rakel, 2014
The final element that interested me when making the film was hi-tech versus low-tech. The tension between CGI and performance art with making a film that does not disclose when it was made. Perhaps in the 1970s, perhaps in the future.
authentic. In this way, I can defamiliarize the artist and the act of art. Through the gender forms Rakel puts on and discards throughout the films I am able to play with different culturallyand socially-dependent aesthetic patterns in order to construct and express my arguments.
The female figure is no doubt a topos of your cinema, emboding your peculiar vision of art: could you introduce our readers to this fundamental aspect of Rakel?
For instance, in the first film of the series, â€˜Birthâ€™, the fact that a man is playing Rakel is characterized as what popular culture calls drag. By that I give the viewers a set of tools with which they can read Rakel's conduct and character through a certain prism of a drag show, with all its derivative cultural and social aspects. I ask them to examine the character of an artist
The moment I don Rakel's female figure an initial premise of role playing is generated. The playacting uproots the "real", the basically
with questions that arise when encountering and evaluating good-bad-real art. The different gender images also let me signify and define the ‘other’ in the social fabric and in the artistic field; the "creative", or “sensitive” other in social role playing, the deviant and the mentally unstable, and also the other within the community of artists, who does not obey the strict rules, or who is disqualified from a sphere in which everything is proper, fresh, and contemporary, the unsignified other. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? My creative process changes between projects, but it is usually an act that I am interested in trying out. It can be a performative act or a technological challenge. It is often a combination of the two. In Rakel's project, for example, I had a thought that amused me; that it would be funny to dress up before making prank calls. The mere fact that the people you are calling can't see or know that you put so much work and thought into it is absurd. Later on I understood that in fact it's not so absurd and that a great number of people go through a similar experience when they conceal their efforts, anxiety, and dress up to present a seemingly nonchalant façade to the world. This thought joined others that had been bothering me concerning issues within the artistic world; such as self-realization, totality, exploitation, and different interpretations of the essence of artwork.
as one who acquires culturally-dependent qualities, language, and behavior, just as drag treats femininity as it is defined by society. In the second film, Blood, in the most sensitive moment of Rakel's life – her failed suicide attempt, she exposes a naked feminine body. Suddenly the emphasis changes and doubts begin to seep in. A renewed reading of her character and acts can take place through a new prism. Maybe it is not drag. Maybe it wasn’t drag all along. Now I ask the viewers to compare questions that arise when encountering different physical representations of man-woman-trans,
The figure of Rakel hovered above all this, as her existence had been with me for some time although I had never donned it. This was how the idea for the first film in the series was born. Your art is rich of references: your works, in particular Rakel remind us of the Japanese masterpiece Funeral Parade of the Roses. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Funeral Parade of the Roses is indeed an excellent film, and I am humble to be mentioned alongside of it. The harsh truth is that I am inspired by so many things; right now influences that come to mind are Camp and Cyberpunk. I believe nowadays it is hard not to be a sponge that contains goo made of of the last hundred or so years of art and culture. We are inundated
Brain, 2014, installation view
Brain, behind the scenes CGI, 2014
with it from every direction. So my cultural identity is a weird mixture of reproductions and gestures that are mostly not even in my dominant language, Hebrew. I learn to embrace this identity, to operate from within it.
The greatest influence on my work and the element most responsible for shaping my cultural world is probably the early 00â€™ Internet. Online file sharing in that era gave me the opportunity to watch films and to become
festivals by subject, by country, by year, in any category that interested me. For example, while my family was busy celebrating the Passover Seder in the living room I watched a marathon of all the films of Takashi Miike that had been produced up to that time. I am grateful to the file sharing community and I believe they had the most influence on me. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? The most exciting moment for me is to see people watching my work and to see them reach an emotional experience through something I produced. The communication between the viewer and the artwork occupies me at all stages of my work and everything culminates in the moment someone views the artwork and a new energy is formed between them. Energy that I triggered, and from that moment it acquires a life of its own and a direction of its own and is no longer under my control. Sensations are very amorphous. When you try to explain sensations in words a transgression is formed, the transition neutralizes the emotions and adapts them to a set format. Through cinema, I can be more true to the original. I don't explain to the viewers what they feel. I try to arouse in them a sequence of feelings that are similar to those that I myself experienced. I'm annoyed at the world. I'm angry at so many of its injustices. I feel helpless at the world's gall to conduct itself as it does. But then again, I love it very much. It's an emotional roller-coaster. When I manage to take my viewers for such a ride, tempting, intimidating, consoling, I am happiest. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Oren. What's next for Oren Lavie? Are there any film projects on the horizon? exposed to things to which I would have had no access otherwise. I suddenly found myself in reach of all the cultures of the world within the confines of my room. I would hold my own private cinema
At the moment I am working on a new project. The structure is of a single film and the new challenges and sensations I am experiencing are surprising and exciting. Thank you, It was a real pleasure.
M. Kardinal An artist's statement Recalling a moment in history the first female cosmonaut to have flown in space a moment which has manifested itself in our collective memory, I will attempt to take the viewer from
this collective point of departure on my journey, which is a very personal one at different levels. One level is the tiring but obviously fundamental discussion of the equality of
eye. In decisive moments in history, gender is not crucial. The second level is the early sudden death of my father. His unexpected death left me with fundamental questions of our existence of which I find no answers. The sujet of the boundless universe expanding outward is an analogy to the boundless human psyche which expands inward. Therefore the voyage to the moon, which has long been stylized as an unobtainable object of desire, is a journey inside myself. In a certain way science has unveiled the mysteries. TSCHAIKA is an attempt to return it and audiovisualize the poetic question of Leonardo da Vinci. "The moon is dense. All dense bodies are heavy. How stays, then, the moon?" For the experimental work TSCHAIKA, I worked with obsolete video technique. TSCHAIKA is based on found VHS- and Archiv-footage that I manipulated with analog technology. For the processing, I used a modified videoprocessor from the 1990s and altered the images in realtime, accompanied by the live music of The Splendid Ghetto Pipers, a Freeform-Drone-Duo from Germany.
A still from TSCHAIKA
woman. I often get the impression that the artistic works of women are still underrated. After all, the world of prestigious directors is mostly dominated by men and the portrayal of women is still fraught with clichĂŠs. Remembering Tschaika is an ironic wink of the
M. Kardinal was born in East Germany, she studied Fine Arts and Art history in Germany and Italy and successfully completed her studies with a Master of Arts degree in Fine Arts in 2012. Her work has been exhibit and screened in national and international exhibitions and film screenings including The International Short Film Festival Detmold (Germany, 2013), Another Experiment by Woman Film Festival at Anthology Film Archives (New York City, 2013), SI FEST#OFF di Savignano Immagini Festival (Italy, 2013), and Festival Alto Vicentino VIII (Italy, 2014)
http://monochrome-movingimages.com/ http://segmentederwirklichkeit.de/kardinal http://www.rakkoon.de/artists/the-splendid-ghetto-pipers/
An interview with
M. Kardinal Since the first time we have watched TSCHAIKA, we were absolutely stunned by the way you are able to manipulate old analog footage: in your hands, VHS footage obtain a peculiar painterly quality. It is not merely a matter of aesthetics: your VHS footage heavily distorted reveals the inner gestural nature of moving images. How did you develop your style? The way I look at moving images and work with them, has manifested itself in the years of intensive work with the medium of photography. While studying Art history and Fine Arts, I experimented excessively in the darkroom with
obsolete black-and-white material, and manipulated the positive image during and after the development. During my Masterâ€™s studies in Fine Arts, and as a master student of Arno Fischer I experimented with instant photography, a medium that per se is afflicted with the enchantment of transience. The technical imperfection and the transience of the Polaroid picture, has something highly subjective and authentic that reminds me of the way our perceptual apparatus works, and the ephemerality of human existence. Confronted with the transience of the image, dealing with time, in the process of production and in the result itself, suddenly became object
A still from TSCHAIKA
of my artistic contemplation. Unlike other media, photography can visualize the overlay of time. In my sequence of photographic selfportraits, I returned to the origins of photography in terms of both technique, meaning long exposure times, and my choice of portraiture as a genre. What fascinated me most of all was the expressiveness manifested in the image, caused by my long presence and the exposure of several minutes as well as the unique way in which space and time were connected in a single photograph. By integrating time as well as the duration of time in the photographic image, I moved the photography in the vicinity of the film, therefore, this work was the interface between photography and film and the transition to work with moving images. Film images are in their origin photographs, their material is photographic. But the
photograph, as Roland Barthes emphasized in his book, La chambre claire, "is without future (this is its pathos, its melancholy); in it, no protensity whereas the cinema is protensive, hence in no way melancholic (â€Ś)." The idea of stopping movement is profoundly photographically and means cessation, while the specific of moving images is the movement that suggests evolution. Consequently, my artistic contemplation of time as a measure of change, and my desire to integrate protensity in the image led to the confrontation with the movement itself. Considering the observations of VilĂŠm Flusser one could define the gesture generally as a sort of movement, and Giorgio Agamben asserts in his essay Note sul gesto, "the element of cinema is gesture and not image". Proceeding from the assumption that moving images are gestural by nature, I delved into studies of the early history of cinema.
