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URSULA HANDLEIGH FLOUNDER LEE MARIANNA MILHORAT MIKEY PETERSON SLAVA POGORECKI ANNEGIEN van DOORN MIKEY PETERSON PHIL HASTINGS THOMAS EVERETT GREEN PAKO QUIJADA JOCKEL LIESS TAMARA LAI JOY MCKINNEY STEVE HARRIS JESSICA FENLON BEN GERSTEIN


From experimental cinema to fashion videography, ten artists breaking the boundaries Since its foundation, Stigmart10 has encouraged a conception of art based on a dynamic dialogue between artists and audience, reflecting the interactive nature of the creative act itself. A winning formula, according to the doubled number of submissions - more than 3000 applicants have sumitted 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 corageous documentary. Stigmart10 Team

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Ursula Handleigh

Growing up separately and never having met each other as adults, our relationship exists only through email. This film stock is handmade, created using falsified nega-tives that are played through an old family projector.

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Flounder Lee

"The intersections between public and private, art and life, history and the present, among others, inform his artwork which is usually video, sound, photo, installation, and/or performance based. "

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Marianna Milhorat

"Where is there to belong to? To not feel strange? To not ask permission? Ground. Home. A familiar land. Une Terre familière is structured as a series of long-take vignettes, each centered around a site purposing a collision of nature and artifice."

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Thomas Everett Green

"My work is an exploration of biology and the realms of contemporary microscopic photography, touching on various phenomenology and ideas surrounding addiction."

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Annegien van Doorn

"The mundane objects used by Annegien van Doorn are often regarded as practically worthless. In her film Domestic Science, however, those objects and phenomena appear to have qualities beyond their practical or economic value. "

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Pako Quijada

The actual process of creating this video was an important part in the shaping of the final piece. I decided to let my own intuition lead its making and follow an evolutionary path that ended in a more abstract piece that tried to bring the visual capabilities of light,


Tamara Lai

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"Actually, I've always loved to travel, short breaks or long journeys, I believe to be a nomad at heart. I love above all the movement, change. Changing skyline, landscape. Diversi-ty of scenery, activities, people, attitudes… "

Jessica Fenlon

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" Take €the €data €file €that €is €a €digitized €16mm €American €stag €film €from €the 1960's. €Alter the €data €in €that €file €by €altering €the €motion-‐tracking information,€a technique €known €as €'datamoshing'. " €

Ben Gerstein

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"When finishing off the video, I felt György Ligeti’s ominous choral masterpiece Lux Aeterna would fit the mood perfectly as we flew on this unique meditation to and from a mystical galaxy of fractal forms…"

Steve Harris

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Drawing on the conventions of silent film is one example. “Sight Gags” are sometimes employed, often being turned on their heads to jar audience expectations. Composition, montage, the use of sound and text are tools serving the telling of a story.

Jockel Liess

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‘Green meadow’ is a generative audio-visual work modelled on the behavioural patterns and progression of physical environments and their unpredictable self-similarity.

Phil Hastings

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"The Morphology Series is fundamentally concerned with exploring liminal statesusing abstract and poetic forms. I create filmic manifestations of thresholds forthe viewer to experience and explore."

Mikey Peterson

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In Slip Away and Unrest, shot on Lake Michigan’s shoreline in Chicago, nature distorts of its own accord. It is the combination of water, earth, wind and sun that creates layers of abstract spaces.

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.

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Still from Everything I Said / Everything I Wish I Said, 2012

Ursula Handleigh Everything I Said / Everything I Wish I Said

Everything I Said / Everything I Wish I Said addresses the indexical quality of family imagery and the lingering ephemeral moment while drawing parallels between the dying art of film and the disintegration of family relationships. This film serves as a documentation of the relationship between my sister and I. Growing up separately and never having met each other as adults, our relationship exists only through email. This film stock

is handmade, created using falsified negatives that are played through an old family projector. The duality between the set of negatives captures the sense of being trapped between two entities. Trapped between the life of my sister and the life of myself, between reality and imagination, between film and digital, between the past and the present, between existence and nonexistence. The handmade negatives create a sense of anticipation for the future between myself and my sister as well as a sense of regret for what could have been.


Installation shot. Everything I Said / Everything I Wish I Said, 2012


An interview with

Ursula Handleigh Focusing on the relationship between your sister and you,† Everything I Said / Everything I Wish I Said† (36min, video) reveals a stunning balance between its intimate tone reminding us of early Bruce Conner's films and the investigation on the inner nature of relationships. How did you come up with the idea for this work? At the time I was working on a series of still images about the relationship I had with my sister. I had made a physical copy of all the emails my sister had sent to me, it was the only real form of communication we had shared. I reread them often, not just for the work I was doing but because they meant a great deal to me. It wasn’t so much the words she was saying but rather that she had written these words with the intention of me reading them. In that moment, she was thinking about me. I realized that I was keeping myself emotionally distant from the work and I wanted to break through those boundaries. I was only reading one side of the conversation. I went back through all the emails I had sent to her and read my side of the conversation. I was shocked. I had imagined what I had written to be full of emotion and heart but instead I was reading pages of small talk. It was a conversation I would have with a stranger I had just met, not my long lost sister who I had spent most of my life wondering about and searching for. I sat down and wrote everything I had ever wanted to say to her but never felt as if I could. Your daily experience is very important for your artist practice and thinking: could you introduce our readers to this aspect of your art? How has your history influenced the way you produce art? I create work about my surroundings, whether it be physical surroundings or subjects that are mentally encompassing me.

Ursula Handleigh

Memories play a persistent part in my work, not only the memories that I hold but also the absence of memories, those which I never had


change or relive, I go back to that place in my art. My work carries a memory and an identity of it’s own, it acts as an external vault of all my experiences that I am preserving whether they be real or created. My family history also holds an important place within my art practice. I grew up in Toronto to a diverse family. My parents came from different cultural backgrounds, my mother from the Philippines and my father from England, both migrating to Canada in adulthood. They came from very different backgrounds and held varying views about many aspects of life including religion, one being a devote Christian, the other being an Atheist. It made for an exciting life full of culture and debate. I grew up surrounded by pictures and stories about my family’s past. I took in as much as I could about my family’s history and culture, while simultaneously trying to mold an identity of my own. I spent much of my childhood trying to find a sense of belonging. In many ways I still am and I think that comes out in my work. We have been really impressed with the way you have translated the dualistic nature of your investigation - in particular the aspect: film/video and past/present. Could you introduce our readers to this fundamental aspect of Everything I Said / Everything I Wish I Said ? My sister and I grew up in the same house, attended the same school and had many of the same experiences, expect at different times. She was 17 when I was born and had already moved out and started a life of her own. I was raised as an only child, having met her only a couple times at a very young age. This film serves as a documentation of the relationship I tried to build we her after reconnecting as adults.

a chance to create. If I feel like I have missed out on a part of my life or if there was a moment I wish I could travel back to and

Our relationship had reached a stand still and I knew I would never have the relationship I dreamed of having with her. We had still never met, despite only being less than an hour’s drive from one another and our emails had become far and few in between. Everything I Said / Everything I Wish I Said was a way for me to give


Still from Everything I Said / Everything I Wish I Said, 2012


Still from Everything I Said / Everything I Wish I Said, 2012

movement and life to a relationship that I longed for. The typed text are all the emails I had ever sent to her, which was the only form of communication that we shared. Juxtaposed against it are the handwritten words I wish I had said instead but for one reason or another didn’t. It’s full of emotions; love, anger, regret. Ironically, it ended up being the same number of pages as everything that I had ever said to her. From there, I made my own film stock,

physically feeding the pages of text through an old family projector. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? For the most part, my work develops in an organic manner. I enjoy experimenting with materials and using them in new and unusual ways.


From there I can get a sense of what aesthetic best expresses what I’m trying to communicate with the viewer. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts with us, Ursula . What's next for Ursula Handleigh? What are your next projects on the horizon? I have a few projects that are in the works. I’m currently creating a body of work that questions the way in which we view and analyze the past. It addresses the physicality of memory and their capacity to linger within spaces. This will probably take shape in the form of an interactive video installation. I am also working on a series of anthotypes in which I create a variety of hand made emulsions using light sensitive plant matter. Allowing the coated sheets to bleach in natural sunlight, I am creating a body of work that documents the landscape I am living in. Traveling across Ontario, I am hoping to create a survey of the province.

My work is very process driven. I love the physicality of working with materials, for me it’s the most enjoyable part of the artistic practice. I begin with a concept or theme to explore and from there I allow the process and materials I’m using to inform the direction the work takes. I usually create a wide variety of pieces all expressing the same theme but using different materials and techniques ranging from historical photography, to sculpture, to film, before I choose the final medium of the work.

Detail of film. Everything I Said / Everything I Wish I Said, 2012


Flounder Lee An artist's statement Flounder Lee grew up on a farm in Alabama, started school for Aerospace Engineering but received his BFA in photo from the University of Florida in 2003 and his MFA in Studio Art from Cal State Long Beach in 2007. He is an artist/educator/curator who is an Assistant

Professor of Studio Art and Photography at American University in Dubai. Flounder’s work has been shown extensively both nationally and internationally including Barcelona Art Contemporani 11; Documentation: Photography as Witness at the University of Maine; Bewegterwind (Moved Wind) in Hesse Germany, and Re/Move at Foto,


Still from Mapping the Juneau Glaciers. Shot at Eagle Glacier

kino i video savez Vojvodine in Novi Sad, Serbia. He has curated numerous exhibitions such as Double Vision: A Dual Channel Video Festival, Mapable, and TPS Reports: Performance Documents. He founded then directed SpaceCamp MicroGallery in Indianapolis, Indiana for three years. The intersections between public and private, art and life, history

and the present, among others, inform his artwork which is usually video, sound, photo, installation, and/or performance based. His personal work involves lens-based mapping and often investigates post-colonialism, borders, and/or environmental topics. His curatorial work often overlaps these topics but explores a much wider range of media than his personal work. www.photoflounder.com


Still from US-Tribal Treaties 1785-1894. Using toys to show the expansion of the United States through made and broken treaties.


An interview with

Flounder Lee Since the first time we have watched Mapping the Juneau Glaciers we have been impressed with your metacinematographic effort: how did you come up with the idea for this project? Well, this has more to do with failure than anything. I think failure is important and even good for artists. I planned to do this photographic project in Alaska but it was much tougher on the ground that I could have imagined, so the process ended up being more important than the product. In your work, you document the photographical mapping of the retreating glaciers near Juneau, in Alaska: a sort of quixotic adventure, a path of alternating ups and down reminding us of Keith Fulton's documentary Lost in La Mancha (2002). We have found this aspect of your narration not only a mark of great autoirony, but also a suggestive reflection on our perception of our limits - like in Herzog's Fitzcarraldo. Could you better explain this fundamental aspect of your work? In this case, as has been the case one or two other times, I underestimated the environment/overestimated my hardiness. I grew up on a farm and so was a fairly outdoorsy person, but there is a major difference between the “wilderness� of backwoods Alabama and the actual wilderness of Alaska or the jungle in Panama. It is hard when you realize that you’re in over your head. I was more willing to risk myself in some cases than my assistant, but even then, this environment was intense! I guess in the narration, I was trying to admit the difficulties in a more honest and open fashion. It helped having an assistant,

Flounder Lee

Michael Hoefle, to film me working, which is much of the footage in the documentary. Post-colonialism and borders are often starting point of your artistic research, could you introduce our readers to this themes? I had taken several classes in graduate school in American Indian Studies which is my first recollection of thinking about these topics deeply. Later, though when I actually started making work, I realized that one of my professors in undergrad was working on these topics in relation to South America, so maybe it had been marinating for years. I was doing a map of the border of Los Angeles, which is serpentine but had to stop when I was in a motorcycle crash. When I moved to Indiana, I wanted to continue the mapping but thinking of it more to do with specifics of the place so I researched the history. It turns out, like most of the US, it was basically formed through broken and treaties, so I started following those actual borders and photographing at pre-set


South America 1820 in Panamรก (city)


Mapping Mendenhall Glacier by Kayak 1 (Block)

intervals. This continued as I transposed maps of colonies onto European soil and then colonizers onto their former colonies. The methodology of following a preset border and shooting at specific intervals went throughout the work. One thing I’ve learned is that borders are really arbitrary in most cases. I’m glad that some are in the process of disappearing or at least loosening as in the European Union. In what manner your work as photographer influences your videomaking? I guess I don’t really think of them as separate. I just use whichever seems to fit for that particular project or part of the project. I guess if I had to answer, then I’d say that

visuals are more important to me than sound. I probably think more in terms of snippets of video than long narratives, I’m sure that comes from thinking photographically. I really don’t consider myself a photographer though, and surely don’t covet technology like some photographers do so I just use whatever tools are needed to get the job done and idea across. We find that Mapping the Juneau Glaciers is rich of references. Apart from Gilliam and Herzog we have previously quoted in this interview, can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Wow, wide ranging of course, but video wise, Isaac Julien’s multi-channel work has always inspired me. It is beautiful and poignant,


Netherlands in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

touching on so many important issues. Rodney Graham as well, his pacing and narrative aspects are amazing. Radiolab had a pretty big influence on my narration style. I didn’t realize that until afterward though. I think my professors really shaped my work even when it didn’t sink in for years afterwards. As I mentioned before, Sergio Vega does work on post-colonialism, his style of travel and making work was something I always admired. Barbara Jo Revelle does multidisciplinary work that also influenced me. My grad school professors, Kyle Riedel, Craig Cree Stone, and Todd Gray, really drove me hard and I really thank them for the rigor that now shows up in my work.

