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
"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."
H. Paul Moon
In the first half of the 20th Century, a massive diesel engine in Copenhagen, Denmark was the world's largest. Still preserved and working, it fires up monthly. "Simple Machines," as a short visual study, takes this occasion to explore the notion of human machinery
The conscious acts of speaking and writing give words an authority that can be misleading. Speaking, in fact, is my least favourite means of expression because it is so imprecise: the only way to change the meaning of words I have spoken is always by adding more.
A room drowned in expansive water. Building a Raft is a looped video transitioning from a seascape to artist studio. Water builds up and masks the perceptual boundaries of the space, while the artist paints over and over the walls, attempting to reclaim her studio.
Laura Plana Gracia
The abuse of power, the tendencies of produc- tion and the own profits are provoking the awareness of damage. Extinction and fragility are oppressed and restricted. Open culture offers a different view from those who are the elite.
"I refer to conflicts and contradictions as philoso- phical categories; so I see myself as a video-Aristotle, who tries to investigate philosophical questions with the help of the language of moving images."
Light is the basic element of moving images. I want to find different ways to transform light. The method is kind of sculptural. That is to treat images as raw material and use addition, subtraction and repetition methods to change the images.
Candace Couse's work eagerly engages with the idea of personal geographies as intimate approaches to orientation and identity that are profoundly de- tached from collective knowledge and public geographies.
Celia Eid and Robert Coburn
Two countries, two collaborators, two cultures, two media. Interstitial Traces for alto and baritone saxophone, computer soundscape, and animation is a collaboration between French animation artist Celia Eid and California composer/sound artist Robert Coburn.
A Living Place speaks of our domestic relationship to the suburban environment. It reflects on the commonality of suburbia but also seeks to show the small, seemingly insignificant and quiet moments that we may find there.
Alongside working in sequences, both moving and still, I have reverted to a more monotone palette to draw parallels with early film and conceptual art, so that the emphasis of the scene is held without the distraction of colour.
The proposal turns around the concept of noise in communication theory. In order to do so it was decided to work on video trying to achieve different noise modes in different moments of the narrative.
I am fascinated by the psychological aspect of these situations. By implementing various fear tactics people are pushed into a moral dilemma. Not participating in lateral surveillance makes a person suspect which might result in severe consequences.
Xiaowen Zhu I consider myself as a visual poet, social critic, and aesthetic researcher. My work, investigating ideas of individual perception in a global nomadic context, integrates interpretive narrative, experimental documentary, photography, performance, and installation.
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 criminalsâ€™
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.
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.
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?
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,
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
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.
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.
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?
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
When creating MMPI, I actually recorded an
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
for example, let's consider the balance between absence and presence in MMPI, which is not conceivedÂ€ 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 â€œMMPIâ€? 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
H. Paul Moon An artist's statement
visual study, takes this occasion to explore the notion of human machinery: not just what we create, but circling back to the systems inside us, before us, and beyond us. "Simple Machines" also lays homage to communication in culture, especially our printing machines that so recently and vastly accelerated civilization. R. Luke
In the first half of the 20th Century, a massive diesel engine in Copenhagen, Denmark was the world's largest. Still preserved and working, it fires up monthly. "Simple Machines," as a short
DuBois' electronic score, much like his visual work, combines programming process and creative inspiration into an evocative, motoric result that is at once organic and digital.
with the 21st Century Consort, and subsequently screened at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, and the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York City.
"Simple Machines" debuted at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in concert
An interview with
H. Paul Moon The notion of human machinery is the starting point of Simple Machines: a 20th Century diesel engine in Copenhagen becomes in your hands a powerful metaphor of human systems seen in a post- Deleuzian way, we daresay. How did you come up with the idea for this work? Moreover, your B/W cinematography reminds us of Guy Maddin's early films. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? H. Paul Moon
With many in my generation, I was deeply influenced by the Qatsi films of Godfrey Reggio, who combined non-fiction cinematography with a fully integrated original music score. Not quite documentary, and not quite "music video," the intention always seemed primarily philosophical, obsessed with a battle between humanity and technology. I liked its evolving epiphany: thinking that machines might be our enemy, then taking a view from high orbit, and realizing that we are really machines creating machines -- something we often forget.
H. Paul Moon
universal time. As the film progresses, more machines than the diesel engine also appear, from a museum trove of communication inventions, adding a notion of input/output over time: we are always creating new ways to communicate our thoughts, more the matter of machines creating machines; while the speculative treat for me is to imagine any machine creating an output beyond the command of the machine who created it. Those micro-organisms shown in the film can relate to such a demon birth, and inevitably there is an environmental intention here too: saying that the human machine is destroying the Earth machine as a whole. The audacity of that. At the end of the film, our sun flickers away.
So the meta- behind the physics of our existence could be depicted as a chicken-andegg problem, asking who is the creator of things. In Simple Machines, I thought it would be interesting to visually disrupt that sequence, by cutting back and forth between human and engine, microcosm and macrocosm, without allowing the order of things to clarify. And when the diesel engine presented itself in Copenhagen, with its extraordinary mass and visual brutalism, I found a meaningful archetype of "ghost in the machine," through a vision of man-as-god. To that aim, I applied visual effects in moderation to those human operators, who become relatively divine with flares of light. By framing all of this within a black and white aesthetic, I exploited its ability to suggest
Prior to your interest in filmmaking, you were a playwright and a composer of incidental music for theatre. Could you describe your " In what manner" how your
work as playwright has influenced your shooting style?How has your production processes changed over the years?
cameras. Many filmmakers are restless in that capability, really lacking the mindset of the stage scenarist. As I grow, I continue to try and find new ways to keep my camera faithful to a self-imposed architecture, like the audience in a theatre who spends long stretches of time looking at just one scene, searching for nuance. A filmmaker working within that mindset has an important responsibility, to deliver nuance, under a proscenium. Lately I am drawn to attending live performances of formal ballet, as an especially intense exercise in this choreographic mindset, where little gestures need to communicate large ideas.
My creative experiments started in dramatic theatre at college, firstly composing incidental music, then writing plays. Some say that the dramatic stage is dead, and we only want to watch movies now. There are ugly truths behind that exaggeration: but even partially to agree, it must be said that there are some things you can only learn from the stage, as a filmmaker. For me, they included the architecture of the proscenium, which enforces formality where cinematography can lose discipline: when a visual space is fixed, the scenarist needs to obsess upon organizing motion inside of it (no farther), to express a world of ideas and scenes and feelings. Meanwhile, the audience faces in that direction only. This compares to the ceaseless mobility of panning and tilting and roaming
As for the influence of having composed music too, it manifests in my basic value system finding it the conjoined twin of visual art in any film. One of them cannot make a move without the other (silent or singing). For Simple Machines, well beyond my limited
ability, the extraordinary composer R. Luke DuBois created the sound score, and it was a hardcore accomplishment: he personally sampled the sounds, constructing the work from fragments of objects, from found to household. After it was done, he joked that
his cat, mortified by all that noise he made at home, gave him the silent treatment for a week. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Paul. What's next for H. Paul
Moon? Have you a particular project in mind ?
composer, cowboy poetry, sound artists, and a Communist spy. My website is at www.zenviolence.com.
I am heading back into editing and finishing my long-form documentaries, that are already shot, about diverse subjects: an American
StĂŠphanie Leest 20
An artist's statement
The conscious acts of speaking and writing give words an authority that can be misleading. Speaking, in fact, is my least favourite means of expression because it is so imprecise: the only way to change the meaning of words I have spoken is always by adding more. I am often more interested in how people communicate nonverbally, subconsciously, elusively. Gestures and silences capture my attention because they leave so much room for interpretation. “The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts”. Stories are always more than the unfolding of events. The absence of words and actions has, in my opinion, great cinematic potential. PAIRE explores touch as a great communicator. Something is being exchanged between two bodies waking up, perhaps an increasing awareness of each other. I want to explore the idea of “non-narrative” storytelling with an almost completely still scene; the story is the moment. An arc takes form in the rhythm and movement, and the impression of slipping in and out of consciousness remains. ...is in the eye of the beholder plays with the notions of subject and object, direction and distraction, and audience and performer. A female performer is at the center of the frame, but black bars constantly move around her face, blocking the view. This experiment is a bit voyeuristic, and focuses very much on the gaze. I would love to watch people as they are watching this video; is the performer inherently more interesting to look at because she is on a stage? The video is silent to avoid any auditory distraction. Captions 1, details
In my life and in my favourite works of art, I always seem to be looking for a meaning in the things that are not there, in the words that were not picked. In both of these videos, I try to leave enough room for viewers to fill in Stéphanie Leest
An interview with
Stéphanie Leest We have been impressed by the balance between absence and presence in PAIRE: the figure is always showed partially, using a methonimyc approach reminding us of Robert Bresson's hands. Boundaries and borders are treated in 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 explain this fundamental aspect of your filmmaking? My objective for making PAIRE was to recall a sensory experience, one that i hoped most viewers would relate to, of sleeping next to someone. The two characters are slowly awaking and picking up subtle cues from one another through touch. I tried not to show the body but to create an impression of it. Breaking down the body into seperate parts and shooting in extreme close-up and macro allowed me to bring emphasis to details on the skin and hair, and as you so well put it, made the body appear infinite beyond the frame. It seemed the most effective way to awaken this sensory memory in the viewer, to immerse them in the film.
specifically concerning our levels of awareness in such states. If some things become like a blur, others can be clear as day, without discernment of what is real or imagined, what is conscious or subconscious. In the case of PAIRE, every random occurence – a breath, a texture, a twitch, a point of contact – is treated as an event. Individually these events have no significance, but together they imply a shift from one state of consciousness to another. It is a romantic thought that two lovers may find their intimacy in the physical and mental realms at once.
We daresay that "intimacy" is not only the main theme of PAIRE, but the visual style you have choose for this work: the camera is very close to the subject, and this effect is amplified by your particular storytelling focusing on editing and movement inside the frame. How did you come up with the idea for this work?
PAIRE has been shooted using a DSLR. The DSLR cinema revolution and the spread of flexible low cost tools like the recent BMPCC has dramatically changed the way of shooting among independent and experimental filmmakers: you have worked using both digital and analog formats like 16mm: how has your
A short answer to this question is that this project combines my experience with recurrent sleep paralysis with my desire for intimacy. The space between sleep and wake is a theme that I want to explore further,
Captions 2, details
production processes changed over the years?
The second work that we have selected for our Biennial Edition is "In The Eye Of The Beholder", a really perculiar work. Could you introduce our readers to this work?
I knew right away that PAIRE could not be shot on film because it relied so much on intuition and improvisation. When we were shooting, I asked the actors to try falling asleep, then gave them minimal instructions to follow, like turning around, and after some time we filmed them without knowing if anything would happen. I think we could have achieved a different quality of light and texture using analog, but I didn’t want to worry about wasting film. We kept the camera rolling for long periods of time. The digital technology was helpful for keeping the crew down to a minimum – two people handling the camera and two “sleepers”. It gave us more freedom to adapt as the scene evolved naturally, and without disrupting it. I also wanted the DSLR for the option of switching lenses.
As a student at Concordia University, I received a project assignment to be edited from a compilation of digitized found footage. The footage was silent and eclectic, ranging from hollywood trailers, to home movies, to National Film Board documentaries. Our teacher (Richard Kerr) encouraged me to look beyond the context of the images. I was struck by a film showing what seemed like a trial, and the empty stare of several women listening on. I decided to use their gaze as my starting point, and tried to find other gazes to match and counter theirs. All these faces ended up looking at one another in the same frame. I may have been testing a version of the Kuleshov effect with only faces to inspire
context, and with everything playing simultaneously. I would like to rework PAIRE to include everything in the same frame as well, to see what difference it would make in our understanding of the images. The game of stares in ...is in the eye of the beholder benefited from the silence. I could have added the singer’s voice later, but I found that all the lyrics were taking something away instead of bringing something in. "In The Eye Of The Beholder" reminds us of Derrida's essay Mémories d'aveugle. L'autoportrait et autres ruines. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? I have loved Jim Jarmusch’s films since I first watched Dead Man, and I had to watch some of his earlier films to realize how great a storyteller he is. His filmmaking taught me that silences can be expressive. In a similar vein, I loved Italian neorealism for its under- dramatization and for making mundane the heart of a story. Lately I have been taking much interest in surrealist and experimental cinema. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project?
Thanks for sharing your time and thought with us, Stéphanie. What’s next for Stéphanie Leest? Are there any new projects on the horizon?
The starting point is often a dream, a detail or a fleeting sensation that I experience and try to extrapolate. It is often a slow process mixing development, production and revision, simultaneously.