A still from TSCHAIKA
With the decision completely omit language in my moving images, I return to the origins of film. As in my photographic work, I also renounce in my work with moving images the reproduction of external reality. Attributes such as clear, sharp, and realistic have a lower priority in my images. Despite the fact that there are no trace of dialogue, I am not very interested in exhibiting immaculate gestures. Rather, the decoding, the deconstruction, and the free reconstruction of images — through the conscious use of glitches — is of substantial importance. I find it extremely exciting to dissolve the actual context of the found footage, and discover a “truth beneath the truth”. The alchemy of the darkroom has always haunted me during my creative process. Exploring the medium itself, its tactile qualities, became really important to my work. Therefore, I tried to create a similar environment to work with moving images. Experimenting with film, although it would have been the most
obvious, I could not afford. Nevertheless, I have the profound desire to understand how the medium I work with behaves under certain circumstances, especially under circumstances which someone usually avoids because one identifies the results as errors. It is very inspiring to find out how the material behaves when treated in unexpected ways. It is almost as if you dive beneath the surface of the image, and discover the “unconscious” in the image. The visible and the invisible in the image. They coexist but the “unconscious” in the image is only visible by defective treatment. Besides there is a lack of predictability during the analog processing, which I find very liberating. This, in conjunction with my preference for analog working methods, obsolete technology, distorted dreamlike images, and my interest in perceptual processes eventually led to the confrontation with video synthesis, and the use of circuit bent machines and toy cameras.
A still from TSCHAIKA
An interesting aspect of TSCHAIKA is the dualism between black and white: the milky signs and distorted images remind us of the primordial state of the vision. Could you comment this aspect of your work? I really like the ambiguity of your comparison, and that you mention the dualism between black and white because the absence of colour charcaterizes my Ĺ“uvre. As I mention earlier, the way I work with moving images has manifested itself in the years of intensive work with the medium of photography. My artistic position is primarily manifested in black- andwhite and almost monochrome photographies. That I consider black-and-white also as an appropriate form for my work with moving images corresponds with my mentality. I have a very ambivalent attitude to colours, and perceive their use often as distraction from the essentials or as an essential element to attract
and direct the viewer's eye and emotion. The brilliant use of colours, as in Michelangelo Antonioni's Il deserto rosso is remarkable. Or just think of Derek Jarman's Blue, a monochromatic elegy about his loss of vision. Both films are among my most intense cinematic experiences. In my work TSCHAIKA: the absence of color, the play with light and dark, the distorted and blurred images are indeed attempts to return to a kind of primordial state of the vision. Stan Brakhage emphasized in his manifesto Metaphors on vision, "Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything (â€Ś)" â€” meaning the "vision" possible made by film is comparable with the preverbal, innocent perception of an infant. Unfourtunately, I will never remember or
A still from TSCHAIKA
understand how I experienced the initial month of my life. It seems to me that an infant experiences the world through a kind of synaesthesia, and that reminds me of the representation of a dream state. The representation of a dream state or the kind of visual experience that is liberated from the rational consciousness is an essential part of TSCHAIKA. The absence of language, the deconstruction of forms, and in particular the use of black-and-white in my moving images refer to a certain quality I perceive in my dreams. Therefore, the absence of colour can also be understood as the absence of light or consciousness. The light — in the physical sense— does not exist in the subconscious mind and in the dreams, but is usually required to preceive colour. I allow, as Brakhage urges in his manifesto, "so-called hallucination to enter
the realm of perception (…) accept dream visions, day-dreams or night-dreams (…)" as socalled real scenes, and process them in my work through the "return to the untutored eye of an infant". Therefore, my work refers to both the mental and the physical concepts of the vision. Boundaries and borders are treated in your work not according to a metaphoric vision, but a sort of metonymic approach involving the nature itself of cinema: a rare reflection upon the concept of the space, and even about the cinematographic concept itself of "frame", which can reveal itself as infinite or claustrophobic. Have other artists influenced your cinema? I truly appreciate your precise semiotic analysis of my work. Involuntarily, I remember a moment in my early childhood when I discovered the
A still from TSCHAIKA
camera of my father and secretly held in my hands. Fascinated by its mystery and enthralled by its beauty I fell immediatelly in love with the spirit of image creation. This passion accompanied me throughout my adolescense, and led to the study of Art history and Fine Arts and finds complete expression in my work as a visual artist. To be continously surrounded by art and its history, and my interest in literature, philosophy, and psychology allow me to dive deep into the ocean of inspiration. I believe there are influences, of those I am not even aware of. By contrast, to name the influences of those I am aware of certainly could fill pages. I must concede, however, that I prefer to discuss about the particular pieces of art, art films or video art, rather than the artist in general but to list them would leap beyond the boundaries. Therefore, I try to name some artists whose works have moved me deeply: the films and
writings of Lev Kuleshov, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Andrei Tarkovsky, and the experimental works of Stan Brakhage, Peter Greenaway, David Lynch und Hans Richter have definitely changed my perspective on cinema. I also appreciate the works of Bill Morrison, Peter Kubelka, Len Lye and Peter Tscherkassky, who works exclusively with found footage as well as the works of Tacita Dean, Takahiko Iimura, Zdeněk Pešánek, John and James Whitney, and Frans Zwartjes. Regarding to my childhood which I spent in the GDR, and my preferences for animation, I feel a strong attraction by the works of, Alexandre Alexeïeff, Jan Švankmajer and Karel Zeman, as well as Georges Méliès and the Brothers Quay. From the field of video art, the works of Gary Hill, Name June Paik, Aldo Tambellini, Steina and Woody Vasulka and Wolf Vostell have changed my view on this medium, and encouraged me to experiment with it.
A still from TSCHAIKA
How did you select the found footage fragments? My working process often begins with images which spontaneously occur out of nowhere, and these fragments form the foundation of my research. My first moving image work Diario di una bambola is, inspired by Chris Makers La JetĂŠe, constructed entirely from individual photographs. In the beginning was the selection of the images that were crucial to the narrative. Non-used images and other material I collected from the perspective of later use. It arose an archive of images, found footage, sound, music, text and notes that is continuously being expanded, and an important source of inspiration for my work. The collaboration with The Splendid Ghetto Pipers was a synaesthetic experience. We know each other and are familiar with our work. How
they create their compositions is similar to the way how I compose moving images. Their music, as they say, based on monotony, minimalism, improvisation and overlapping, and crosslinking free musical forms and loose structures, stimulates in me a certain form and image repertoire, and consequently the selection of the found footage fragments was limited from the beginning and it came only certain material into consideration. The visual language of the found footage had to enable me to create a sort of mental landscape of desire, where the viewer engages actively in the process of conveying meaning. The rough draft for TSCHAIKA originated in a live performance where we responded in real time to the compositions of each other. After this audiovisual dialogue we decided to remain with the developed concept.
A still from TSCHAIKA
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? That is an interesting question about a highly controversial development in the history of moving images. Personally, I think that the "frontier" between video art and cinema has always been a fluid one, particularly in the digital age. Despite the blurry boundary, I am convinced that we can continue to define the differences and the similarities of video art and cinema. I would like to emphasize that the cinema that refers to the medium of film will always stand apart from video art and digital cinema. Working with film, due the indwelling characteristics, offers you opportunities you don't have in video art. On the contrary, video art offers you an incredible multitude of possibilities you don't have if you work with film,
and as far as I can see, video art will continue to develop as an art form. We are currently experiencing the intended obsolescence of the film itself and its technology, and that causes permanent shifts in film and video formats. It is a very dramatic but also very stimulating development we are witnessing in the last few years, and it will continue. Even though it seems that the digital age evokes a collapse of the boundary, I feel that the obsolescence of film will increase the desire of artists to work with this medium. Eventually this will lead to a renaissance of the film, and to the development of new hybrid forms. I assume that how we identify video art and cinema in the environment of moving images will continue to become more vague as well as how artists identify themselves as a video artist or as a filmmaker.
Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts with us. What's next for M. Kardinal? Have you a particular collaboration in mind? Thank you very much! I thoroughly appreciated the thoughtful questions you have posed. After having TSCHAIKA screened last month in Berlin, there will be now a UK Premiere in London in the upcoming weeks. Afterwards I will no longer focus on the process of publishing my work, but return to the creative part, and work on two projects that are in different stages of development. In Non-lieux, named after the book Nonlieux, introduction à une anthropologie de la surmodernité of the french anthropologist Marc Augé I am concerned, based on Augés mental framework, with the identity and perception of places, especially anthropological places and their transformation to secluded Non-places. For Non-lieux I do not work with found footage, but with an obsolete circuit bent analouge toy camera that has a very peculiar and unique recording method. I am very excited about the progress of this work, and the results of my research. For Newton errante, another moving image work, I use various artistic techniques. I have been experimenting with fragments of ephemeral footage, drawings and stop motion. Newton errante is a very detail oriented work and stop motion is a technique that requires a lot of patience. I actually like doing it even when you have to be obsessive working frame by frame. For this work, I hope to collaborate with various musicians. Eventually, I have a spark of hope to overcome the silence with my "clandestine master-mind of words", and that we begin to share the brainstorming process.
A still from TSCHAIKA
Jason N. Miller An artist's statement "Products have sex via their UPC sexual organs.” –Jason N. Miller UPC SEX by Jason N. Miller: A Film Short About Shedding The Limitations of Consumerism Hailed As A Holy Communion to Fill The Ever-growing Void of Emptiness that Has Slowly Been Created Since We First Began to Accept the Vain Walls of False Security Into Our Lives Under the Charade of Convenience, Security, and Vicarious Forms of Entertainment It is hilarious to me how online marketers and service providers watch us to learn how to better market and sell products and services to us–it is still funnier yet how government then gleams that information from in order to learn more about its population all the way down to the individual. With our online presences stalked by tracking cookies and our physical presences still shadowed by the older looming ploys of advertising tactics, it is an interesting time to remove the illusive veil between the
A still from UPC SEX
subconsious implant of a sexual lure and product that lure is designed to "bait and switch". The fact that sex is nearly always used in advertising to sell products is nothing new, and moreover the walls created around us by often overly predigested information, mediated for no reason other than to sway our thought and lead us by our loins, are now beginning to lose the potency of the intended effect as we grow more desensitized and numb from an over embartment of creative sales pitches. This weakening of the once blinding effect carries with it a reawakening in many of us that thirsts for the genuine article to partake in as a participant, rather than mere consumer. More are wanting to create and add to the verse, which is reflected in the current surge of independent businesses and artists popping back up like weeds corporatism failed to fully kill. UPC Sex is a satire on the idea that if we allow ourselves to be manipulated much longer we may well become so much the product that the inanimate objects that were the bait, which led us morally astray for so many years, finally
A still from UPC SEX
will replace us all together. Plastic replaces flesh, insurance policies and a false sense of security replaces the ability to be mobile and content. When we lose our sense of humor we cease to be human. The content of a love born in the will is the seed that harbors sex in its noblest and purest form, but through overstimulus we stand closer than ever to perverting the notion of true happiness with a tainted product that never leaves us anything more than temporarily fulfilled because it was never intended to do anything more than earn a profit for a particular interest group. What was once natural and free was stolen, poisoned, repackaged, and sold back to us at a profit. We have become the sheep, we have become the cattle, and we are now in absolute danger of becoming the final product. That thought leads me to my main question, which is as follows: What do we do with products, but manipulate, buy, sell, use, destroy, and discard? As a film maker, it is my hope that this film reminds us, in a humorous and mildly sarcastic way, of what we will become if we don't quickly
take a step back away from the direction we are heading as a consumer culture. We don't need anymore stuff in the world, but rather what we do need, as we have always needed, is love in its most sincere form. We do not need the intermediary of purchasing love from a third party or middle ground and we need nothing to work as agent or facilitator of our experiences. I would rather walk freely through a forest, rather than down a grocery store aisle herded as a consumer cattle to be slaughtered. Of course, in our day of great technological growth and post-modernization, it is a safe middle-ground and realistic notion to proclaim that we need a greater balance between the natural and human-made world. Social engineering is one of those pesky enemies of the individual and the free radicals among us humans who have the power to create original thought and spark ideas that sway us into an invention-induced climate that holds ideas as most reverent. When we quit chasing money, power, and base desires, then we start finding the way to simply enjoy life and have fun. This is a splinter from my stream of thoughts that are connected to this project and all other projects because all is interrelated.
An interview with
Jason N. Miller UPC SEX is marked by a stunning balance between a Svankmajerian surreal vein and a caustic satirical touch. A peculiar sign of Jason N. Miller's art is his cute humor: When we lose our sense of humor we cease to be human, he says. Jason, what is the potential of humour in art today? The recent death of Robin Williams is a strong memento mori to the powerful influence and effect humor has through the arts. Minds are enhanced and enlightened through humorous notes associated in acting, painting, electronic imagery, sculpture, as well as in film. Humor is among the key ingredients of satire because it helps the viewer to swallow the most serious and difficultly honest messages. The areas that need the most change through human intervention must be grappled through a gentle touch rather than a forceful hand, and humor is that gentle touch. Often I chastise myself when I feel I failed to deal with a given situation in the most humorous way. Humans make mistakes when we get too serious and lose sight of the wisdom that allows us to relax and laugh in order to re-examine to discover the most effective solution. How did you come up with the idea for UPC SEX ? I often pass through grocery stores, as most humans must do in order to obtain food. My imagination runs wild with ideas of art I can make using the productsâ€ŚTheir UPC codes are interesting to me as symbols for sexual organs. The aspect of advertising and the propagandist trickery of advertisers with the intent to entice product sales is a reminder to me that all in life should examined and reexamined indefinitely. I was raised Catholic by my adopted parents and I came to later question many of the dogmatic teachings, furthermore I saw people dogmatically accepting products and consuming under the influence of
Jason N. Miller
dogmatic advertising. The saw the Catholic communion aisle on a parallel with the grocery store aisle. Plastic replaces flesh, insurance policies and a false sense of security replaces the ability to be mobile and content. We have found really interesting this statement, reminding us of Cindy Sherman last works. Could you comment it? Insurance policy chains is a notion I coined in writing poetry in conjunction with my film script. More and more insurance requirements are mandated by law upon the American people, and as a consequence people who are already under tight economic restraints are squeezed even tighter by a relentlessly nonempathetic system that is stagnated in its even most noble attempts to pass legislation to help the masses. The individual is extremely important to me and that is what the masses
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are made up of, ranging from artists to people in all professions. Often we spend money on insurance that is believed to be a safety net in case of future unsuspected hard times, dilemmas, or health problems. Audio has a huge importance in your works. You compose original audio in both musical composition and dialogue formats. We daresay that your use of soundtrack has not only diegethical aims, but tend to sabotage the common perception mechanims. Could you introduce our readers to this aspect of your filmmaking? Audio indeed is important to the visual arts, perticularly the arts most utlizing the senses of sight and hearing. Charlie Chaplinâ€™s work in making the transition from silent film to the talkies was immensely important to the evolution of film. When I create a film I want the sounds I author to not merely accentuate the visual dialogue, but also elevate the overall experience to transcend its capacity onto multiple intellectual and sensorial plains. Just as the hands are an extension of our mind through our body and so too are all our senses, in a similar way a creative work is enhanced all the more based on how many senses it utilizes to tap into the
mind through the connectors of the body. I chanted and made strange sounds as they naturally came out of my as I directed the product puppets and then mixed the final masts in my sound studio for the final overlay. I have always been interested in the way humans communicate by making sounds, which are often at times funny and unusual. Even the most normal of sounds sounds strange to me in certain contexts and the more normal the more strange it seems in a way similar to a David Lynch or Guy Maddin Film wherein the normality of daily life is placed under scrutinizing focus to the point of absurdity. You have realized the video using a black theatre box and small portable lighting setups, a typical animatorâ€™s studio. Could you describe your creation process? I have an affinity for the traditional theatre box and the puppet dark box. I think of this in respect to the process as the incubator where imagination flourishes and emerges from the deepest recesses of the mind. Experiences, memories, and new ideas form together to generate and coagulate in giving birth to new organisms and artistic specimens. These new entities emerge to become future building blocks on which further ideas will be derived.