Your daily experience is very important for your artist practise and thinking: could you explain this aspect? I read a lot—blogs and books mostly, so this keeps me thinking. Being an educator is hugely important. I get to talk about the creative process to fresh minds constantly which is refreshing. Speaking of fresh minds, my MFA thesis idea actually was inspired by something my 5 year old niece said at the time. I asked her what she was photographing with my camera. She said “everything”. She’s 13 now and just joined the robotics team, I hope we can collaborate some day! My wife, Sarah, is a constant source of encouragement and a great sounding board. She’s a writer and loves to push back whenever I tell her a new idea I am working on.


detail of South America 1820 in Panamá (city)

Now we wonder if you would like to answer to our cliché question: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? Travel is hugely important to my work. I get inspired by new places. I also really love curating, which I haven’t talked about here, actually. Seeing other people’s art and helping them realize it, really pushes my own work as well. Overall I guess getting people to think about an issue that they maybe have never really thought about is key for me. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Flounder. What's next for Flounder Lee? Are there any projects on the horizon? Well, I just moved to start teaching at American University in Dubai. The printmaking lab is next to my office so I hope to get in there and see what happens. Dubai is a futuristic city in an impossible environment so I imagine that’ll influence future work. Recently I’ve been working on a 4 channel video with surround sound about travel, I’m hoping to finish that in the near future. I have also continued to work on environmental and postcolonial projects. Thanks for the interview, some really great questions that pushed me to think more introspectively about my work than I have in a while, so I really appreciate that!

www.photoflounder.com

Eagle Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, 225cm


panoramic archival inkjet print


Marianna Milhorat An artist's statement Where is there to belong to? To not feel strange? To not ask permission? Ground. Home. A

familiar land. Une Terre familière is structured as a series of long-take vignettes, each centered around a site purposing a collision of nature and artifice. Within highly manicured environments,


Une Terre familiére, Image 1

these sites attempt to imitate natural processes and un-peopled ecosystems and to preserve and manage elements of nature. The figures in Une Terre familière struggle to do

their best with what they have- to find their own sun at the tanning salon, their own clouds in the steam room- to improve, to connect, to find “home” in the world.


An interview with

Marianna Milhorat A radical use of long-takes, wide angle shots showing rarefied spaces and geometrical patterns are the minimalist elements of Une Terre familiére's powerful language. Marianna Milhorat's refined cinema explores space as a touchable surface, revealing the hidden struggle of its characters, isolated figures. Marianna, could you tell us about a particular episode that helped the birth of this film?

environment attempting to capture what Chicago might have looked like in prehistoric times.

I had just moved to Chicago and was trying to come to terms with being in geographical locale whose landscape I didn’t find particularly inspiring. My previous work had been motivated by questions surrounding our changing relationship to nature and place. I wondered: Where is nature here?

I began to visit and investigate other sites attempting to replicate natural environments and simulate natural processes, as well those offering a curated or controlled experience of natural attractions. Contrary to rarefied spaces, I sought out spaces that were commonplace, part of many people’s daily routines: museums, tanning salons, public beaches, etc. It was through shooting that I sought to visually transform these spaces into something out of the ordinary, to offer new ways of looking at and thinking about them.

With this question in mind, I visited a nature conservatory in Chicago, the Garfield Conservatory. I watched as tour groups hovered over unidentified plants, camera-clad, in an

This led me to a new inquiry: If nature as wilderness provides a vehicle for escape, relaxation, or connectedness–or fulfills some other innate human need–where do city-dwellers turn to satisfy these same needs? Is the Conservatory an adequate stand-in?


Une Terre familiére, Image 2

Une Terre familiére itself starts with a scene from the Garfield Conservatory similar to the one I first observed. The concept of space, not seen merely as a physical environment, has a crucial importance in your artistic research. Could you introduce our readers to this fundamental aspect of Une Terre familiËre? I am interested in the psychological dimensions and impact of space.Landscapes, spaces, and objects are layered. Embedded within them are the individual and collective stories, experiences, and histories of people and times that came before. The past is present; the future, present. With limited brain space, we don’t necessarily think about all of the elements that compose a place at a given time. We flatten space to surface that allows us to get from point A to B as we make our way through the day. Or, if you’re like me, you fail at this a lot. Film can bring these elements to the forefront; it is an architecture through which

filmmakers can create a new experience of a space or create a space entirely of their own. In UTF, I was specifically interested in how mise-en-scene, visual and sonic shifts, sound-image relations, and duration could be utilized to create new experiences of mundane or familiar environments, to create an atmosphere of the uncanny. The opening shots of UTF–the Garfield Conservatory and a public beach–are not necessarily locatable; the Conservatory could be a tropical vista, the beach is enshrouded in a fog. I was interested in the long take as means for allowing perceptual shifts to play out. The tropical vista shrinks to a human scale when a woman enters the frame sporting a hot pink jogging suit; the mystery of the beach is broken by a woman pushing a stroller across it. I wanted to further reinforce the uncanniness introduced by this intervention of artificial upon scenes that might otherwise appear “natural”


Une Terre familiĂŠre, Image 3


Une Terre familiére, Image 4

through insistent symmetric framing, visually setting up “nature” as a stage. By encouraging new ways of looking at and thinking about space–looking and thinking about where we are–I want to raise questions about who we are, where we came from, and where we are headed. The figures you show in Une Terre familiére struggle to find “home” in the world. In a sense, this collision of nature and artifice characterizing your film visually renders the concept of the crisis of presence described first by the ethno-anthropologist Ernesto De Martino. What are your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work?

I take inspiration from the rich history of landscape filmmaking, as well as from my mentors and colleagues. My professor in Montréal and continued mentor, Richard Kerr, and his personal, formally adventurous works, had a big influence on me and my approach to

filmmaking: one of continual experimentation, of pushing the art form… to never make the same film twice. The transformative potential of space is certainly an essential aspect of my films. Space offers a place to be. When I can’t yell off a mountain or run free in an endless field, I look to other artists to provide this for me: I seek out filmmakers with a strong sense of space–Andrei Tarkovsky, Chantal Akerman, James Benning–those who push the potential of sound-image relations and montage–Leslie Thornton, Arthur Lipsett, Jack Chambers–and those working in the travelogue form–Chris Marker, Trinh T. Minh Ha. When I’m feeling bummed out about art or my current state, Nathaniel Dorsky’s Devotional Cinema and Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space are two books I find some comfort in returning to. My biggest influences are my colleagues and those making work around me. I am inspired by anyone that finds a way to keep creating.


Une Terre familiére, Image 5

We are impressed by the contrast between colder and warmer colors shot by shot: from the first time we watched Une Terre familiére 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 was interested in how saturated colors–the room of yellow bikes, the blue steam room–set characters apart from their surroundings. To me, the intense vibrancy of color contributes to the environments reading as sets. At other times characters themselves are brightly dressed and stand out against more natural tones. The possibility of color as an experience–as a potential source of therapy, healing, or even impetus to an altered psychological state–intrigues me. If we can’t turn to a disappearing wilderness for healing, can we find healing through clever constructions? I think I was more welcome to

allowing humor into this piece. Color can be humorous (and humor healing). Hot pink is funny; jogging shoes are definitely funny; being a human can go either way. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new film? My films begin with a central concept or inquiry. I research and read, take field trips to expand my thinking, location scout, and begin sketching out ideas. UTF began with a few key images. Through shooting, my thoughts on the subject led me in new directions. While my films involve some staging, I mostly work with elements that are out of my control. I do a lot of waiting for the Captions 1, details right moment, when everything comes together just so. Your video production is very miscellaneous: how has your production process changed over the years? In truth, I think I have become more rigid over the years. My editing process is intuitive, but shooting and production are very intentional. I'd


Une Terre familiĂŠre, Image 6

like to allow myself to begin with a seed of an idea and to explore an inquiry through the process, rather than attempting to reel in a world of thinking to a single film. But then, I think that’s part of what makes my work what it is.

about and promote our work! (Thanks!) The divide between festival and gallery audiences still feels great. We need writers to get artists and art enthusiasts interested in what’s happening in moving image arts.

Your works have been exhibited at international festivals and galleries including the Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Museum of Contemporary Art- Chicago. What experiences have you had exhibiting in different locations? What was the audience's feedback?

The Illinois scene is often underrated, nonetheless we have found it very interesting and rich with young experimental filmmakers, often working with limited budgets, but coming up with remarkable results. What do you think of the Chicago artistic scene, from a filmmaker's point of view?

I am so appreciative to have screened at a range of venues: from DIY venues to high-profile festivals. Screenings and festivals feel celebratory by nature. Conversation and exchange is what creates a sense of community within experimental film. Write-ups and reviews tend to be positive, as negative reviews of work few people are likely to see anyway don't generate much in the way of dialogue. But, we need more critics, magazines, and blogs to write

Chicago has an immensely supportive arts community. I moved here four years ago to complete my MFA. Part of what drew me other than the rock star faculty and program at The University of Illinois- Chicago, was the community of filmmakers I had been introduced to through the Chicago Underground Film Festival, which was one of the first festivals to begin screening my work. Chicago benefits from a handful of strong arts programs, which other than cultivating a


Une Terre familiére, Image 7

concentrated body of active and critical makers, provides a sizeable and interested audience for screenings and other exhibitions. In comparison to other cities, Chicago also has relatively affordable rent. This means filmmakers and artists can devote a higher percentage of their time to their practices, rather than to making ends meet. Choosing to be an experimental or non-commercial artist in the United States necessitates a certain DIY spirit. Financial support for the arts is extremely limited. We share resources, exchange favors, and make it happen. For me, it’s about not knowing how else to exist. That said, I am trying to move back to Canada. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Marianna. What's next for Marianna Milhorat? Do you have a particular project in mind?

I’ve got a lot of beginnings on the table right now! I’m working on a series of video portraits around DIY science and relationships between the domestic, the toxic, and the unknown. I am interested in the possibilities of video as a tool for

drafting and a way of balancing out longer-form film work with something more immediate. I’m also grant writing to travel north to work with some science communities involved in research around environmental change. A short biography Marianna Milhorat (b. 1983) is a Chicago-based filmmaker, originating from Vermont, USA. She received her MFA from the University of IllinoisChicago in 2012 and BFA from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinéma at Concordia University in 2007. Working in film and video, she investigates contemporary relationships to landscape and environment through transformations of space and perspective. Milhorat’s work has screened internationally at festivals, including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and the Images Festival. Her work has received awards at festivals including the Images Festival, EXIS (ExNow), and the Chicago Underground Film Festival.


Thomas Everett Green A shortbiography Thomas Everett Green (b. 1970) is an

American Artist that explores biology and contemporary microscopic photography through painting, sculpture, and video


was the 2012-2013 recipient of the Hohenberg Fellowship, and currently works an adjunct instructor. His work has been shown in New York, Nashville, Memphis, Seattle, and the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock. He has worked as curator for the Center for the Arts in Murfreesboro Tennessee 2011 and 2012 and contributed to numerous publications, including former Taxi Art Magazine of Guadalajara, Mexico and Number: Inc. an independent journal of the Arts for Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Currently, he works as an independent artist, curator, president, and host of the online publication Featherjett Fine Arts. His work was recently included in the 2014 Bumbershoot music festival, Dlectricity video and art Festival in Detroit and in the collections of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Artist Statement My work is an exploration of biology and the realms of contemporary microscopic photography, touching on various phenomenology and ideas surrounding addiction. The concept plays on the ideas of being human and being captivated by a visceral, elusive force. From science I have drawn the basis for the images that I create. I employ a vibrant, yet simple color schema on circular shapes. The circular motif conjures visual relations to Petri dishes and the visual orientation of objects “as seen” through microscopes.

Still Image from The Nature of Things

installations referencing nature. He holds BFA from Middle Tennessee State University (2012) and an MFA from Memphis College of Art (2014), where he

Each painting, or “cell,” is sometimes part of a larger installation that draws its placement from nature and the formations of molds, necrosis, or other rapidly reproducing growths that involuntarily spread. All encompassing video installations explore the ideas and theories surrounding addictions as both disease and obsession, and how the patterns or cycles of destructive forces creep in, settle, take over, and destroy a surrounding. The imagery is entirely composed from high-resolution images of my paintings. The installations reverse the size relationship of the viewer with the microscopic organism, and generate a world in which they will enter. Furthermore, it invites them to renegotiate their ideas on beauty.


Installation view from The Nature of Things


An interview with

Thomas Everett Green The Nature of Things is a complex and astonishing video installation by Thomas Green. We are really impressed by the balance you have been capable of achieving in this work between classical sensibility and a scientific vision. Could you introduce our readers to this work? Sure, The Nature of Things is a video installation that fills a space with imagery taken directly from my paintings, which have been animated and mapped onto the walls, floor and ceiling of a gallery. The work explores the theories and phenomenology surrounding addiction, as both obsession and

disease. As the viewer navigates into the space, images project onto the viewer, suggesting they are now not only in the space but are becoming part of it: they have been subjected to and afflicted with the addiction in some way. The sound juxtaposes unpleasant within the layers of relaxing and tranquil (yet altered) music to creating a discomfort and bewildering tension amongst the oftenbeautiful imagery being projected. While the work could be arguably seen as ambiance, for those that stay to experience the full 10 minutes and 34 seconds, their reward is perhaps a peek into the narrative of the cycles and patterns destructive forces in nature


Still Image from The Nature of Things

engage; a slow creeping in, settling, taking over, and death. How did you come up with the idea of using microscopic photography in your art? During my investigation into addiction and addiction theory, my personal reflections seemed to draw a link between a viewer confronting an image, painting, or other piece of art and an addict confronting stimuli via the “visual trigger.” The result is similar in the sense that the visual stimuli of both works of art and addiction triggers can provoke a memory, transport the viewer, and produce an emotional response. Microscopic photography relies on contemporary technology and it’s quite beautiful. It seemed like a logical way to make “disease” generate a similar response. None of my work directly takes microscopic

photographs as many are copyright, and with good reason. But, the paintings that I generate are a the direct response to an immersion into the realms of this type of technology. A remarkable aspect of your art is the fact that you always leave the interpretation open to each viewer, could you explain this open approach close to Romeo Castellucci's? I can see a definite correlation between Romeo Castellucci’s concept of absence and the invisible, or third image, which he described as, “the image that remains,”…“the one that is not shown: it's the third image, the one that doesn't exist and the one that counts.” Although, I think his work provides a far greater social tension than mine. Early on, I felt I needed to take a step back from direct subject matter. This approach leaves interpretation up to each viewer, who may or


Installation view from The Nature of Things


Still Image from The Nature of Things

engage; a slow creeping in, settling, taking over, and death. How did you come up with the idea of using microscopic photography in your art? During my investigation into addiction and addiction theory, my personal reflections seemed to draw a link between a viewer confronting an image, painting, or other piece of art and an addict confronting stimuli via the “visual trigger.” The result is similar in the sense that the visual stimuli of both works of art and addiction triggers can provoke a memory, transport the viewer, and produce an emotional response. Microscopic photography relies on contemporary technology and it’s quite beautiful. It seemed like a logical way to make “disease” generate a similar response.