I will keep experimenting with different ways of storytelling, and keep exploring the human subconscious through cinema and writing.
Rose Dickson Rose Dickson lives and works in Portland, Oregon. She completed her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2012. During her time at RISD, she studied at Speos International Photography School in Paris, France and participated in RISDâ€™s European Honors Program in Rome, Italy. Since
graduation, Rose spent four months as an artist in residence at Taidelaitos Haihatus in Joutsa, Finland. This fall, with the support of Oregon Arts Commission, Rose looks forward to participate as resident artist at Organhaus Residency, Chongqing, China and Studio Kura Residency
A still from Building a Raft, 2013, video, 15 min loop
, Fukuoka, Japan. Expressed through a variety of mediaâ€”photography, sculpture, video and poetryâ€”her work explores the dichotomy of presence and absence, material and immaterial. The experiential quality of her work invites viewers to participate within the search. Upon
view, an intersection of art, artist and spectator is created, turning these distinct perspectives momentarily indistinct. Her work is in the collection of Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Museum of American History.
A still from Building a Raft, 2013, video, 15 min loop
A room drowned in expansive water. Building a Raft is a looped video transitioning from a seascape to artist studio. Water builds up and
masks the perceptual boundaries of the space, while the artist paints over and over the walls, attempting to reclaim her studio.
Building a Raft was shot in Roseâ€™s studio during her time as a resident artist at Taidelaitos Haihatus in Joutsa, Finland. The water imagery
was recorded at a nearby lake where, during her four-month stay, she spent most of the daylight hours, watching.
A still from What is Gone, 2014, video, 15 min
inspired by Marguerite Yourcenar’s That Mighty Sculptor Time. When did you come across Yourcenar ’s essay ? I was in the midst of making What is Gone when I was introduced to That Mighty Sculptor Time. I had written a draft of the text for What is Gone before we shot the video and it was not until I started editing the video that I became intrigued with the statuesque quality of portraiture. That, as well as the connection of “stone” running through all forms of archival processes— a material so much more durable than ones used today. It was after shooting the video that a mentor and poet friend of mine, Michele Glazer, gave me a copy of Yourcenar’s essay. I was so inspired by the work that I couldn’t help but feel part of its message belonged in What is Gone. “It goes without saying that we do not possess a single Greek statue in the state in
which its contemporaries knew it…” Yourcenar’s thought on Greek statues is akin to the images we keep of everyday life. That is really the foundation of What is Gone: holding an image that represents someone and coming to know its distortion within your own mind. The inspiration leading to production was primarily painters’ work, like Richard Diebenkorn and Edvard Munch. Recently, I went to Norway and visited the Munch Museum. I like the way Munch overlapped the human form and, in a sense, contorted bodies into one. I think that is initially where the idea for What is Gone began. Diebenkorn, with a slightly different effect, also does this, but mostly Diebenkorn’s lines… ah. The way these painters blend bodies, is reflected in my attempt to blend images and text in the mind of the viewer. Video is a cool medium because you are not only flattening space but also time. And it is the memory that the
A still from What is Gone, 2014, video, 15 min
viewer holds on to from What is Gone that ultimately becomes most intriguing about the work. Your video Building a Raft has been conceived and realized during your residence at Taidelaitos Haihatus in Finland. Could you introduce our readers to this experience? Joutsa is a town of roughly 4,000, about two hours north of Helsinki. There is a gas station, grocery store, karaoke bar, “kirppis” (thrift store), tea house and of course, Haihatus. Otherwise, it’s trees and lakes, as is most of Finland. The directors of Haihatus, Merja and Raimo, are incredible individuals, and I feel lucky to have worked alongside them and the other international resident artists. Most of my days in Joutsa were spent venturing to a particular favorite spot: a hike through a birch tree forest, past a valley with an extraordinary grass mound, over a small
embankment, to find a very quiet lake. This lake was unique in that instead of being totally surrounded by trees, it was primarily in grassland, allowing the sky to be the only object of reflection onto the still water. I was captivated, watching the sky’s blue reflection change to white with the season, and seeing this lake’s wall-like white facade was what evoked Building a Raft. We have found interesting the way you explore the perceptual boundaries of the space in Building a Raft . Could you tell us a particular episode that has helped the birth of this project? In 2011 I spent six months in Rome and toured around the north of Italy. The tour quickly became centered around the country’s rich history of art and architecture. A few of the highlights being Palladio’s Villa La Rotunda, Carlo Scarpa’s La tomba Brion and of course, the Pantheon. Emphasizing the
A still from Building a Raft, 2013, video, 15 min loop
magnificence of the architecture are the studies in perspective and trompe-l'œi in the frescos and paintings. This historical foundation propelled my desire to explore traditions in form and spatial composition. The birth of perspective fascinates me: a flat surface that through a painter’s will becomes seemingly habitable. Since I was young I have had a routine of counting corners. Walking into a new room or even waiting in a familiar one, I occasionally spend the time counting the visible, or implied corners that the open space has to offer. So the concept of facade, since youth, continues to both intrigue and terrify me. I feel a strong emotive response to a contained vs expansive environment, which is a key idea explored in Building a Raft. Emily Dickinson, who was agoraphobic, explored similar obsessions in her envelope poems. Recently released, The Gorgeous
Nothings is an incredible experience of spatial enclosure vs exposure. In these last years we have seen that the frontier between Video Art and Cinema is growing more and more vague: Building a Raft and its stunning cinematography seems to confirm this trend. Do you think that this "frontier" will exists longer? I agree there is an ever greying line between video art and cinema. However, I have never considered myself a “cinematographer”. I usually think of the camera as someone watching. So instead of cultivating an eye for cinematography or establishing my own unique perspective, I allow my work to function as sculpture being viewed. We find that your art is rich in references. Apart from Marguerite Yourcenar, can you tell us your biggest
A still from Building a Raft, 2013, video, 15 min loop
influences in art and how they have affected your work? While I have mentioned many instances of influence, for me I guess it is really less about a few heroes and more about the relationships I find between what I’m currently making and something I come across. But to name some artists that have had an impact on my work, Étienne-Louis Boullée, Michael Snow, Alvin Lucier, and the poets Paul Celan, Anne Carson, Proust, Dickinson, Susan Howe. Perhaps the most influential thing I ever learned about “making” was taught to me by a professor at RISD, Lane Meyer. I can’t remember exactly how he put it, but what I learned from him was not to worry about how “the thing” will be made but to instead allow yourself to first imagine the thing, in the best of all possible worlds, and then to find a way to make it. Dealing with cost and material problems before even harnessing an idea is so
limiting. This has given me a freedom to create work, that before I wouldn’t have even allowed myself to imagine. Not to say that it can always come to be. I mean, I have many ideas in my head that I haven't found a viable means to make… but once I do, that’s the easy part. What’s next for Rose Dickson? Are there any new projects on the horizon? I recently completed a new video piece, Becoming is a Secret Process. It opens in October at Upfor Gallery in Portland, OR. Stay tuned! Also in October, with the support of Oregon Arts Commission, I am heading to Chongqing, China for a three-month residency at Organhaus Art Space and then I will go to Japan for two months at Studio Kura Residency in Fukuoka.
An interview with
Rose Dickson Your video installations, from Nothing Between Us to the latest What is Gone, are deeply marked by the invite to step into the frame, both virtually and physically like in Screen: we daresay that the experiential quality of the viewer is part of the creation process itself. Could you introduce our readers to this fundamental aspect of your art? Human perspective and boundary play a large role in my work. One thing that I consider while making, or even before physical construction, is where the viewer is and how the viewer is acting as another character in the piece. I am drawn to the artist-viewer relationship due to the richness of boundariesâ€” the boundary of time between
when the artist made the work vs. when the viewer experiences the piece, the boundary of material representation and the boundary of proximity (to name a few). In the work I want to break those boundaries down and directly address the viewer. I am not necessarily trying to challenge any of the norms of the gallery world, more trying to expose them. To expose viewers, really. Especially Nothing Between Us: it is exposing the artist, but simultaneously exposing the viewer, and this direct address can create vulnerability. Of course, these boundaries go beyond artist/ viewer relations into all relationships, such as in What is Gone, which through captured images exposes the boundary of time. Building a Raft is an exploration of spatial boundary. Confronting that kind of exposure â€”
A still from What is Gone, 2014, video, 15 min
psychically, interpersonally, and contextually — reaches beyond the artist to those engaging with the work as well.
stuck on the visual image of author/reader relationship, which is why I went on to create Nothing Between Us.
In particular, in your video Nothing Between Us this aspect is led to paroxysm: we can see a suspended surface, acting as a barrier between artist and viewer. How did you come up with the idea for this work?
Actually, I remember the instance that triggered the initial inspiration for In This Forest of Frost and stayed with me into the development of Nothing Between Us. One night in Providence, RI, I went to a house show with just 8 or 9 people there. I knew one of the guys who was playing, although not very well, yet somehow, sitting on the floor beneath him, I had the opportunity to watch him for an hour and a half and not feel strange or guilty about this kind of directed attention. The impact this had on me was very revealing to my own sense of boundary and the existence of social boundaries as well. The opportunity to really stare at someone isn’t available anymore. Unless it is a performance.
I came up with the idea for Nothing Between Us after I wrote In This Forest of Frost, an eight page book using printed text and cutouts. The book relies on both the narrator and the reader as the two characters, attempting to see one another and communicate through the layers of space and shadow. The complex revealing/concealing of text creates a narrative about perspective, exposing the foresight the author has of the viewer and the kind of after image that the viewer gets of the author. However, after making In This Forest of Frost, I was still
We have selected for this year's edition your video installation What is Gone —
A still from What is Gone, 2014, video, 15 min What is Gone collages together two separate videos of individuals in the same space. The actors present were never recorded in the same frame. The green screen symbolizes an uninhabitable space and
highlights the detached quality of the film. Upon view, the two characters are forced into interaction by the viewer who is unable to disassociate them. This human construction questions our own ability to
disassociate ourselves with the actors on screen. Each character (including viewer) represents a part of the reality presented.
In part inspired byMarguerite Yourcenar â€™s essay That Mighty Sculptor, Time translated from the French by Walter Kaiser
Laura Plana Gracia “MedianAges”LiveA/VAudiovisualPerfor mance&Installation
the struggle and socialist vindication for basic needs make the unheard voices becomes a social hub to facilitate the social equality. Work with sound resources as speeches or sound archives allow reviewing this historical process. His intention is to make history based on strategies such as copyart or appropriation. The fall of the soviet regime and the dismemberment of the communist bloc are also influences.
It is influenced by theories of postmodernism, postcolonialism, relies in the aesthetics of noise, it is supported by cybernetics and the relations between Art, Science and Technology. It is influenced by Political Art, Activism, Hacktivism, Human Rights and Policies of Heritage. It offers the possibility to transform reality into a more humanitarian, more ethical and balanced environment.
Meanwhile in Europe during the 80's, exploits the cybernetics and the domestic technology. But Southern countries still face harsh, corrosive militarized dictatorship. Decolonization processes culminate in the end of the Cold War. But it is not the struggle for the scope of the space, not the advancement of communiction technologies neither the implantation of internet networks nor the postmodernism in the direction of flow and connectivity. Median Ages is an experiential environment that attempts to reconfigure the dictatorships with photojourna-
The abuse of power, the tendencies of production and the own profits are provoking the awareness of damage. Extinction and fragility are oppressed and restricted. Open culture offers a different view from those who are the elite. Artists give solutions to constantly obliterated situations. The project born from the experience achieved in international cooperation on postcommunist countries of Africa where
lism and expanded videoart. It creates a videofootage from archives, magazines, journalism and appropriated images from the press, agencies like Reuters, and others free media journalist. It takes them to create a political content videofootage from social struggles, like barricades, banlieus, riots, citizensâ€™ demonstrations. The selection of the images creates an iconoclastic figure for the population. It means that analysing shape and figure, it never displays a hero, or a figure standing alone. This corresponds to the general idea against leaders, icon or mainstream. It is because the occidental culture has been erected from the idea of the icon against the masses. Here influences from Gericault or Delacroix. Media Ages faces with the inherent problems of representing the cancerous cycle of war, striking the material consequences of the traces of the conflict on the landscape.
Exploitation of mines and material resources, gold, diamonds, coltan or fiber senses, are designing structures for war and territorial invigilated landscapes of control and punishment. It documents images of rebels and human rights violations shown in a traditional realism, in a way that attempts to overturn and see beneath the surface. It uses an aesthetic approach that considers problematic imagery. Documentary photography engages with the unseen, hidden and intangible aspects. Within a cinematographic style of long tracking shot resulting in a spectral, disembodied gaze film. The piece haunts a visceral soundscape in a DIY noise composition. It is an experiential environment that attempts to reconfigure the dictatorships with photojournalism and expanded video art installation.