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In your work we can recognize a deep introspection: do you think art’s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artist’s expression? Could art steer or even change people’s behavior? That is a good question. Art certainly facilitates means of expression on an array of levels dependent on the experience level and skill set of the artist, but on another note art is an extremely effective platform for evoking political change and is the ever-changing forest wherein ideas bleed together, die, and are born again. Some ideas face one another in opposition as if on a battle filed and others dance together in unity. Regardless, nonobjective or objective, in the garden of ideas and experiences the filtering process occurs where a final blend is composed. Humor factors back in to this equation, especially when change is intended to result from an artwork. I feel there is a place for everyone and every difference, I have always felt an outsider and been drawn to other
outsiders who are simply who they are, and do not aim to please the cliques of society. I guess that’s why I am drawn to appreciate Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Levon Helm, and the other original outlaws of country music who in actuality transcended categorization by reaching out to a universal connection with nearly everyone. Once in Paris, I was lost and when a passerby learned I liked Bob Dylan, he quickly stopped what he was doing and guided me to my destination. That is a small example of how art can become a tool of unity. I am a big fan of public arts that have personal depth and conceptual content that informs the design. The content is the framework that supports the physical art object. To practice my belief in this notion I recently completed a large scale mural project wherein I photographed a large number of people performing a wide array of their normal activities ranging from an elderly group’s exercise class, elderly billiards, hispanic Zumba, elderly Bingo, youth Basket Ball,
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elderly big band dancing, and lunch for the homeless of all ethnicities. The final work had the elderly floating in the air, the Zumba practitioners posing on billiard balls, bingo players holding boards in quasi religious manners, and dancers set to a scene I photographed at Wormsloe Plantation in Savanna, GA. I want my art to be where it be interact with the most people. I am not conserned with their opinion of the artwork because that belongs to them individually, but I feel responsible for draining my soul to give them artworks in all mediums that are genuine. If I cared what people thought too much, then I would freeze and create nothing, so the antage of inventing without a worry of failure or success provides the free-reign necessary to let sacred magic occur. I think of art making as among the most sacred acts a human can perform, undergo, and experience. Art has always been a religion unto itself to me along side the wilderness. I am drawn outside of the artificial maze and human construct into whatâ€™s left of the natural world, and I become starved when deprived of nature
for too long a stretch. Many activists and people of influence who utilize their stance in society in a tactful way in order to make change are artists in their own rite. You have been deeply influenced by John Coltraneâ€™s music. When did you come across his music? I first became aware of Coltrane in my mid-teens, but was not fully ready to experience it on the level that it later reached me on degrees when my experiences were seasoned enough to feel his emotional measures. I love Coltrane and feel that his gave birth to more great creators such as Albert Ayler just as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis formed from different abstract jazz genres of unique authenticity. Your art is rich of references. Apart from Coltrane, can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Here is the strange thing about myself and my
process that some people cannot fully understand without knowing the fact that at a young age I was diagnosed with Dyslexia. I have never been the kind of person to imitate or mimic pre-established methods or artworks. The work of others and their levels of achievement influence me indirectly by inspiring me to further find myself. Having Dyslexia made me a naturally creative thinker and I always invent my own ways. I never saw Dyslexia as a learning disability, but rather worked through it by learning in my own way. Being aware of my contemporaries and predecessors is important so that I do not reinvent the wheel too many times, which I have done on occasion when I create something and then later learn of an artist who came centuries before who did a similar thing using a different medium. This links back to my humorous take on life. The passage in Gabriel García Márquez’s novel “One Hundred Year’s of Solitude” dealing with the notion of living oblivious to the world of history that surrounds is a notion to which I could very much relate. I knew at an early age that I was a creative person, although I grew up in a blue collar home with no family around that understood my path of interest in evolving as an artist. I started out by making water color paintings of stalks of celery eating humans when I was six years of age in first grade, and I even won local awards that encouraged me to progress in the direction of the arts. In high school I wrote lots of poetry and drew on every piece of paper and assignment I was given; It was in my teens that I first started experimenting with creating songs and sound files. I later went on to obtain two degrees in art, a BFA and MFA, but all the while I consciously guarded my creative vision and was fortunate to study under professors who respected my creative mission and provided technical knowledge and art history theory while not attempting to brainwash my mind away from myself, as sometimes happens to the weakminded who fold under the pressures of conformity. I have never cared what others think, but will listen in case something is said that I wish to selectively add unto myself to make me grow. During the years of my formal training I was very much in my own world, and I feel that in the years that came before and followed I have remained experimental in the core of my being. I am not a creator who sticks to one thing and doesn’t branch out, but rather I am constantly working to reinvent myself and new works of any medium that best embodies each idea.
A still from UPC SEX
Alex Hovet In Recovery (2013-2014) In 2006, my father Kevin Hovet suffered a stroke at the age of forty-three. Although he was not diagnosed to recover, today he is healthy but retains moderate short-term memory loss. By
combining processes of digital manipulation and the re-structuring of found footage, this cycle of experimental videos explores the impulse to gain control over an uncontrollable event and how images decay as much as memories. In one excerpt from this four-channel installation, I
A still from In Recovery
challenge my fatherâ€™s memory with my own. Our memories are at a crossroads, in which he remembers what I cannot from the beginning of my life, but I can remember most of what he cannot in his daily life now. These conflicting experiences compete with standardized medical
facts and my own personal recollections of a stroke event. In degrading images from my childhood that I experienced but cannot remember, I reconcile the fact that my father can still remember those experiences, despite trouble recalling many of his own today.
An interview with
Alex Hovet Degrading images from her childhood: Alex Hovet's works reveal a stunning reflection on the nature of memory and perception: through an elegant visual approach she explore the blurry boundaries between past and present, imagination and emotion. Alex, how did you get started in filmmaking? I have wanted to be a filmmaker in some capacity since I was young. I've been influenced as a filmmaker from within my own family, as my uncle, Rob VanAlkemade, is a documentary filmmaker. For as long a I can remember he has been making films, and, at times, I have been able to be involved in those processes of filmmaking. Originally, I wanted to be a screenwriter and direct movies, and I still do, but as an undergraduate I made both narrative and experimental films. I always wanted to be a screenwriter, which is one of the one-person jobs in the industry, but I became interested in the more solitary and self-reflective processes of filmmaking. The concept or force of control pervades a lot of my work, and I suppose the allure of making films by myself exactly as I want to make them has a lot to do with control, both having and losing. Filmmaking was a way for me to investigate situations I have never been in and to have a chance to explain my own experiences, and I think that the personal and experimental direction my work has taken truly speaks to that impulse. We have been impressed by the balance between absence and presence in your video, which is not conceived as a sort of coexistence between past and present in imagination and perception. We find that this aspect of your art is evident in your work In recovery. How do you achieve this balance? The relationship between absence and presence and past and present is complex and fluid. Something that is in the past is not absent, and, in fact, it is usually even more present. I think
about absence as a catalyst for presence. In In Recovery, memory is both absent and present. My father's memories of the present are essentially absent, while my own memories of the present are much clearer than his, and much more present than my memories of childhood, which are clouded by time and maturation. But my father's memories of those times, of the past and of my own childhood, are more present than ever before, as they are the only truly constant memories, safe from the degradation of the present. But then of course there is the whole notion of how memories change each time they are recalled, becoming less and less representative of the truth of the original experience, making those memories we never actually remember the safest ones. It is a paradox and it is also subject to the changeability of past and present. What is present becomes past and experiences become memories and memories become lost. The balance in thinking about and exploring these concepts comes from the recognition that they are constant only in
A still from In Recovery
their guarantee to change. You have to acknowledge that a thing is also its opposite, given time, or at any given time. Looking at the past only as absence will keep you there, but seeing it also as the present and as presence will give you hope and let you accept change. "The degradation of image and of memory are subject to physical processes": this concept remind us of Oliver Sacks's essays: can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? I can't say anything about influences before giving credit and gratitude to all of the artists I have been able to study with. Of the countless, Liz Deschenes, Elizabeth White, Kate Dollenmayer, Jonathan Kline, Jonathan Barber, Robert Ransick, Kate Purdie, and Warren Cockerham are just the visual artists and teachers that influenced my work while at Bennington College. I do not hesitate to acknowledge that they, in addition to my peers,
have made it possible for me to use my own experiences and ideas in any sort of informed, coherent, and productive way. I have been influenced by the work of Danny Lyon, the self-taught American photographer and filmmaker. Specifically the piece Born to Film, which combines his own footage of his family and his young son with his fatherâ€™s home movie footage from the 1930s to explore family history through images. Photographer Lorie Novakâ€™s series Out of Darkness projects slide photographs into nature at night, making the trees a screen, at once allowing the photographs to be seen in the dark and distorting them across their unusual surfaces. These in particular influence my thinking about how nature can physically alter us. I have been thinking a lot about how I can begin to incorporate more physical, natural objects and processes into my work to explore degradation and recovery. The two-person art collective Soda_Jerk crafts samples and found footage
A still from In Recovery
into masterful remixes to, as they put it, "construct rogue histories and countermythologies." They playfully and elegantly piece together existing images to create a new narrative, and when the images are iconic--like the 2001 apes or Elvis Presley in their Hollywood Burn--they inherently retain some of their old context, allowing them to physically alter these culturally-embedded images and make us see them differently. That is one of the most essential abilities of art. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform their lecture The Carousel and have a critique with them about my work and they were very supportive and an honor to talk to and to see. I also take a lot of inspiration from text. Rachel Webb Jekanowski's article Confronting the Archive and Henri Bergson's Matter and Memory have been recent inspirations. A recurrent characteristic of many of your artworks is experience as starting point of
artistic production: in your opinion, is experience an absolutely necessary part of creative process? One of the concepts I am most interested in is how opposites are really the closest things to each other. I think the balance of experience and inexperience, fact and fiction, absence and presence, and anything else is where creativity can thrive. And for me, I have always had an interest in what was not totally true and not totally false, in what I have experienced and what I have not and how that affects me. I think experience is as vital as inexperience. I am troubled by what is in my past as much as by what isn't, so I make work that investigates how things were and how they could have been, as well as how things are now and what made them that way. The tension between knowing and not knowing is absolutely necessary for the creative process, both in producing work and experiencing it.