None of my work directly takes microscopic photographs as many are copyright, and with good reason. But, the paintings that I generate are a the direct response to an immersion into the realms of this type of technology. A remarkable aspect of your art is the fact that you always leave the interpretation open to each viewer, could you explain this open approach close to Romeo Castellucci's? I can see a definite correlation between Romeo Castellucci’s concept of absence and the invisible, or third image, which he described as, “the image that remains,”…“the one that is not shown: it's the third image, the one that doesn't exist and the one that counts.” Although, I think his work provides a far greater social tension than mine. Early on, I felt I needed to take a step back from direct


Still Image from The Nature of Things

engage; a slow creeping in, settling, taking over, and death. How did you come up with the idea of using microscopic photography in your art? During my investigation into addiction and addiction theory, my personal reflections seemed to draw a link between a viewer confronting an image, painting, or other piece of art and an addict confronting stimuli via the “visual trigger.” The result is similar in the sense that the visual stimuli of both works of art and addiction triggers can provoke a memory, transport the viewer, and produce an emotional response. Microscopic photography relies on contemporary technology and it’s quite beautiful. It seemed like a logical way to make “disease” generate a similar response.

None of my work directly takes microscopic photographs as many are copyright, and with good reason. But, the paintings that I generate are a the direct response to an immersion into the realms of this type of technology.


Domestic Science, 2013. HD-Video loop 2’53�

An artist's statement

An air bed, a tube of toothpaste and a draining board have little more in common than the fact that they can be found in almost every home. They have no logical connection, they are simply the things that we all acquire over time. The mundane objects used by Annegien van Doorn

are often regarded as practically worthless. In her film Domestic Science, however, those objects and phenomena appear to have qualities beyond their practical or economic value. On closer inspection, they reveal characteristics that are easily overlooked. It is precisely the unintended functions that add the greatest value to these objects, and precisely what Van Doorn looks for.


Annegien van Doorn Like an archaeologist back from a dig, Van Doorn challenges the viewer to study these everyday objects, just as she does. She shows that reality can be far stranger than we could possibly conceive. By perverting the characteristics of the objects, she raises questions about the way we see. The fact that we try to contextualise those objects in

order to grasp them says more about the way we think than about the things themselves. However much we may want to believe it, Van Doorn’s works prove above all that we are not always the centre of the universe and that man is not always the measure of all things. Bas Hendrikx


Domestic Science, 2013. HD-Video loop 2’53”


An interview with

Annegien van Doorn Domestic Science has been deeply influenced by Johan Huizinga's essay Homo Ludens. When did you get in contact with Huizinga's text for the first time? The first version of Domestic Science I made in 2012 during a residency at Hotel MariaKapel in Hoorn. For the final exhibition of the residency program, the curator of Hotel MariaKapel Bas Hendrikx wrote a few lines about my work in which he mentioned the Homo Ludens. I vaguely new the term Homo Ludens, but I had no idea what it really meant. I decided to read Huizinga’s book and then I got very inspired. His book helped me to see the motives behind my work more clearly. And I think that’s exactly the purpose of philosophy for me: it helps me to understand the way I perceive the world and places it in a broader context. The mundane objects of Domestic Science remind us of the early Borowczyk's works, obsessed with objects and details. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? During my life I’ve admired a bunch of artists. Although it’s hard to say what is their concrete influence on my work, they definitely did affect the way I look upon the world and thus the ideas and thoughts that are present in my work. Last month Kerr Houston from Bmore Art wrote a review on my exhibition Domestic Science at the Foam museum in Amsterdam. In this review he placed my work in the context of art history and compared my work, among others, with Fischli&Weiss, Bruce Nauman and Mona Hatoum. I was pleasantly surprised that all artists he mentions, I have admired during my career and therefore have studied their work.

Annegien van Doorn Dutch Tongue from the series Das Banale Ding, 2010

Through this article I could see their influence on my work more clearly. Other artists I admire are Erwin Wurm, Gabriel Orozco, Sarah Lucas and Sigurdur Gudmundssons situation series. I also recently saw a great show from the young Swiss photographers duo Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs. They are exploring the borders of the photographic medium in a very playful way. While I’m looking at these names, I see they have one thing in common: they all approach their subject in a playful way. Forcing the viewer to study everyday objects like a tube of toothpaste, an air bed, and a draining board, your filmmaking style lead us to a fresh vision, similar to the anthropologist's effort, reminding us of the origin of the cinema itself: we think that this concept has a huge importance in your artistic research as well as in your videomaking. Could you comment it? Hmm.. good question. I know that the way I challenge the viewer to look at everyday objects has been compared with an archaeologist coming back from a dig or even


Domestic Science, 2013. HD-Video loop 2’53”

more banal: with babies who explore new toys by putting them in their mouth. Although I don’t have a special fascination for archaeologists, anthropologists or babies, I see the similarity in the way we make our discoveries. Without prejudices we examine the mechanisms of everyday objects, sometimes almost obsessive, to discover their specific quality and possible function beyond their practical and commercial use. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? Every project has its own creative process. If I already knew the steps I need to take or if I had a manual for a successful work of art, I wouldn’t feel the excitement, the anxiety, the thrill, the joy, the irritation and the sensation, which is all part of a creative process. Instead I would be bored and don’t have a reason to start working anymore. However, in one way

or another each project started by putting into practice this quote by Allan Kaprow: “When you do life consciously, however, life becomes pretty strange: paying attention changes the thing attended to…” How did you develop your style? It’s hard to say as it isn’t something I developed in a fortnight. It's a process wherein each project taught me something more about myself and my personal style. As I shape my character over time, I’m shaping my personal style as well. Actually, it's just like what my work is about: I'm approaching my surroundings in a playful way to develop my style. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts with us. What's next for


Domestic Science, 2013. HD-Video loop 2’53”


Domestic Science, 2013. HD-Video loop 2’53”


Annegien van Doorn? What are your next projects? Well at the moment I’m working on two new projects. I’m editing a photographic work I made in Argentina about the way the Argentinian make provisory adjustments and makeshift solutions in public space with whatever they’ve got by hand. To me, these constructions imply a sense of freedom regarding how an object is supposed to function. Born out of necessity, makeshift solutions teach us how to play with everyday objects and their ever-shifting functions. Furthermore I’m working on a video in which I have a huge amount of tubes of ketchup, mayonnaise, cooking oil, food colour and so on, taped to my body. I am sitting in an eat-in kitchen and I try to squeeze everything out of its package. It's a struggle to free myself from these artificial products and a metaphor for the way our diet controls our life and my longing to be freed of it.

An interview by stigmart@europe.com

Domestic Science, 2013. HD-Video loop 2’53”


Pako Quijada

Captions 2, details

An artist's statement

‚XV‘ was born as an exploration of the iconography of the devil. This being a character whose enigmatic nature has always interested me, I wanted to create a piece that captures our culture‘s interpretation of demonic possession. We can‘t see the devil, but we can see the influence it has on the character in the

video, which leads him into a mental state of paranoia. The actual process of creating this video was an important part in the shaping of the final piece. I decided to let my own intuition lead its making and follow an evolutionary path that ended in a more abstract piece that tried to bring the visual capabilities of light, sound and editing to its fullest accomplishment. The video tries to convey into a visual language than transcends the screen into a visceral and


A still from XV, 2013, 3 min., single channel video

claustrophobic feeling and, in a way, it also serves as a study of the limitations of a video work and intends to take advantage of the framing to create a feeling of anxiety. ‚XV‘ is an opaque and demanding work and by that, it is inherently inclusive towards the contemplator. The work opens a pathway to immerse oneself into the sight and sound and let the body react to it intuitively. A vital part of this video is the densely layered audio track. By using deep vibrating sounds

and, in parts, escalating it to an almost cacophonic wall of noise a heightened state of alertness is created within the beholder, playing with a primordial fear that is rooted deep within our psyche. This is not a piece about the person on the screen nor its maker, it‘s a piece about the watcher and how certain ways of film making can work to manipulate our sense of reality.


A still from XV, 2013, 3 min., single channel video


An interview with

Pako Quijada Through a masterly editing technique reminding us of Guy Maddin's extreme neuro-cut, Pako Quijada lead the viewer to explore a saturated space, realizing a psychedelic iconography of the devil. Pako, how did you come up with the idea for your video "XV"? I have always been highly interested in these type of characters and how they are perceived in society. The idea for “XV” came from a book I read about the devil. At some point, the author commented how unlikely it was for the devil to be singing the “Hosanna Anthem” and that’s when the concept for the video was born. At first it was meant to be a project with religious connotations but I decided to focus in a more abstract depiction of it, in which the devil is not something tangible yet a very present and powerful force. ? Boundaries and borders are treated in your work not according a metaphoric vision, but a sort of metonymic approach envolving 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. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? Each project requires a different process. I usually come up with an idea but I let it rest until I have made sure it’s worth exploring. During that time, which can vary, I do research on and off and start shaping the concept in my head. I always try to keep a very fluid creative process in which the original idea can change considerably. I also like to leave some time between shooting and post-production. It’s important for me to distant myself from a project before I go into

Pako Quijada

the last stage of production. However, in the case of “XV” everything happened very quickly and I was shooting only a few weeks after coming up with the idea.? In XV you try to lead the viewer to a sensory overload: this "logic of sensation", to quote the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, reveals many similarities to the art researches by Francis Bacon and Jenny Saville in painting: how do you achieve this sensory"saturation" effect? There are two main characteristics in order to achieve the saturation effect. One of them is the movement and lighting that were accomplished during the shooting. I wanted to capture images that were in constant movement and kept oppressing the character in the video. The other one came from the editing of both image and sound. None of them were created before the other, but evolved together during post-production.?


A still from XV, 2013, 3 min., single channel video

Frames are domined by a strong presence of white, like negative film. Why? I wanted to experiment with the sound and I wondered how long could I keep a white screen, where apparently nothing happens but still moves the viewer. My idea is that, by the time the video gets to its climax with the hyperactive editing, the viewer is completely involved in an aura of mystery and confusion created by the first minute of sound.? What kind of technology have you used in producing it?? The video is produced with very limited resources. Everything you see in it was shot as it is, with the use of a digital camera and live lighting. The blue predominance and the digital errors appear in the video as they were recorded. The sound is the only part that was highly modified having used mainly my voice to later distort it to achieve a dramatic effect.?

We have previously quoted Guy Maddin's extreme editing style in our interview: can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? I would say my main influences come from film, rather than art. This is mainly because I studied Filmmaking. At this early stage of my art career, I’m unaware of which artists have influenced my work although it’s very interesting to hear people’s reactions to my work and how they relate it to other artists. I am a huge fan of works by Shirin Neshat, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Bill Viola, Edvard Munch and Jenny Saville.? Now we wonder if you would like to answer to our cliché question: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? What I enjoy the most is having the freedom of talking about whatever I want. That is the best


A still from XV, 2013, 3 min., single channel video

thing about art, it’s an ultimate expression of what the creator feels and thinks and knowing that I have no rules that I need to follow is a great motivator. The biggest satisfaction is having feedback. Listening to people’s thoughts and their own interpretations, how

they relate to my work, always makes me really happy.? Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Pako. What's next for Pako


Quijada? Are there any film projects on the horizon? I’m always working in different projects at the same time. This year I have finished a video that is the introduction to a 4-channel video installation called “Intermission”, exploring

emotional connections shaped by distant memories, which I hope to complete by the end of 2015. I am also in the early stages of a video based on German expressionism. In between, I’m sure there will be other smaller projects that will keep me busy.


Tamara LAI

A still from Because I'm Broken, 2014 video

A still from Jin-Now video


An interview with

Tamara LAI Since the first time we have watched JinNow, we have been impressed by the way you are able to renew the concept itself of road movie. How did you come up with the idea for this work?

our Western societies today, this multiplicity now. This unique story is also mine. Places, people that delight me or disturb me, environments and sounds that touch me, evoking memories, feelings and questions.

Actually, I've always loved to travel, short breaks or long journeys, I believe to be a nomad at heart. I love above all the movement, change. Changing skyline, landscape. Diversity of scenery, activi-ties, people, attitudes ... all this excites me a lot, and I regret that this is not my main activity. Maybe I would have liked to be a reporter. But information is quite restrictive in the sense that in principle the poetic aspect is excluded. I like to run with this story aspect, spontaneous, relatively neutral, in which I try to bring keys, then add a light of mine, and interpret them through personal emotional codes.

And tell them, share them with anyone who want receive them. Basically, this is the essence of my work: storytelling. The set also represents a kind of "diary".

On the other hand, it is a road movie, a wandering through different places, different cities, different countries. This way, I meet all kinds of people. But through this diversity, I wanted peple do feel it as a single story. The history of

Audio has a huge importance in your works. the use of soundtrack has not a diegethical aims, but tend to sabotage the common perception mechanims like in the films of the french director AlainRobbe Grillet. Could you introduce our readers to this aspect of your filmmaking? Yes, indeed (but I know a very little about Alain Robbe-Grillet). The sound for me is just as important as the picture, perhaps more. And rhythm is also important. With rhythm, we can directly act on emotion, perhaps because our breath unconsciously seeks to follow it.


A still from Jin-Now video

This is undoubtedly the core which my images and sounds turn around. It's on a purely arbitrary combination image / sound / rhythm that I build my videos. In fact, I love that we can listen to the soundtrack alone, that it works independently as an experimental music.

as an art-work. In truth, I can not separate one from the other, which always move in tandem, one feeding the other. So my requirements, as an artist, are very professional. About the audio, I worked a long time with sound engineers and musicians who performed the soundtracks.

Then, linking sound and picture that are not related, allows me to make a big difference in the temporal and symbolic. I evokes two different but simultaneous events, and it is in this in-between absolutely tiny that the meaning is. A subliminal way.

Thereafter, being more comfortable with these tools, making them by myself became a pleasure. In general, at least when it comes to video art or experimental, I prefer to act alone, even fixing problems in one way or another.

You control every aspect of your short films: direction, editing, mixing. .. how did you develop your style?

For cons, I still love working with instrumentalists. In the case of Jin-Now, this is Laurent Sa誰et, composer and musician from Paris, who plays the electric guitar riffs.

Initially, it was rather a necessity: I started as a director working in a video studio where I had to do everything myself. At first it was difficult, but with this, I have gained a wealth of experience, not only technical, but also in the glance and ears too. I made it first as a job. And I experienced it on a personal basis

It is by chance, in the framework of an exchange non-premeditated. He had only one direction: I wanted an electric guitar, a bit hard. When he sent me the riffs (he had seen no picture), I thought "this is perfect."