Technical requirements: Live A/V Performance 20min. and Installation Sound: Noise OpenSource Software Audacity Composition https://archive.org/details/MedianAges Kiev DIY Installation: Electromagnetic components â€“ Synthesizers â€“ Plasma Loudspeakers -Electromagnetic fields to be used as alternative energy. Developing Electromagnetic natural lowvoltage components to supply low output devices. Copper Coils and Minerals and Salts. -Synthesizers: DIY Oscillators, 555 Synthrotek Time Oscillator, Arduino Potentiometers. Control 9V input and transform it into sound. -Plasma Loudspeaker: Is a DIY device that makes the input signal turn into sound through plasma gas. It is a D.I.Y. loudspeaker. A plasma speaker is made by using a 555 timer chip driving a flyback transformer using an IRF640 Mosfet. The widths of the pulses generated by the 555 are modulated using an audible signal. The sound you hear is produced by the spark: there is no other source of sound. (the artist offers the possibility to develop a workshop about sound theories, techniques and practices. more information available on request) Video: Glitch Photojournalism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QP oZVWG4hMg&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G F82YosbY&feature=youtu.be Installation: Sixchannel video projection with sound specific installation of plasma loudspeakers. Installed in a large darkened chamber creating a physically immersive experience.
An interview with
Laura Plana Gracia Your audiovisual performance/installation"Median Ages" has its roots in the international cooperation in post-communist countries of Africa. Could you introduce our readers to the birth of this highly layered project? Median Ages is a consequence of a personal situation. In my childhood I travelled around African countries, where the movements of black liberation had taken place. After the 70â€™s processes of liberation and independence, there were still some war conflicts after the Russian Perestroika, in 1989. The support of the international communism from Russia ended with the fallen of the wall. Those countries, which had received support and help, were abandoned and immediately civil wars exploded there. After being a passerby citizen in Mozambique, Angola and South Africa, I was devoted to study its history. Reading the complex map of post-colonial Africa make me understand how archetypical roles are fundamental to construct the ideology of power.
Laura Plana Gracia
This field in history, the back independence in countries belonging to communist bloc, is less explored than other archetypical or more attractive subjects. This is another reason why I configure a different aesthetic next to understand the process of constructing power. In that sense, I erase all unique figure in the images collected, because my interest is not the iconic ideology, but the more specific context of surrounding, the environment of humans or the landscape of materiality. In these historical processes, I also do a research about the history of acquiring material in mines, land and earth.
sound archives allow me to review the historical process. Working with open media implies a new way of thinking the mainstream representation. The reproduction processes of historical memory reinforce power structures. The obliterated voices, those that have been silenced by memory processes enhanced by mass media communication, could be reinserted in the collective imagination through new voices. This process facilitates the preservation of deranged, annihilated or exterminated social groups, different ethnics and quite often oppressed ideologies. To work for the rehabilitation of the libertarian thought using sound techniques, popular music or political speech, is an aesthetical and ethical resolution that confronts the unified figure of an icon of power. These strategies are trying to demolish unified mainstream culture represented by God, King or Dictatorships.
Your work using historical sound archives has been fundamental for this project: an attempt to going beyond a "reviewing process": in your opinion what is the potential of "appropriation art"? Work with sound resources as speeches or
Through corrupted sounds and noises, the piece tries to give deeper sense to images. As I told, the film is configured by a landscape of images that try to disembody, in a search for material. And sound is adding to this perception the sense of a spectrum conducted by frequencies. Here, melodies and harmonies are completely deconstructed, obliterated, by harsh noise and popular voices. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? On one side, there is the sound. I work with speech and discourse. I use echoes, reverbs and high frequencies, processes of manipulating sound that permit to underline very particular ideas or sounds, those that are striking thoughts about freedom or struggle, but also samples that create an idea of gaze, spectrum or deeper life. But, on the other side, there are the images. The selection of the images creates an iconoclastic figure for the population. Once a lecture of the shape and figure is done, it never displays a hero or a unique figure standing alone, but a community. This corresponds to the general idea against leaders, icons or mainstream culture. It is because the occidental culture has been erected from the idea of the icon against the masses. What artistic media do you prefer to work in and there any that you donâ€™t like to use?
And that is why they use appropriation in its style. To work with sounds and images already taken finishes with the idea of the authorship and moreover opens a process to represent the social group or the community.
Live audiovisual has been the most important media I have found in my career. I am based in electronic art and I cannot understand an artwork responding to the contemporary social conditions that does not include a sense of movement, change, music and image in movement. Also, I am interested in collective works, working in group, rather than presenting unique solo artists. There is an important fact and is the use of DIY instruments in live performances.
Your music has an important role. Audio has a huge importance in your works. the use of soundtrack and sound archive has not a diegethical aims, but tend to sabotage the common perception mechanism like in the films of the french director Alain-Robbe Grillet. Could you introduce our readers to this aspect of your filmmaking?
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?
Documentary photography engages with the unseen, hidden and intangible aspects. Within a cinematographic style of long tracking shot resulting in a spectral, disembodied gaze film. The piece haunts a visceral soundscape in a DIY noise composition.
Since I have a background in history, sociology and anthropology my art is based in politi-
cal activism, those movements from the 60s and 70s. Artists that were involved in the de-colonialism process. Art from South-America or Central-America is now on view at Tate Modern: Guerrilla Action Group, Group Material and those more contemporary such as the
activism of Pussy Riot. Giving a response to economic and social transformation, artistsâ€™ collectives re-activate local processes with apolitical manifestations to improve their conditions. At the same time, tendencies in underground music and anti-establishment culture
of new Christians, because the new deal and the wealth after 2nd world war. Blues music and rock roll fuses into new tendencies such noise rock, psychobilly and the uses of first synthesizers. The history of electronic music and techno introduces new sound, rhythms and music modulations that contribute to the understandings of factors such as antimainstream industry and power of ideology. Bands and music from the 70s like Silver Apples, Velvet Underground, Neu!, Can, and the experimentation with electronic music and techno culture are main influence in my work. Whatâ€™s next for Laura Plana Gracia? Are there any new projects on the horizon? My artistic project is presented under the moniker Lara Pearl. The project titled Median Ages will be touring to Portugal next summer, at Invisible Places Festival, where major Academic and Research Center for Electronic Music and Sound are participating, IRZAM, SARC, EAVI Goldsmith, etcâ€Ś Also Median Ages will be on tour to England, next October. A part, as curator, manager and promoter I am developing a series of experimental electronic music, techno and dark ambient gigs with underground sound and sonic artist. It is in a concert venue in East London, near Whitechapel gallery. All welcome.
arises altogether with actions against Vietnam War in the United States of America The history of oppressed culture encounters a social expression in blues, folk and rock and roll music. The industry production in the southern coast replaces the logical discourse
Margarita Novikova An artist's statement
I refer to conflicts and contradictions as philosophical categories; so I see myself as a video-Aristotle, who tries to investigate philosophical questions with the help of the language of moving images. However, I am unable to prove my statement with argument; it is mainly based on my feelings and perception. So letâ€™s call it a sort of a joke. I can call my artistic method of subject development â€œpsychofilmingâ€?. It is based on collaging of chronotopes, that is a combina-
The main topic of my work as a video artist is conflicts and contradictions and the thin verges where the conflicts originate. These are the conflicts between justice and injustice, usefulness and uselessness, male and female, eternity and vanity, sincerity and hypocrisy, clarity and formalism, stupidity and intelligence, etc.
A still from Sloth (2012)
Still from the HOLE IN THE CITY video
tion of several different time and space units in one video frame. Thatâ€™s why I sometimes apply multiscreen in my videos. I also use video collaging and sound design, based on my collection of selfrecorded sounds and noises. The combination of multiscreen, video collaging and sound design is one of the methods of recombination of different documentary or/ and imaginary events and objects. I usually film them with my video camera at the exact
moment when I feel I have to do it, or at some point, when I organize some staged/ performance filming. Video is the basic media I work with, but sometimes I use mixed media and ready-made objects for creating installations and participation/ relational projects.
An interview with
Margarita Novikova Since the first time we have watched your work Hole in the City we have been really impressed by your personal concept of psychogeography. Could you tell us a particular episode that has helped the birth of this project? Ok, a particular episode. I was in London after a few sessions of filming the abandoned places of Berlin. I had a collection of footage and planned to think about its conceptualization. It was definitely February, 20th, when I learned about the Maidan massacre in Kiev. Many of the newsreels proved that some of the killers of the Kiev’s rally participants could be connected with the Russian Secret Service or even were Russian themselves. What the fuck! What are they doing? I even could not imagine what would happen in a couple of months, but either way I was very unnerved. Later on, walking in the city I saw a small group of people with Ukrainian flags in front of the Houses of Parliament. It was a Ukrainian expatriates’ rally supporting their native country against the killings in Kiev. Some of them were crying and so did I. Then I left them for a meeting with my friend, a London based artist. First of all I asked her: “How would you represent a hole on your drawing, if you need to?” I asked her because at that moment the concept of the film relating to the “holes” in Berlin had already dawned on me. Was it about psychogeography?
Orlov for his helicopter video buzz over a cardboard map. A street artist Pavel 183 for his honesty and courage. Liza Morozova for her hyper-honest, serious and personally brave performance statements. Ilia Kitup for his drawing industry and productivity. And, above all, Maria Arendt for the overall finesse of her artistic work and not less her human and personal delicacy. We have been impressed by the way you are able to "see" the traces of the past in Berlin, revealing a visual approach destabilizing the dimension of time and space. How did you develop your style?
Russia has a huge importance in your artistic research. Let’s speak about influences. Have any Russian artist from the older generation inspired you?
In the late ‘80s I started to use a 16-mm camera for my experiments with filming of fragments of an old village in the middle of a new rising Moscow suburb. I got the camera from the student documentary studio in MEPhI where I studied. Neither myself nor my friends from the studio had ever heard about video art at that time. So my experiments looked strange for all of us. I’d love to have a look at what I filmed then, but - it's a pity - all my early films were lost. I can only suppose that it could be an attempt of video art style thinking and self-
These are certainly Yury Zlotnikov with his ideas - among other matters - of plastics in cinema; Andrey Monastyrsky with his metaphysical poetics; Yury Albert with his clarity of ideas; an artist Alexander Sokolov as a sophisticated art theorist. I would also gladly mention some younger artists, such as Anatoly Osmolovsky for his bravura in one of his early performances in the Red Square. Painter Ilya
Still from the HOLE IN THE CITY video
processes’ regulation as such and to research what stands behind regulation when a lot of people are involved in it. I was not planning to use the multiscreen method as my signature method, but the subject matter imposed itself in such a way that at times I simply had to employ this technic my work from time to time. For example it to be utilized in my recombination of events (documentary and staged) in two “self-portraits” (HARVEST. SUBLIMATIONS and CINDERELLA 2.0). As I can state now the multiscreen method helps to "collage chronotopes" (that is a combination of several different time and space units in one video frame).
expressing. In the mid ‘90s I as a film editor and a crew chief working on an absurdist TV comedy series (ha-ha, I don’t even remember its name!). The series was based on early paradoxical humour stories by Alexander Selin. The whole creative process was all about destabilizing all the possible dimensions! The destabilization process had successfully begun. After a break (working as a journalist, photographer and magazine editor) I finally returned to moving images again. This time it was video. I will show the development of my style/ methods through the description of some of my works below. Once I decided to employ a specific film editing method - multiscreen - instead of making a 3channel video installation. I am talking about the PROCESSES’ REGULATION video where I combined three different pieces of footage in one frame for the first time. I divided the frame into the main screen and two smaller screens. Every footage “jumps” to the bigger screen when the episode of regulation comes to its culmination. The footage was filmed within one year in three different public spaces in Seoul, Bordeaux and Milan. They were connected together in an attempt to look into the issue of
My other project, an interactive online web museum ПутчЁSelf (PutchYourself) could be considered only by a stretch a sample of multiscreen project. It recounts the story of the Soviet Coup d’Etat in August 1991 through personal accounts of these events. It consists of: 1) automatically loaded interview snippets arranged to tell the story of the Coup with options to pause and restart; 2) character facemap, allowing the viewer to navigate through different stories by clicking on faces of project participants; 3) archival material,
Screenshot of PUTHYOURSELF interactive project
thematically placed to illustrated stories and can be expanded for closer inspection; 4) full interviews, stored externally on Youtube.com.
purpose. I just try to keep it comprehensible, even though we are talking not about a film but about a participatory aesthetic project COMMUNICATION LINE - SINGLE SOCKS CLUB where the viewers acted as their own medium. Putting a sock on the rope the viewer took part in the creation of the installation. One wrote their messages on a piece of paper, chose a sock to place wishes in, hung the sock on any part of the rope that was attractive to him aesthetically.