A still from In Recovery
We have been really impressed by your video Memory Game, could you introduce our readers to this stunning black and white work? Memory Game is the forth and most recent element of the In Recovery cycle. I began wanting to test my own memory in a more procedural, medical process. Whereas in In Recovery, the original video, I was recalling aspects of an event, I had not yet really challenged my own memory. I documented myself playing a simple childhood memory game, confronting my fear that my own memory will fail me. It was essential to create a stark static shot, evoking the observatory feeling of a medical procedure documentation, a test of performance. The action is more executed than played, becoming more of a test than a game. I became overwhelmed by how well I wanted to perform, how much I wanted to prove that maybe my memory is infallible, safe from the
degradation of time and injury. The result, however, is that I can control my own memory loss as much as I could have controlled my father's. I surrender to the knowledge that the degradation of image and of memory are subject to the many unpredictable events in life, and that the outcome is dependent on the many physical processes of recovery. In your work we can recognize a deep introspection: do you think artâ€™s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artistâ€™s expression? Do you think that art could play an important role in facing social questions? Could art steer or even change people's behavior? I usually draw from a place of introspection and my work does allow my own expression. But my introspection is often fueled by a larger question or within a bigger context. I do believe art can and does play an important role in facing social
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questions and that it has the ability to influence people to change their behavior. If you can facilitate an observer or reader of your work to realize something about her- or himself, that is one of the most direct ways to inspire change. Samuel Johnson said that there is nothing that concentrates the mind so much as the realization that you have been wrong. Each person will take something different away from a piece, of course, but that can be change on a small scale. Or thousands of people can get essentially the same message from it. Art has always steered and changed people's behavior. I think, at least, it has changed the artists'. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Alex. What's next for Alex Hovet? Are there any film projects on the horizon? Having just graduated from college this spring, I am still in the process of finding my footing. Sending out my work has come before beginning anything new, so I hope to start some projects soon and to begin developing my own artistic practice. The In Recovery cycle is not finished, and I'm not sure it ever will be. Recovery of every kind is ongoing, and there are more directions to explore in this project. But something new will come next. I have been developing a proposal for a project in which I fabricate and direct home movies that could have been from my childhood, if things were different. But maybe eventually I'll just write that blockbuster of a Hollywood screenplay.
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Lizz Thabet An artist's statement
One day, the Character appeared to me as a shadow in my mind. It soon cast itself on paper as an outline in graphite and ink. Then a silhouette, it grew in size, hungrily stretching across the page with brushstrokes. It embodied
a sense of substance, and I, too, inhabited the space it was in. Reaching, wanting, the Character soon grew full of breath and the stillness of its figure was broken. With a new awareness, the Character looked outward.
Still from Falling, video, 24 sec
An interview with
Lizz Thabet When did you get the idea for this work? This body of work began as my ideas about my art-making practice were shifting. In 2010, I started a BFA in photography at Rochester Institute of Technology. Midway through my degree, I began seeking out writings and theory on photography, because I felt an essential part of my practice was getting to know the medium in a thoughtful, critical way. I started reading Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag, John Berger, and Walter Benjamin, who situated the practice of photography not only in a social and political space, but also in an ontological one. As energizing as these ideas were, they complicated my notion of Photography proper, and they challenged what I thought Photography could do. Whereas previously I had been using photography as a tool to navigate intense personal experiences, now I stopped making photographs almost entirely. Instead I found myself trying to have a dialog with "Photography"––or rather, my idea of Photography––directly. This is how the Character was born. What you see in The Character is an embodied idea of Photography struggling to articulate itself, on a quest to be more than an image. You have realized Falling, Waving, Reaching in black and white: we have found interesting the contrasty look suggesting a sort of erosion of image and gestures. How did you develop your style?
Lizz Thabet is a multimedia artist originally from Raleigh, North Carolina. In 2010, she moved to New York to pursue her BFA at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she studied photography and visual culture. Lizz's work addresses the intersection between language, experience, and images. Incorporating ideas from trauma studies, cyborg theory, and visual culture, her work is often driven by questions and a desire to make accessible what has felt inaccessible to her own understanding. Lizz has been involved with Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts & Cultural Criticism, Visual Studies Workshop, IMG/ROC, and Women's Studio Workshop. Find her work at www.lizzthabet.com.
While I was trying to access this force I felt was preventing me from making pictures, I began writing and sketching. The black and white space of Falling, Waving, Reaching is derived from these early drawings, which use black ink and pencil on white paper.
space, searching and eager to connect. The Character soon grew in larger paintings and finally began to move through video.
Once my early drawings named this force "Photography," everything shifted. I brainstormed ways that I get it to have a conversation with me. A drawn version of myself started appearing in the same pictorial
Falling, Waving, Reaching is a series of three looping videos of the Character, an anonymous black-bodied silhouette, performing various tasks. Stuck in a white frame,the Character shakily tries to climb pedestals of varying sizes in
From Early writings, pencil on paper, 6 x 6"
From Early writings, pencil and pen on paper, 6 x 6"
From Potential scenarios designed to materialize the Character, pen on paper, 6 x 6"
Still from Falling, video, 24 sec
order to reach the top of the frame. The sequences of Falling and Reaching are looped for several minutes, and the Character repeats the same motions over and over. In between Falling and Reaching, the Character slowly reaches an arm once above its head to wave at the camera. As these drawings and paintings translated to the referential medium of video, the flat, white space of the paper became disorienting. When people first encounter the Character’s moving image, they usually have trouble categorizing its appearance, because it presents as both a recording of a "real," live body and as a digitally-rendered animation. I'm really drawn to that confusion, and it has been something I've held onto as the Character continues to develop. We have been impressed by the balance between absence and presence in your video, which is not conceived as a classical balance, as the relationships between solids and voids in architecture for example, but a sort of coexistence between past and
present in imagination and perception. How do you achieve this? When I started making the videos, I was concerned with the Character having a different relationship to the viewer than perhaps the more classical picture, which presents a stable subject for the viewer to engage with and also allows the viewer to maintain the role of "viewer." I wanted the Character to be a difficult, or misbehaving, subject. It is an ambiguous, faceless body for viewers to make sense of. It is also a picture that gestures at the viewer, demanding to be acknowledged. It is a picture testing the boundaries of its frame. I don't know if this aspect of the work is fully realized yet––I'm still figuring out how it’s developing––but these ideas informed the initial filming and sequences of Falling, Waving, and Reaching. Although there's nothing specific about the Character’s form that labels it “Photography,” there are elements of the work that are
photographic and that I find continually relate back to photography. For example, in Falling, the beginning, middle, and end of one action happen simultaneously. This collapsing of "past" and "present" is inherently tied to the photographic. There's a small passage in Camera Lucida where Roland Barthes describes how photographs animate him: "In this glum desert, suddenly a specific photograph reaches me; it animates me, and I animate it. So that is how I must name the attraction which makes it exist: an animation." When I read this, I thought, aha! Following its evolution from sketch to painting to video, the Character––my embodiment of Photography––is a drawing, animated. How interesting that Barthes’ Photography also animates and is animated. Though he doesn’t mean “animation” in reference to the art medium (a series of moving stills), its double meaning has potential. For Barthes, what activates Photography is animation. Although there are elements of the Character that relate to Photography, I don't think its story
has anything to say about Photography or photographs in particular. But it is the story of an image expanding, struggling, and desiring. An image coming “alive.” Could you tell us a particular episode who has helped the birth of this project, or simply an epiphany, a sudden illumination? There were several lightbulb moments for me. When I began working with video, I had a real breakthrough. Suddenly, people were responding to the Character in an emotional way. Its being and struggle were real to them in a way that had previously only been real to me. That response told me to I needed to keep heading in that direction. As the Character continued to develop a body of its own, the work shifted away from my personal frustrations to focus on the Character's attempts to articulate its new form and push on the white frame. I've found myself functioning more as a storyteller and wondering if I have a place in the work as it continues to develop. I’m not sure. Now we wonder if you would like to answer
My character and the Character interact, pencil and paper, 9 x 9"
Looking, pencil and paper, 9 x 9"
Still from Waving, video, 1 min 27 sec
our cliché question: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
that analogy, and I’m excited to see where it takes me. I’m always updating new work on my blog, www.lizzthabet.tumblr.com.