A still from Jin-Now video


Could you introduce our readers to the performative nature of your art? I started with painting, then photo and video. For ten years, my video concept was the movement: movement of bodies in space, gestures, I mostly filmed dancers, performers - the gesture of a "normal" or a mentally desabled person is not the same, and body movements can say a lot ... - camera movements, editing rhythm. Then I felt the wind changed and that I had to learn new technologies. I became a graphic designer and web designer and master. I have not done specific studies, I'm mostly self-taught. It is the realization and development of works that I got my multi-disciplinary experience. This includes photo and still image, linear or interactive animation, video, field recording and soundtrack, and poetry. These are tools that I can juggle depending on the project and its parameters and my moods€ : more documentaries, more experimental, or more poetic ... In my videos, the 'live' is very important, outside (live images) or inside (special effects). Today, I prefer the live, I take pictures according to my ramblings, acting a minimum on these images, just a few basic effects actually. I developed many collaborative side (websites collaborative, participatory, ...) using what at the time were already networks, not as we know them now, but it was already the base. Today, my contributors - voluntary or not - are in the video, living, acting against the world. I am deeply curious about the Other, even and especially when sometimes he / she bothers me. I wonder how their presence on earth is meaningful? How their being and appearance can be an act of poiesis?

A still from Jin-Now video

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? Do you think that art could play an important role in facing€social questions? Could art steer or even€change€people's behavior?

consequence. I'm talking about artists in sight. What about them? What do they give to see? To desire? With what their art does come into resonance? How can they be a kind of models? As human beings? Their lifestyle? All this has a huge impact in the collective imaginary.

Of course, there are artists who use art as a simple means of expression, sometimes as art therapy. But, in my opinion, it is never without

The public often does not realize it. Public is driven by the flow of information, images, symbols, and many extremely fast concepts, that most of us don't get.


Probably forecasts also escape sociologists, as this is so complex. That is why I think this plays in either the number of cultural players, the number of works that share the same purpose, and / or the duration of the process in action. Or, and this may seem surprising, in simplicity.

Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts with us, Tamara€ .What's next for Tamara Lai? what are your next projects on the horizon?

Simple does not mean simplistic, but readable, accessible to all, in the same way for example that archetype (Jung's arche-types).

And continue my road movies.

I am involved in videos of artists that interest me with their art and their being.


Jessica Fenlon untitled video still

[ €intimate €distance €] € Take €the €data €file €that €is €a €digitized €16mm €American €stag €film €from €the

1960's. €Alter €the €data €in €that €file €by €altering €the €motion-‐tracking information, €a €technique €known €as €'datamoshing'. €


€"Moshing" €the €data €interrupts €our €gaze; the €nakedness €revealed €in €her €strip €veiled €by €data €decay €and €digital hallucination. [ €intimate €distance €] € The €left €brain, €language-‐centered, €breaks €things €down €into €small €pieces. Discrete €parts €are €assigned €meaning; €sequential €presentation €provides €story. The €right €brain, €concerned €with €the €whole €image, €considers €meaning €in €terms of €all €the €information €provided. €Parts €are €viewed €in €relation €to €whole; taking €in €an €image €all €at €once, €a €story €may €or €may €not €arrive. The €digital €breakage €in €peep €shifts €the €image €to €the €categorized, €gridded, sequential €space. €It €reveals €the €digital €language €carrying €the €human €image. And €then €the €film €shifts; €it €dances €with €us. € The €girl €dances, €the €cameraman €gazes. €The €datamosh €creates €its €own €dance €with our €perceptual €faculties. €Right €brain €or €left, €recognizable €or €not, €how €do €we find €her €skin? €Surfaces €dissolve €behind €the €surface €of €the €screen. € The €nude €no €longer €descends €the €staircase €in €one €still. €She €dances, €she moves; €in €this €medium, €I €hand €her €the €veil, €the €veil €video €wears €so €well. [ €intimate €distance €] € Audio €samples €of €a €broader, €imagined €outdoor €space. €Snippets €of €English €evoke created €and €revealed €illusions. € peep (2013) : codec altered found video, with sound

The €stag €film €puts €the €viewer €in €the €original €cameraman's €place, €intimate distance €from €the €stripping €woman.

[ €intimate €distance €] €

Jessica €Fenlon Chicago, €IL


An interview with

Jessica Fenlon How did you come up with the idea for [ peep ]? A feminist sex toy shop was planning a burlesque party and the owners asked me to project video with the dancers. I made STAG, a 90 minute reel of digitized 16mm stag films from the 50’s and 60s. I found most of the footage at archive.org. This was in 2007. I was in Pittsburgh, it was a year before I started deconstructing video by altering the compression structure, or datamoshing. I consider online media libraries a collective pseudo-conscious. Each collection’s a sub- jective crapshoot of content; institutions and individuals upload media related to their priorities. Lists of links to video files represent hours-months-years of footage. This ever-shifting public repository lives alongside our ‘entertainment consciousness’. Entertainment media ~ televised content, films screened in movie theaters, what’s being Netflixed ~ has an active profile in the public consciousness. Entertainment media is ‘new’, is discussed, critiqued, remixed on the internet, reviewed, etc. In contrast, pseudo conscious material is publicly stored. It becomes a kind of latency activated only by curious users, people trying to remember particular aspects of pop cul- ture, and artists. Who else wants a gander at all the Family Circle magazines published in 1983? In Pittsburgh, the people at the party talked about the playfulness of the stag reels, their innocence. I thought about the male gaze, the intimacy of each film. At the time, nothing more came of it.

Jessica Fenlon

In 2013, digging thorough my archives looking for something else, I found the STAG files. I remembered the intimacy of the source material. Browsing through them, I was drawn to the personality projected by the stripper. I wondered, what would happen if I moshed this? How would data loss impact the gaze? As I started working I knew I was on to something. More than 50 years have passed since the International Situationist pamphlet by Debord: the manipulation of mainstream moving-images had a remarkable politi- cal aim for the French philosopher, while nowadays artists seem to be attracted by found footage manipulation in order to explore deep psychological issues, whether the foot


untitled video still peep (2013) : codec altered found video, with sound

age has a "private" source (super8 home movies) or not (frag- ments from mainstream films). In your work, you success in mixing these two as- pects, creating a sort of "micropolitics of desire". Thank you, I appreciate that insight. Could you explain our readership did you get in touch with the datamosh- ing method you use in [ peep ]? In 2007 I saw Takeshi Murata’s Monster Movie at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. Fascinated by the mutilated images, I connected the seeping colors to the act of painting. The results also revealed some of the data mechanics of digital video;

I’ve al- ways enjoyed working with media in a structurally-revelatory way. More importantly, semi-legible images pointed to rich potential for a semiotic/unravelled narrative content. Instead of creating a verbal deconstruction of the video through text, I could work with decayed images created by this process. This decay picks at the au- thority of the source image, allowing the viewer permission to loosen image references and more actively project meaning or narrative into the images on screen. When I returned to Pittsburgh, I asked the Internet, “datamosh how-to?” A few youtube tutorials later, I was exploring the crashiest approach to video animation ever.


untitled video still peep (2013) : codec altered found video, with sound

We have found the analogies with the left and right brain really interesting, they remind us of Gilles Deleuze's famous statement The Brain is the Screen. Could you introduce our readers to this fundamental aspect of your work? Poet e.e.cummings refers to "the eye within the eye”, the conscious self relating to the body’s instruments of sight. Rudolf Arnheim, gestalt analyst, film theorist, and author of Visual Thinking, paradigmatically influenced my understanding of viewer experience. Arnheim mapped how viewer's skill at interpreting optical experience evolves over time through personal interrogation of that experience. I’ve been a teacher since 2001; I’ve taught studio art,

museum education and computer training. I used Arnheim’s Socratic tutoring approach to support my students’ visual literacy, and observed my students’ growth in literacy over time. My left-right brain description is an enormous generalization, one in play in popular cul- ture. It was a preliminary sort of large groups of people; as a schematic opposition, it generally is the first orientation that an instructor can make when assessing how a stu- dent processes information. People develop certain habits of looking at the world, they establish these habits very young. Paths of recognition become ingrained over a lifetime of habits; they fall to one side (2D-linear-language) or the other


untitled video still peep (2013) : codec altered found video, with sound

(whole/gestalt); those approaches to reading in- formation are inverse or contrary. Why did I use this generalization? It’s a convenience. It's easier to introduce the simplified underlying approaches to information than to attempt to describe the dizzying com- plexity of subjective human perception and information management that I’ve worked with over the years. I would love to read a conversation between Deleuze and Arnheim. How deeply would Deleuze’s rejection of a psychological approach to moving image perception rub up against Arnheim’s ‘conscious operant development’ theory? Per the direct question: as I understand it, Deleuze’s statement "the brain is the screen” describes the brain’s

interaction with image as a resonance with physical, biological structures. This is pretty amazing, when you think about it. He discards psychological approaches to perception, arguing instead for a machine-like, unconscious engagement with images. I’m tuned in to the viewer’s conscious psychological partnership with their senses; Deleuze rejects this approach. I’m fascinated by his idea, which reads as a possession state on the viewer’s part. What about the digital object’s system of interior projection? The display, instead of the screen? I’d love to ask Deleuze what he thinks about how the equipment displaying moving image has changed. Today’s monitors and screens display visual information


projected on their interiors. These screens compete with all sorts of other information in the visual field, depending on where the person is using their computer or tablet. Speak- ing of tablets, what about mobile devices? They were not on the market at the time of Deleuze’s death. . . . Your art is rich of references. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? As you read this answer, please consider these lines from Deleuze ~ “There is no work that doesn’t have its beginning or end in other art forms”, and, “All work is inserted in a system of relays”. Growing up, my mother took me to see art in museums regularly. I loved O’Keefe, Kahlo, Rothko, Gorky, Jacob Lawrence, the cubists, Klee, the surrealists, Varo, Cornell, Naumann, Merz, on and on. Every museum trip meant discovering more work. My parents weren’t afraid of letting me see dangerous art. Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party and Birth Project, Mapplethorpe’s explicit photographs, Serrano’s Piss Christ, I saw these in person as a kid and teenager in the 80’s. We talked about what it meant. Not just the work itself, but what it meant to live in a culture that was suspect of unique, pri- vate meaning outside of the (white, male, conservative) mainstream. What it meant to have competing histories. All of this art was normal and accepted, in my world. Sometimes I read the wall text, mostly I ignored art history, at least until art school demanded I learn those created hier- archies. I lived with my experiences of the work. I have eidetic memory, something like photographic memory. My brain keeps a reference catalog of artwork I’ve experienced available on demand. Since it is created by my personal viewing history, It’s a subjective catalogue. My filing system is both personal and referenced against art history. Working with digital media allows me to work in many media. I enjoy honoring images and ideas that I have struggled to under

untitled video still peep (2013) : codec altered found

stand at various moments in my personal growth as a maker. I knew I was on to something when I was making [ peep ] when a sudden enriched perception of Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase arrived during the making process. The opposition between blacks and white seems to be not only an aesthetic choice due to the original 16mm film you have used, it highlights the dualistic na- ture of your work: camera/girl, analog/digital, left brain/right brain. Could you comment it? I would use the word and instead of or! And refers to the dynamic that emerges from each pairing. Left and right brain, in


video player to calculate motion, to keep col- or-shape images congruent as time passes and other movement happens in the frames the betweens are altered. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? I am drawn to an image or an idea that recurs in my writing (I am also a poet). If motifs like teeth, pills, paper clips, recur, I pull them in from other media, translate them across material, and play with them. Sometimes I draw or collage. The process of living with the images, making with them, other ideas emerge. What’s happening in our culture? What images can I pilfer from the collective pseudo conscious, alter, and feed back to it? In all of it, there is an attempt to discover/reveal meaning about where we are, what our participation with public memory/media tells us about ourselves. I feel like an alien in- specting American culture from the inside. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and time, Jessica. What’s next for Jessica Fenlon? Are there any new projects on the horizon? video, with sound

a viewer, assemble sensory information to discover- create meaning. Camera, cameraman and girl together created the source footage. How do black and white collapse into grey? The source footage may be black and white, but digitizations leaked color into the work. On a data manipulation level, I enjoy breaking open forms so shapes leak or become fog. The image slips in and out of recognition. The camera is between the cameraman and the girl. The computer screen is between the viewer and the footage. The part of the video file that is altered during the creative process are the part that allows the digital

Always! Other image-based, datamoshed works evolve in my studio practice. I’ve been working with a vocabulary of images from known films, found objects, drawings, teasing out animations. This summer, I’ve been creating audio-responsive video using Processing, working on music videos for Christian Kriegeskotte’s original classical piano pieces. I’m also work- ing with the Chicago band »radiant devices«, producing visuals for their performances using Processing and Quartz Composer. Since late 2012 I have been developing a larger body of work exploring what I call the American Church of the Gun. The preliminary work has been entirely digital, but there may be a shift to physical objects and paintings. We’ll see! Jessica Fenlon


Ben Gerstein Ben Gerstein Into the ‘b’ of ‘trombones’, An artist's statement Into the ‘b’ of ‘trombones’ (2010)€is a 3-dimensional video rendered from a 165-page 8.5x11 photocopying exploration done in 2003 off the edge of letter ‘b’ of ‘trombones’ from text in Andre Gide’s novel The Counterfeiters. The photocopying journey was made by repeated 200% enlargements on each consecutive page, placing the sheets accordingly on the glass to guide the direction. The shapes discovered through the lay of Xerox toner to paper interpenetrated ad infinitum, all resulting of course from the initial subject, namely, the edge of a single letter and the way its ink had struck the paper of the book. I had performed this experiment on other images as well and each one

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created different results. The ‘b’ of ‘trombones’ was by far the longest and most fascinating of these projects, which ended only due to sheer exhaustion on my part and by deciding to zoom into blackness. It wasn’t until 2010 that it got fed into a high-capacity scanner and converted to 3-D by software which animated its way through each page as a plane scaled to fit squarely on top of each other in sequence. The results were astonishing, and I had hoped something like this could be realized years before. When finishing off the video, I felt György Ligeti’s ominous choral masterpiece Lux Aeterna would fit the mood perfectly as we flew on this unique meditation to and from a mystical galaxy of fractal forms… as we continue our studies through the micro and macro realms…


An interview with Ben Gerstein

Ben Gerstein Contemporary music is fundamental in your artistic research: the music of the Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti, for example, is a starting point for your video work Into the ‘b’ of ‘trombones . However, it would be more appropriate in your case to say that the starting point is not music itself, but musical thinking, which is at the same time philosophical and gestural. Could you introduce our readers to the multidisciplinary nature of your art? Thank you for such a wonderful question. Yes, Gyorgy Ligeti’s music is very visually-oriented, and this piece in particular, “Lux Aeterna”, felt truly fitting to the journey implicit in this video creation. I am very interested in the relationships, influences and possibilities between aural and visual worlds. For it is because of music and music history in many ways that I found artistic explorations for myself, and it is because of visual art as well that I find new sensations and inspirations for musical makings and commitments. There is that beautiful line by

E.H. Gombrich: “There’s no such thing as Art. There are only artists.” Because art: is our LIFE. It’s not just something we do. It is the calling-out of our spirit in its personal voice to existence, needing to breathe. We are made of the universe and are each unique examples of the universe curious about itself. Everything can inform everything and there should be no barriers. It is work in consciousness we are doing. To say “musical thinking” to me means there is a flow, an organic, spontaneous, curious and rather unpredictable journey of connectedness in the moment singing through in a line all from its very beginning, its first note. For instance, the entire photocopying journey could not have occurred had it not been for that starting note, or in this case, the letter ‘b’. And so it goes, and when it’s tapped in to a source which has meditation before it, it is infinite. Taisen Deshimaru put it beautifully: “An action cannot be right unless a meditation has gone before it, and coexists with it. Only then can there be true freedom.” Our access to influences today are of such an incre-


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dible range in “musical thinking” of all kinds from around the world, from ancient to modern, be it human, plant, animal, landscape… We are part of a conscious evolution unlike ever before in human history.

