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12th Edition STIGMART 10.PRESS


From experimental cinema to fashion videography, fourteen artists breaking the boundaries Since its foundation, Stigmart10 has encouraged a conception of art based on a dynamic dialogue between artists and audience, reflecting the interactive nature of the creative act itself. A winning formula, according to the doubled number of submissions - more than 3000 applicants have submitted their video works and CV in 2014 - and the increasing popularity of our project. We are glad to present this year's edition of Videofocus, our special Stigmart10 review focused on experimental cinema, original fashion videography and courageous documentary. Stigmart10 Team

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Fiona Robertson

As an artist, I feel a deep connection to both the concept(s) and practice of painting; it’s through this that my interest in film first developed - in the sense of film as extended painting, a way to explore both the metaphysical and the sensory, material aspects of painting.

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Joaquin Reyes

"The life / death dualism constitute the essence (being) of the human being. The result of this dialectic are our desires; fundamental driving force of life or libido. "Epitafio" is like a sado western, reflecting on this issue, with a kitsch esthetic in one hand; and sado on the other.It puts the player into two realities, in two parallel universes that dialogue, but have violence as a transversal point. "

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Antoinette LaFarge

Antoinette LaFarge, a talented multimedia artist: her video-installation Hangmen Also Die is pervaded by a unique atmosphere, taking to heart Antonioni's teachings "We know that underneath the displayed image there is another one more faithful to reality. An underneath this second there is a third one, and a fourth under the previous one."

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Adam Castle

" Screensaver explores a bodily relationship to digital imagery in our internet age. Drawing on notions of instructionals, live streaming, pop-ups and infomercials, in this video piece the sheen of the internet screen tumbles in on itself. The work circles around the concept that one can order online a .jpg printed on to a towel. "

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Matt Dombrowski

"Abstract" deals with the visualization of creation. Through the visual simulation of energy, movement and color, abstract is meant as a glimpse into the unseen side of creativity. The film is meant to be played in a constant loop. Just like most creative ideas, there is no timetable when they will strike. "

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Catarina de Oliveira

Old Stories is a project that looks at tales and folk stories that have been born in the Orient, namely in India an Persia, they travelled around India, Middle East and Europe with merchants and later by pilgrims and the crusades. By the end of the Middle Ages these had settled in different regions becoming part of local cultures through out the whole of the IndoEuropean world


Natalie Goldman

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The past and future are obliterated and obscured through speed and perpetual movement, allowing the traveler to stay focused on the very immediate present as the landscape tumbles and unfolds itself, one image into the next. Lucy Lippard, when writing about walking as a form of meditation, describes that, “motion allows a certain type of mental freedom that translates a place to a person kinesthetically.”"

Shih-chieh Lin

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When I first watched Bruce Conner and Joseph Cornell’s found footage films, I was amazed by how the artists transform the used images into something else. It was almost like witnessing the process of incarnation, a transcendental moment of seeing the new soul bringing the old body to life. Today, we have more access to the resource of images than ever before.

Maja Hodošček

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"The video filmed in an abandoned cinema shows a teenage boy from Slovenia dressed in a militant uniform of the former country The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He belongs to a generation born in the second half of the nineties which means he never lived and experienced Yugoslavia. However, he is fascinated by this particular historical period (1942-1992). "

Lyndsay Martin

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"London-based artist Lyndsay Martin works with photography, collage, found objects and digital media to create visually rich, poignant pieces. Her work plays on ideals of life, the physical and emotional consequences of relationships. Lyndsay crosses the borders between photography and video installation. "

Gerhard Mantz

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"Images are generated instantaneously by a special program in real-time. Unlike the prerecorded sequences in videos and movies, these animated images are autonomous, spontaneous and endless. Every image generated is unique and is unlikely to ever return. "

Joshua Yates

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"The whiskey-induced palimpsest of visual imagery invokes a delirium of multiple identities. It's a riddle of sorts, with all traces of the maker erased through a variety of formal means, be it the disturbingly filtered voice-over, or the multiple transfers of the image that pass through VHS players and any number of video compressors before arriving on our computer screen as a multi-layered analog dream from god-knows-where. "

Chris Shofner

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"I started exploring social media in my work during graduate school in about 2007. I was spending hours on Myspace and Facebook everyday at that time. I asked myself, “why am I on here? What am I trying to discover?” Eventually this introspection led to the collection of digital files sort of like “found objects.” My first large Facebook collection came in 2009 when I saved every one of my Facebook friend’s profile pictures for the video work"

Julius Richard Tamayo "Triptych of Love Supreme (TDAS) is in fact a Pentaptych wich two first chapters Julius never watch or show. Filmed between october 12 and march 13, TDAS is the narration of an End wich is Two: End of Love and End of World. Escatologicalapocatastatical triptych that follows a visionary discipline: to watch what you have to see. "

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Fiona Robertson


An interview with

Fiona Robertson Fiona Robertson composes her films through a series of free-association exercises that are as rigorous as they are radical: any image that could be attributed to a remembrance or a specific cultural source is rejected though. In Green Head she use the monologue "50 ways to murder magic" recited by the iconoclast genius Antonin Artaud as the jumping-off point for a spellbinding meditation on the discrepancy between word and deed. Featuring unconventional and nonlinear structures, Fiona Robertson's cinema€moves beyond notions of theatricality and into the realm of real experience. Fiona, how did you get started in€filmmaking? Making film was a natural progression for me through my practice as a visual artist. After training as a painter in the mid eighties, I have maintained an independent practice whilst lecturing in Glasgow School of Art’s painting department for the past two decades. As an artist, I feel a deep connection to both the concept(s) and practice of painting; it’s through this that my interest in film first developed - in the sense of film as extended painting, a way to explore both the metaphysical and the sensory, material aspects of painting. One piece of mine that I think carries this across is Green Head; where there is a single vantage point- but is it a tableau, or a scene, or a stage? In some senses, this question is one that has driven the development of my work across mediums in recent years. After graduating I practiced as a painter in a neo-expressive style influenced by Bacon and de Chirico. At the time, staging tableaus to paint from was a big part of the process, where I would arrange participants posing and gesturing in costume, take photographs of these scenes, and paint from these photographs later on. In many cases, however, I found myself thinking that the photographs carried across the performative, representational aspects of the tableau more

Fiona Robertson

effectively than my paintings- which was a frustrating but also an educative experience! I would return to this experience when I moved away from expressionistic painting in the early nineties, feeling that it was limiting my artistic process and had to some extent became outmoded. Seeking a more potent means of expression, I commenced work on a series of small scale sculptures and drawings. Using found objects, non-traditional materials, through the construction of a ‘lo-fi’ aesthetic, I felt more able to fully articulate my artistic voice - including the discord and contradiction


that I feel are immanent in the creative process. Around seven years ago, I made a series of photographs where my sculptures are located in urban landscapes and interior settings. This interaction was aimed to recentre my work in a discursive relationship both with the physical and psycho/geographical world and the audience. It was during this period that I began experimenting with stop motion animation and drawing directly on 16 mm film tape. Film and performance seemed fitting mediums to extend and develop my work into at this point as a response to the increasingly multi-positional,

diffuse and relational direction of my practice. As a result of this, in 2009 I received a small grant to make made my first film paraphernalia (2010)- I went on to make fallinggame (2013), and in 2014 I developed and produced Green Head. We want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for Green Head? In developing my work I try and break down boundaries between the subconscious and the concious; I try and deconstruct the creative


process through the incorporation and the maintenance of, art as experienced and generated in the course of the ‘everyday’. Rather than the construction of an artwork as such, and the unravelling of contradiction and confusion implicit in it, I seek to approach these facets of the process as artistic- and auratic- in their own right. This has parallels, of course, with Artaud in particular- it’s an approach I’ve specifically applied in the creation of Paraphenalia and fallingame. The origination of Green Head was, in line with this conception of the artistic process, in arguably the least constructed and constrained of our intellectual activities- in in dreaming. Specifically, it was inspired and shaped by a dream I had where two characters, a female and a male, lived inside a grass head near a modern supermarket and motorway. These characters were incarcerated within their own bodies, which were composed of mechanical extrusions as well as the ‘standard’ biological form- so they had a carceral relationship with themselves- in their bodies, the earth, the modern world, and the experience of history itself. This dream was a disturbing experience, but also an invigorating one- it had clear parallels to my own art, and also to art and theories I was investigating at the time. So going on from there, I wanted to hold on to the essence of that experienceincluding the disturbing and irrational dimensions of the dream, and also build on it and deepen it through the ensuing creative process, both in theory and in practice. When did you come across the work of Antonin Artaud? I first became aware of the work Artaud during 1987 when I visited the studio of Theodor Kantor. The studio- Crirot 2 -was very exciting for me; Kantor was a very charismatic, inspirational figure. Kantor insisted that, by principle, works of art should not be representational, but serve as "the base of a process of thought, of a spiritual procedure"- I felt that this was very significant at the time, and still do. It was here that I was first introduced to the idea of ‘living theatre’- the idea that the temporal, physical and ideographical boundaries between performance and the world outwith performance need to be dissolved, which has obviously been significant, especially in my more recent work. It’s in these recent pieces that my thought and art have became Artraudian in this sense. I would say there are three specific works by, about or in response to Artaud that have been central to these processes. Firstly, Barber’s The