I enjoy following my intuition. Naturally, I’m drawn to the reading, researching, and theorizing part of my work. And my workflow with The Character has felt slower and more calculated than I'm used to working. When I follow my vague, unexplainable impulses, it tends to lead my work in a more interesting and enjoyable direction. What’s next for Lizz Thabet? Are there any new projects on the horizon? Definitely! I'm continuing to work with the Character through some new video pieces and paper sculptures. I've also found myself interested in some aspects of cyborg theory, which examines the relationship between humans and machines, as well as the deep anxiety people have when those boundaries are threatened. It strikes me as provoking a similar anxiety to when the boundary between images and reality is threatened. So I’ve been exploring
Still from Reaching, video, 24 sec
A still from I Believe it is a Signal
Jason Bernagozzi I Believe it is a Signal, an artist's statement I Believe it is a Signal is an experimental video organized as a 6-part vignette, each section revealing the control structures within the video code. In the spirit of Nam
June Paikâ€™s early Wobulator work, this piece uses a process that deconstructs the video sequencing, making the pixels appear to rupture as it is being ripped apart. The forced reorganization and glitching bodyscapes suggest that the monumental authority of broadcast and streaming media is in fact a fragile and impermanent signal.
An interview with
Jason Bernagozzi Your art vision has been deeply influenced by the works by Nam June Paik, a KoreanAmerican artist considered to be the founder of videoart. When did you come across his works and art researches? I first learned about Nam June Paik when I was an experimental sound artist in upstate NY. After I met Debora Bernagozzi, who is now my wife, brought me to the Experimental Television Center in Owego, NY and exposed me to their media studio where I could generatively shape and control video with sound. It was a transformative experience, working with these machines as visual instruments drove me to become a visual artist. In particular the center housed an instrument developed by Nam June
Paik and Shuya Abe called the Paik-Abe Rasterizer unit, aka the "Wobbulator", which was an instrument that used oscillations from stereo amplifiers going into magnetic coils to rip the image into different directions within the cathode ray tube. This could be performed with endless permutations, depending on the wave shape and amplitude of the signal driving three separate areas of the tube. I was transfixed by this device and began to research Nam June as well as the Vasulkas and others who worked with video as an instrument. Recently I built my own wobbulator, which is housed at the studios at Signal Culture. We have selected for this year's Videofocus edition your work "I Believe it is a Signal".
A still from I Believe it is a Signal
In this video you show how fragile is the monumental authority of broadcast. How did you come up with the idea for your post-Orwellian work "I Believe it is a Signal"?
asking it to repeat itself. Compression does not respond well to reiteration, and the repetition of the images eventually break down because they have a fragile platform from which they stand on.
I approach signal processing like a linguistic archeologist. You have to mine through the process and observe its characteristics and the language it produces. The central process found in "I Believe it is a Signal" exposes the fragile nature of the broadcast signal in a post-analog age. Video has to be compressed, meaning the central core of the video is filled with partial information in order for you to receive it through various online networks. There is a poetry to this technical process, and what I am doing in the video is taking this reproduced footage and
This technique is married with footage that also represents compressed information; soundbites from major news organizations gives us only a glimpse of what the real issue is at hand. The technique and concept driving this work speaks towards something that is based on real processes, not illusions, revealing the fragile structure in which we entrust so many of our opinions and assumptions about the world. Glitches in your video have not a diegethical aims, but tend to sabotage the common per-
A still from I Believe it is a Signal
ception mechanims. Could you introduce our readers to this fundamental aspect of your work? In my eyes, signal processing of video does not have to be an illusion. What you are seeing is not a mask or a special effect. Effects in my mind are closer to film and filmmaking, the production of an illusion for the aims of creating an alternative universe and perspective. Processing on the other hand, if done with the language of the process being considered as a part of the concept of the work, is the expression electronics happening. Perhaps it is sabotaging perceptual mechanisms, but I prefer to think of it as exposing the material of what the signal is. Digital video is a
represen-tation of numerical data across a field, a very unstable field in this case, and showing the mechanisms of the signal will hopefully bring up certain questions like "Can I trust what I am presented with as being truthful?" What kind of technology have you used in producing it? This process was developed by me and my friend Eric Souther in first in 2007 and has been refined over the years. We found a way to glitch process (or "datamosh") not by creating specific glitches to "trip up" the video code so that it smashes into other videos, but by creating a situation where the video falls apart on its own fragile platform.
A still from I Believe it is a Signal
This is an important notion, the traditional method of datamoshing involved a specific glitch "edit" or deletion of an i-frame within a hex editor. This in my eyes is the creation of an illusion. The glitch processing we created is performed in real time, meaning I am rhythmically resetting the video's playback point as it is playing. The video cannot refresh itself and thus begins to fall apart. This is done by compressing the video into a certain format and playing it back in a third party playback engine. What is recorded is a screen capture of the playback engine being unable to "talk" with the video, and the result of that miscommunication is recorded in real time. These are momentary forms, every time you repeat the process it has a different result. Miscommunication happening in real time.
Your last work "MoMA as Signal" has been featured at Zeros and Ones Exhibition at Toledo Museum of Art: could you give our readers an overview of it? "MoMA as Signal" is a short one minute glitch work that was created in reaction to a visit I had at the Museum of Modern Art. While I love some of the featured exhibitions there, I was disturbed by the presentation of video and photography. Paintings were given tons of space to breathe and be presented in a clean fashion. Videos and photographs at MoMA were stacked up and arranged like a physical google search; frames and screens were stacked and cramped along the walls as if to say that spending time with the
works was not necessary. There was also such an emphasis on old forms and familiar works. Great works min you, but nothing new. This style of datamoshing is a process dealing with many kinds of concepts, one of those is recursion. When you ask the process to double back on itself, it also blends into a recursive and blotchy mess of its former self. This provides the possibility to talk about repeating acts and never moving forward, stuck in a loop, becoming less defined because you cannot move on. There is a poetry and metaphor in this as a process, and a fitting one for the footage I shot discretely at MoMA, watching the masses stuck in a gaze towards the visual culture of the past. Apart from Nam June Paik, can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? I am highly influenced by people, both artists and those who support the arts in a number of ways. In terms of the kinds of work I admire, I am a huge fan of the works of Steina, Woody Vasulka, Gary Hill, Phillip Stearns, Kristin Lucas, Peer Bode and Andrew Deutsch. But I am also aware that all artists work within a larger system. There are a number of video engineers who have made creative tools and a number of writers who create new ideas and machines that fuel our creative ideas. Dave Jones, a good friend and legendary toolmaker, is someone I admire greatly. Bill Etra, Steve Rutt, Shuya Abe, and other video pioneers are also always in my thoughts. I am also highly influenced by philosophy, critical theory and subculture movements. As a teenager I was heavily into the Punk, Noise and Industrial music scenes, and I feel this experience has fueled a lot of the critical stances found in my work. To me Manuel DeLanda, Jacques Derrida, Giles Deluze and Judith Butler are philosophers who have that youthful and counter-cultural spirit found throughout all of these veins of thought and practice. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Jason. What's next for Jason BernagozzI? Are there any film projects on the horizon? I am working on a ton of projects, some electronic toolmaking projects that will allow me to further explore the video signal. Otherwise I have a large scale, multi-year
project called This Land In Between that will be finished in the next year. It is an experimental database documentary about an isolated farming community in upstate new york that has been transformed by the emergence and departure of major military and mental institutions. The countless narrative threads that this work investigates could not be accurately told through a conventional narrative feature. The use of the term â€œdatabaseâ€? refers to how micro-narratives can be drawn from disparate sources using indeterminate algorithmic sequencing of metadata that is being assigned to groups of clips. The database will arrange over 30 hours of visual and aural content based on chance operations, meaning that every time a viewer engages with the work, the sequence will never be exactly the same. It would take someone years of constant viewing to see every combination of clips, expanding the narrative potential of the work beyond what a director could predetermine.