A multidisciplinary nature of my art stems from the fact that the primary concern of my work, especially in music, is in free-improvisation— feeling that everything in life is in fact essentially improvisation—and knowing that after many years of experience, study and practice, our abilities to cross-pollinate influences, rhythms and “techniques” of phenomenon can leave impressions across the full spectrum of our creative being, enabling us to discover and sustain a spontaneous, unpredictable journey from any constructive idea. Improvisation takes ideas, and the insight to recognize form, composition and notions of spirit, which means we must search for and supply ourselves with as vast an array of great works, histories and

teachings as possible, until we’re “full” and then ready to let go and dance it through us somehow. “Athletes of the heart”, Antonin Artaud said. Artaud also said beautiful, powerful things about this saturation of our entire being with ideas so deeply it becomes primal again, where “gestures are the wits”—a sort of multidimensional awareness to open the senses as far as possible and enter wholly into whatever it is we choose to do, until completion. Of course, the word “multidiscipline” contains the word “discipline,” which is a key ingredient to learning how we need to have access to the necessary creative tools and outlets, immediately within our reaches—and what methods of intellectual, energetic processes work best in our day-to-day art practice and explorations, taking full advantage of wherever it is we are. And of course, nature and the great outdoors play a crucial part in this, and is the real soil of our existence.


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Patience and immersion to study and observe nature with the various tools of documentation— still-photography, video, audio, pencil, paper, paints, canvas—from micro to macro, everything as everything, connected and related, offers us perspectives which pollinate our being with refreshing insight to creative and spiritual ideas and truths which need further expansion and connection. Working in nature truly opens us up to Seeing and Looking for these magical links of creation and evolution. When did you come across Andre Gide’s novel The Counterfeitors? Roughly 12 years ago. It was in the office where the Xerox machine was that enabled “The ‘b’ of ‘trombones’” to take place, and the librarian there—a good friend and scholar in his own right— highly suggested I read it and gave me his old copy. The pacing, language and maturity of Gide’s style was very appealing to me, and then when I came

across the word “trombones”, which is the instrument I play professionally, I was already engaged in the photocopying experiments, so then that was that. Since then I’ve also found Gide’s Journals 18891949 to be very enjoyable and deep reading of a unique kind. We have been impressed by the way you use Xerox toner to paper interpenetrated ad infinitum as a powerful tool: your work present€stunning painterly qualities. How did you develop your "magnification tech-nique"? Thank you… I discovered this process and “technique” working in an office part-time with a large Xerox machine and a lot of spare time on my hands. First I began experiments enlarging photographs on to different types of paper, or photocopying my face and hands at different distances and sizes, but then I discove-


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red a pixilation occurring and wanted to explore how far that could go. Basically, I would enlarge an image, or part of image, 200%. What then came out I would next place on to the glass accordingly, to guide the direction I wanted to zoom in to, and enlarge again at 200%, and so on ad infinitum. I found textures, shapes and patterns all to be different depending on what the original picture was. For instance, a series zooming into the taste buds of my tongue eventually produced an extraordinary city of squares and sequencing dots different from any other image, like, say, the eye of my grandfather, or of a cat, which, probably due to a lack of detail, would create more standard shapes through pixilation in this process (though still beautiful to me). I was excited to make booklets for friends and to decorate parts of my apartment with some of these things, and then eventually I just went all-in for a couple hours, got to the office around 6:30 in the morning and did the journey into the edge of the letter ‘b’ of ‘trombone’.

Into the ‘b’ of ‘trombones remind us of Walter Benjamin's essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? That essay by Walter Benjamin—thank you for bringing that up—is, as most of his things are, truly thought-provoking, and yes, there are beautiful correlations, opinions and perspectives between things he said then (1936) and what we are dealing with here and now. “For the first time in history, mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual.” The “work of art, its fitness for exhibition increased…” “…the audience takes the position of the camera; its approach is that of testing.” “This circumstance derives its chief importance from its tendency to promote the mutual penetration of art and science.” And so on… There could be quite an extraordinary and lengthy dialogue opened up


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on things he said then and just how true they are today, or in what ways we could create a more up-to-date essay on such subject matters. I can’t help but wonder what Benjamin would have said TODAY about the current state of affairs in technology, (social) media, the artistic individual, creativity, work ethic, perception, illusion, society, etc… All logic breaks down when I envision Benjamin text messaging. Ridiculous. Nevertheless, in this middle of his essay, he quotes a profound statement made by Alexandre Arnoux, which I think gets to the bottom of the BIG picture of it all: “Do not all the bold descriptions we have given amount to the definition of prayer?” I suppose it is those artists whose life-works embody and touch on that statement which have been my biggest influences—whose life-arts reach to explore and transmit experiences beyond or greater than the art/means itself—where the work to us becomes a window into their soul, their conduction of experience, and the time and place in which they

lived and worked, as well as how they worked and lived, all which inspires, grounds and encourages me greatly today. Odilon Redon, Vincent Van Gogh, Giorgio de Chirico, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne, Stan Brakhage, Balthus, Hokusai, Shitao, Paul Klee, Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, M.C. Escher, Wassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollack, Eugene Delcroix, Ansel Adams (who was friends with my grandfather), Antonin Artaud, Constantin Stanislavsky, Alfred Kantor, Pablo Picasso, Gerhard Richter… All of these artists have journals, letters, autobiographical, philosophical and metaphysical writings which have affected me deeply, and were practically like bibles to me when I first discovered them. Not to mention many many other visual artists as well as authors, and especially musicians, composers and forms of music and sound making from all regions of the globe. The influence of Artists: individuals who again inspire us to be fully ourselves and grow and


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Your work deals with new media technology as well as old-technology like photocopy: do you think that new media art will definitely fill the dichotomy between art and technology? That’s a good question… New media technology is certainly a tool we are so fortunate to have today. Our outlets through which to think compositionally, to seek out experiments and follow through on the visions as an independent creator towards a finished product has evolved the energy and overall scope of our inspiration, as we are also able to see things now with greater ease and clarity. But, I think the deep healing implications of art-making for the artist can become distorted if reliance on the new media technology to do the work becomes too heavy. I’ve even questioned recently: do these videos actually exist? Sure, we have links to them, or we have it on DVD or our computers and drives, but can we actually hold them? They are separated from us by the fact of their digitization, and are held for us by computers, which at any time could crash or

become corrupted, etc. So I think, if we, for instance, take great photographs, we should still get them printed. We should do what we can to actually hold our work outside of ourselves somehow and not have to rely on technology anymore, if we can. If not, fine… But still, the feeling of painting from an easel, playing acoustic instruments, reading printed music, writing notes by hand, maybe even using a typewriter from time to time… It’s a special thing, and we have different levels of responsibility to the work’s making. But even then, all of that can just as well be destroyed, and so nothing we do lasts forever necessarily, materially… Then it’s that deep meditation on impermanence we must take with our lives. For from the perspective of, say, the planet Neptune: does it care that we’re doing all of this? Why? Why create? Why even bother? Well, we’re here, healthy, endowed with energy, with love, with a personality, with experiences, ideas, terrestrial “time” in which we can’t help but feel things to be appreciated, gathered, understood, developed, explored, corresponded with… And we can’t help


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but be curious! And so for what it’s worth, yes, I think new media technology can and certainly does challenge us to expand the connections and processes by which we may already feel content and capable. Bottom line: whatever the medium, whatever the “bandwidth” experience is coming through on—from the deepest nature levels on up to the highest digital ones—if it makes the influence and touches our consciousness, it’s done its job, planted its seed in the soil of our awareness, and either it takes root and grows, or blows away in the wind, out into the endless ocean, or gets carried off by another creature to another land. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? The ideas for new projects usually first come as a spark very quickly while doing something else— oftentimes while practicing music at a secluded spot I have outdoors—and so I write them down or record a memo to get to later. But very soon! Maybe just within the next couple hours… But it

must be acted on SOON, otherwise the value of it in my spirit could diminish or get replaced with something else, or I could forget about it altogether. Certainly the new media technology we’ve spoken of—video recording and editing, in particular—has gotten me to think about new combinations of things, new ways of assimilating multiple perspectives and combining experiences. It’s such an open-source world today, we have access to pretty much anything, and so sometimes I’ll simply sit and think: okay, now, what do I want to do, what curious new thing do I need to see… But I’ll tell you, when the idea is there, when you know just how to assemble the work process, enter the flow and complete it, it becomes such a joy; it becomes so easy. Things have just aligned with the mind and energy and the engine starts going. Sometimes then I could be working on whatever it is for many hours until it’s done, if that’s what it calls for. I’m often very excited to see the results, and then perhaps share it with close friends, fellow explorers... We are very fortunate to be able to create such things today and just let go of them


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again, out into the world. To me that reciprocity feels almost agricultural, environmental… farming… planting seeds… or flowers already… I find it important to keep things flowing and stay caught up and organized in all of this, in the overall work atmosphere and meditation. Also in this day and age though, when it comes to creating new projects because they simply need to be created, and then moving on to the next thing: always staying on guard with the nature of the mind—and the illusions of appreciation and social media, etc.—the “tyranny of connectedness”—and just working and producing out of pure energetic love on the path; our offering unique unto each day with the earth—letting go, losing our minds— mushotoku: without any desire for gain or profit. What’s next for Ben Gerstein? Are there any new projects on the horizon?€ Just continuing on with what I’m doing—studying, exploring, experimenting—keeping the freedom uncovered to let different creative and spiritual areas inform each other, looking for new

perspective and possibilities beyond the confines of the mere “instrument” at hand. To not be “this” or “that”, and allowing as much to come through as possible. Projects bubbling up like solutions to riddles—like koans—freeing from mental categories. Who knows what will be next? More unexpected nature footage perhaps… I’m also experimenting a lot with stereoscopic video combinations that are bringing very surprising results through indeterminate “compositional” relationships. There is SO much to get to… It’s all so open… But I know what matters most right now is just the practice and setting to work—and staying as capable as I can of taking things into some different terrain, harvesting some new ideas, just trying things… Staying true to one’s self 1000% and not really caring what other people think. Know thyself and how one has to grow and expand. Knowing that truth. Getting stronger in the focus, deeper in the meditations, experiencing more of the earth, going further out into nature, beyond categories and defined directions. To be a conductor for whatever it is that needs to come through and be discovered within as that secret


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mirror of vast, timeless connection. Our work is in consciousness, to relate to the earth and existence as greatly was we can and connect that energy, love and perception back to the people. “The Creative is the strongest of all things in the world. The expression of its nature is invariably the easy, in order thus to master the dangerous. The Receptive is the most devoted of all things in the world. The expression of its nature is invariably simple, in order thus to master the obstructive.” — THE I CHING Thank you for this interview, for the Stigmart mission, and for being open and curious to my work.

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Steve Harris Steve Harris was born in Brooklyn, New York and has lived in the NYC metropolitan area all his life. He has a Masters degree in Cinema Studies. Steve worked at New Line Cinema for over 20 years and currently works at The New Museum of Contemporary Art on the Bowery in downtown Manhattan. He has created an extensive body of short,

Still from "L Hist

narrative video works. As a bit of an academic, he brings an understanding of the history and language of cinema to his projects. Drawing on the conventions of silent film is one example. “Sight Gags� are sometimes employed, often being turned on their heads to jar audience expectations. Composition, montage, the use of sound and text are tools serving the telling of a story.


engage his viewers in an entertaining, possibly surreal, short story. His goal is to draw his viewers into a unique personal, fun world. Steve’s current project entitled, “The Unexpected”, is a digital animation partly inspired by a recent trip to Scandinavia. “ L Historie Vraie de Joseph Bonaparte et je Diable de Jersey” is a stop motion animated video employing beautiful 18th and 19th century paintings that explore the improbable, but true story of Joseph Bonaparte in America. It can be seen as both a historical document and a parable for the treatment of “outsiders”, and the role of group dynamics. It is also a personal and quirky take on a weird chapter in the history of New Jersey. The dialogue is in French with English subtitles. The use of the French language serves to place the tale in its proper historical milieu, and more importantly explores a psychological concept that Steve calls “Self Narration”. By reading the subtitles to oneself the viewer is hearing their own, trusted, voice telling the story, or at least part of it. That is a method of abbreviating the time needed for the audience to suspend disbelief, and accept the paper “characters” as “real”. Audience time must be wisely used in an era of shortened attention spans. oire Vrai de Josehp Bonapart et je Diable de Jersey"

Humor plays a role in many of Steve’s films and he cites the comedic French director Jacques Tati as perhaps his greatest influence. Steve has been quoted (in one of his films) that he strives “to be funny, but not laugh out loud funny”. By that he means to share a joke, or a knowing wink with his audience. He embraces the choice of a handmade aesthetic and is not concerned with slick production values, preferring to

Stylistically, the video is influenced by the ever-evolving form of television’s “dramatized” historical documentaries. This documentary style and the title calls into question the truthfulness of the story and yet major facts are part of the historical record. As Steve has challenged, “You can look it up”! The film morphs from a documentary and takes on elements of a classic horror film. The suspense builds to a crescendo through the use of fast paced editing and appropriated audio material. The video ends on a playful, and selfreferential note.