A still from Green Head

Screaming Body (1999), a detailed account of Artaud’s creative process(es), especially the very full account of Artuad’s conception of Surrealist Cinema, was very significant in my turn towards the moving image. Secondly, Artaud’s Fifty Ways To Murder Magic (1937-48), both in the text- which I deploy in Green Head- and the series of drawings, were two works that clearly interrelate with that project in particular. Thirdly, my book of drawings – Bad Spells (2014)- was partly made in reaction to Nancy Spero’s Codex Artaud (1970-71), which is itself a feminist response to Artaud’s work. In your work the viewer is not asked to meditate on the action in progress decrypting a series of hidden symbols, but to follow the logic of sensation, like in Romeo Castellucci's pièces. Can you intro-


duce our readers to this fundamental aspect of your art? This is something that I think informs my workin my work I try to break out of a traditional audience/artist, spectacle/spectator relationship, by going against the grain, and seeking to in the space between translation and definition. This was particularly clear in Green Head, where there are a series of antagonisms implicit in the piece- female/male, modern/premodern, and so on. The logical consequence of engaging with the irrational in art is not just to render it parsable, and therefore rational, and even where this is not possible- to remove the ‘edge’ of the irrationality by recognition of it as such. In trying to work against this, I try and re-introduce and re-emphasise the non-narrative aspects of performance; as

you say, the logic of sensation, but also the more primal, visceral impulses and sigils lurking behind even irrational art. This is an aspect that I think is particularly represented in Paraphernalia; the domestic, patriarchal, rational and narrative family life is broken up and disputed by the intrusion of the body, the melding and lampooning of these ‘narratives’- and the return of the primal, the pagan and the sensual. This is provoked through visual meansvomiting, body hair, the consumption of and from the inedible- the return to the body and to the earth- but also through aural means- the distortion, division and repetition of the soundtrack devolves from ‘cuture’ and conscious speech into xenoglossic mumbling and chanting just as, in the visual realm, the paganistic and irrational icons and sculptures reemerge in the heart of the domestic realm. In some


A still from Green Head

senses then, Paraphernalia itself can be understood as a work in the process of un-becoming, degenerating and subverting itself- as is necessary in a medium-film- so tied up with modernity and the external ordering of realities. To some extent, then- it is not possible to completely transcend genre and form- to make a film that is exactly not a film, but this tension, this dialectic, is one that I feel is crucial to my recent work. As antagonistic and novel as this method is intended to be, it is of course influenced by a variety of previous work (this perhaps typifies the contradiction within it, of course!). Particular references for me have been Faith Wilding’s Vogue, Martha Koestler’s lexicon of the kitchen, Lynch’s Grandmother (1970), Ubu Roi (1896) by Alfred Jarry and Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party (1974-1979) .

Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? As I’ve said, the irrational and subconscious has a significant role in my creative processboth in origination and inspiration, but also as a built-in part of the process itself: it’s for this reason that the development of work, for me, is chaotic and sometimes illogical. In some ways this is Artaudian- the idea that the highest purpose of art is to draw out or unveil the latent or immanent chaos within civilisation- considering even art itself as constituted as civilised. However, there are features in common in my process, including this process of excavation, revisting, reusing of earlier ideas and themes- the eventual evolution of the work is usually polyphonic and multidimensional.


‘Garden of Purgatory’- with several smaller scenes in a different, rural, location, it became much more fixed around the site where I was constructing the Green Head- which was itself a physically exterting experience. In the final version of Green Head, I was invited to rebuild a larger version of the sculpture in a site that had significant pyschogeographic power in my eyes: the Glasgow Necropolis, the cities’ oldest graveyard. This influenced both that, sculptural work, but also my drawing at the time. In this way my process has been arguably chaotic, but also vital and living, not simply in the end point, but in the journey towards it. To some degree the whole process was ‘Living Theatre’- especially the public construction of the sculpture and the interaction with the wider public this involved. Your art is rich of references. We have previously mentioned the Italian director Romeo Castellucci, however your irreverent vein seems to be closer to the spirit of Dada. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work?

This is something that was present in the creation of Green Head. I had been reading Artuad and investigating the early and experimental cinema that influenced the work for over a year before the process ‘proper’ formed: initially this was expressed in the drawings for Bad Spells- but this was to widen out into the cinematic work. In fact, the text was eventually used in the latter piece, so this very specific influence was to be revisited several times in the course. As I collected and created the objects and items – costumes, sound recordings, props- I recognised from my dream, the work itself began to change and mutate; incorporating both conscious and unconscious influences from theory, artwork and my everyday life. The work also changed as a result of conflicts with the world around me; rather than being part of a Bosch like

I attended Art School in the early to mideighties- the generation I was part of was very influenced by Postmodern, and Neoexpressionist ideas- it was also in some ways, very male dominated. I felt an affinity to artists like David Lynch and Stephen Campbell in my formative years and still heavily identify with their work. As a student my interest in performance art was sparked by Campbell’s seminal performance piece Poised Murder (1981). I draw inspiration from a Dadaist approach to art and the ideas associated with modern art movements of the early 20th century; Expressionism, Spiritualism and Primitivism. My work consistently engages with an Expressionistic lexis and; I situate it within traditions of examining and reinventing the ‘carnivalesque’ in art. My perspective has been influenced in the countercultures of the 1970s; in particular the second-wave Feminist movement and broader notions of the political nature of art- this is, of course, something many of influences have in common. Green Head has been heavily influenced by the work of the feminist, surrealistic and experimental film-maker Maya Darren; In particular, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) and At Land (1944)


A still from paraphernalia

Subversion, parody, and appropriation also come together in your video fallingame. Could you tell us a particular episode that has helped the birth of this video? A significant base for fallingame was my own experience of growing up in a working-class, catholic environment in the 60s and 70s, as part of a large and quite close family environment. So in subversion and parody also lies an attempt to recover and reunderstand the lost and latent section of my own life, as in all liveschildhood. In doing so I was in some ways approaching the same issue as Walter Benjamin in Berlin Child “Memory is not an instrument for surveying the past but its theater. It is the medium of past experience, just as the earth is the medium in which dead cities lie buried. He who

seeks to approach his own buried past must conduct himself like a man digging.” In the process of the piece- especially in the repeating of the childrens’ rhyme ‘All Good Children’ – I play with notions of melodrama and falsity that I was very familiar with as a child- perhaps most significantly for fallingame, in horror movies from my childhood. In making work in the spaces between the past and present, truth and falsehood (both literal and emotional), humour and propriety, the sacred and the profane, an opportunity emerges to reapproach the the formative but lost time of childhood. This was a major part of, and purpose of the creation of fallingame. Thanks for sharing your time, Fiona, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker


A still from paraphernalia

career. What's next for you? Have you a particular film in mind? At the moment I have begun working on a series of paintings subverting the ‘classic’, highly formal and conscious, template of early renaissance paintings. I want to expand upon my use of differing in mediums in Green Head, and am currently using oil painting, portraiture, and the animation and reinvention of these artifacts. I am also looking at the construction- both literal and ideological- of viewing enviroments and using projection and montage to induce a movement between the mundane & domestic- a kitchen- and a ‘purer’, more formal space- a ‘black box’ projection. I am still developing this project- which again, was inspired by and incorporates elements of, the dreaming world- it may be one, multi-

medium work, or it may involve the exhibition of the parts singly. I won’t know until later on in the process!