Mariska Ondrich An artist's statement
venerating sacred immanent MotherGoddesses which existed once all over the world. In the whole of Tamil Nadu, one can
Village Goddess festivals of Tamil Nadu
discover temples, shrines and sacred groves
represent a very ancient tradition of
dedicated to Mariyamman, Kaliyamman,
numerous diseases. Therefore, the Tree is often referred to as Village Pharmacy for having the ability of curing many different ailments. The main season for the festivals of the Village Goddesses (Amman which means Mother) takes place in the month of panguni (middle of March to middle of April) and Adi (middle of July to middle of August). Every year, in the Tamil Month of panguni, people of Umachigulam celebrate a great festival for the Village-Goddess Kaliyamman. Her temple is situated at the entrance of Umachigulam. On Friday, 4th of April 2014, a procession of devotees starts from Sri Siddhi Vinayagar koyil, one kilometer distance to Umachigulam. The devotees were preparing Akkini catti (fire pots), decorating terracotta votive figurines like legs, hands, heads, whole body figures, cow figures and thousand eye pots. Accompanied by traditional village musicians with their ecstatic drum beats and the sound of the Nadesvaram, the procession takes its way on New Natham Road towards the temple of Kaliyamman. Since 2003, I live in the South of Tamil Nadu and started to re-search the Village Goddess veneration. First, accompanied by an analogue camera and numerous film rolls, I began with a documentation of those unique festivities. Finally, in 2011, I got a DSLR camera with video function. However, only in 2013, I decided to capture the energy of those festivities as videos. My videos show the experiences of (some) participants of the festival, their emotions, spontaneous experiences. Village Goddess festivals of Tamil Nadu
Mandaiamman and many other local Goddesses with numerous different names. The most sacred tree in this tradition is the Neem Tree, regarded herself as a MotherGoddess and possessing the power of healing
For me, the making of the video and the participation in the procession is a spontaneous experience, too. As the procession continues, the film continues to develop, a film with no linear structure, corresponding to another understanding of the flowing of time which is perceived in a cyclic manner.
An interview with
Mariska Ondrich The works by Mariska Ondrich, visual artist and filmmaker, living in Southern Tamil Nadu, seem to real the hidden primitive forces of Nature, avoiding a postpositivistic approach, Mariska , you define yourself as an â€œeco-spiritual artistâ€?, could you introduce our readers to your peculiar vision of art? The inspirations for my art are Mother Earth and Nature, especially the Neem Tree Mothers. Through their inspiration, I discovered the source of my artistic expression and creativity. Creating a painting is for me meditation and celebration of my beloved Earth and Nature Mothers, their immense, healing energies and their eternal wisdom. Indeed, we paint together. Before I start creating my artworks, I meditate with the Earth and Nature Mothers, sitting under my beloved Neem Tree Mothers, embracing Them, watching the Crow Mothers sitting in their branches...I also visit other powerful places of the sacred Earth and Nature like Caves, Rivers, Waterfalls, Fountains, Forests, Hills, different places where Mother Earth and Nature guide me to receive my visions and healing, creative energies. The dance forms part of my meditation before I start painting. While dancing with the energies of Mother Earth and Nature, interconnected like the eternal web of life of Grandmother Spider, I become part of Their eternal dance. Their immense, healing energies start flowing inside myself; continue flowing and manifesting inside my paintings. In accordance with the philosophy of my art, I use only self-made colours. For the preparation, which is also a part of the ritual, I take only natural ingredients
like turmeric, indigo, beetroot juice, Neem Tree resin. My artworks invite the viewers to re-connect to the healing energies of the Earth and Nature Mothers. Further, they are a visualisation of a world where Mother Earth and Nature, the source of all life, and their ancient, sacred wisdom are venerated, respected and honoured. When did you come across the Village Goddess festivals of Tamil Nadu? I could ask myself the question: Did I come across the Village Goddess festivals or did the Village Goddess festivals come to me, bringing me back to ancient celebrations of the sacred immanent Mother-Goddesses? Actually, also before visiting my first Village Goddess festival, I was already on my path of earth-based spirituality. I re-discovered ancient sacred immanent Mother-Goddesses â€“ Earth
Village Goddess festivals of Tamil Nadu
and Nature Goddesses, fragments telling about their festivities, speaking through archaeological remains and short citations in history accounts. Further, I came across books on matriarchal societies where women play central roles and create peaceful, egalitarian societies. In this form of society, Mother Earth and Nature, sacred immanent MotherGoddesses were and are still venerated. One day, I re-discovered a fascinating ancient civilisation, the so-called Indus civilisation, contrary to other civilisations in this period of antiquity, temples, hierarchical structures, etc. did not exist. The main archaeological remains were numerous terracotta figurines of MotherGoddesses with bird-shaped faces, animals and seals with mythological depictions of plants, animals with a mysterious script consisting of
symbols. Then, I came across a tiny footnote mentioning Village Goddess veneration in Tamil Nadu... In 2003, I arrived in Madurai and discovered in and around Madurai sacred groves and small temples of ancient immanent Mother-Goddesses, the independent, autonomous, all-powerful Village Goddesses of Tamil Nadu like Mariyamman, Kaliyamman, Mandaiyamman... and was told about the special celebrations taking mostly place in the months of panguni (March/April) and adi ( July/August). The first Village Goddess festival I attended took place in Virudhunagar, a small town approximately a 1,5 hourâ€™s drive from Madurai, a celebration for Parashakti Mariyamman, venerated as Rain Goddess, in panguni 2014.
Village Goddess festivals of Tamil Nadu
Next to her temple, is the sanctuary for Veyilunkanthamman, her elder sister, venerated as Sun-Goddess. I remember my joy and happiness when I arrived at the celebration, everywhere ecstatic drum beats, devotees dancing in trance and then suddenly, the procession of Mulaipari, hundreds of women carrying earthen pots with grown seeds of grain, pots representing the sacred immanent Mother-Goddesses, the procession appeared like a yellow-green Snake, winding her way through the narrow streets of Virudhunagar. Mulaipari ,this ancient ritual for Village Goddesses, with special songs (kummi pattu) and kummi (dance) became, is and will be my favourite ritual at the celebrations... You have started your project accompanied by an analogue camera: could you describe
what was the influence of this preliminary phase of the overall work? The time with the analogue camera was an interesting experience...I remember taking numerous photos in order to document the processions, to get a glimpse of their flow, the energies at work. With a huge bag full of film rolls, I had to change the films and still, stay in connection with the procession. Even with the analogue camera, it was my target to capture the Village Goddess festival in a way that gives an impression of the experiences, feelings, and special moments. Although the photos represented the festival and still have value for me as documentation, I felt that documenting Village Goddess festivals only with taking photos has its limitations. The festival is always moving, full of energy and ecstasy. So, if I only take photos of the processions, I get photos of
Village Goddess festivals of Tamil Nadu
the participants, also photos of the procession. However, I felt that the energy and the spirit of the Village Goddess festival cannot be transferred only by photographic means... So, I decided to start a new adventure, making films with a DSLR camera which also allows me to take photos which I still consider as important part of the work as they will be integrated in future books of the Village Goddess festivals. For many reasons, the hybrid nature of the new DSLR cameras is a perfect choice for me. Because of the compact size and light weight, it is for me easy to participate in the procession, I can become a part of it. As the DSLR camera does not have the prominent features of a film camera, it stays much more discreet, does not disturb too much and also allows a free movement. For my way of documentation, this camera type allows me to stay flexible and spontaneous.