Roger Sorrenson


Still from "L Histoire Vrai de Josehp Bonapart et je Diable de Jersey"


An interview with

Steve Harris Since the first time we have watched "L' Histoire Vraie de Joseph Bonaparte et je Diable de Jersey", we have appreciated the elegant way you use the stop motion technique, as well as your stunning imagery reminding us of early Raoul Ruiz's film. How did you come up with the idea for this project? SH- Thank you for the kind words and this question. I had just completed a short film about gnomes using cut paper and I had so much fun rediscovering stop motion animation that I knew that I wanted to do another. I stumbled on a biography of Joseph Bonaparte and was astounded by the facts of his time living in America. †I live in New Jersey and it seemed incomprehensible that the former King of Spain lived here and was actually a significant presence among the powerful elite of this young country. †When I read that he reported encountering the Jersey Devil, I knew I had an interesting tale to tell. There are quite a few wonderful portraits of Joseph Bonaparte from the 1820’s that I could choose from, as well as some truly masterful landscape paintings of his New Jersey estate. I became quite taken with the work of the painter Thomas Birch who then became my set director! I have been following a stylistic trend on American television in dramatized documentaries. They have evolved from the Rick Burns style of panning across a photograph to a digital faux 3d effect. †I knew that I wanted to play with that in a fun way. I am flattered at your reference to Raul Ruiz, but a Facebook comment I received compared the style of my film to Terry Gilliam’s animated work on the Monty Python TV programs. That thrills me too. We have found really interesting the way you combine elements of documentary and horror film storytelling. How did you develop your style? SH -The story dictated that the beginning

Steve Harris

needed to be documentary in style. I found the expository needs well served in that way. I made the transition to the horror film as natural as I could. I used other, historically factual elements but began twisting them a bit. I thought a lot about "Frankenstein", and who really is the "monster". At that point the movie transitions and goes a bit over the top, in a fun way, I hope. You have expressed your admiration for Tati's films. Your background in history of cinema is remarkable: we daresay that L' Histoire Vraie de Joseph Bonaparte et je Diable de Jersey could be seen as sort of kino-painting-kaleidoscope. What's the influence of the French director on your artistic vision? And, besides Tati, who among international artists influenced your work? SH- In this project the influence of Jacques Tati is less apparent, except that he was essentially a silent film comedian in the modern sound era. I embraced the lack of dialogue due to my own technical limitations. In my series of Mr. Tricky movies, I was able to explore working in a live action, semi - silent way, like Monsieur Hulot, in Tati's films. The main character of those 9 short films I made makes a brief cameo appearance as "Admiral Tricky" in LHVJBDJ. In this project I felt a great deal of freedom to show artifice. I realized that at a puppet show you forget about the marionette's strings. Sometimes the "limitation" elements enhance the dreamlike nature, and that is okay.


Still from "L Histoire Vrai de Josehp Bonapart et je Diable de Jersey"

I have been influenced by animated film work of William Kentridge. In particular, the pieces that plainly operate on the erasure of the previously drawn frame. That couldn't illustrate the artistic process of animation better. And by the way, stop motion animation is so empowering, it combines child like play with god-like creation. I encourage your readers to try it; there are fantastic apps for it on the Iphone. Could you introduce our readers to the psychological concept of Self Narration? SH- One of the central themes of this film is Truth. As I mentioned earlier, I try to limit dialogue, in this case I used subtitles as a shorthand storytelling device. What I noticed when screening with audiences, was the powerful way reading subtitles to one self seems to draw viewers in. †I came to understand that when you hear your own voice reading a part, you believe and accept what you hear more readily. It is a device that compresses the suspension of

disbelief, in the same way that persistence of vision tricks the mind into perceiving motion. Or perhaps it is just me rationalizing the happy upside of a shortcut taken. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? SH- Each project's genesis is unique, and for some reason I rarely have more than one going on at a time. I might get a germ of an idea and if it feels like it is something that is new or is an approach to a story I've not seen, I get super inspired. I write an outline, I do story boards. My drawing skills are not great, but they help solidify what I think I want to show, and that goes for live action or animation. I begin to think of the look I am trying to achieve. This is the time where I set the broad parameters of the style, set design, etc. I think a lot about economy and working within my production abilities. Making the commitment to a project is a


Still from "My Tricky Twin"

rewarding, important and exciting phase. Having the challenge of a project to puzzle out is one of my favorite times. Working out details, trying to be clever and humorous, to bring an audience some fun, it is a great joy. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts

with us, Steve. What are your next projects on the horizon? SH- Thank you! †The next project was inspired by a recent trip to Scandinavia. I was really taken with the storytelling tradition, between H.C. Anderson, Norse mythology, and the spare


filmic style of Ingmar Bergman. This film, which I am calling "The Unexpected", is mashing up that tradition with the landscape paintings of Edward Hopper. I believe the solitude, and in some cases, a sense of foreboding, will be a great backdrop for a parable about death and the transcendent power of a good deed. I am

hoping it will turn out as a cross between a collage, a poem and a dream. Please check out my vimeo channel: https://vimeo.com/steve499/videossteve499. Thank you!


green meadow, 2014 non-durational live generative quadraphonic sound and video installation

Jockel Liess ‘Green meadow’ is a generative audio-visual work modelled on the behavioural patterns and progression of physical environments and their unpredictable self-similarity. The often soothing and hypnotic sensory power of naturally occurring systems, such as the repe-

titive crashing of waves on a shoreline, the rhythmic drumming of rain on varying surfaces or the simultaneous rustling and creaking of trees in the midst of a forest, are aesthetic variations of the same underlying chaotic structures. The reoccurring of the micro event in succession or seeming parallel, however never as a repro-


a video stills from ‘green meadow’

duction of the preceding but rather as an adaptation of the same, thus determines the organic attractiveness of such environmental sound cluster or visual spectacles. Systems like these, can, with the increase in energy, freely vary from the soft and soothing to the overwhelming and daunting. They are however tightly confined within the structural boundaries of the underlying physicality producing the event itself. A tree can be motionless, sway or break in response to outside force, and while it can produce an infinite number of variables within the boundaries of its behavioural pattern, it cannot sit down and play the harp. Progression or change are rather produced by the improvisational freedom of the system itself to respond to its own variables, resembling a dialogue between the increasing or diminishing force of the system and its structure. ‘Green meadow’, in its compositional variation, concerns itself with the texture and density of the moment, rather then the arrangement of its past or future. Like its natural prototypes the artistic construct is non-durational, or without a time line. Individual events, progression and change within the work are stimulated by the interplay and cross-influence of its individual components. This means, the currently occurring audio-visual events interact continuously to determine their own future. As an abstraction of reality ‘green meadow’ thereby strives to represent the improvisational freedom of nature, and can be seen as a form of organic compositions.

The works acoustic properties are based on the recorded sample of a breath of air, chosen for its representational properties of almost inaudible airflow as well as its organic similarities in texture and frequency distribution to white noise. Both of these attributes are synonymous with potential and possibility. The movement of air, however subtle in times, is one of the predominant forces of life in any ecosystem. Representational in its largest scale for the existence of an atmosphere, down to the simple disclosure of presents through movement, airflow is an indicator of existence. Through its acoustic correlation to white noise, the breath of air bares within its subtle consistency the possibility of all audible frequencies. The prospect of extracting these at will, lends it the invaluable property of a raw material containing a multitude of possibilities. Like the prime tool of evolution, the error, or in this case digital glitch, is used as a deliberate tool to extract frequencies out of the pool of ‘noise’. The delicately changing properties of the breath immediately surrounding the glitch, thereby lend an ever-changing uncertainty to the audible grain of the frequencies extracted. The single events responsible for the glitch frequencies get triggered in a manner defying the detection of perceivable rhythmic structure. Far from random however the prompting of these acoustic events is determined by the intersection of parameters within the underlying structure of the work. The overall cyclical nature of the piece thereby ensures that the history of past events within its overall structure determine the potential of its own future.


An interview with

Jockel Liess Your video installation Green meadow reveals a remarkable synesthetic approach, which is no doubt a fundamental aspect of your artistic research. You studied electronic music as well as fine art, however, it would be more appropriate in your case to say that the starting point is not music itself, but musical thinking, which is at the same time philosophical and architectonic, just think of Ligeti's textures or Luigi Nono's works. Could you introduce our readers to the multidisciplinary nature of your art? Musical thinking underwent a seismic shift in the middle of the 20th century, in doing so it instigated some of the most radical thoughts in art and music. The ability to produce music electronically has contributed to this shift, as in Ligeti’s case. His flirtation with electronic music, in the late 50’s, influenced the move in his orchestral music, away from rhythm, melody and harmony, and towards timbre and interwoven sonic texture.

allow for the introduction of indeterminacy into the work itself. While the piece is fixed, the outcome or individual experience of the work is fluid, dependent on circumstances, interaction, interpretation or improvisation.

At the same time, the philosophy and teachings of John Cage prised open any previously existing limitations in music. For anyone engaging in Post-Cagean aesthetics all creative or artistic boundaries were removed. Not only the boundaries inside any one artistic discipline like music, but also boundaries between artistic disciplines. The medium, if writing, sculpture, performance, music or film became exchangeable for art movements like Fluxus, with the emphasis in their work shifting towards conceptual thought.

My emphasis is not primarily on the discipline or medium, but on the method, and with this, the introduction of fluidity into the structure of the artwork itself. Both art and music can be treated in this way, and in my case I strive to achieve this fluidity by building improvising computer systems, functioning within a territory of possibilities.

Musical scores like La Monte Yourng’s Composition 1960 #10 ‘Draw a straight line and follow it.’ can in equal terms be seen as conceptual art and conceptual score. Its most eccentric performance is probably Nam June Paik’s ‘Zen for Head’, whereby Paik dips his head into ink and tomato juice and draws a straight line with it on a roll of paper. The important contribution of scores like this however is the idea that music or art can be entirely composed of rules. In varying comprehensiveness, rules like these

Starting a new project is always difficult for me and begins with several very vague ideas or notions going round in my mind, sometimes for month before I actually start actively working on it. When I finally do my head tends to go blank.

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

Projects can start with thoughts or ideas about visual aspects, but more often now, with a fascination about a certain quality in a musical piece, or simply a sound, like the drop of a needle.


Usually there are several parallel developments, figuring out a control mechanism for a particular piece and the aesthetics that I want to explore. In a way I start every piece by trying to build an ‘instrument’ and a ‘performer’ for the instrument at the same time. When I begin to construct a project in Max/MSP, the software environment that I use, I work from several corners inwards till the ideas actually meet in the middle. This is often a slow process, as a lot of things don’t at all do what I imagined they would. But my inability to do what I wanted initially, often gives the piece a particular direction, and sometimes I’m almost a bit disappointed if things just work. I guess a project that naturally develops through momentary local frustrations is more interes-ting then anything that I can imagine in advance.

Jockel Liess: an artist's statement

Jockel Liess creates generative sound and video installations, which in its form and structure derive from and build on artistic traditions of visual and musical minimalism. In his mainly abstract work, he explores ideas of microtonality, structural composition, synesthesia and interconnected sound/image relations.

systems, by incorporating the underlying principles of chaos theory and swarm intelligence into the audiovisual decision-making process. The mimicking of nature, by the artistic construct, is thus a further move away from a static representation of the artistic vision and towards a fluid and organic model.

As a fundamental principle, the non-durational installations employ the notion of a continuous audio/visual environment. The time-based work thereby has no clear beginning, end, or in the traditional sense, progression, but rather relies on the listener’s focus of attention. In its internal structure, the works refers to the organic flexibility of nature, and can in its implementation be seen as a form of organic composition. The tightly controlled theoretical concepts of the individual pieces, thus allow for the surrender of artistic decision making to chance and indeterminacy, as a basis of any visual and acoustic development.

Sculptural characteristics of the often sitespecific works are composed to enhance and focus the experience of the time-based components into the surrounding environment, and to invite the viewer into the work, by eroding the boundaries between the audience and the installation.

In his most recent interest and research focus, Jockel aims is the creation of live improvising


a video stills from ‘green meadow’

We have said that your art is influenced by experimental music from the last decades: in a sense, your interest and research into Chaos Theory remind us of Gyorgy Ligeti's effort to insert similar concepts in his early works like Clocks and Clouds (1972) and Ramifications for 12 solo strings (1968-69). What do you think of these attempts by the Hungarian composer? Ligeti started to shift his attention towards natural phenomena, and environmental and evolutionary science as an alternative model for compositional structures. His compositions are very organic, and his use of sound clusters and clouds moving towards the listener in varying intensities were revolutionary and important for the development of 20th century music.