A still from Epitafio


Joaquin Reyes “Epitafio� The life / death dualism constitute the essence (being) of the human being. The result of this dialectic are our desires; fundamental driving force of life or libido. "Epitafio" is like a sado western, reflecting on this issue, with a kitsch esthetic in one hand; and sado on the other. It puts the player into two realities, in two parallel universes that dialogue, but have violence as a transversal point.


An interview with

Joaquin Reyes Joaquin Reyes's cinema finds its tension in the contrast between Hollywood and symbolist's obsession with death, sexual ambiguity, and an intensification of desire input, blending a€ a heady mix of philosophical idea, sexual frankness, and overt allegory. From the first time we watched his short film€Epitafio€we were impressed with his unique visual and aural imagination. We are pleased to present his work for this year's Videofocus edition. Joaquin, We want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for€Epitafio? The idea of "Epitafio" began with a site- specificque project that I’ve been thinking for some time: a woman with her legs spread masturbating and looking at the camera. The video was a quote from the "origin of the world", of Courbety. The place where the video would be projected was the end of a large industrial chimney-shaped cylinder that was upright and was abandoned. A curator had done it for a series of exhibitions with various artists called "Proyecto Cilindro". This curator invited me to participate in the exhibition, I sent her the project, and I never heard about it again, so the project could not be performed. What interested me about this project called "you-porn", was that the women masturbated looking at the viewer and that the viewer was like a sperm looking at his goal, like in the movie "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask" by Woody Allen. From that moment (that I saw that movie), this image stayed in my retina and began to mutate. At the same time, I wanted to do a murder, because on one hand I thought of the "Origin of the World" and on the other one in the "End of the World". I had the idea for it to perform a sequence of genre cimena, as classical as possible, only to experience. That's when it occurred to me that I should be a western, a genre that I found most suitable for a murder,

this due to the time work with the plans and drawings, to his slowness and agility when the conflict broke and because to the drama that offers for the viewer, either from the protagonist or the antagonist. Having these two images separated I decided bond them. And it was there when I thought in a sado western in the snow. As an“idiots” movie lover, I mixed styles that repel themselves such as blending dinosaurs with vampires or aliens with melodrama. Classic nonsense things from the b movies that are popular today in Hollywood. To this, I added the voice, built in order to make a deep reflection, but in concrete there are just quotes, texts, poems, song lyrics and some of my thoughts all mixed in a blender, without much sense but with much sense at the same time. Your vision of€Epitafio€is a surreal and genre-bending work of art reminded us of Jodorowsky's films: there is very much in keeping with his allegorical approach to cinema, where the fantastic and absurd are rendered in clear and precise images. How did you develop your imagery? The truth is that I'm reallynot at all follower of Jodorowsky, I´ve never read his books, I've seen "El Topo" and "The Holy Mountain" and did not cause much in me. But "Epitafio" may have, without intention, something from him. In general, I solved my images by confronting four problems: First of all, symbolic decisions or the most discursive if preferred. For example, the unfocused, repetitive and constant element in my production, which seeks to render meaningless things and turn them into ghosts. Or the skull turning that allows us to see it from various points view, as it happens in apart in the masterful tale "Rashomon"of the Japanese Ryünosuke Akutagawa "Rashomon". Second: camera decisions. I think the camera setting is an ideological decision and I try, to make those decisions according to the idea, to the action, to the characters, and to the audience. This point for me is extremely important and this is why I think my work generally lacks of a style that unites it all. The third point is the composition. I take care of it during recording and if I am not satisfied with it, I review it during assembly.


Joaquin Reyes

And finally are the references, especially painters, filmmakers, and writers. With these I laugh and I distress, sometimes I envy them and also I respect them, I steal from them and I try to leave them, sometimes without much success. What was the most challenging thing about making this film?

The text is as far and generally the most challenging thing for me, and in this particular film I thought in short sentences that were convincing me, but when I put them together to develop a longer and coherent one I ended up disarming it and tangling it several times. It took weeks to reorganize the text, to be able to introduce small quotes that I wanted, fragments of songs Yuri, Iggy Pop, from poets like Michelle Houllebeck, Diego Maquieiray and


A still from Epitafio


others, and then I started to review the text and gave it all back again, until I had to conclude as the day came when Felipe Cadenasso, the narrator, had to recite it. If it wasn´t for that, I would still be shaping it. Another difficult point, but more anecdotal, was that at the time I found the location to record the match, I parked the car to a place right next to it (and with similar characteristics). Then, when I left the car I realized that the place where we had parked was more appropriate for the scene and I tried to remove the car. But, the car got stuck because of the snow. So we had to make the scene in the place that we chose in the first place and then take care of the car. Finally, we took a couple of hours to take out the car, with the help of a not very nice keeper that treated us like a really stupid beginners. What camera did you shoot on? Your shooting style is very "agile", and at the same time your shots reveal a strong sense of composition.€Can you describe€your process? My strong or at least where I feel most comfortable is in the assembly, so that when I was recording Ithought of making several takes of the shooting that may help me later. I thought about keeping the shaft, because in that way I wouldn´t have problems editing and it will work in a way more agile. I worked some plans twice as the belt that made Andrea Tapia, art director, had the problem that the weapon could not be removed at once, so I decided to record the sequence with gun in the belt and then with the gun in the hand. On the other hand, the sound we decided with Antonio Del Favero helped a lot to give the agility, because we want to use the gunshot with more level and insist with a whistle which stays in the ear usually after a trauma. Thereby, the sound helps to distract to the sequence and, therefore, streamline the same action. Can you speak a bit about your background, and how Epitafio came together? I study Visual Arts in Chile, from there comes the video, then I quit the personal work for four years and spent a couple of years studying audiovisual in Argentina. The, I worked on several short films, especially as a photo assistant so I learned a lot about cinema itself.

A still from Epitafio

Getting back to Chile I decided to create afilm producer called ANDES EMPIRE, with a filmmaker friend Gabriel Del Favero. We started producing our videos and to make video clip and some others videos to make some money. During the production of those videosI became more interested in sex and pornography and during these last years I have think over the issue through several languages, engraving, installation, photography, painting and video. As for the latter, in 2011 I made a very significant video called “Discurso por la educación 05 de Junio 2011” (Education Speech, June 5, 2011). The video runs (out of focus) the last 38 years of the history of Chile, stopping at land-


marks and characters most relevant of the country,reaching the political events that occurred during 2011, particularly on the marches and protests for a chilean education. In the video, a woman tells with a deaf-and-dumblanguage a speech about education issued by former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera. In this, I put in crisis the problem of communication, the mass media and the language, turning in abstract and organic stains the political history of the country, in other words “who fucks understands Chile?” This video was really important because, first of all, had enough acceptance and was exposed in several places in Chile and in the SavvyCon-

temporary of Berlin and second of all, I discovered somehow a device that I would repeat in my production and it was the unfocused to hide and reveal at the same time. After that, I did several short experiments and reaches another important video called "Le sex estl` imagination". This video showed a couple having sex out of focus on a very slow speed which together with the full length, made the eye began to transform this action only an abstract stain accompanied sometimes by music and other by a highly poetic conversation between a man and a woman in French, been a video a sort of pastiche of the Nouvelle Vague.


A still from Epitafio


From this video my interest in sex, as the main theme, increase and I reached to "Las nubes en la noche", who tells the story of a rape that happened to be pleasant for the victim. The video corresponding to residues of where the action happened it is a battered and abandoned barn. The image show condoms, alcohol bottles, stones, sheets and an endlessnumber of objects, all recorded as a "forensic photography" and all out of focus. Until that point, my videos had the characteristic that the images were not too much narratives, because there were always bathed by veil of the out of focus and these did not correspond to a very clear action. From there I got to "Epitafio" proposing me some new issues and greater emphasis on fiction, subject that interests me of exceeding and I intend to continue investigating. We have previously mentioned the Chilean master, however your visual imagery is rich of reference. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Influences in art there are several. In relation to the visual arts, my great reference is Marchel Duchamp. I am constantly reading about him and watching his work. Recently came to Chile an exhibition called "Don`t forget", where I met several Duchamp works that I had not idea that existed. I always surprise myself of this great artist. Duchamp affects a lot my work, because I have interest that I share with him, for examplethe sex, the death, the machine-sexual, etc. And another point is the media freedom to develop my ideas. For the other hand, movies had influenced on me a lot. I'm a fan of authors like Antonioni, Kieslowski, Bergman, Ruiz, Godard, Polanski, Lynch, Cronenberg, Von Trier, among many others. I am constantly watching his films. Some of them, several times and I looked at several authorial decisions, especially decisions about camera and assemblage. In literature and poetry, I read authors like Thomas Mahn, Houellebeck, BolaĂąo and poets such as Huidobro, Maquieira, Ginsberg and ultimately Bertoni. They all affect greatly in my creative development. And from them, as the music, I steal a lot.