In the video IN OUR TOWN produced for street projection on a building on the Museums Night one can see animated amusing comics by Ilia Kitup combined with my footage. Experimental film SEASICKNESSES contrasting perspective and sound. Filmed day after day the Pacific Oceanâ€™s majestic movement embodied by the sailorâ€™s voices telling their earth-bound stories. So my methods look different but I think they are rather simple; the style depends on my
A recurrent characteristic of your artworks is experience as starting point of artistic
utilization of experience of others, artists and theorists as well. Some of my works are based on my private experience such as the CHRONICLES ON THE LAP where I participated in the event described. On the other hand in the VENUSIAN SKETCHES only imagination worked because I myself have never travelled to Venus. 5) We have been impressed with your video work which CHRONICLES ON THE LAP. Could you introduce our readers to this project? Originally CHRONICLES ON THE LAP was a part of a collaborative exhibition project “Inside Out” of two artists, Maria Arendt, a contemporary embroiderer, and myself. She made a set of embroideries inspired by the soviet films of the ‘60s. Exactly at that time I inherited some family chronicles filmed by my grand-uncle. I proposed to Maria to combine our forces in the research of the reciprocity between pop culture (old fiction films about soviet families’ life in ‘60s, inspired her) and real private life (for example fixed as filmed chronicles) and also contemporary art and today’s life. While we were working on the project the Russian invasion of Ukraine started and incidentally one of the videos from my grand-uncle’s archive was about a similar event in 1968 when Russia also invaded another country. I’d just finished two short animations of embroideries’ digital images combined with a chronicle of episodes of weddings in the ‘60s and ‘70s according to our project theme. But these videos felt so light-hearted and inappropriate for the moment! I realized that I cannot avoid the subject of Ukraine anymore.ì
production: in your opinion, is experience an absolutely necessary part of creative process? No, absolutely not. I believe smartness, an open mind and fast reactions are much more important for artistic production. But regardless of whether we wish it or not everyone has their own private experience and perceives the world in their own way, regardless of whether we wish it or not. If experience provides an opportunity to see things and their interconnections wider and deeper, I will definitely answer 'yes' to this question. Even if we are talking about the
SINGLE SOCKS CLUB public project
Still from the CHRONICLES ON THE LAP video
Still from the CINDERELLA 2.0 video
Still from the PROCESSES' REGULATION video
I was born in the 1960s and as a small girl I was a citizen of an aggressive country, the USSR. Now I find myself in the similar position yet again in my country, Russia is an aggressor again. So as an artist I cannot help but reflect this in my work. Painful events affect everyone in Russia, even though many people don’t want to notice them and never feel their own responsibility. I recollect 1968 when I was a young girl and spent my summer holiday on the Baltic Sea with my mother. I do remember the days when the adults looked exited and scared: Soviet tanks entered Prague. I asked my mother to recount her memories of those days
and recorded them for the third and most important video for the “Inside Out” project. For example I knew from my mom’s story that I asked her in 1968 to send me to an orphanage while she would go to the war. CHRONICLES ON THE LAP is about normal everyday people’s life and their willingness to be happy even when something terrible happens. It’s about the delicate verge between indifference and personal involvement; about pain and responsibility for what’s going on even if you are not particularly on the fighting line. Trying to express these painful feelings I decided that I have to make a personal ritualistic
thoughts. Just like my mom did on her summer vacation in 1968. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? You want to learn my secrets! Ok, there is usually some coincidence that leads to an idea of a video. It could something triggered by something which I have filmed but suddenly takes on a new significance for me. It could happen the other way round. Changes to the concept and the layout can happen at any moment. And my inner editor with the big sharp scissors - thanks to my previous job as a magazine editor - wakes up from time to time. In time, I hope. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts with us, Margarita. What's next for Margarita Novikova? Thank you for your interest and for the deep and thoughtful questions. It was very useful for me to frame and define the principles of my work. I am planning to continue the development of the relational/ participatory theme. And I finally will finish my long-delayed project which I started 4 years ago in India. I was invited to an Indian burial by a gentleman from London who brought to Varanasi ashes from UK to bury them there. We became friends with this gentleman; we met many times in London and India again. I recorded his explanations as to why is he bringing ashes to India, what does it mean for him, what does he and the others feel about loneliness, if the rituals help and so on. I projected a model of a door rotating around a vertical axis for this projec. The door is a screen for three (I suppose) videos projected from three different directions onto the door. At the same time the door should symbolize the convergence and divergence of perceptions of varying types through time and space.
performance. I was sitting in an empty kitchen in Berlin with several jars of gouache in front of me, and an open book with Soviet photos of the â€˜60s. Looking at the photos devoted to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and thinking about Ukraine today I painted my laps yellow and blue. Then I wiped out the colours of the Ukrainian flag (yellow and blue) with bloody coloured paint. I had to do something with my feelings and I did it with the help of my body and yellow, blue and red gouache. I fixed the performance using my Galaxy Tab 2, closed the book, washed the floor and myself. Then I left for some nice party somewhere in Kreuzberg - to clear my mind of the difficult
Of my other projects I would like to mention the Propeller Mobile Conference (PMC), founded in 2013 with Berlin based artist Ilia Kitup. The program of PMC includes screenings, performances, exhibitions of graphics and books, lectures on art and literary readings, all in three languages English, German and Russian. The concept of PMC is simple enough: both participants are mobile; they travel together with a notebook and a folder, which contain all the necessary material in digital and paper form. We are ready to be your guests on request!
Phoebe Man Light is the basic element of moving images. I want to find different ways to transform light. The method is kind of sculptural. That is to treat images as raw material and use addition, subtraction and repetition methods to change the images. It is also kind of mathematical and experimental. It looked rational and I wanted to add human touch to the work to create contrast, so my hand appears in the video. Subtle feeling is conveyed through the touch. I did not draw storyboard. The process of making video and trying different things was a process of discovery and self exploration. It shows direct feeling and is kind of abstract and I wish that can leave more space for imagination. The audience feedback is encouraging, for example a girl said the work was kind of sexy. I have not thought of that before and found it interesting. The feeling of the work is led by the physical environment where I made the piece. I found the image of light in my small bedroom and thought of doing something about it. The whole work was produced in a small enclosed space. It was full of stuff and it pushed me to make the video clean, quiet and focus. It is also a common living environment in Hong Kong, pack and small. It is very expensive to own a flat in Hong Kong. Therefore a lot of Hong Kong people's private space is very small. The sound was made after I had finished the piece. I told my artist friend to think of water and small enclosed space. He made the sound part that matches my piece. 60
Captions 1, details
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An interview with
Phoebe Man Phoebe Man's research focus on the essence itself of moving images: light. Her works have been exposed in intern ational exhibitions like the Venice Biennale and she received awards from the Hong Kong Museum of Art and Philippe Charriol Foundation. The tactile element is no doubt a fundamental aspect of her artistic research: in her works, the screen seems to become a touchable and at the same time ethereal surface. We are really glad to present her video Touch the Moon in this Videofocus Biennial. Phoebe, you define
your method "sculptural". Could you introduce our readers to your creative process? Light is the basic element of moving images. I want to find different ways to transform light. The method is kind of sculptural, that is, to treat images as raw material and use addition, subtraction and repetition methods to build and carve the images. It is also kind of mathematical and experimental. This looked rational and I wanted to add human touch to the work to create contrast, so others could also see my
Captions 3, details
hand transforming the images in the video. Subtle feelings were conveyed through the touch of the â€œscreenâ€?. I could do it slowly and softly, or violently. I chose the former. I did not draw the storyboard. For me, the process of making video and trying different things was a process of discovery and self-exploration. It shows feeling directly and is kind of abstract. I wish that leaves more of space for imagination. The feedback of the audience is encouraging. For example, a girl said the work was kind of sexy. I had not thought of that before and found it interesting.
You have realized Touch the Moon in a small enclosed space in Hong Kong: since the first time we have watched your work, we had the impression to get in touch with a small place. Could you introduce our readers to this aspect of your art?- How did you come up with the idea for Touch the Moon? Would you tell us a particular episode who has helped the birth of this project? I saw the reflection of light when I moved my desk in my small bedroom. It looked like the moon had dropped on my desk. I sort of wanted to play with it. The whole work was produced in a small enclosed space cluttered with different
Your creative process is led by the physical environment where you realize the piece.
Captions 4, details
kind of stuff and it pushed me to make the style of the video clean, quiet and focus. The physical space created a psychological effect.
Chinese media art scene is often underrated, nonetheless we have found it very interesting and rich of young experimental filmmakers and artists, often working with average budget, but with stunning results. You have curated many Hong Kong experimental videos programs: what do you think of the artistic scene surrounding you?
The video shows the Hong Kong culture. Small spaces are characteristic of the living environment in Hong Kong. It is always packed and small. It is very expensive to own a flat in Hong Kong. According to the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, Hong Kong has been the most expensive housing market in the world for the last four successive years. On average, up to 65% of the household income goes to rent or housing mortgage. That is why private space of Hong Kong people is so small.
That is true. A lot of independent artists are working on low budgets and yet are producing interesting works. There is almost no market for experimental films and videos in Hong Kong and audiences too are small. Most of the video works
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are non-commercial. The themes are about personal lives or social issues. Most of them use free styles, improvisation methods and are nondecorative in nature. Works of some artists with scholarly backgrounds are more conceptual and they use marginalized topics or styles. Most of them show strong resistance to grand narratives of ideology. We have a rich creation of works which are about personal identities, with strong personal character and styles showing the richness of personal lives. Nationalistic concerns are rarely reflected in works of Hong Kong artists. These works mirrors Hong Kongâ€™s long history of colonial education, avoids touching on the past of the city and national awareness and identity of the Chinese citizens.
In the past, artists simply did not care about nationalism or the nation but now people resist talking about it. Although Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997 and 93.6% of the people of Hong Kong are Chinese, a large proportion still does not have a sense of belonging to China. In 2012, there was a huge protest against the â€œbrainwashâ€? national education reform. Hong Kong people were being criticised for not being patriotic enough. The Chinese government wants the head (Chief Executive) of the Hong Kong Government to love China as well as Hong Kong, in other words, be loyal to the ruling party of the Mainland Government. However, many of Hong Kong people are asking for democracy.
They want the government’s power to come from the citizens. There are disagreements between the Mainland Government and the people of Hong Kong. Because of these differences, the identity of Hong Kong people has grown stronger in the last few years. There are more and more media art has political and social concern. Self exploration is a fundamental step in your creative process. The invisible connection you get with the audience is important too. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? I think both parts are equally important because I am also the audience of my work. I need to please myself as well as the audience. As a viewer, I have always questioned myself. Is there anything new in my work? Is it critical? Is it overdone or under developed? What is its link with culture or art history? I enjoy the process of discovery. I am always happy to see unexpected and good things happening. Have other artists influenced your work? Yes, Duchamp, Magritte, Marina Abramović, Suzanne Lacy, actually a lot…. The ideas of my works come from daily life. When I have an idea, I like to search it on the Internet to see how others have handled that idea, think of how I can further develop the idea and avoid looking like other people’s works. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Phoebe. What’s next for Phoebe Man? Are there any new projects on the horizon? Yes. I am doing several socially-engaged art projects. One of them also has a dot image. For the coming project “The Whole-Heated”, the transformation of the “dot” image is not me changing the form and material; the public can participate. I am working with an NGO, Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation, on the comfort women issue. The image of the work is also a dot but this time it is the flag of Japan. The public can participate by drawing on the flag. There is also the image of a heart to comment on the comfort women issue. I plan to put all their works together to make an animation look like a heart that is beating. Here is the promo of the campaign: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWi5dpAO4 BE.
Candace Couse Canada, 2013 Video still from Coping Mechanism
Candace Couse An artist's statement
body, relationships and loss through the internal and deeply private realms of the body.
Predominantly working with installation and video, Candace Couse explores issues surrounding space, place, and the body.
Resembling something in between soft and tempting medical charts that beg to be touched, and the cross slices of anatomical studies, these organs form relationships that connect, disconnect and leave wounds in a montage typically reserved for the world beyond the skin.