While I very much appreciate Ligeti, I am quintessentially more interested in composers who incorporate natural processes into their compositions rather then representing them through their compositions. Ligeti’s work is fixed by the time it is performed, and he stays in overall control of the work at any time. It is composers like Richard Maxfield, in the late 50’s, who placed stronger emphasis on uncertainty in the performance of music. In one of the only interviews with Maxfield on Kpfa Radio he says: ‘Chance could be involved in the composition, indeterminacy must be involved in the performance.’ What he means is that each performance of music must be unique, and he achieves this by integrating performative freedom into the composition itself. Choices in his


a video stills from ‘green meadow’

work are deliberately left open, for the performer to exercise judgement. This becomes fundamental in early minimalism with composers like La Monte Young or Pauline Oliveros, who place significant importance on improvisation. Like nature, compositions of this kind evolve organically. Musical decisions are made in the moment of the performance through the performers active engagement with the composition, fellow performers and the environment. Since the first time we have watched Green meadow, we have been struck by the "organic" feeling of this work. How did you achieve this effect? Green meadow is an audio-visual environment,

and as such modelled on natural environments. It focuses on the fact that nature is self-similar, and repetition in nature is never an exact replica. Natural systems are chaotic and unpredictable, but nonetheless function within given boundaries and according to specific rules. If you isolate a natural system, like a meadow for example, it will look unified from a great distance. Long grass swaying in gusts of wind, look homogeneous, until close observation re-veals a myriad of variations. This functions in scale and time. To imitate this you need to try to replicate the system that is responsible for the variation. Green Meadow exists as three recorded samples of human breath, four photographs of light shining through seaweed, and a live generative


computer system that uses and manipulates this initial material on a momentary basis. The system thus fulfils two functions. It outlines the territory of the work by determining what is possible visually and acoustically, and then exercises these possibilities by playing the work if you would like to call it that. What the system can do is determinate, when single events happen, or the extend to which they do, is indeterminate. The system improvises its own progression and thereby simulates organic behaviour. We find that your art is rich of references. Apart from contemporary composers, can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? I think my biggest single influence in art was discovering Fluxus. I did this when I was sixteen, and thoroughly frustrated by the art history education that I had the benefit of receiving up till then. We started with cave paintings, and within two years made it across the ancient Greek and Roman plains, barely past the Renaissance. As I did not see the relevance of being subjected to this, at least not to such an extend, when I came across Ben Vautier’s Total Art Matchbox, stating: USE THESE MATCHES TO DESTROY ALL ART – MUSEUMS ART LIBRARY’S – READY – MADES POP – ART AND AS I BEN SIGNED EVERYTHING WORK OF ART – BURN – ANYTHING – KEEP LAST MATCH FOR THIS MATCH – I was quite frankly exhilarated. Similarly, encountering Philip Corner’s Piano Activities, performed at Fluxus Internationale Festspiele Neuester Musik, Weisbaden 1962, where five prominent Fluxus artist take hammers, saws and not-what to an rather unfortunate grand piano, I fell in love with the movement as a whole. It gave me hope that there was a world out there past the gothic and baroque pillars. But Fluxus is not only about destruction or breaking taboos; it can be incredibly aesthetic, humorous, political, and as I talked about earlier, interdisciplinary. It introduced me to a lot of conceptual ideas, and was the first art movements with a considerable proportion of prominent women. Even its very name is taken from the Latin for flow, flux, flowing and fluid. There are others as well. The beautiful simplicity of the minimal light sculptures by James Turrell and Dan Flavin, or early Andy Warhol films. The overwhelming obsessive installations by Yayoi

a video stills from ‘green meadow’

Kusama, Pipeloti Rist’s incredibly successful immersive video environments, or Helen Chadwick’s playful imagination. I mean who could resist a chocolate fountain? Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts with us, Jockel. What’s next for Jockel Liess? Are there any new projects on the horizon? At the moment I’m working on a new piece for a


project by the digital interactive artists Genetic Moo. It’s called Microworld, and in their own words is ‘an experiment in creating a living digital ecosystem where many different art works interact with the audience, the space and each other.’ This incarnation of it will be installed in October at Kinetica Art Fair 2014 in London. Genetic Moo has actually been another influence on my work, over the years that I have known

them and their work, especially in the area of live digital art. Right now they have put the thumbscrews on me to actually produce an interactive piece of work for this show, something that I have never done successfully. So, crossed fingers. It is altogether still in the more infantry stages, but somewhat referring to pianos and rivers I think.


Phil Hastings An artist's statement

The Morphology Series is fundamentally concerned with exploring liminal states using abstract and poetic forms. I create filmic manifestations of thresholds for the viewer to experience and explore. In each video, a wall of organic matter undulates, at times seductive or mesmerizing, often quickly changing to a frantic or nervous tick. This living, breathing matter becomes a proxy for the viewer’s own experience of standing at a threshold. Within these structures an orifice opens and closes through which a black void can be seen leading to regions unknown, and full of possibility, ripe for personal projection. The sciences, especially biology and entomology form much of the visual foundation and the creative process for the Morphology Series. I am not so much interested in scientific absolutes, but instead, I’m inspired by the process of investigation and exploration, which is inherent in the sciences. This searching is directly tied to my interest in threshold states of being. Along the creative process I am inspired by the mechanization of organic matter whether it is at the cellular or macro level. It is while observing these organic machines, a cell or a worm, a bee or mantis, that I personally begin to appreciate a higher level at work, a sublime order and design that can only be admired with awe. 9.14.8.15.18.18.5.19.3.15 was specifically created for the Vascular Modes show at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo, NY, and was a response to and inspired by, the Gates Vascular Institute and its architecture. The institute is a medical facility for heart conditions and research. I started with the idea of the architecture itself being a vast network of vessels and valves opening and closing to pump the essential life throughout the building. With this concept as a starting point I shot very basic, video on my phone of the interior of the building and then began the process of manipulating the video. This original material can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/56859627 The process by which this and other works in the series are created is much like genetic modification, I enter into the material at the most basic level, in my case, the pixel, and through manipulation transform and alter the original data to create something new while retaining trace elements of the original. This transformation is a matter of organic exploration. The more I push these results, the more removed the final imagery is from the original. Through precise animation using key frames applied to custom designed software effects each project’s outcome is realized through countless evolutionary steps in process. This process while rooted in technology is a very personal and tactile experience for me. What can be seen as a cold and calculated technique is very much a means to an end. I am ultimately attempting to create image and sound that is viscerally seductive, metaphorically intricate and emotionally provocative to deliver a transformative experience for the viewer.


An interview with

Phil Hastings Dear Phil, here is the shortlist of questions for your interview, feel absolutely free. It would be great if you can send us your replies by March 8th, however, if you need more time, do not hesitate to contact us: we will quickly find a solution. Best, STIGMART10 Team -‐"Organic matter", "breathing and living matter" are not only recurrent words in your statement about 9.14.8.15.18.18.5.19.3.15, but a trademark of your filmmaking. We have encontered many artists who had focused their research on a more materic approach to video, however, it is really hard to find a filmmaker whose effort to explore matter lead him to biology. Could you introduce our readers to this aspect of your art? Biology – living matter it is what we are. It is the thing that binds us all. We may have different ideologies, politics and belief systems but we are all the same at the most basic levels. So we need to hold to this and embrace that which makes us human. I’ve never attempted to make my work overtly political or ideologically based. I would rather not limit the transformative potential of my work to only those who agree with a particular opinion. I think that there are base elements within biology that we can all relate to. Life, sex and death are processes that we all share. I enjoy bringing all of these together in a singular experience. A number of years ago I was researching the Rorschach Inkblot tests for a project I was doing. One of key things that I learned from this research was that the tests are not about understanding what you perceive but what you apperceive. Apperception is comprehension based on past experiences. I really like the idea of viewers bringing their past experiences to the work. Some may see the work as very cellular with the openings being (as originally conceived) as valves opening and closing but clearly others will see overtly sexual imagery. It will depend on what each viewer brings to the piece.

Phil Hastings

Whatever experiences a viewer does bring it will be applied to this undulating movement that breathes. I’d like to think that as one watches these works their breathing falls in sync with the movement of the images. If I was able to have that affect over the viewer with the work I’d be really pleased. It is not a matter of words, or a sort of retrò feticism toward celluloid, your research go beyond this. Speaking of that could be misleading, however, we have to ask you:what are the relationship between video, celluloid and organic matter? I think my relationship between all of these is conflicted and malleable, philosophical and technical. I love celluloid and video. They are both materials that can be used in ways beyond their original intent, producing unexpected surprises. As a filmmaker or video artist, I am always first drawn to the image and you can’t produce an image without matter of some kind. It’s maybe simply the right material for me to create with. When I’m teaching I’m often


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talking to students about why we create an image in a certain way. We need to ask, “why do I want my video to look like film?” For many students who have never shot film it comes down to “it looks cool” but this isn’t a really well reasoned answer. I think there should always be some purpose behind the choices we make even if they are sometimes subconscious but drawing from past experiences and/or research. For me celluloid has a texture, this texture is coded with all sorts of meaning and there have been many scholars who have done a much better job of dissecting this.

find that I’m trying to infuse the video with texture hoping that this effort helps move the image and idea beyond the medium. If I’m successful the essence of this new work will feel alive and this creation process will have been successful.

My response to this texture is that it feels “alive” and organic, more so then video. Especially when it comes down to grain versus pixel, and so I’m stuck with trying to balance these conflicted ideas because I’m typically working in video but am a lover of celluloid. I

When did you become interested in biology and its relationship with art? I’m sure it stems form having a dad who was an environmental/biology teacher and growing up on a small farm. I’ve always been involved in art and certainly the environments that I found my self within inspired much of my subject matter. Growing up I would visit my dad’s classroom and be really intrigued by the taxidermy and collections of different specimens. Terrariums and other small-‐scale eco system models were always interesting


in the sense that they were self-‐contained worlds that could be nurtured, controlled and explored. When I was in graduate school I began to revisit some of these interests in more depth. I was specifically interested in using Linnaean classifications. I began using these invented taxonomic naming structures as a way of developing coded meaning into some of my film characters. Using Latin was a way of trying to get viewers to take a more active role in the work. I’m still using this today by coding the titles of my work. In your statement, you say "This process while rooted in technology is a very personal and tactile experience for me", could you better explain this sentence? I think this comes from a desire to understand from experience. This is how I’ve always learned best; It is a very phenomenological way of understanding. The more I can do to create work that relies on image that references the tactile the better. Texture and form often trigger memory, and I think they are often the foundation I use to create those viscerally seductive, metaphorically intricate and emotionally provocative image to deliver a transformative experience for the viewer. What artistic media do you prefer to work in and there any that you don’t like to use? I’ve worked in film (celluloid) and video, photography, sculpture, drawing, painting etc., I’m really drawn to film but the reality is the resources needed to shoot and finish in film are not always available. I also find that because I’m heavily invested in the manipulation of images, video tends to be a more pliable material to use, and in my case most of this manipulation happens in the postproduction process. Video allows me to push the pixels around, build layers, cut out and move imagery. The way I work is very much about building an image versus capturing it, so in that sense the image making process draws on my experience with sculpture. This is one of the ways I begin to create threedimensionality in these abstract videos. I build up layers of different video, textures and filters. Most of the Morphology work has only one video layer but embedded in this layer are upwards of twenty or thirty effects. Each one of the individual effects may also have a number of controls that are animated using key-frames. Some of these effects are custom designed by myself when I can’t get the control or look I want with the basic software.

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These custom effects can have fifty or more controls each key-frame-able. Depending on the project it can also a bit like glazing with oil paint in the sense that I am often creating a specific level of imagery exporting it, (like waiting for a painted layer to dry) then re‐importing that “dry” layer to add more on top of it. In this way I am forcing myself to give up complete control. I have considered 3D animation and know that it would give me a lot more control over the final image but the process is too slow and too exact for me. With my video I am more prone to experiencing those unexpected accidents that are often part of celluloid filmmaking. In general the filmmaking process is where I’m able to bring all of my various interests together.


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What’s next for Phil? Are there any new projects on the horizon? Too many to count, one of the outgrowths of this current technique or process I’m using is a collection of invented organisms. These video‐derived creatures will be displayed on small video screens that are integrated into wooden display cases. The designs of these cases will draw inspiration from Victorian scientific tools and references the historical act of collecting the unknown to better understand our significance in the universe. It all goes back to the drawers of specimens in my father’s classroom. This work is specifically intended for gallery settings with each video labeled with the pertinent scientific information associated with the created specimens including field notes and Linnaean classifications.

I’m also deep in preproduction on a feature film that will be a more narrative exploration of many of the themes I’m interested in. It’s a story about a scientist observing a variety of insects, arthropods and other similar creatures of the earth, but its ultimately about how we strive to understand our place in the world and how this search is often undermined by the tools we use to find these answers. It’s not necessarily as dreadful and hopeless as it sounds. I do expect that there will be a solution or at least a possible solution to the character’s dilemmas. I am really interested in challenging the historical paradigm of the narrative film making process by reducing the number of people required to finish a film. As a formal exercise in alternative filmmaking practices, I will function as writer, director, producer, production designer, cinematographer, sound designer, visual effects creator and editor. It’s not that I don’t like working with others in fact I really enjoy being on other filmmakers projects, but I think when working on my own ideas, I don’t want to burden someone else with my uncertainties while I try to figure something out or my expectations of what it will take to be finished. There are other projects including the third film in the Lake Series that I’m finishing up right now. I’m also collaborating with a musician and film composer on a music video for an EP album he is doing. I’m using video of the cannibalistic mating behaviors of praying mantises that I’ve shot.


Mikey Peterson An artist's statement Environments are digitally distorted in much of my work in order to give the viewer a sense of displacement, ultimately revealing other truths about the original imagery. € €

In Slip Away and Unrest, shot on Lake Michigan’s shoreline in Chicago, nature distorts of its own accord. It is the combination of water, earth, wind and sun that creates layers of abstract spaces. € The scenes are organic, but direction, contrast, speed and sound are manipulated. € Through this


A still from Slip Away, 2 min 34 sec, 2014

process, technology and nature work together in these one-shot videos. € Buildings hide behind an impressionistic haze, as conflicting symbols of industry and nature seamlessly layer. We see the buildings erase and reform differently, just as memories diverge from the experiences they intend to mirror. Memories emerge as an alternate reality we create and revise over time. These visions skew, as our minds focus on fragments of the original experiences - sometimes these visions warp the event to the point where

they no longer represent the event but create an alternative version, a dream-like new reality that can influence our present selves. Maybe our selves and our lives are built upon this process of useful mis-remembering. € € The imagery is familiar, but it is always at a distance, as movement, light, and sound reinforces its surrealism. What we see is in constant flux, and the same can be said of what we view as Truth and Self.


An interview with

Mikey Peterson We have been impressed with the your stunning surreal imagery: in your films familiar scenes are pervaded by an unheimlich feeling, to quote Freud. How did you come up with the idea for Slip Away? I live close to Lake Michigan in Chicago and spend a lot of time walking its beaches, which is where “Slip Away” and “Unrest” were shot. € I search for abstractions that naturally occur in nature and became intrigued with how the lake reflects the skyline. € Just as man-made architecture mirrors nature, the lake is literally mirroring the buildings through reflection. € But the water’s constant flux relays its own interpretation of what man has built, as its ripples and waves distort and erase the imagery. Through these videos we are looking at nature’s interpre-tation of man’s interpretation of nature. It’s a multi-layered cycle, which I find quite beautiful. € € In your works the concept of space is continuously reshaped: could you introduce our readers to this fundamental concept of your filmmaking? I relay subtle organic moments in dramatic ways

A still from Slip Away, 2 min 34 sec, 2014

by distorting space and sound in order to displace the viewer. € I want you to see natural scenes differently, as there are many perspectives that we don't see in our world. € Several of the scenes that I shoot naturally exist, but by changing the perspective, motion, and sound while emphasizing different aspects of the image, we can see our world in new ways. € In “Slip Away” and “Unrest”, nature is initially creating the abstractions, and my job is to showcase these by taking them out of context and manipulating the imagery and audio. €

Mikey Peterson

By removing the scene from its larger environment we lose the reference of scale. € Reshaping the sound, speed, and color changes the mood


and tone. € On the screen, what was small is now large, and what was subtle is now a dramatic event. Where do your materials come from, and how do you go about putting them together?

the process of collecting moments and scenes with hopes of finding the spark of an idea. € I usually know when I’ve captured something interesting, but sometimes when I import my footage, I’ll discover imagery that I didn’t fully comprehend when I shot it. €

I rarely have a definitive plan or storyboard before I shoot. Living in Chicago, I walk and take public transportation a lot, which gives me much more freedom to observe my surroundings. € I usually have my camera in my bag and shoot whatever catches my eye, though I’m drawn to the relationship between motion and light. € There’s an intuition and fluidity when I shoot, which easily integrates into my daily life. € I enjoy

It is a lot like the illustrated puzzle books you would look at when you were a child - € where you search for hidden images in a larger landscape drawing, such as an old man’s face within the contour of a mountain or a cloud in the shape of a whale. € In a way I’m still trying to find these secrets in real life - to reveal what’s hidden, and also tell us something larger about the way the world interacts with itself.