A still from Epitafio

Thanks for sharing your time, Joaquin, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker career. What's next for Joaquin Reyes? Have you a particular film in mind? Thanks to you. Yes, right now I'm developing a movie. I've called as a kind of documentary experimental fiction. It´s a medium-length film that is divided into four chapters and is about a


murder (or suicide) in which fellow artists and writers together with me (the detective) are the in charge tosolved-based on speculationthe reasons for this assumption passionate suicide or murder. Parallelto this, I'm writing a short book of poetry and images along with the illustrator Andrea Tapia,whose principal theme is love, “unlove�, society and sex. The prologue is in charge of a national writer and expert in

Gabriela Mistral, Diego del Pozo and my idea once edited the book is trying to take it to fiction.


Installation view (on end wall) of Antoinette LaFarge and Robert Allen's Hangmen Also Die computer-controlled performance-installation at the Laguna Museum of Art, 2010. (Photo courtesy Laguna Museum of Art.)


Antoinette LaFarge


An interview with

Antoinette LaFarge We are honoured to host for this 7th Videofocus Biennale the work by Antoinette LaFarge, a talented multimedia artist: her video-installation Hangmen Also Die is pervaded by a unique atmosphere, taking to heart Antonioni's teachings "We know that underneath the displayed image there is another one more faithful to reality. An underneath this second there is a third one, and a fourth under the previous one. All the way to the true image of that reality, absolute, mysterious, that nobody will see. Or all the way to the dissolution of reality. Abstract cinema, therefore, would make sense." Antoinette, a particular aspect of your cinema we would like to focus on is the way you explore the boundaries between personal memory and collective memory. Cinema has been for more than half a century the reign of collective memory: nonetheless, only the most courageous filmmakers have tried to get under the skin of film like psychologists investigates the subconscious dimension. The structure of personal memory and human behavior is a fundamental point of your art research: could you introduce our readers to these concepts? AL: I don't see memory as either an onion—layers under layers concealing a central truth—or as a set of contradictory elements that cancel each other out into that final dissolution Antonioni is talking about. I understand it more as a set of fragments, each single one of which is too minute to interpret or understand on its own but which together create a mosaic that has something recognizable about it. It's all in which pieces are chosen and how they connect. And all these fragments can be constructed into memory-objects as many different ways as there are people and moments in time. Because each act of remembering reconstructs a fragment, or makes a new one: hard to tell the difference. One of the things that particularly interests me are the huge tensions around memory and history: the effort that goes into both remembering and forgetting, into pretending we want to remember things we clearly do not, into endlessly rewriting our histories in a kind of insane chase after a perfect and complete story. I always feel that by exposing myself to collective memory, I


Antoinette LaFarge


Actor John Mellies (right) performing the lead-in monologue for Hangmen Also Die on opening night at the Laguna Museum of Art, 2010. (Image courtesy of the artists.)


Screen capture from one cycle of Hangmen Also Die, ca. 2010. The piece is collaged on the fly from an underlying library of images. (Image courtesy of the artists.)

am inching closer to understanding something—but also that it is always already too big and too complex for me to understand. It has occurred to me many times to wonder if humankind would really be much worse off if we had no long-term memory at all, could remember nothing past yesterday or last week? We want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for Hangmen Also Die? AL: Hangmen Also Die originates in another work that I also did with the director Robert Allen—we were co-creators on both. That was Galileo in America, which started out as a collaborative project organized by Robert and a group of Los Angeles actors who wanted to do a play about Bertolt Brecht's years in the United States. I wrote the first drafts of the

script in the mid 2000s, though it wasn't finally produced until 2012. Hangmen Also Die, which premiered in 2010, was based on one scene from Galileo in America. It might make things a little clearer if I start with what Galileo in America was about. It's set in 1940s Los Angeles, where Brecht was living after being driven into exile by the Nazis. In Galileo in America, Brecht is working on a new translation of his play about Galileo (The Life of Galileo) with the English actor Charles Laughton, and even as he writes about Galileo's struggle with the Catholic Church, Brecht and his friends are being kept under constant surveillance by the FBI as suspected communists. Meanwhile, Galileo's daughter Virginia has shown up in Los Angeles, selfexiled from Brecht's play in protest at its many historical inaccuracies, particularly its treatment of her character. The play is


Screen capture from one cycle of Hangmen Also Die, ca. 2010. This moment falls near the beginning of the 70-minute piece, before it has begun to visually degrade. (Image courtesy of the artists.)

structured as a black-comic surreal epic that spans the centuries, tying together the lives of Galileo and Laughton, Virginia and Brecht, modern FBI agents and Catholic inquisitors. The play ends up being in part of a series of reckonings: Brecht with Virginia, Brecht with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the FBI agents with their own inquisitorial tendencies. The major script work on this play took place during the middle of George W. Bush's presidency, when we were very perturbed by the new forms of militarism and state surveillance that were emerging in post-9/11 America. We wanted our piece to not just use 'Brecht in the 1940s' as a metaphor, but to be alive with the similar challenges we were living through. So there is a good deal of recent material in the piece, meaning that it vibrates unstably between Galileo's century,

the 1940s, and the early 2000s. One entire scene, which interrupts Brecht's HUAC interrogation, consists of a monologue by an FBI agent mulling over what it takes to protect citizens from harm, then and now. It is about the personal cost of ideology—any ideology, left or right—and its references to Abu Ghraib and Iraq are counterpointed by echoes and quotations from other works that brilliantly address this conundrum, like Heiner Müller's Mauser, and Brecht's own play The Measures Taken, and of course the Fritz Lang – Brecht film, Hangmen Also Die. When we were invited to submit a piece for a museum show in 2010, we realized two things about the FBI agent's monologue: first, that it could stand alone as a separate work, and secondly, that turning it into a scripted, semirandomized interactive piece would drive home the anguish in the piece, which is largely


Screen capture from one cycle of Hangmen Also Die, ca. 2010. The piece is collaged on the fly from an underlying library of images. (Image courtesy of the artists.)

about the limits of our control over the world we are forced to live in. And in developing the piece to run as a computer program, we were deploying a relatively new kind of estrangement effect (Verfremdungseffekt ). I think that Verfremdungseffekt gains its power partly by amping up nameless fears in the viewer, and at present programmatic artworks—especially those that are seen to be run by computer—make most audiences quite anxious. Hangmen Also Die" is programmed to gradually break up and degrade: this process may be interpreted as a psychological distancing or phrasing of the images as in remote memory. Can you comment this particular aspect of your work? In Hangmen Also Die, the program is constantly throwing up still images and video and audio fragments that coalesce for just one

cycle of the piece, if that, into a transient portrait of the narrator. And since the still images are drawn from those that were circulating on the net at the moment the piece was made, it's also a partial portrait of a past 'now' that is fast distancing itself from the current 'now'. And as the piece runs, the images chop each other up, they show no mercy towards each other's integrity as images. And, as you say, they degrade, becoming darker and more fragmented over time: less readable. So one quickly becomes aware of the tenuousness of it all, that more pieces must be missing than are present. That we may be losing knowledge faster than we gain it. This is not a magisterial, definitive portrait. Insofar as these fragments provide insight into the narrator's mental state, his reality, at any given moment; well, they are doing the best job possible from a basis in radical insufficiency. And yet it's that very insufficiency that opens the door to the viewers, who themselves are involved in the


Screen capture from one cycle of Hangmen Also Die, ca. 2010. The odds are infinitesimally small that any two cycles of this piece will ever show the exact same screen image twice. (Image courtesy of the artists.)

very same acts of eternal reconstruction of memory and history in an effort to make (or make-believe) knowledge. You created "Hangmen Also Die" with director Robert Allen and performer John Mellies. Could you describe this collaboration? When Robert and I started working on Hangmen Also Die, we had the basic script (from the FBI agent monologue in Galileo in America), though I rewrote it substantially. We then cut it up into single lines and smaller phrases, and even individual words, and Robert directed John Mellies performing these fragments for the camera with many different affects. Our videographer, Amy Kaczur, is herself a video artist and understood right away what we were trying to do. For some phrases, we have ten or so different clips in the video library for the piece to draw on. It's

not the easiest assignment for an actor to perform single words out of context, but we've worked with John before and knew he would be terrific. John is an actor for whom that taut, dark string that runs through our psyches is always near the surface, so he was really right for this piece. Once we had developed a large library of film fragments, Robert and I sorted them into subgroups to determine the psychological progression of the piece. The other collaborative aspect of the project was in assembling the still images that overlie and surround the video fragments. We asked several fellow artists whose instincts we trust to read through the list of text fragments that was our shooting script, and for each fragment to write down a couple of images that came to mind. So these were images by association, and some of the associations were pretty stretched, which I believe adds greatly to the overall richness of the piece. I then went


(Image courtesy of the artists.)