Your report on Village Goddess festivals of Tamil Nadu has a non-linear narration and an open formula: it is virtually never ending, circular, could you explain this â€œopenâ€? nature of your work? The question is a very interesting one which I will also answer in an open way, leaving way for further explorations... At a particular moment, I arrive at the festival, and at one moment, I leave a certain festival, however, I will continue to arrive again at the next festival, maybe the same celebration or another one. Therefore my form of participation becomes a cyclic one; there is no beginning and no end, the same applies to the Village Goddess celebrations. Therefore, my way of documentation corresponds to the inherent time perception of Village Goddess festivities.
Village Goddess festivals of Tamil Nadu
One could ask, however, a festival has to have a fixed time schedule. Not in a very concrete way. For sure, the days for the celebration get fixed, but the start and end of the festival do not follow strict linear time patterns. Further, the participants take their own time to prepare for the rituals and if they feel it is the right moment, the procession starts. The Village Goddess festival has its own time, consisting of moments; together they make the experience of the festival. For the participants, the mainstream perception of time does not apply. One stays in the present moment, experiences the festival and the energy which has a healing and liberating effect as one transcends into trance and ecstasy. Structures and measurements of time in a linear way completely cease to exist. Like the ancient societies from where it originates, the Village Goddess festival follows a cyclic perception of
time which corresponds to the veneration of Village Goddesses in general who represent or are regarded as interconnected with Mother Earth and Nature. If one observes Nature, time is always cyclic. In fact, the most ancient calendars were based on the phases of the Moon which are cyclic like the natural menstruation cycle of women. Actually, those calendars having 13 months were created by women who observed the cycles of the Moon in accordance with their own menstruation cycles. With the onset of hierarchical, patriarchal societies all over the world, the perception of time became also structured in a similar way. Nowadays, most societies have forgotten the ancient way of cyclic time which is in eternal flow. Instead, a system of linear time was
Village Goddess festivals of Tamil Nadu
created. In recent times, this perception in combination with acceleration of every day-life in mainstream society leads to great imbalances which cause immense problems for the development of peaceful, egalitarian and ecological societies in harmony with the cycles of Nature. Everything has to become faster and faster. People should get the feeling that there is no time. Although one lives in modern houses and cities, humans are a species of Nature and should live in harmony with natural cycles which indeed, becomes a difficult task while one is surrounded by skyscrapers and betony. However, one can rest optimist as there exist also tendencies of resisting those destructive perceptions of time and embracing other methods of creating oneâ€™s life. In the search of other models, tribal societies and also Village Goddess festivals can be helpful to re-think different patterns and re-create a perception of
time which is in accordance with the cycles of Nature. In this context, I remember the famous fable of the hare and the tortoise. In the long run, the tortoise wins the race. In context of the perception of time, I would interpret the story in the following way. Stress and fast life symbolised by the hare only lead to exhaustion. However, the tortoise who is in many Asian countries a symbol of a happy, long and peaceful life shows the way to success and to reach a fulfilled, harmonious life â€“ following her own rhythm, her own time, her inner voice and listening to her heart, she reaches every goal...
Joy Mckinney An artist's statement
“Touch Me” Video: 2:29 “Touch Me”, Time Based Media “Touch Me” is a complementary document to “The
Guardian” photographic series. “Touch Me” began as a way to further explore how people responded to touch outside of their controlled environment. The photographs truthfully translated the intimacy of the moment and the gentle
responses I encountered, further illuminating the ways in which people defend their personal space—their surprise, suspicion, candor and concern. Many are accepting while others are disturbed by the intrusive nature of the act. “Touch Me” is a triggering performance where I am as at risk as the participant feels at risk (or offended), pushing us both beyond the comfort zones usually preserved by the limitations of social interactions. I am using my body as a vehicle to transcend and explore the meanings of human interactions and reactions and documenting the results of these unusual, tense moments. I have touched 74 strangers, not including the ones who denied me entrance into their personal space. Why is this significant? Why do I feel much achievement?
Captions 1, details
nature of the subjects that choose to participate, but these still images could not communicate the guarded nature of the responses received when it was hostile and/or negative. “Touch me” uses compiled video to show the various
Issues of privacy and space occupy us more than ever, and much of the rhetoric associated with these topics focuses on the dangers and perils of physical and even virtual contact. Little is said about the fundamental need for touch, for intimacy, for the possibilities of wordless communication, even between strangers. Certainly, there are reasons for this, and unwanted touch is classified as assault in certain jurisdictions for a reason. I am not naïve, but I wonder if there is excessive fear and isolation—and if this allows us to deny the basic humanity of others, especially those who are physically different from us.
Captions 2, details
An interview with
Joy Mckinney From the first time we watched Joy Mckinney's works, we really appreciated the way she explores the relationships between the individual and the environment revealing an incisive shooting style.We have selected her video "Touch me" for our 6th Videofocus Biennial issue. Joy, could you tell us a particular episode who has helped the birth of this project? Being originally from the south helped birth the awareness to look at myself, my history and how social and cultural attitudes shift depending on one's geographic location. I wanted the work to investigate my own nature as well as what I was studying and observing in my daily life. I explored my own concepts and ideas by transgressing what is
acceptable and used my body as a vehicle to transcend social barriers. This has been in turn a course of self discovery wherein I have learned that my motivation to create a lasting photographâ€”a virtual and timeless representationâ€”is yet linked to my intimate attraction to people. In your personal statement you say "I am using my body as a vehicle to transcend and explore the meanings of human interactions and reactions and documenting the results of these unusual, tense moments." We find this concept particularly fascinating: could you comment this sentence introducing our readers to this fundamental aspect of your art
Captions 3, details
Observation, investigation, creation: This is my process as an artist, which does not arrive at definitive answers, but better questions, more curiosity and compassion. My artistic process is a way to challenge judgments and perceptions in order to create a lasting image. I find the challenge within myself, and photographically document my own transformation and transcendence. “ Touch Me” is a social experiment as well as collective response to touch outside of a controlled environment. The work points to the vulnerabilities we all share as individuals, and our desire to overcome our own differences as well. A recurrent characteristic of many of your artworks is experience as starting point of artistic production: in your
opinion, is experience an absolutely necessary part of creative process? The “experience” is a vital part of my artistic practice. I draw meaning from the fleeting subtle connections, and encounters, and spend time looking for moments to transcend my own judgements and beliefs. You confess that many participants were often disturbed by the intrusive nature of your performance: could you describe this experience? I had to learn to accept No. I had to also learn that all people are not willing participants. This was the challenge and led me to create work that could capture all encounters both good and bad. The
Captions 4, details
photographs truthfully translated the intimacy of the moment and the gentle nature of the subjects that choose to participate, but the still images could not communicate the guarded nature of the responses received when it was hostile and/or negative. “Touch me” uses compiled video to show the various responses I encountered, further illuminating the ways in which people defend their personal space—their surprise, suspicion, candor and concern. Many are accepting while others are disturbed by the intrusive nature of the act. “Touch Me” is a triggering performance where I am as at risk as the participant feels at risk (or offended), pushing us both beyond the comfort zones usually preserved by the limitations of social interactions. Again, I am using my body as a vehicle to transcend and explore the meanings of human interactions and
reactions and documenting the results of these unusual, tense moments. "Touch me" is perfectly complementary to the Guardian photo series. In what manner your work as photographer influences your video making? Video, for me, is the phenomenology of movement in time that a still image cannot express. Video goes beyond the instant and gives one the opportunity to expand the storyline of the piece itself, shading it in a new light. As an artist, I explore the different dimensions of my narratives. My curiosity of for the camera, widened my horizons and gave new meaning to the world around me. Video is a tool I use to enhance the moments portrayed in my photographs.
Captions 5, details
In your opinion, has the concept of intimacy dramatically changed in the last decade? Issues of privacy and space occupy us more than ever, and much of the rhetoric associated with these topics focuses on the dangers and perils of physical and even virtual contact. Little is said about the fundamental need for touch, for intimacy, for the possibilities of wordless communication, even between strangers. Certainly, there are reasons for this, and unwanted touch is classified as assault in certain jurisdictions for a reason. I am not naive, but I wonder if there is excessive fear and isolation—and if this allows us to deny the basic humanity of others, especially those who are physically different from us. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Joy. What's next for Joy
Mckinney? Are there any projects on the horizon? Thank you, and I happy to share the work with Stigmart. Currently, I am busy finishing two new bodies of work. “ On Point” , time based media, utilizes the public platform to investigate issues of labor, perceptions, and repetition. The second body of work “ IN the moment” uses photographic stills and performance to investigate social ideologies, and cultural/shared identity . Once again, I am using myself as a performer, and experiment.
Published on Oct 22, 2014