Her work eagerly engages with the idea of personal geographies as intimate approaches to orientation and identity that are profoundly detached from collective knowledge and public geographies. In her work she explores ideas of malady, the
Photograph of the artist Candace Couse
An interview with
by photographer Trevor Stoddart
Candace Couse In Coping Mechanism you explore the interior spaces of your body. A fundamental concept characterizing your artistic research is the way you conceive the geographies of the body: these inner and intimate geographies have been rarely explored in the last decades. In his remarkable experimental novel L'enfer Giorgio Manganelli, Italian writer, has faced this concept, however your approach is more radical and at the same time personal. How did you develop your conception of body and space?
place has always been tenuous. Despite the fragility of these narratives and their shaky building blocks, there is something compulsory and crucial about the construct. When we are faced with a disorientation that violates our understanding of the world (our construct) we are wholly disturbed. This confusion that I am referencing is something that resonates through the entire body and not just as a passing thought or feeling. Think of the act of climbing the stairs and anticipating a step where there is none; the construct is violated by “reality”, if only for a moment, and it is startling.
I am really interested in the constructs that we propagate to navigate the world. There is something very fragile about these narratives that are invariably deeply flawed, inaccurate or—at the very least—misaligned with “reality”. False perceptions, the limits of our sensory organs, inadequate knowledge, partial experiences and imperfect memory all work together to ensure that our understanding of space and
The “reality” of space and place is of course quantifiable, to some degree, by collective understanding and scientific knowledge. However, when we talk about lived experience, about an embodied understanding of the world, the human, deeply personal and variable phenomenological approach to space and place is a closer representation of everyday life. This approach is
Candace Couse Canada, 2013 Video still from Coping Mechanism
limited when looking at people as a collective; from a post-modern lens the personal perspective is the most important entry point for artistic practice and the investigation of individual embodied experience.
led Waste. In creating this series I became fixed on disorientation caused by illness and loss. To me, disorientation was and still is a heavily geographic word. This meaning was not lost in translation when I turned the lens to the worries and uncertainties to the interior spaces of my body. The positive values of legible surroundings were missing: the emotional satisfaction, the framework for communication or conceptual organization, my understanding of my placement within a larger world picture. This loss of ground disfigured my identity and imposed an intolerable strain on my sense of world order. My solution was to construct the construction and fabricate a replica of my body. I wanted to make a tangible and fully dissectable stand-in for my body so that I could come to know it through the act of exploration and the gathering of sensory information. In this way I could salvage my world order and gain back control. I do not see this as being too far remo-
Your daily experience is very important for your artist practise and thinking: could you explain this aspect? Everyday moments come from everyday movements. The body moves through space, causes change and builds a more complete picture of the world. I think the little moments of everyday experience are telling and profound. I think they deserve more focus than we tend to give them as we come face to face with issues that seem more pressing. Could you tell us a particular episode who has helped the birth of Coping Mechanism, or simply an epiphany? Coping Mechanism is part of a larger series cal-
Candace Couse Canada, 2013 Video still from Coping Mechanism
ved from the actual system of processes we use to construct space.
mesmerizing effect that draws the eye in. Illness is no doubt a recurring theme in your artworks. Why?
I often work in installation art, but with Coping Mechanism I wanted to utilize the frame of the image. Stop motion animation uses a rapid succession of photographs to transcend the limits of the fixed frame. Gertrude Stein once referred to movement as "a groping for a continuous present" and "an inevitable beginning of beginning again and again and again".
I am truly interested in the ways we view our bodies, and the control we expect to have over them. Coping Mechanism addresses the anxieties of the body, predominantly those experienced during illness and loss, where one's own body becomes a foreign and uncontrollable thing, suddenly existing as something somehow apart from oneself. I filmed the dissection of my body, attempting to map, catalogue, or peg down that which essentially belongs to me. This piece is about control, and the attempt to reclaim the body as a safe space: one that is movable, flexible and ruled.
When Stein talked about this she was referencing language, but the sense of movement and repetition is really evocative of what stop motion does; it has the ability to focus and fragment attention through the continuous supplanting or erasing of one image by another. The layering of images over other images, the repetition and disorientation caused by the fragmentation of the otherwise cohesive whole lends itself to the anxieties Iâ€™m expressing and I feel like it has a
What aspect of your work do you enjoy the
Canada, 2013 Video still from Coping Mechanism
Candace Couse Canada, 2013 Video still from Coping Mechanism
the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? There is something magical in the process and result of works that require endurance-like attention. My work of this nature has a tactile quality to it and tends to be methodical, repetitive and slow. Process is so important to my practice. My works often begin with a feeling, or the slightest, most shapeless of ideas and transform in to something very concrete and thick with reflection. It is the time involved in constructing works like Coping Mechanism that accounts for this change. There is also a physicality to its construction; the repetitive movements over time (sewing, stitching, tiny shifts in material) seem to capture memory. Just like recollections that are rushed forward through familiar scents, repetitive movements capture ideas and play them back in my mind when I observe the work later. I love that. This is obviously an aspect of the work that never translates to the viewer. This is an aspect of the work that is always resting, primed and accessible to me. Ultimately the point of any work is to engage in conversation with the viewer and there in a dynamism in that, of course. Nothing else maters if the work fails in this, but there is still something intimate in the private exchange. I enjoy it.
Candace Couse Canada, 2013 Video still from Coping Mechanism
am perusing a PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities, conducting research in the role that art production has on artists undergoing illness and body trauma and how art production at this precipice may contribute to reorientation after sizable shifts in understanding. Among other offerings, I am teaching a Research Seminar in
Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts with us, Candace. What's next for Candace Couse? Thank you, it was my pleasure. I am currently teaching at Brock University in Canada where I
Captions 3, details
Visual Art that employs critical knowledge of contemporary practices in cultural production, their historical trajectories and major practitioners. My practice is sitting on the back burner at the moment, but next month work from Waste will be available to view at Tangent Gallery in
Detroit, MI, USA. More information about my upcoming engagements can always be found on my website: www.candacecouse.net.
Celia Eid & Robert C Interstitial Traces Video – Celia Eid Musique – Robert Coburn Two countries, two collaborators, two cultures, two media. Interstitial Traces for alto and baritone saxophone, computer soundscape, and animation is a collaboration between French animation artist Celia Eid and California composer/sound artist Robert Coburn. It was
created while they were living on different continents – she in France and he in Japan. In a way, the piece represents both of these cultural influences. The flowing, abstract gestures of the animation are very much in keeping with Celia’s Brazilian/French artistic nature while the sound world has its basis in field recordings Robert was collecting in Japan. The title imagines those mysterious points of contact or overlap between and within the two media and across the
In the end the delays and shifts in time across the globe provided positive flexibility as the processes of frame by frame animation and audio manipulation and editing moved forward at such different speeds. At various points in the process, each artist took the lead to shape the details while also opening up new areas for exploration.
Two layers, two screens, two performers, two speakers. In early discussions of the collaborative process a decision was made to deal with the work as an accumulation of double layers, primarily foreground and background in each media. This aligned well with Robert’s normal approach to sound and music composition while also providing a useful visual framework for the development of the animation. The idea of double elements was expressed as well in the visual space. Robert had created several works of his own for instruments, computer, and video, influenced by what he perceived as the perceptual nature of peripheral vision. Choosing to create the visual element for two screen projection (32:9) doubled the horizontal space while also allowing the opportunity for interplay between visual elements across this space. Realization of these ideas began with Celia’s white, horizontal imagery as background but quickly evolved into something more. After seeing the abstraction of Celia’s animation, Robert found many shapes that seemed to suggest elements from the real world. In wanting to ground the abstraction of the visuals in a non-abstract sound world, he chose to work with found sounds and field recordings he was currently collecting in Japan. The abstraction of the animation and the mix of environmental sounds served to make a perfect pairing. In the animation, foreground elements in color overlaid the background of white against black while similarly, plans were made for a live performance saxophone duo to layer over the soundscape. As the work unfolded, the foreground – background elements in each media flowed into each other as the sounds and images themselves merged and took on new life. As with any collaboration, the piece grew in unexpected ways as both artists participated actively in decisions regarding both media. The result is a work that goes beyond what either of them might have ever dreamed separately.
intentions of the two artists. This liminal space explored through the creative process opens onto a shared experience where sound and image are merged. In the creation of Interstitial Traces, active collaboration was fundamental to the process. Because the two artists were dislocated by both time and space, the exchange of video and audio across the internet necessitated an open, two-way exchange over all aspects of the piece as it developed.
An interview with
Celia Eid and Robert Coburn Since the first time we have watched your video installation, we have been impressed by the abstract gestures of the animation: behind any movement, we had the impression to catch an artistic research spacing from the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen to the abstract-human gestures in modern theather, a multidisciplinary path, indeed, and this impression is confirmed by the fact that Interstitial Traces is a real synesthetic experience. Could you introduce our readers to your vision of "abstract gestures" in animation? Celia : I have a multidisciplinary background (theatre, visual arts, music). I began my professional life in illustration. I worked for newspapers and for publishing houses in Sao Paulo (Brazil), where I was born. The relationship between visual and verbal language was at the heart of my artistic reflections. The human being was my favourite subject. I used to draw poetic characters, both funny and ironic, and in which dramatization, movement and musicality played a key part.
Celia Eid was born in Brazil and is currently based in Paris, France. She creates her animations using traditional stop-frame animation in the computer. While still living in Brazil, Celia Eid won awards for her work as an illustrator and graphic designer. In 1994 she published the graphic novel Penare. After training in digital media she worked for two years in post-production for television and then moved to France to pursue her activities in animation as an independent artist. She has created animations extensively for live music performance and often collaborates with composers and musicians. In 2005, she is rewarded with the Fluxus On-line Festival jury price for the best interactive motion picture with her movie Se taire, si Áa vous chante.
Later on, as a video maker, I drifted away from verbal language. The theatrical and musical aspect took over. I moved closer to contemporary music, which has been essential to my artistic creation in general. My last figurative work dates back to 2004: Se taire, si Áa vous chante (http://www.celiaeid.com/animations-interactives) (award for the best interactive film, at the internet video festival FLUX 2006). It is a silent film which is a reflection on the relationship between visual and verbal language. The main character is a man. The animation is composed of several episodes and, in the silence, the viewer can guess the main character’s thoughts and questions. The narrative is not linear. Viewers can choose the chronological order of the episodes. As I was working on Se taire, si Áa vous chante, it seemed to me that I was moving towards something which, at the time, was still rather unclear to me.
My first abstract animation was Gymel, based on a musical piece by SÈbastien BÈranger. The music determined the abstraction. The great teachings of Paul Klee and of Vassily Kandinsky took on a concrete aspect here to me. You are right: my work is indeed influenced by Stockhausen. In an interview on Radio France Culture, Pierre Boulez mentioned that Stockhausen once gave him a book
People no longer ask me what I have been trying to say through my films. Instead, they tell me about their feelings and relate the film to things they have either seen or experienced. They seem to have more freedom of imagination. But it could also mean that I am not such a good storyteller… How did you come up with the idea for Interstitial Traces? Could you tell us a particular episode who has helped the birth of this project? Celia : In February 2010, I went to Stockton, California, for the SoundImageSound festival, whose artistic director was Robert Coburn. Dislocations, my second abstract video, was performed there. Dislocations is a complex piece. It was created for a piano solo, for electroacoustic music and for sculpture. The pianist interacted with the video by throwing a small luminous ball in the sculpture, which triggered off a change in the video. It was the first time that a composer, SÈbastien BÈranger, had created a specific music piece for one of my videos. It was also the first time that I had worked with a small team who carried out the IT aspects and who created the sculpture. This work was played at Stockton by the Brazilian pianist Amilcar Zani. Later on, it was taken up again by Xenia Pestova at the Modern Art Museum of Strasbourg (non-interactive version).
Robert Coburn is a sound artist and composer. His works include concert pieces, gallery installations, and permanent soundworks as public art. They have been performed throughout the US and in Asia and Europe. During the 2011-12 year he lived in Japan on a Fulbright Award for teaching and research. He is currently Director of Composition at the Conservatory of Music, University of the Pacific, in Stockton, California where he also directs the SoundImageSound International Festival of Music and Visual Image.