Screen capture from one cycle of Hangmen Also Die, ca. 2010. This moment falls near the end of the 70-minute piece, showing the advancing degradation of the projected image.

(Photo courtesy Laguna Museum of Art.) searching online for actual images that I thought corresponded to the descriptions I'd been given. One other aspect of the collaboration was having John perform his monologue in full, live, during the show's opening night. For this, we made a special version of the piece that had the still images but no video or audio fragments. John performed in front of this image montage, and once he finished his monologue, we turned on the main installation. We wanted to have a live performance because there is something so confrontational and at the same time so sad about this piece that we wanted the audience to have the experience of being face to face with the FBI agent and his doubts. We have recognized a Brechtian touch in your work, not only for the references in the script of "Hangmen Also Die", but also

for your modern reinterpretation of the estrangement effect , aka Verfremdungseffekt. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Both Robert and I have been heavily influenced by theatrical traditions that are antispectacular, surreal, and improvisational, including Brecht but also Dada, the FluxusHappenings era, Robert Wilson, Richard Foreman, Peter Brooks, Anne Bogart. The politics of technology, of spectacle, and of media generally, is one of our central subjects, and we feel we can only address it effectively if we don't try to hide behind 'magical' effects. However, the artist who probably had the single greatest influence on both of us early in our careers was Marcel Duchamp. We see him as the great permission giver of art, and we have taken seriously the idea he put forward,


Installation view (on end wall) of Antoinette LaFarge and Robert Allen's Hangmen Also Die computer-controlled performance-installation at the Laguna Museum of Art, 2010. (Photo courtesy Laguna Museum of Art.)

that there are no rules left in art, there is only whatever you are willing to put yourself out to accomplish. I mean, obviously there are plenty of rules left with respect to both production and reception—economics, venues, collectors, critics—I just mean that the artist should be fearless about putting herself on a path and arguing for that path as art.

is a question that comes up a lot. Usually the next step is a lot of web research, reading, note writing, image collecting, raw sketches. Often I have some sense of what form is called for, a performance or an installation or a book. But I never follow anything very far unless it continues to surprise me. I want the adventure of not knowing where something will lead me.

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

Thanks for sharing your time, Antoinette, we wish you all the best with your career. What's next for you? Have you a particular videoinstallation in mind?

There are always more ideas than I know what to do with, but the ones that turn into projects seem to be of two kinds. Some begin with a strong image that won't go away, and some begin with a thought or a remark that opens an unexpected chain of thought. Often there is a contrarian impulse at work: I will come across some piece of conventional wisdom that is spreading far and wide and will want to bend or break it. How might this be other than it is?

My next project is going to be a genre hybrid, combining the form of the serial narrative (like a graphic novel, say) with some of the features of a virtual world, especially the use of customized software to alter the outcomes in various ways. I am interested in trying to set up various conditions that will force me to respond to them, as someone creating a story.


Adam Castle An artist's statement

Screensaver explores a bodily relationship to digital imagery in our internet age. Drawing on notions of instructionals, live streaming, pop-ups and infomercials, in this video piece the sheen of the internet screen tumbles in on itself. The work circles around the concept that one can order online a .jpg printed on to a towel. What happens

when a digital image is physicalized in this way and rubbed in the body? Will the body become a pixelated .jpg? And what if we try to feed such objects back in to the digital world? Exploring these questions, the video takes you through floating landscape of digital debris. Sliding across the screen are verbatim recitals of chat room conversations about towel printing, discussions of .jpgs and duvets, videos painted on to nails via


A still from Power / Point

iCloud nail polish, spinning 3D CAD scans of towels and YouTube tutorials on how to make CGI towels. All of these scenes are framed by the karaoke version of the song ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ whilst a hand cursor ‘flies’ towards an iCloud symbol across the empty void of the screen. Images of hands run throughout. In a world populated with touchscreen phones, we want to stroke and feel images, but when can we fly up to the iCloud?

Screensaver is showing at Threewalls Contemporary Art in Chicago, 23 Jan - 21 March 2015 You can watch the video here https://vimeo.com/112690297 http://www.adamcastle.com Adam Castle


An interview with

Adam Castle Adam Castle's work reveals a remarkable effort to extend the boundaries of human perception or to be more precise, to manipulate it and release it from its most primitive parameters in its search for physiological sensations. In Screensaver he explores our bodily relationship to digital imagery embracing the aestethics of visual clarity. We are glad to present Adam Castle's Screensaver for this year's Videofocus Edition. Adam, we want to take a closer look at the genesis of your video: how did you come up with the idea for Screensaver? I stumbled across a website where you can order a photo printed on to a towel. I was fascinated by this idea that you could take a .jpeg and turn it into this physical object which you can rub in to yourself. It seems that digital images are things that we want to get close to and touch. We walk around with smartphones in our pockets everyday where we touch and stroke images. So this towel where you can rub an image into the body seemed to echo this bodily relationship to digital images, this desire to touch, and perhaps become an image.

Adam Castle I often work in a seemingly quite frantic way, doing twenty different things at once. Before Screensaver was completed I had a series of vignettes that I’d been working on simultaneously, not really planning them to be one whole. All of these vignettes looked at this idea of the ‘image-towel’ from different angles. So I was making vignettes using 3D scans of towels, CGI towels, tutorials on how to use towel and chat room conversations about how to order image-towels. I think of the final work, Screensaver, as a network of sounds and images that coalesce into a sprawling whole. For me,I feel this approach echoes an experience of the internet, montaging ideas together as you flick between the many tabs you have open in your browser. These slightly disparate elements were weaved together, in what was essentially a happy accident, with the karaoke version of R.Kelly’s ‘I Believe I Can Fly’. Accompanying a hand

cursor and the iCloud upload symbol which float across the screen, this music lulls the viewer into this hypnotic digital landscape. I like how the placing of the song seems to somehow suggest that we can actually ‘fly up’ to this iCloud and collect all those images that we want to touch. I also enjoy the idea that, being a karaoke track, you could sing along to the whole video. I made the symbols bounce off the edges of the frame to emphasize that you are watching this on the black mirror of the screen. As the title suggests, they echo a computer screensaver; suggesting a need for constant movement and the sense that the other scenes of the video have interrupted a resting period.


So I guess to sum up, the work began with my initial fascination with .jpegs on towels before becoming various vignettes and diversions (I haven’t even touched on the chat show that I started to create in the midst of this) before it was knotted together with the help of R.Kelly. How did you get started in experimental cinema and performance? It’s been quite a natural process for me, moving from static objects to time-based mediums. I never really start off intending to make a performance or a video but I always seem to end up doing both or either. I think this is born out of my growing frustration with static art objects. With video or performance, you can’t walk away immediately, you have to pause and engage. I enjoy being swept up in a

time-based work and the feeling that I have really experienced something, whether I liked it or not. There is something excitingly volatile about time-based works. Recently I made a metal sculptural piece. When people came to the private view, I didn’t really enjoy the process of people looking at this object. I couldn’t quite work out why I would want to show it to them and why they would want to look at it. A video or performance seems to ask for, and usually require, an audience and so I enjoy and want to show people these. Your editing style is really impressive, can you tell us a bit more about your editing process?