A still from Unrest, 7 min 3 sec, 2014

"Memories emerge as an alternate reality we create and revise over time" this statement, reminding us of Robbe Grillet and Alain Resnais' films, reveals a deep introspection: the hidden nature of memory has been explored by psychiatrists (just think of Oliver Sacks' essays) as well as by corageous filmmakers like Guy Maddin. Could you introduce our readers to this fascinating concept of your cinema? My first memory is from when I was about 2 years old. I was on my back in my crib and my

mother removed a mobile that hung from the ceiling above. The hole that the hook left in the ceiling created an impression in the drywall that looked like a human eye staring down at me. € I wasn't frightened of this eye, but remember feeling safe - as if someone was looking over me. € I knew then that it was just a tiny hole in the ceiling, but I presently remember this scene with the strange staring eye. € € Our imaginations can influence and distort the imagery of the memory, but the initial emotion from the event remains intact and enhanced.


was more surreal than anything I had experienced. € The world is massive, kinetic and chaotic through a child’s eyes, and I still carry an overwhelming sense of mortality and wonder when I think of this memory. I was completely consumed by this new world, and I want others to experience these types of feelings through my work. We have previously quoted Alain RobbeGrillet and Resnais. 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? Early on, music was my main focus, and artists such as David Bowie, Brian Eno, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and Nick Cave were influential. € When I discovered that these artists not only created music, but also film, painting, writing, and new media arts, my perspective changed on what you could explore artistically. € I didn’t have to limit myself to one form of communication. € I could focus and different mediums, and video was perfect because I could combine several of the disciplines that I loved. € As far as who has been influential in my video work, David Lynch, Stan Brakhage, Gerhard Richter, Tony Oursler and Douglas Trumbull are artists that come to mind. € They all create surreal spaces, and their work shifts our perspectives on what is real and what is a dream, while telling us something much larger about ourselves. € I think a lot about Richter's photo paintings "Mrs. Wolleh With Children" and "Woman Descending The Staircase,"

Creating familiar scenes that are slightly abstracted in my video work remind me of specific childhood memories that I’ve misremembered. € Over time, I’ve mentally distorted them due to how I first reacted to their visual intensity. € The imagery of these memories make less sense in reality, but I’ve attached real emotions to them. € When I shot and edited the “Slip Away” footage I was immediately transported to the first memory of seeing the Chicago skyline when I was 3 or 4 years old. € My parents and I lived in a quiet tree-lined suburb at the time and the experience of walking in the city

A still from Unrest, 7 min 3 sec, 2014


A still from Unrest, 7 min 3 sec, 2014

and I’m sure they subconsciously influenced "Slip Away" and "Unrest." € They both possess a dream-like haze and feel like fading memories as if a part of your life is slowly slipping away. € My videos expand on these thoughts. € My imagery also has a painterly aesthetic, which is the antithesis of Richter's style, as his paintings look like blurred photographs. Though the technique is opposite, our mediums look like another in order to further displace the viewer. 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? We now all have access to cheaper technology, and it’s much easier to distribute, exhibit work, and have a presence online. € Video art started as an inexpensive, grassroots way to experiment with the moving image without spending a lot of money on film and without working with large film companies. € But now that the majority of filmmakers and video artists are shooting in digital, the aesthetic and quality are similar. With video art and cinema now distributed and exhibited online, we are rethinking about where and how both of these types of work can be shown. € Although due to size, looking at these mediums on computer screens and phones are not necessarily ideal. € Due to this shift in how we get our information, we have instant access to any genre or work of art online. € Artists are influencing each other and mediums are merging at a quicker rate. € GIF art, which at its core are short experimentations within similar time restraints that the Lumiere Brothers and Thomas Edison worked with, has merged several

A still from Unrest, 7 min 3 sec, 2014

mediums together including video, photography and animation. € This work is created and exhibited online for anyone to see. € You are not limited to gallery or theatre viewings, so we are easily exposed to more work and therefore more ideas. € I think there will always be a frontier between cinema and video, but it may shift and splinter off into other sub-genres within these mediums.


Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Mikey. What's next for Mikey Peterson? Are there any projects on the horizon? Thanks for your time as well. € It’s been a real pleasure sharing my work with you. € Currently, I am completing two new videos. € One is entitled, “Born Again,” which is another one-shot video that has a similar aesthetic and concept to “Slip Away” and “Unrest.” € I also just finished one

called “Light Cycle,” which focuses heavily on light movement, sound manipulation and science fiction. € These will be released at the beginning of 2015.


Katina Bitsicas My video and photographic works address the effects of crime, traumatic personal events, and architectural containments on the human psyche. By dissecting the victim-perpetrator dichotomy as well as the impact of imprisonment, whether it is in a jail, asylum, home, or mind, I aim to create unconventional dialogues about these topics. My works are based on personal experiences, which I use to explore these larger political, social, and psychological issues on an intimate level.

Currently, the focus of my work is murder, specifically one committed by a childhood friend. The experience was traumatic and brought many questions to mind about how murder affects both the family of the victim and of the perpetrator. This event has also morphed my interest into several different murder cases, most of which involve young people, parricide, and vigilante crimes. These events sparked a series of research and artistic endeavors leading me to probe into these criminals’


These works investigate the mind of a psychopath and how they lack empathy. This lack of empathy is then compared to the lack of empathy society shows towards the bodies forced through these morgues and prison systems. I use the abject to describe the beauty of death and the deterioration of the human body. These bodies in their final stage serve as evidence of all experiences that came before. This stage of death is the encapsulating moment of all of these occurrences, but as a corpse. The process of cataloguing an endless string of people in jails, institutions, and morgues, reduce these humans to nothing more than flesh. By filming these institutions, the memories of the multitudes of prisoners and bodies who passed through them are kept alive. I aim to humanize these killers due to the trauma or mental instability they may have faced previously. This pity comes from the fact that I exist with innate empathy, something psychopaths lack. I make grey what the penal system makes black and white. By humanizing the criminal through a collection of their histories, one may question what’s right and wrong and “just punishment.” My intentions are to tell a story by fusing documentary techniques with a metaphoric and cinematographic aesthetic.

Confound Acts HD digital video, 3:41 2013

psyches. My goal isn’t to exploit, but to understand the criminal mind. The works Confound Acts and Anonymous Autopsy feature metaphoric footage that is paired with documentary style audio. The visuals range from nature and metaphorical objects, to mock autopsies and surgical tools. The audio tracks are comprised of interviews, courtroom audio, and dramatic reinterpretations of factual dialogues.


An interview with

Katina Bitsicas MMPI is a video-performance by Katina Bitsicas based on mental case studies from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. We are glad to present this work for this year's Videofocus Biennale. Katina, could you introduce our readers to this project? MMPI is a composed video comprised of short performances based on mental case studies from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, the most widely used psychometric test of personality and psychopathology. These performances are then edited down to the essence of a gesture. The videos are arranged in a grid format mimicking the floor plan of the Northern Michigan Kirkbride Asylum in Traverse City, Michigan. This video also explores how architectural structures, both literal and metaphorical, serve as holding places for human emotions and memories. These structures serve as an element of organization in both their use and for my thoughts. Similarly in Monday’s Activity, I utilize the old technology of stitching to connect with this group of individuals who resided in these institutions via the repetition of these processes. Your art is rich in references: the mental case studies you have reminds us of Oliver Sacks' essays and Peter Weiss' cult film Marat.€ Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Coincidently, or maybe not so, one of my biggest inspirations for my work on asylums and mental case studies was the photography book Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals by Christopher Payne, which features an introduction written by Oliver Sacks. The photographs in the book are beautiful, but I thought the essay warranted some deeper exploration of the asylum beyond the abandoned eerie photographs. I also wandered around abandoned asylums trying to capture the perfect lighting cast onto these decrepit structures. But instead of relaying the deep history and

Katina Bitsicas www.katinabitsicas.com

scientific exploration of that time period, my photographs just evoked extreme loneliness and desire for the stories behind the people that once inhabited these spaces. So, in MMPI, I chose to finally delve into these stories and into the minds of the individuals with the disorders that placed them into these facilities. Marat displays people with many different disorders all coexisting with each other, which creates a cacophony of sounds, similar to the audio in my video. This film also was based on a humanitarian view of the asylum, which is what interested me about the Kirkbride Asylums. I used the floor plans of these asylums for my stitching, Monday’s Activity, and for the video MMPI. The philosophy behind the Kirkbride floor plan was based on moral treatment, which can also be seen in Pinel’s La Salpetrière, where patients could move freely about the hospital grounds. I actually visited La Salpetrière when I was in Paris last year, and just being there and walking on the same grounds as the patients created new inspiration for me. “He believed that a well-designed and beautifully landscaped hospital could heal mental illness,


MMPI, HD digital video, 1:57, 2012

and that by removing that afflicted from society and placing them in a peaceful environment…would help them regain their senses and be able to reenter the outside world as improved individuals,” wrote Sacks. Kirkbride’s idea of each patient having access to sunlight and fresh air, making the building the cure for the patient, was later discredited and eventually amounted to the closure of most of the facilities. The essence of gestures has been explored in experimental theatre in the last decades, while few videoartists have decided to focus on this peculiar aspect. Following a performative approach, you succeed in creating a strong visual representation of the hidden nature of gestures on the screen. How did you develop this peculiar aspect of your work? When creating MMPI, I actually recorded an

entire performance for each case study, using the same verbiage that the patients used. What I came to realize though, is that society doesn’t usually take the time to understand a particular patient’s story in full, and just deems those people as insane outcasts. So, by editing each performance down to a gesture, I am relaying the snapshot that outsiders categorize these patients by. Also, by using just one gesture and repeating the motion over and over again, almost in the fashion of a modern day gif, that mindset of insanity is transferred to the viewer. The audio and visuals become overwhelmingly chaotic, and start to mimic the environment that many of these patients were placed in, in the past. Could you tell us a particular episode which has helped the birth of MMPI? As an overview, I have always been very intrigued by the symmetry of the Kirbride


Empty/Forgotten, digital photography, 36" x 24", 2011

asylums. There is something oddly soothing about how perfect they are. Pair that with the destruction of them in recent years, and you get a flawless pairing of beauty and decay and a perfect example of the abject. As a youth, I would travel up to Traverse City, Michigan to visit the asylum, which was at the time abandoned. Staring up at the fenced off

porches with mangled basketball hoops, I would try to imagine the people that once resided in the building. I would sympathize with the patients and with how not too long ago the State Government released them from the asylum, forcing the patients to fend for themselves in the outside world. Now the asylum has since been converted into a


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for example, let's consider the balance between absence and presence in MMPI, which is not conceived€ as a classical balance, as the relationships between solids and voids in architecture, but a sort of coexistence between past and present in imagination and perception. How did you develop your vision of space related to memory? The floor plans themselves hark back to a specific period in time, so that layout is synonymous with the past. The book “MMPI� is also of the past, but through my re-creation of the case studies in the present time, I am able to merge the past with the present. The architectural idea of containment was also seen by psychiatrists as a comfort zone for the patients. Each box contains a separate person, a separate case, and a separate performance. In MMPI, the outside world is turned into a void of black. For many of the patients, this world outside the asylum was just not attainable. So, in the video you have a harsh contrast between the active space of the asylum and the patient performances, and the still black that surrounds them. But, the void is what ultimately contains the patients, and that tension between the two, active and still, is what creates the chaotic emotional rise inside the viewer. residential complex, but I still find myself searching for the stories that happened on those grounds.

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

We have been impressed with the way you are able to connect architecture and emotion: in MMPI, space is not conceived following a Borgesian labyrinthic formula:

As a general starting point, my projects always stem from some sort of story or personal experience. I find a story or experience that I am very passionate about and want to pursue a deeper understanding of and go from there.


I also consider my environment and whether or not the project will have to be staged in a studio, such as MMPI, or can exist in the outdoor elements. I search for the truth in my projects, but I want to display these truths in a more intriguing, artistic way. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Katina. What's next for you? Currently, my projects have revolved around the topic of crime, death and the human psyche, so I haven’t strayed too far from my passion for the asylum and the human mind. The majority of my current work focuses on a murder and dismemberment committed by a childhood friend. This experience was traumatic and brought many questions to mind about how murder affects both the family of the victim and of the perpetrator. These events sparked a series of research and artistic endeavors causing me to probe into these criminals’ psyches. My goal isn’t to exploit, but to understand what these criminals were thinking. My work serves as a digestion tool for all of the research about these traumas, both personal and of others. The project, Confound Acts, is a three channel synced video projection that features anonymous yet beautiful nature footage. The metaphorical symbols of a red sheet and white plastic bag serve as reminders for the violent act that occurred, while the woods stand as a witness to this gruesome crime. The audio for this piece is an interview of a family member and also courtroom audio. Through the analysis of childhood memories as well as court evidence, I intend to gain clarity in these acts as well as relay the effects that this type of event can have on the families involved, who in turn become victims themselves. I have also been corresponding with individuals on death row, and my most recent work, Anonymous Autopsy, is an examination of the criminal mind as well as a reminder of the numerous bodies we push through the mortuary and judicial systems. This piece investigates the mind of a psychopath and how they lack empathy. This lack of empathy is then paired with the lack of empathy society shows to the bodies shoved through these morgues and prison systems.

Confound Acts, HD digital video, 3:41, 2013


Stigmart VideoFocus Autumn 2014  
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