A few months before presenting Dislocations in California, I started doing animation attempts, because I was looking for ideas for a new project. Everything was still very vague. I only knew that I wanted to further develop the connection between music and video art. From Paris (where I live) to San Francisco, the plane flew over Canada. It was a lovely winter day, there was a lot of sun, and we were already flying below the clouds a few hours before landing. I looked through the window. What did I see? Mountains†? Rocks†? Trees? I didn’t really know what I was seeing; but there were some very black shapes, marked out by some very white and very thin lines, all scattered around. It was like snow melting away. This picture resembled one of my animation attempts, the one which later became the key image of Interstitial Traces. I knew then that I was on the right track.
by Klee, saying it was a great music lesson. All those artists and musicians have had an influence on me. Ever since my youth, they have inspired my creativity and artistic thinking. To me, there is no difference between abstraction and representation. The world is both abstract and figurative. I do not defend one or the other. Both help to create works of art. Nature is a source of inspiration for me. Interstitial Traces cannot be described as an abstract work. The images might be abstract, but the music of Robert Coburn definitively breaks away from that, as his audio sources come from recordings of the real world. This apparent conflict is a complementary connection between music and image that Robert has been able to capture is fundamental to my video works.
In Stockton, I got to know Robert. His artwork for video and saxophone solo Emptiness [refraction/reflection], was played at the festival. I liked it.
It is worth mentioning that when I turned to abstraction, there was a change in the relationship between the audience and my work.
We had several conversations and although my English was quite poor, I felt we had the same artistic language. When I got back to Paris, I suggested to Robert that we work together. He said yes, even though he was getting ready to go to Japan; I was delighted.
other as well as each others work. I can't recall who first proposed a collaboration but I had made it clear that if she ever wanted to work with another composer, I would be interested. So I believe it was Celia who suggested the collaboration as I was preparing to move to Tokyo. I, of course, immediately responded with enthusiasm after which many emails were exchanged discussing how we might proceed and what might interest each of us. The beginnings of any collaboration are an interesting time and we were able to openly explore various options, eventually settling on
Robert : I have been the artistic director for the SoundImageSound International Festival of New Music and Visual Image for ten years.â€ Twice we have presented Celia's work, first with Gymel and then with Dislocations. When Dislocations was presented, she attended the festival which gave us an opportunity to get to know each
equally around sound and image. This form of exchange was fundamental to the creation of the work - not sound for image or images for sound but a simultaneous intersection of the two. Working on different sides of the globe we, of course, took full advantage of our interconnected world, exchanging sounds and animations across the internet and discussing them through email. The intersection of cultures that this allowed, Celia's Brazilian/French nature with my Japan experience, was always a fascinating part of the creative process. In working on the piece, it was always a two way collaboration - I would respond to Celia's animation ideas and/or suggest the ordering of certain visual content and she would do the same with the sonic material I would send her. Sometimes animation would take the lead, other times sound, or maybe most often they paralleled with no one leading the other but both evolving on a collaborative track. The extremely wide 32:9 format is very unusual: how did you decide to use it? Celia : All my videos are made of images which have been created one by one on the computer. I usually work in HD (High Definition), 1920 by 1080 pixels. For Interstitial Traces, however, I needed a higher resolution to draw more detailed and more precise images, like the fine white lines on a black background. These images are of 8000 by 1120 pixels, which means a 50:7 format. At first, I had planned to reduce my whole project to a HD format once the sequences were completed. But when we saw the potential in these images, we decided to work on this further. We doubled the screen in the final publishing, and the resolution went to 3840 by 1080 pixel, meaning a 32:9 format.
For those who are not experts: in the digital world, the size of an image is defined by itsâ€™ number of pixels. By increasing the number of pixels, I will enlarge an image and improve its quality. However its size on the screen does not change much, just like the size of an image in real life: it cannot change (unless, of course, we change the screen itself). That is a very disturbing aspect of the digital world.
the visual component of two screens and the sonic component of computer sounds plus two live performers. The use of soundtrack has not a diegethical aims here: the role of your active collaboration has been crucial for the realization of Interstitial Traces. Could you introduce our readers to the way Robert and you have worked together?
Robert : For several years I have worked in a wide screen format for my own sound and image pieces. I have always felt that the 4:3 aspect ratio was an awkward and unnatural dimension imposed upon us for some
Robert : From the beginning our choice was to make this a true collaboration, creating all elements simultaneously and interacting
unnecessary reason. Most of my current work had been in 16:9. This has been influenced by both the technical developments of HD and my own thoughts about the way we experience the world through human peripheral vision. In the past I had also presented performances of the incredible three screen pieces by the Montreal composer Jean PichÈ and they made a powerful impression on me. When given a chance I felt that our work together would be exciting in a very wide, double screen format. From the beginning I wished to work in layers. This is something that is also often prevalent in my individual work and I felt it might lend itself well to the animation process and collaboration. An early decision we made was to simply work in the two layers of foreground and background. As we developed this idea, a lot of doubling or pairing found its way into the composition - two video channels/screens, two audio channels/speakers, two saxophones, live sound and computer soundscape, animation background and foreground, black/white and color. The wide screen format (2 screens) was a significant early decision but it was fundamental to this idea of doubling of content. What kind of technology have you used in producing Interstitial Traces? Celia : I often tell the joke that I use stone age technology. I create my images using old and unknown software, Liberty. When I learnt how to use it, it didn’t even work on PCs. The company that was selling it told me at the time that the updates would soon stop. But to this day, with each new computer and each new Windows application, Liberty still works. One day, however, Liberty will probably stop. But that’s life, isn’t it?
Robert: Because I was in Japan away from my home studio I worked with fairly standard technology for this piece. I made field recordings using a Sony PCM-D50 portable digital audio recorder and custom head worn microphones from Sonic Studios in Oregon (http://www.sonicstudios.com/). On the software side I manipulated sounds using GRM Tools and Max/MSP, and for this piece I built tracks and mixed to video in Soundtrack Pro on my laptop. In the end technology is only a tool for creation. Whether you work with the newest, cutting edge hardware and software or something perhaps less advanced, the importance lies in what you create, not what you use to create.
It is always the person that holds the tool that matters. Frames are domined by a strong presence of black. Why?
Celia : It was due to a technical reason to start with. To be more flexible and get more creative interaction between music and video, we used two layers. Images had to be in RGBA for the two layers to be superimposed; meaning, images with 4 canals: red, green, blue and alpha (transparent canal). Black isn’t black, it is a non-existing colour. This way, we could also very easily change the order for the layers according to our needs.
In fact, I could have created any kind of background; this one, however, went well with the mysterious, nocturnal, nostalgic and melancholic atmosphere of Robert’s music. And when we know that the black we have in this work doesn’t exist, the image becomes even more disturbing: sounds, footsteps, souls (?) walking in the emptiness? Robert Coburn has worked with found sounds collected in Japan. How did he select this material?
of the work.†Once I had seen some of Celia's animation clips, I made the decision to employ real world sounds as part of the soundscape. I wanted to find a way to ground her abstract animation in a real world of recognizable sound material. I was living in Japan and giving a good deal of my time to collecting sounds and visual images for my own creative use. I was deeply immersed in the experience of ritual and real life in Japan and excited about the way in which sounds from my side of the globe could enhance and inform Celia's images from France.
Robert: The sounds chosen for Interstitial Traces emerged as a response to several aspects
The more I watched the animation clips, the more I began to form the impression that I was
seeing living creatures - the way the images moved and flowed or bounced about suggested the characterization of animate objects, an imaginative world of creatures that wanted voices of their own. From there it was a creative journey, connecting sounds to certain images. The objects that reach up from below the screen at 51 seconds and recur several times throughout the work attracted a low, somewhat bumbling sound. At 2 minutes 15 seconds the lines running
parallel with small objects on them suggested birds on a wire. The vertical lines just before that moved as if marching and drew the sounds of gravel beneath feet. I also wished to position the piece within an evocative and more mysterious sound world. For this world I drew largely from a night of ambient sounds recorded at Chion-in Buddhist temple in Kyoto. The footsteps as people
moved across the gravel square, the murmuring of night sounds and voices, the squeaking of ancient gates all provided rich materials that became part of the fundamental soundscape of Interstitial Traces.
some examples of the drumming I had created from a single drum sound and Celia responded with the marvelous section of spinning, flowing red patterns that form an important section in the later half of the work.
And finally, the more "musical" material of traditional taiko drumming found its way into the piece at a time when we were at a decision point and searching for a new direction. I sent
Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? Celia : Â´â€ Le problĂ‹me est que mes erreurs sont
peut-Ítre ce qu’il y a de plus personnel dans mes films†ª
creative process. It doesn’t mean that I lack discipline. On the contrary, I am well-organised and rigorous, even if there is no set plan. I go where my imagination takes me, and my ideas evolve as I create.
“The issue is that my mistakes are what is perhaps most personal about my films.” (Michelangelo Antonioni)
Robert: †For me it involves a lot of time spent thinking and sensing the true nature of a work. I often have a lot of false starts with materials before something really gels. A new composition has to grow somewhat organically for me to allow it to speak with its own voice. Once I have an idea started I spend a great deal of time writing and rewriting, mostly in the process of reducing and simplifying the material. When the voice of the work surfaces
I am someone who often gets lost in daily life. Someone who can set out to go to the baker’s, and end up at the butcher’s. I am a star-gazer. That is how I work. I wander about but keep on track. I have learnt that by getting lost, taking different paths, going back a step, going somewhere else; all these wanderings are in fact a way of being that can be transformed into a
great art teacher. For two weeks, I drew non-stop on large-sized sheets of paper, either standing or lying on the floor, on my back or on my tummy. He taught me how to use pen and pencil again. The strokes followed the movements and amplitude of my arms and body. I was dancing. I then started lithography. I carried stones, grained them and spattered myself about with greasy ink. It was incredibly and wonderfully messy and full of substance. I have gained possession of my brain again and the screen is now back to its place. I also have a new project. It is a video for a dance performance by the choreographer Ashley Chen Robert: I have several projects underway, most recently a few acoustic works for performers I met while living in Japan. It has been a long time since I have written for acoustic instruments without any kind of technology. Satako Inoue will play my new work for piano in Tokyo and California this fall and I am in the middle of a piece to present to ensemble NOMAD scored for guitar, clarinet, viola, cello, bass, marimba and percussion. I am, of course, still deeply involved with the technology side of things. I've recently delved back into one of my first loves: Buchla analog synthesis systems. I am developing some new works for analog sound and video, and plan to produce both fixed media and live performance versions.
Websites: http://vimeo.com/user9639500 http://www.celiaeid.com fragilehorizon.com and there is nothing unnecessary left to remove then the piece has found its right place and I can proceed. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts with us, Celia and Robert .What are your next projects on the horizon? Celia : After Interstitial Traces, I was lost between one animation attempt and the next. After years of working on the computer, my brain, my arms, legs, ears, nose and eyes had turned into a screen. The chair had become my body. Then one day, I got up. First, I underwent training at Drawinternational, in Caylus (France) with John MacNorton. John is a great teacher, a .
Fiona Cashell A Living Place, 2014 by Fiona Naomi Cashell: a synopsis
A Living Place was shot over the month of March, 2014 in St.James, New york. Filming was limited to the proximity of the artists home.
reflects on the commonality of suburbia but also seeks to show the small, seemingly insignificant and quiet moments that we may find there.
A Living Place speaks of our domestic relationship to the suburban environment. It
The viewer is taken on a sensory journey, with limited movements to create an
A still from A Living Place, 2014 Video [H.264, 3,840 x 1,080, AAC, 48000 Hz, Stereo (L R)], 7:12
atmosphere of an eerie and isolated nature. We do not know if this location is vacated, or indeed, occupied. The environments shown are living, but quite often appear 'dead'. It is down to the viewers own reaction or preconceptions to determine whether or not
it is either or perhaps even both. A Living Place calls into question the attitudes we form toward place; and highlights the â€˜invisibleâ€™ landscapes we choose to ignore, even when we are living in them and with them.
An interview with
Fiona Cashell The concept of space, meant as the sum of the interactions between human beings and environment, is fundamental in your art research : could you introduce our readers to this important aspect of A Living Place? A Living Place for me was about seeing suburbia and acknowledging the domestic space, but also, as you suggest in the question, it goes beyond the obviousness of these, and seeks to reflect on the relationship between human being and space, or, environment. In making this short video (which was shot entirely around the vicinity of my home on long island), I had a number of goals. Firstly: to view a suburban or 'lived' space in terms of its components and 'constraints', and secondly: I wished for the viewer to see or push past these attributes, however dull, rudimentary or 'normal' they may seem at first glance. There is a beauty that exists even in the most mundane, ordinary things, and to me, that's kind of amazing and intriguing. I wanted to capture that in 'A Living Place', while leaving room for interpretation by the viewer. Some people have reacted in the way that I had envisaged, and others, have been disturbed, almost saddened by what they saw, and I think that's ok too. Everybody has individual reactions to environment, because we each have our own unique relationship to a place/and or space. We each also have our own preconceptions that will inevitably be challenged in some way. I wanted to leave room for that kind of experience in this piece. In your work we can recognize a deep introspection: do you think artâ€™s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artistâ€™s expression? Do you think that art could play an important role in facing social questions? Could art steer or even change people's behavior? It depends on the artists own objectives. For me, I am expressing how I feel, and I am trying to an-
swer lingering questions and explore fascinations which persist inside me. Simultaneously, I am trying to communicate directly with you, as much as I can, without it becoming a forced condition within the creative practice.