A still from Screensaver


I often have lots of footage to sift through. For the short video Power / Point that I made with Mae-Li Evans, we shot footage for hours and hours in the middle of the night. We ended up with 14GB of footage which resulted in just 1mins 23seconds. So editing can take ages and be very complicated. I am interested in the layering of frames and footage, as in Power / Point and Screensaver, both to create a sense of visual overload as well as to create tensions and interactions between images. Where in Power / Point, the juxtapositions and pairings of videos feel like separate layers pasted on top of each other, in Screensaver I used a lot of green screen to blend images together more closely, whilst still making clear the methods involved to do this. At the moment, I am not interested in polishing the post-production to the point of invisibility, I want the viewer to be aware to some extent of the construction of the work. There are two key moments of green screen use in Screensaver. In the first, using green nail polish, I appear to paint videos of my own face onto my nails which then recite, in ominous fashion, a chat room conversation about printing towels. In the second, I rub a towel in my body, which has been keyed out to appear invisible as I explain how to use a towel. Behind me is a YouTube tutorial on how to create a CGI towel. This weaving together of a combination of tutorials, chat rooms, instructional and, perhaps cheap, visual trickery suggests the overwhelming nature of the internet and a feeling that it’s starting to tumble in on itself. The on-screen figure seems to have absorbed the internet and is endlessly regurgitating it. So this use of green screen allows me to weave disparate elements and suggest hypothetical situations. Screensaver actually existed first as a threescreen video. As it had so many elements, I couldn’t at first imagine how it could be condensed to the single screen. The process of moving between one screen, to three and back to one again was very useful in fine-tuning the piece to work out what I wanted it to do. The left and right audio pan which you hear in the single screen comes out of the multiple screen version. The placing and movement of images in Power / Point and Screensaver is very flat, moving just across the x and y axis. I wanted to

A still from Screensaver

accentuate the surface and flatness of the screen. Rather than the frame being a rectangular ‘window’ onto action which spreads beyond the frame, everything in Screensaver exists within that 16:9 frame. I wanted to create a sense of literal ‘on-screen’ action, as if images are skimming off the surface of the screen, ready to fall off at any moment. I am interested in this difference between ‘inframe action’ and the more conventional ‘window’ on to wider action. This is partly to do with my fascination with aspect ratios, which I have bored people with many a time. Works which I am creating at the moment are beginning to explore the ‘window’ frame more and I am moving into the use of the y-axis too.


Someone recently said to me that this is quite a ‘sculptural’ way of talking about video; looking at the material properties of video. Whilst I kind of agree, I’m tentative as I’ve had a running joke for a while that you get 10 points for every time you hear someone say that an artwork is ‘quite architectural’, ‘quite painterly’, ‘quite sculptural’. And if you are looking for more points, as Ali Smith writes in her great book Artful, every time someone mentions the words ‘Walter’ and ‘Benjamin’ together you’ve got yourself another 10 points. But I’m going off track here. Let me finish off somewhere. If I was the sort of person to make definitive sweeping statements that I’d definitely disagree with ten minutes after stating them, I’d conclude by saying: whatever

the footage, when it comes down to it, it’s all just editing and soundtrack. Let’s speak about influences. Have any video artists from the older generation inspired you? Isaac Julien’s work is absolutely brilliant. The first time I watched his 45-minute film Looking for Langston, I just went straight back to the beginning and watched it again. The next day, I watched it with the director’s commentary. And then again. In hindsight, this was perhaps quite weird. But the beauty of Julien’s work is that it can be watched over again and you find new things each time. Although our themes and styles differ greatly, Julien’s aesthetic, which has seen him move between the film


A still from Gym Walkthrough

industry and the art world, has recently made me want to explore using actors, written scripts and film industry high production values. I’m a total fanboy of Hito Steyerl, I’ve read pretty much everything written by her that’s not in German. (I have these too, I should really find someone to translate.) In definitely one of my coolest moves, a close friend and I got Hito Steyerl T-shirts made with a still from one of her videos on them. I feel she would enjoy this bootlegging of the ‘poor image’. Her texts, performance-lectures and videos discussing the contemporary relationship to the image have been integral in my thinking for a lot of my recent work.

I’m also fascinated by Edward Thomasson’s films which are like beige reality-TV musical soap operas. I kind of just wish I’d made them. Plus he exhibited one recently with a grey industrial carpet that filled the whole room, which I enjoyed thoroughly. The concept of repetition in space and in time is central to your art practice. How did you develop these concepts? I have not thought of my work in these terms you mention specifically, however the idea of repetition and appropriation is certainly important in my practice. In Screensaver and in the performance Convert to Smart Object, I recite verbatim


persona. I often feature in my work and in some ways I think of the figure in my work in a similar way. This figure is a combination of myself, a character I am building and a figure being guided by texts of others. Recently, I’ve been using quite a lot of pop songs in my work. Pop songs have an ability to affect us in ways that other sounds don’t. They can be used as tools with their pre-pacaked set of emotions that manage to totally grab us, or just grate. I’m not really interested in using them with total irony, the songs in there are usually songs I enjoy. By placing them in the work, I feel it allows a certain criticality to be placed upon them, I’m very conscious of what these songs are and am interested in testing out what they can do. In a more general sense, for me appropriation of mass media and internet forms seems an inevitability. There is just so much stuff out there. Pre-existing songs, texts, images, videos and so on get taken apart and woven together they fall through my work and land on their heads. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? My method is something like being all over the place in a very organized fashion.

tutorials and chat room conversations from the internet. I turn texts into scripts. The process of repeating through reciting is also one of selecting and highlighting. (Like John Baldesarri shows in his pointing paintings, making art is kind of just pointing at things) The process of repetition allows me to subvert these scripts and force them to do things they did not intend for themselves. When creating these recitals, the tools at my disposal are similar to those of an actor; I am employing different pitches, speeds, tones and pronunciations to create the work. I like what video artist Rachel MacLean says about her characters being blank avatars, ready to have found text pumped through them at any moment; they fluctuate and take on any

I have a notebook for ideas. Well, at the moment I have a different notebook for everything, all in one handbag. Plus a complete set of coloured pens. Which is of course essential. (I carry them all with me but just use the pinks and purples. Maybe the green if he is lucky.) I like to be organised to the point of just confusing myself. But anyhow, in this ideas notebook I have lots of ideas which are usually more form-based than content. They are often for scenes or vignettes such as recently, ‘erotic green screen medicine ball’. Then I suddenly get fixated on something. For example, at the moment it is the CGI gym equipment in adverts that promote new gyms. Then the seemingly disparate collection of ideas that I have in my head and notebook start to make sense as I think of them in relation to my current fascination. Then comes the point when I start trying to doing everything at once, make all of my ideas at the same time, organize an arts festival, host a cabaret night in drag and only end up


Installation view of Screensaver

buying an extra roll of tape for my studio tape tower. Eventually I’ll have made lots of different things and the hope is that one is good, or that different elements can come together in to a different whole. Thanks for sharing your time, Adam, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker career. What's next for Adam Castle? Have you a particular film in mind? Like I mentioned, I have a lot going on at once. And excitingly a lot of it coming up is collaborative. I’ve just starting a project that I’m loosely calling a sitcom. The episodes will be made non-chronologically and will span performance, video, installation

and sound. The central idea is that it involves the protagonist falling in love with a piece of CGI gym equipment. The first episode was called Gym Walkthrough and was a performance where, in gym gear, I flirted with a TV screen showing a CGI gym advert, before I left the room and ‘entered’ the CGI landscape on the TV screen. I lip-sync a Dolly Parton love song to this piece of CGI gym equipment. I am interested in the relationship between the virtual gym machine that creates the virtual imagined perfect body. And why can’t we just upload ourselves to this CGI gym? On top of that, I’m working with Lorna Stubbs Davies on a project with a primary school where we are teaching them a song, which will possibly form the soundtrack to a film.


I am also working with Ed Twaddle to create a film based on a performance we did together recently that looked at ideas of performing pop culture, including the use of karaoke, acapella pop songs and scenes from Friends and Sex and the City. For the film, we will be looking at how plays are filmed live through things like National Theatre Live. We are hoping to use a proper film crew to create a slick, industry standard glossy look, in reference to the material we are using. I’m very busy at the moment preparing for the launch of Pollyanna, a testbed cabaret night that I am organizing in Edinburgh with artist Emma Finn. It combines our shared interest in video, performance and party hats. On the night I shall be Pollyfilla, the drag host, so I am

trying to make work amongst heels, wigs and bunting for the night. And finally, if all goes to plan, some friends and I are putting on a group exhibition in Beijing. Somewhere in between everything, I must find time to make work for that. So not much time for that classic crossover feature film debut yet.


Matt Dombrowski An artist's statement What does creativity look like? What happens inside our minds when creative inspiration strikes? "Abstract" deals with the visualization of creation. Through the visual simulation of energy, movement and color, abstract is meant as a glimpse into the unseen side of creativity. The film is meant to be played in a constant loop. Just like most creative ideas, there is no timetable when they will strike. Therefore, this film purposefully retains from using titles and credits. There is no sound, the movement is meant to ignite imaginative sounds for the viewer to envision. Thus, creating their


A still from ELAN


An interview with

Matt Dombrowski Exploring the nature of the creative process itself, Matthew Dombrowski's work reveals a strong effort to investigate on the sub-molecular level the main forces driving the artistic act. Matthew, how did you come up with the idea for Abstract? As a boy, I vividly remember playing with my toys in my room. I would dive into my toy box, select my action figures, throw a blanket over my head, and play. Underneath this veil, I would create fantastical worlds in which my imaginary figure would reside. My mind fabricated the detail right down to the color of the rocks on the ground. From an early age, I was always a dreamer, bringing new realms into view with nothing more than my mind and hands. My imagination eventually moved on from the fun of simply playing into actually creating art. As a child, I was not always focused on inventing super realistic hyperrealist worlds. As I got older, these worlds became more lifelike and yet more fantastic and abstract. Like many artists, I was and am influenced by the world around my memories and, most importantly, me. The majority of my body of work deals with highly realistic landscapes created in digital forms. The idea of converting a series of 0’s and 1’s on a computer and being able to create them into tangible, virtual space that mimics a physical reality has always fascinated me. When creating the time-arts piece, Abstract, I was intrigued by the concept of what creative energy and the neurological synapses of the brain might look like during the inception of an imaginative thought. I began to gather hundreds of images of brain scans and diagrams of nerve visualizations; I began to notice that there seemed to be sub-molecular freeways of electricity coursing inside our minds. After viewing, I noticed these, seemingly, sub-molecular freeways of electricity inside our minds I began to notice. After studying multiple visuals of captured energy in the brain and its constant flow—it’s almost fluid undulation—I was inspired to

Matt Dombrowski

create this piece. In an effort to reproduce this phenomenon, my next step was to try to understand why these freeways are woven in the manner in which they are. From a formalist standpoint, the organic structure of these synapses was stunning to me; there seemed to be neither rhyme nor reason to their placement. They seemed to grow naturally liked the roots of a large oak


tree. This brought me to the realization that nature is, indeed, involved in both the processes of the tree’s roots and in the development of our minds. With nature also comes chaos: we aren’t always in control of nature nor our own thoughts and ideas. After all this research, I was now ready to create Abstract. I sat down in front of my

computer (my canvas of choice) and began to make my creative thought a reality. Abstract is meant to be played in a constant loop: could you comment on this peculiar circular aspect of your work? As a creative person, ideas are always operating on constant loop inside my own head. Abstract, as a piece, is no different. Just


A still from Abstract


as one memory or creative idea ends, another begins. The significance of the black fade in the piece is both for technical as well as theoretical reasons. Technically speaking, the black fade operates as padding or a barrier separating one loop from the next. On a more theoretical level as an artist, one of my major fears is that one-day the creativity will simply cease to exist. The idea of dealing with this impending “artists block� hangs before me like a heavy cloud in the vast cerebral distance. The black space is in stark contrast to the illumination of the seemingly electric and beautifully kinetic movement of lines. Without darkness, you cannot have light. While creating Abstract, I oftentimes compared the experience of making to the idea of being able to see the light of a star many years after its death. In all of my artworks, the idea of life, death, and rebirth coincides with the cycle of life (or looping action) within the span of the piece. Abstract’s time span is also meant to signify the sometimes brief, fleeting moments in which creativity can strike. It truly amazes me that in a micro-instant such amazing ideas and innovation can be achieved. Frames are dominated by a strong presence of black, suggesting the unseen side of creativity. How did you choose black as the main color of the whole work? Black was certainly chosen to show the unseen side of creativity. In addition, it is also meant to represent the idea the notion of impending death of creativity and the self. The vivid colored lines and bright energetic movement express this constant battle with the looming darkness. From the first time we watched Abstract we had the impression that your use of color and forms is not merely aimed at achieving extremely refined composition: your cinematography seems to be deeply influenced by the emotional potential of color and abstract gestures: could you better explain this aspect of your video art? Though the majority of the composition is computer mediated, the idea of color and emotion was a focus of great research on my part during the process of creation of Abstract. Oversaturated colors have always works as

A still from Abstract

sources of emotional expression in my artwork. My goal with Abstract is for the bursts of color and light to guide the viewer in this vast, seemingly unknown, black space; the vivid colors aide the ebb and flow of the movement within the piece. The formal mix of line and movement are meant to illicit the various moments of a creative idea. The movement and speed changes in the composition, along with the cinematography, are meant to reinforce this idea of the evolution of imaginative thought and the creative process. We daresay that Abstract reveals both the architectonic and gestural nature of the artistic act. The silent track in your video is a precise choice: let the images suggest


imaginative sounds. In this sense, your choice is no doubt a synesthetic one. Would you introduce our readers to this aspect of the work? I have always been fascinated with the concept of Synesthesia. Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Chromesthesia is the association of sounds with colors. In the case of Abstract, I have executed a bit of a variation on the concept of chromesthesia. I want the colors and the movement to illicit sounds within the viewers mind. I wanted Abstract to immerse the viewer within all of the potential

of his cognitive senses. The goal in animation is to bring to life the subject at hand. My theory was that through appeal to a maximum quantity of cognitive sensory experience, Abstract would create a cerebral dialog operating sympathetically between the piece and its viewer. Now we wonder if you would like to answer to our clichÊ question: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? My realities are simulated; I want the viewer to be absorbed in my art, as he would be absorbed in his own memories. †I believe the computer has already become an extension of


A still from Abstract

our minds. †In sync with it, I have the ability to easily control every aspect of my art, from the light to the weather to where each object is placed. I hope simply to guide the viewer into his own experience with my works. Society has become accustomed to a mass abstracting of reality. Even our so-called “reality TV” is scripted and therefore not quite reality. It makes people believe that is the way things are, but truly they aren’t. My artwork is scripted, although, hopefully, unlike most television and movies, the viewers will be able to see a reflection of themselves in my work. My art becomes someplace they have been or

they want to go. This, to me, is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my work. Over the years I have also learned to use art as key to my own meditative process. It allows me to have control of all aspects of my spaces and enables me to get away from the realities that bombard me throughout my life. I want my viewers to experience this same escape. My works are meant to take them into to their own imagination. Though I am illustrating what is in my mind, I leave certain elements vague in order to allow the viewer to take possession of the piece, too. Rather than it acting as an escape from reality, my art becomes an opening for truth in reality.


oftentimes forget about asking why they are creating the art and simply focus on technology—that’s a fundamental mistake. The idea of technology in art is far from a new concept; it has existed since the beginning of time. It has existed in since the beginning of time. Whether it was early Man discovering that the blood of animals could act as paint on the cave walls or Vermeer mixing and experimenting with the chemistry of pigments, the melding of technology and art has been a constant in creation. With the introduction of computer technology, the practice of how we create has shifted once again; digital tablets are replacing traditional sketchbooks and 3D printers are replacing clay, for example. In this age of ever-changing technology, how does the artist hold true to the values and principles that have remained constant over the past ten thousand years? We as viewers must understand what draws us to certain artistic acts and what factors remain constant throughout the years. The artist should drive the technology and not let the technology drive the art. Again, at first, this is a very difficult lesson for beginning students to grasp.