My feeling is, if I make something that I know, feel or have lived; if I make something that is true, that this in turn is the best way that I can speak to you through art, because It comes from a real place, because I am showing you what I
have observed or felt and maybe, you will recognize that or respond to that because you have felt it, seen it and experienced it too. The potential for art to explore issues we face in
A still from A Living Place, 2014 Video [H.264, 3,840 x 1,080, AAC, 48000 Hz, Stereo (L R)], 7:12
society is far reaching and incredibly exciting, for it can enable us to interact in a more abstract way with notions of it as a entity; as a living thing which exists all around us, changing and evolving so continuously. We are in control, but we are not. Its a dichotomy. In regards to changing behavior, this may not be possible in rudimentary terms, but the ability for art to impact people and society at the same time is real. The idea and actuality of 'behavior' within society is such a force to contend with. We are also talking about the individual and the group and the complexities that lie therein. I do
believe art can change perspectives however. It can open your mind. It can make you feel, think and acknowledge. It can challenge. There is much that can potentially happen within that realm of thought. Why did you decide to use the split screen technique in this work? It was based upon the idea that in our environments, and indeed in life and in the mind- there will always be dual moments; 'dualities' as I call them, that exist in terms of space and distance, physical and psychological.
It felt like a natural direction to go in, and much of the footage I had taken felt comfortable on the screen together, side by side. I also liked the idea that looking at one screen you might miss something in the other, or at least, you might 'think' you might miss something, which brings a sort of tension to the piece. In our environments however- that reality exists. Multiple things are happening at multiple times and we can never see everything. Which I think is so interesting, and brings up questions regarding the conceptual nature of time. Could you take us through your creative
process when starting a new project? Being outside; interacting and observing people, nature and environment, and understanding my relationship to those things is extremely important and relevant to my practice. Acknowledging truthfully how I feel about something, a situation or a person is something that I try to actively incorporate into my work as I make. I like ideas to form naturally as I go about my daily life. I like the drive to begin a specific project to build over a time, so that once I start
A still from A Living Place, 2014 Video [H.264, 3,840 x 1,080, AAC, 48000 Hz, Stereo (L R)], 7:12
making, I am quite productive and decisive about what I am doing. Sometimes I over think the ideas too much, and that can be stunting, so I try to avoid that situation. When I over-think, I can persuade myself that I have failed even before I have begun. I fall down a sort of metaphorical conceptual rabbit hole. But I think that is a common thing amongst artists! Its all about doing. Once I have the footage, the editing process can be so enlightening and revealing. Its often afterwards on reviewing the work, that I am surprised by what I have done, because in trusting myself and working instinctively as well as intellectually, I have subse-
quently achieved more, or something differentusually deeper/more multi-layered than than my original intention had foreseen. In that kind of result or outcome, I am always happy (usually!). Could you tell us a particular episode who has helped the birth of A Living Place? Moving from Dublin to Long Island in 2012 to begin the MFA program at Stony Brook University, was a complete culture shock. I suddenly found myself in a strange setting. It was so alien to me. Long island is more or less a kind of rural suburbia.
It is a collection of small to medium towns, with houses usually spaced out, in all different shapes and sizes and surrounded by trees. I live on the north shore, which is the kind of urban planning I am referencing here. It took some time for me to settle in. There wasn't much I liked about the physical environment when I first got here. Analyzing these feelings over a time, I soon began to understand that place is so impacting. I knew that if I changed my attitude, that my relationship to the place would soon change as a result. This is what happened. I began to take a completely different stance to environment and place. I became fascinated
with everything I saw around me. I then began to explore my relationship to my home town in Dublin; feelings which I had car-ried around since I was a child. Going back and forth between Dublin and New York allowed me to do research and question further and I took many photographs. I eventually went onto have a solo show at Stony Brook entitled 'Home' (http://www.fionacashell.com/#/suburbia1/), which explored notions of distance, identity and the living space. This piece consequently spurred me onto making 'A Living Place'.
A viewer sits and observes 'Home' moving image installation at Alloway Gallery Stony Brook University, February 2014. The artist says of the preparation process: "The walls of the entire gallery space were painted grey with a white letterbox left for projection. This was extremely effective in minimizing reflection in the space and also in increasing the quality of the projection itself" (...) "the viewer is pulled in by the focusing of light, and colours feel accentuated and powerful".
A still image from 'Home', shows a row of terraced houses from the artists hometown of 'Tallaght', in Dublin Ireland. Home's Images dissolve into each other, with each new still image pushing a different, contrasting colour into the space; making reference to memory, the significance of place and the passing of time. The reflection from the polished gallery floor was a "fortunate happenstance", says Fiona. The artist says of 'Home': "I wanted this piece to highlight our relationships to environment: physical, emotional and historical. I had a complex relationship with the area that I grew up in, and in recents years I began to realise that place can have a tremendous impact on the individual. I felt the urge to explore this and share my experiences and history with the viewer, as these issues are essentially universal".
How has your production processes changed over the years? I started out as a graphic designer, studying visual communication and advertising in Dublin and Cork. I worked in the field for some time before I decided to pursue graduate studies in fine art, and this is what brought me to America. Originally I made collages using paper and different materials. I do believe collage as a conceptual idea is still very strong in my work process, even though it is now entirely digital. My art making process also incorporates many aspects of visual communication. I often say my work is 'graphically inclined', and when I say
this, I mean that the work aesthetically for me has elements that pertain to graphic design principles, those which I learned and used over a long period of time. Tapping into design also utilities the conceptual framework that exists within it as a discipline and practice; to communicate with the viewer through abstraction, and the specific and thoughtful use of color, line and shape. Of recent, basing my work around photography, the moving still image and video footage has become the predominant focus of my practice. It is the basis for all continuing digital development that I currently employ (be it Photoshop,
Another still image from 'Home' permeates the space with a saturated blood orange red, and is paired with a night time shot of a tree from the street in front of the artists parents home in Dublin, Ireland. The artist says "that particular tree was planted a few years before I was born. As I grew, the tree grew. Oddly, because of urban planning, all the streets in the entire area had the same tree planted multiple times, repeated for miles. This reminded me of the homogeneity of suburbia, but at the same time it also speaks to me of the generation who all grew up there, playing and sheltering under its leaves".
Processing or Final Cut Pro), which is why I consider myself to be a 'lens based' digital artist. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts with us, Fiona. What are your upcoming projects? Right now, I am very interested in the suburban home, and the idea of the 'home' in general. I am also enjoying the process of being the voyeur, taking photographs and filming peoples properties (houses and cottages predominantly) in my neighbourhood. People are also still devoid in my work (like Home and A Living Place), but that might change at some point.
Process wise, I am becoming more concerned with the viewer experience, and the idea of site specific installation work. Scale and space considerations I feel are very important in the experience of projected works. Sound is becoming increasingly important, and having worked with some very talented musicians, like Derek Kwan on ' A Living Place'; I would now like to learn how to make my own sound (as opposed to music perhaps). I love electronic music, and musicians who use experimental techniques and recorded sound samples, such as Amon Tobin, really appeals to me.
Georgina McNamara An artist's statement
Based in London, my practice is primarily photography with a recent detour into stop frame animation. Growing up around my father, a newspaper cartoonist who worked from home, the nagging fascination I have for black and
white sequences is now emerging in my work. A recurring theme is the idea of persona or the image of character and personality that somebody chooses to show the outside world. My first degree was in Art History. After this followed almost a decade of work in publishing and travel in Asia.
A still from Fit
“Fit” is a tongue in cheek response to fluctuating feelings about personal fitness and exercise, amplified by the fanfare and hype of international sporting events. By using stop frame animation, a jerky flick-book feel is conveyed. As athletic awareness intensifies, we are prompted to kick-start our habits and to improve our physical fitness. Could this portable revolution be quietly gaining pace in our local Parks? In this playful staging of an exercise class, the viewer may be prompted to make alternative associations to what is literally presented as conflicting reactions to this subject are encouraged to emerge. So far, “Fit” has been shown around the UK, including the following events: Creekside Open 2013: selected by Ceri Hand, APT Gallery London UK A still from Fit
Returning to study on the Fine Art based Jewellery degree at Middlesex University, I became more interested in the photographic aspect of the course in order to explore ideas about the body. After graduating from the Postgraduate Certificate in Photography at Central Saint Martins, in 2011 I completed my studies there with an MA in Fine Art.
The London Group Centenary Open 2013: The Cello Factory London UK Play 2012: Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham, UK Two Short Nights Film Festival 2012: Exeter Phoenix, Exeter Devon, UK Pictures in Motion 2012: Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival: The Maltings, Berwick, UK Hoopla! 2012: Sugarhouse Studios, London UK
A still from Fit
An interview with
Georgina McNamara Since the first time we have watched “Fit”, we have been impressed your B/W surreal imagery reminding us of slapstick films. In your statement you say: "Growing up around my father, a newspaper cartoonist who worked from home, the nagging fascination I have for black and white sequences is now fully emerging in my work." Could you introduce our readers to this personal aspect of your art? In the early 1960s, my father had his studio built at the bottom of our suburban Surrey garden. I remember it as being a fantastically messy and an exciting place to visit, with piles of books on every surface and the walls covered with sketches and photos. At the time, he was working on Francis Durbridge's ‘Paul Temple’, a daily comic strip about a British private detective, which appeared in the London Evening News, similar to today’s London Evening Standard. Working from home meant that his studio was completely out of bounds for the rest of his growing family, except to visit with a flask of coffee or an urgent message. As a child, my dad entrusted me to help my mother with the endless rubbing out of pencil marks from his cartoon strips once these had been overpainted in black Indian ink. I remember carefully rolling grubby putty rubbers into mini peaks in order to target only the areas needing attention. During the 14 years he worked on this strip, both his studio and his job took on a magical quality in my head so to be asked to help with such a useful task, even if it took place within the home, felt like a huge deal.
draw parallels with early film and conceptual art, so that the emphasis of the scene is held without the distraction of colour. Focussing on this performative quality, the sequential format stretches time. Nuances of body movements, normally eclipsed by fast-paced action, are emphasized while still images operate as animated objects. With the implicit flow of simple actions progressing frame by frame, a cinematic feel is created. An open-ended quality enables multiple interpretations. ‘Fit’ (2012) is my first stop frame animation and came hot on the heels of other photographic sequence work. In these earlier self-portrait pieces, my focus revolved around ideas of revealing or concealment, often relating to the idea of persona or the image of character shown to the outside world. Two examples are ‘Untitled (after Baldessari)’ from 2010 and ‘Revolver II’ from 2011.
Regularly surrounded by comic strips, black and white sequences were the background fabric of my childhood so have always held a special fascination for me.
Could you tell us a particular episode who has helped the birth of this project, or simply an epiphany, a sudden illumination?
Lodged awkwardly between photography, moving image and performance art, my work consistently deals with the body. Alongside working in sequences, both moving and still, I have reverted to a more monotone palette to
The idea for this animation was in my head for years before I actually managed to make it happen. It began as a rather awkward personal response to the hype and fanfare of international sporting events and my half hearted desire to get
into some kind of fitness regime yet feeling guilty about never quite getting round to it. At the time I had been looking at silent Buster Keaton films from the 1920s with their charming jerky visual quality. Initially I thought about doing a flipbook, but somehow a stop-frame animation seemed to capture my ideas more immediately. A decade of work in publishing and travel in Asia has deeply influenced your style. Travelling is a not only a source of inspiration for you, but a fundamental aspect of your art practise. Could you introduce our readers to this fascinating concept? My decision to backpack around Asia was as a complete break from a career in illustrated book publishing.
My job included overseeing the colour printing of books in Europe and the Far East, which in the mid1980s had become the centre of cheap, colour book production. This very different style of travel in Asia, gave me the space and time to re-evaluate my life and to decide on a more creative direction. With my passion for body adornment rekindled by my travels, I decided to study jewellery on my return. How did you approach to the stop-frame technique? Very simply. I selected some photos for an animation sequence, which was then set to music. In particular, your artistic approach to the body seems to have its roots in the Asian
culture. Could you explain this aspect? Actually, I disagree…. Much of my approach to the body stems from the jewellery degree I took at Middlesex on my return from Asia. This experimental course had a very strong fine art bias in that everything was treated as jewellery so long as it related in some way to the body. Many ex students ended up with jobs in fashion, furniture and all kinds of other, loosely related disciplines. During my studies, I spent increasing amounts of time at the photography stage of each project. Eventually, I stopped making jewellery altogether in order to focus on making images. My early photographs of distorted garments used strong formal and sculptural qualities and explored the relationship between the body and the imagination. Another influence would be a rather battered book of Muybridge’s The Human Body In Motion, which I rescued from my father’s studio when he stopped drawing. What are your next projects on the horizon? “Observer” (2014) uses a garment as a vehicle to create a psychological space to explore the emotion of feeling stuck in the wrong body whilst observing proceedings from the sidelines. As the start of new photographic work, this piece focuses on my own tangled confusion and frustration following the death of a parent. My head, at this time, is rather full of uncharacteristic and unexpected emotions, which I believe will lead me to approach new work in a very different way. With several new ideas in mind, I need to see what will evolve.
Slava Pogorelsky An artist's statement
Slava Pogorelsky, 27, is originally from Russia, but moved to Israel with his family at the age of
12. His father was a painter and records collector, so art and music was around Slava from an early age. Yet it was only after coming to Israel that he really discovered his passion for making music, in particularly electronic music.
A still from Silent Misery
After studing electronic music production at BPM college, Slava had a couple of successful years with a techno project "Kulten Yeuk". But for Slava something was missing, a picture, a picture that can move and evolve with his music
and together create something unique. For now Slava is about to finish his 4th and last year at Sapir University, where he studing sound disign, music and film making.
An interview with
Slava Pogorelsky Since the first time we watched Slava Pogorelsky's work, we have been strucked by his imagery so close to Guy Maddin's surreal films: Slava, how did you get started in filmmaking? Silent Misery" was actually the final project I got for one of my classes at Sapir Academic College, where I did my B.A. at Soundtrack, Cinema and TV course. My main passion is sound design and music in visual media, but things got very interesting for me when I had to create my own visual work. 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 Jacques Tati. Could you introduce our
readers to this fundamental aspect of your filmmaking? Feelings is not an easy task to achieve in a short film, it's even harder when film itself is about feelings. In "Silent Misery" I wanted to bring the viewer an unusual audio visual experience with different way of story telling. The sound work started before the picture, and when I had enough musical ideas to play with I started shooting. For me soundtrack playing a very big role in a storytelling, sometimes it comes in a perfect sync to reinforce the image and sometimes tells it's own story adding another meaning and depth. We have used the term "soundtrack", however, it would be more appropiate in your case to say that the starting point is not music itself, but musical thinking: you have studied electronic music production
A still from Silent Misery
at BPM college, an experience which has no doubt marked your artistic practice. When did you come across electronic music?
We have selected your short film Silent Misery for this year's edition: could you introduce our readers to this abstract visual poem?
One day me and my friend Kirill Diamandy realized that we didn't just want to listen to music, we want to make it. So we started to make some noises with some old programs and gear for a couple of years.
For me "Silent Misery" is an abstract audiovisual poem about the "dark side" of emotions. The poem shows us an individual that dealing with those emotion as the soundtrack reflecting his inner thoughts and memories.
Back then I had no specific direction... everyday it was a new style and experience. At some point I wanted more knowledge and skills to improve my sound, so I found BPM College in Tel Aviv. It was a great experience for me, I started a techno project called "Kulten Yeuk" and released a couple of CD's under this name. It was an interesting journey, but at some point it wasn't enough, something was missing. I've always loved cinema, especialy the power of music and sound in it that brings another level of interpretation and meaning . After graduating from BPM, I started studying Soundtrack, Cinema and TV at Sapir Academic College.
We really appreciate you refined black and white cinematography in Silent Misery, your grainy footage shows no doubt a painterly-analog feel. How did you achieve this effect? My father, Boris Pogorelsky is a painter, so I always was around him working. Back then he worked at a newspaper, he was writing short stories and ink drawing pictures for each of them. I was fascinated by the ability of one black and white picture reflecting the story so well. I think that black and white photography allows the viewer to focus on the forms and
A still from Silent Misery
A still from Silent Misery
relations of image elements. "Silent Misery" was shoot black and white, with massive use of out of focus, close ups, masks and little post production effects. We have previously quoted the Canadian director Guy Maddin, however, your filmmaking is rich of references: Silent Misery remind us of Artavazd Pelechian' cinema too. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? I think my biggest influences are directors like Andrei Tarkovsky, David Lynch and Jan Svankmajer, I can really appreciate their creative work with image and sound. There is always something mesmerizing, innovative and Intriguing in their filmmaking. Salvador Dali left a big scar on me as well, sitting hours as a kid, trying to crack his fascinating paintings. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? A still from Silent Misery
I can really enjoy the "idea searching" process, I find it very mystique. For me it can start with music, or a certain sound that evoke something interesting and brings those little pieces of images. But of course a post production stage is the most enjoyable, where you put all the ideas together in a certain order and magic is happening.
Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Slava. What's next for you? Have you a particular project in mind ? Recently I've been working with Rob Whitworth, urban filmmaker and a timelapse genius on a short
film called "Barcelona GO", also with David Reinlib, Israeli young and very talented director on a short film "Labyrinth", which soundtrack won at Cinema South Festival this year. Now I am working with Indiefferent - a game development team from Croatia, on black and white, pointÂ´nÂ´click adventure game called Bear With Me. It's dark and fun
Winter Hof, 2012 looping 4K video, installation, Dan Hudson
Dan Hudson Winter Hof is a 24-hour cycle of observations in a Berlin apartment complex. During the short days of winter, indoor lights are often turned on allowing everyone to see into each otherâ€™s apartments and by extension, into each otherâ€™s lives. This video project explores cycles of time and daily ritual. It also plays on our natural voyeuristic tendencies. On another level, Winter Hof reflects on some darker aspects of human nature. Throughout history various totalitarian regimes and organized religions have coerced people to spy and report on each other as a way of tightening control over all aspects of public and private life. This is called lateral surveillance. Germany has two infamous examples with the Nazi and the Stasi (which was the impetus for this project) but we can also think of McCarthyism in America, the Spanish Inquisition, Salem Witch Hunt, along with countless other examples.
I am fascinated by the psychological aspect of these situations. By implementing various fear tactics people are pushed into a moral dilemma. Not participating in lateral surveillance makes a person suspect which might result in severe consequences. On the other hand, participation would likely lead to the interrogation, personal ruin and possibly death of another person. Each person must individually decide where they draw the line between self preservation and self sacrifice. As the ever present fear of terrorism creeps into our everyday lives we are once again becoming a culture of surveillance. But now it has expanded beyond our immediate neighbors and has spread onto the internet and social media. Lateral or participatory surveillance is now becoming an online pastime. We no longer need to have our lights on for other people to see into our lives. There is an emerging culture of democratized digital surveillance in which security and entertainment have blurred into voyeurism.
An interview with
Dan Hudson The ritual nature of everyday life is the main theme of your work: through a 24-hour cycle of observations you are able to explore dark aspects of the human beings as well as the hidden mythopoieic value of common guestures, reminding us of Thomas Eliot's Waste Land. How did you come up with the idea for Winter Hof ? Most of my projects involve methodical processes that verge on ritual. I develop procedures that are based on the earth’s planetary motions and investigate how those motions affect our understanding of time within the context of everyday life. For example, I did a series of projects that were based on the earth’s orbit around the sun. One such project, News Weather & Sports (2010), involved filming the exact same scene at a public park for an entire year. This footage was distilled into a yearlong time-lapse. During that same year, I also gathered audio clips from newscasts recounting various wars, crimes, disasters and other newsworthy events. These clips were collaged into a soundtrack to create a sociopolitical context for the picturesque park setting. Winter Hof can be seen as a natural progression along this line of inquiry. In the case of Winter Hof, one rotation of the earth (24 hours) is used as a framework to examine how historical events relate to our current state of affairs. We have quoted T.S. Eliot in our previous question: we find your art rich of references, for example, your shooting style is very close to Chantal Akerman's early works. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? The stylistic similarities my work has with Akerman can be traced back to a source of inspiration we both have in common: Canadian artist and avant-garde filmmaker Michael Snow. I think of artistic influences like a boiling pot of soup made up of all the things that capture my
interest. This could be a bird, a cloud, a TV commercial, a painting, an article in a science journal, or almost anything. All the various ingredients of the soup are in constant motion with different ingredients bubbling to the surface at different times. This makes it is hard for me to pinpoint how specific influences affect individual works especially considering that most of my projects take years to complete. However, I can say that while I was working on Winter Hof certain films did come to my mind: The Tenant by Polanski, Rear Window by Hitchcock and Lives of Others by von Donnersmarck. Apart from your cinematographic background, we have found your approach to art really multi-disciplinary: the influence of painting and photography on your artistic vision is no doubt remarkable.... My videos are related more closely to photo-
A still from Winter Hof, 2012, looping 4K video
graphy or painting than they are to film. I create non-narrative, looping videos that have no scene changes. They are like photographs that slowly change. I developed a technique to create real-time “time-lapse” videos that suspend the viewer between the altered timescale conveyed by the video and the spatial, moment-to-moment experience of the work itself. They operate on the level that separates the subjective world inside our heads from objective reality. Why have you chosen Berlin as observation point for Winter Hof? It was more like the project resulted as a consequence of living in Berlin rather than me choosing Berlin for the project. For me, working on any project is a journey of discovery. First, I endeavor to find a compelling location to begin an investigation and then excavate layers of meaning as the project unfolds. For Winter Hof, it was the view from my kitchen window into the apartment building’s courtyard (Hof).
During the short days of winter, indoor lights are often turned on allowing everyone to see into each other’s apartments and by extension, into each other’s lives. One day I was looking out the window while making dinner and thinking how different this same situation would have been at other points of Berlin’s history. More specifically, I was thinking of the lateral surveillance techniques employed by both the Stasi and the Nazis whereby neighbors were coerced into spying on each other. It is a technique used by totalitarian regimes to tighten control over all aspects of public and private life. This led me to also consider our current political atmosphere. As the ever present fear of terrorism creeps into our everyday lives we are once again becoming a culture of surveillance. Voyeurism is another crucial theme in Winter Hof. The act of allowing everyone to see into each other’s apartments reminds us of the TV-formats becoming so popular in the last decade. In this sense, Winter Hof is a powerful reflection on the nature of social
A still from Winter Hof, 2012, looping 4K video
media today. Could you better introduce our readers to this fundamental aspect of your work? A fascination with the others people’s lives is part of human nature and this has been evident in art throughout history. I am thinking of paintings of domestic scenes by painters like Bruegel, Vermeer, Hokusai and Van Gogh. These days we have new avenues to see into other people’s lives through internet culture and various forms of social media. Winter Hof eludes to this aspect of our culture by reminding us how our day to day social interactions has shifted from proximity based relationships such as neighbors to an emphasis on relationships with our “friends” regardless of their physical location. In the contemporary urban situation, there is very little need to interact with the people who live near us or even in the same building. This constitutes a fundamental shift in how we perceive our immediate environment and how we relate to other people.
It could be considered a specious question indeed, nonetheless we have to ask you: does your art change people's behavior? Do you aim to create a sort of "micropolitical" artistic act reawaking in the spectator the awareness of his perception mechanisms and models? I am more like a visual anthropologist observing human behavior from a blind position. For the most part, my subjects are completely unaware they are being recorded. Of course, filming people without their knowledge or permission brings up other types of moral issues. I see my work as an extension of street photography or photo journalism but it could be argued that my approach is really no loftier than the dubious justifications that were used by the Nazis or Stasi. At best, I am operating in a grey zone. Interestingly though, it is not the people being filmed but rather the viewers of this video that become co-conspirators, and thereby part of a “micropolicical” artistic act.
The Canadian scene is often under rated; nonetheless we have found it very interesting and rich of young experimental filmmakers and video artists, often working with low budget, but with stunning results. What do you think of the Canadian artistic scene, from a filmmaker's point of view?
film and video as one of Canadaâ€™s creative strengths. This might be attributed to the fact that most Canadians grew up seeing the work of Norman McLaren who is a giant among the pioneers of experimental film. His legacy has had a lingering influence across all artistic disciplines in Canada.
It is interesting that you mention experimental
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and time,
Dan. Whatâ€™s next for Dan Hudson? Are there any new projects on the horizon? I always have a few different projects on the go.
A still from Winter Hof, 2012, looping 4K video