As an artist, how important do you think it is to teach what you practice? In a society in which we are bombarded with multimedia technology, we must look inside ourselves for a true understanding of our past and memories. Rather than it acting as an escape from reality, my art becomes an opening for truth in reality. As an Assistant Professor in the School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD) at the University of Central Florida, I indeed practice what I preach. Often when dealing with computers and art, my students initially assume anyone can create. Students

Technology is only a small part in beginning to understanding where the melding of art and technology has come from and where it will be in the future and, ultimately, how it will affect us, as viewers. Marshall McLuhan wrote, "The hybrid or the meeting of two media is a moment of truth and relevant from which new form is born. For the parallel between two media holds us on the frontiers between forms that snap us out of the Narcissus-narcosis. The moment of the meeting of media is a moment of freedom and release from the ordinary trance a numbness imposed by them on our senses.” I believe that computer technology should be used for so much more than industrial and commercial processes. The outlook of digital computer driven art is very bright and I am excited to see where I, my students, and society take it next. What’s next for Matt Dombrowski? Are there any new projects on the horizon? As an Assistant Professor of Digital Media at SVAD, I balance my fine art endeavors in digital media with my various commercial efforts. My ultimate goal is to use digital media to evoke positive social change. Currently, in


conjunction with a UCF College of Arts and Humanities grant, I have been developing digital therapy art applications for the utilization in children's therapy sessions. My goal is for children receiving psychotherapy to be more open to communication with their therapists with the help of touch screen technologies and art.

My fascination with art, memory, and the human mind remain the constant throughout all my works. My various commercial endeavors will, absolutely, interweave with my international fine art exhibitions. On the international art front, I have a few digital video sub-molecular micro-realities currently in the works. These works will deal with the


A still from Abstract

same concepts that are seen in Abstract. In addition, I am always working on my simulated reality, hyper realistic landscapes. It is my objective to merge these multiple perceptions of viewing art into a contemporary medium of a digital age. In my prints, I have chosen not to illustrate a specific time period or place, yet, I combine multiple spaces to create a place for

the viewer to interact with the pieces. In all of my fine art works, I am always striving to achieve an almost eerie stillness and a sensation of timelessness. A sampling of these hyper realistic landscapes and other submolecular video works are available for viewing at my website, www.digitalmediamentor.com.


An artist's statement

Old Stories is a project that looks at tales and folk stories that have been born in the Orient, namely in India an Persia, they travelled around India, Middle East and Europe with merchants and later by pilgrims and the crusades. By the end of the Middle Ages these had settled in different regions becoming part of local cultures

through out the whole of the Indo-European world — so the same story can be found in many places, but the particularities and characters of the narratives differ greatly from place to place. These stories have mostly survived through oral tradition; and more recently by the work of folklorists like Laura Gonzenbach (1842–78) and W. A. Clouston (1843-96). There will be four short films each film will depicts a different story (aside from one that will tell two),


nonetheless embracing different versions : The Silent Couple, The Pigs, The Tailor’s Dream with The Story of Kulla Panthaka, and A Parrot’s Tale. Of these the first two have been shot. The Pigs! — This story follows a farmer on the way to the market in order to sell two pigs. He is spotted by a priest who is with a friend. They believe they can convince the farmer to give them the pigs… With such goal in mind they

decided to persuade the farmer that he is transporting young donkeys and not pigs. The priest accomplice approaches him and tells him that his young donkeys look very healthy. The farmer answers that they are pigs, not donkeys. The accomplice continues his efforts in deceiving the farmer, and tries to convince him that the one who is correct should keep the animals. Catarina de Oliveira


An interview with

Catarina de Oliveira Oscillating between the fiction and the reporting style, Catarina de Oliveira's cinema takes to heart the teachings of the French duo of filmmakers Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, embracing a fascinating improvisatory style. We have selected for this Videofocus Edition her project Old Stories, a stunning tetralogy based on folk tales from the East. Catarina, we want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for Old Stories? It happened at the confluence of several desires and thoughts when I was preparing to go on residency at Triangle in Marseille. I needed some extra funding and had to submit a proposal describing a project before visiting this city.... But I didn't have any idea of what I wanted to do, though I really wanted to go to Marseille. I had been (and still am) very interested in looking at the Mediterranean Sea and its shores, mostly because its ghosts, stones, people and ruins have visibly crystallised through creolisations, contaminations, hybridizations and cultural crossovers. A strong interest in understanding the non-hermetic condition of things and entities has taken me to seriously look at the Mediterranean, at its continuous migrations and fluxes. Although since at least the end of the 18th century the Mediterranean Sea is largely seen as the frontier dividing Europe, Africa and the Middle East, I’ve been exited to think of the Mediterranean as a site of encounters and transit between bodies, histories, voices and objects. A site where the traces, fragments and ghosts of these encounters are at drift, unconfined by territorial politics and state borders. I was particularly interested in Marseille because it's one of the oldest ports of this site, hence populated with artefacts where hybridizations and cultural crossovers are highly visible. Nonetheless I was struggling with developing a project proposal as I had never visited Marseille and what/who is in a site is fundamental to my work. I've been interested in folk tales since as long as I can remember... and since my art school days I had the desire to develop a work that would somehow involve these. I'm captivated by how folk tales can bring together elements of mythological universes with


Catarina de Oliveira


everyday reality without necessarily embracing the 'smothering' nature of myths. And I'm particularly fond of tales that aren't exemplary of moral conduct. In more recent years I also became increasingly interested in the oralilty aspect of folk tales and in the flexibility of their form brought by the lack of author author. A story teller can emphasise whatever part of the story he chooses to, use the wording he pleases and play with the details; these stories are in a constant flux never solidifying into a fixed object. From time to time I would open a book of tales to see if something jumps out that I would like to dedicate myself to... And when I was struggling thinking about what to propose as a work to the funding body I though looking into a new book of tales and I found 'Popular Tales and Fictions : Their Migrations and Transformations' by W. A. Clouston – this book gathers folk tales in all the versions he could find and traces (as much as possible) the travels these stories have made throughout out the centuries. The tales and folk stories Clouston collected were born in the Orient, namely in India an Persia, and travelled around India, Middle East and Europe with merchants and later by pilgrims and the crusades. By the end of the Middle Ages these had settled in different regions becoming part of local cultures through out the whole of the Indo-European world — so the same story can be found in many places, but the particularities and characters of the narratives differ greatly from place to place. I then became very excited about going to Marseille and portraying a couple of these migrant stories. This book was completely aligned with my initial desire of visiting Marseille. How did you get started in filmmaking? I believe I gradually fell into it... My background is in visual arts nonetheless I've always been passionate for cinema and certain cinematic works were of great influence towards my thinking and art practice. I began by doing small videos and soon I came to understand that filmmaking was one of the ways I found most exciting to articulate my interest in stories, images and create portraits of reality. The work of folklorists like Laura Gonzenbach and W. A. Clouston has been fundamental for your research. When did you come across their essays?

Serendipity! I grabbed the book of Clouston by chance, and in it the work of Laura Gonzenbach is mentioned. Les Cochons is one of the four episodes of Old Stories. Can you introduce our reader to this short film? The story follows a farmer on the way to the market in order to sell two pigs. He is spotted by a priest who is with a friend. They believe they can convince the farmer to give them the pigs‌ With such goal in mind they decided to persuade the farmer that he is transporting young donkeys and not pigs. The priest accomplice approaches him and tells him that


visual clichès. How did you develop your imagery? his young donkeys look very healthy. The farmer answers that they are pigs, not donkeys. The accomplice continues his efforts in deceiving the farmer, and tries to convince him that the one who is correct should keep the animals. We have found interesting the surreal way you reinvent the Middle Ages imagery, reminding us of Pasolini's trilogy of life: it is rare to see filmmakers exploring the past through a corageous and experimental approach. In Les Cochons you adopt a cinema-veritè style, eschewing

A great part of it is related with having a small budget, which is also a choice — a very important one I might add, it allows you to work however you want, you can dedicate yourself the poetics and politics you want to address, you don't have to please any producers, audiences and so on. So for example making accurate costumes is already off the table even before you start working... so it makes you think really carefully about how you want to dress your characters. By chance (again serendipity) my good friend Kirsty Roberts was visiting me in Marseille when I was struggling with this question and


she instantly became excited by the project offered to help me — we had worked together in the past and share quite a great deal of references. I had been thinking that as I was interested in the migratory aspect of the stories it would be more interesting if the clothing wouldn't be referent to a specific time and place, instead to evoke a region and an era... that they would embrace eastern and western imaginaries. I work in a very pictorial way and each particular image is quite important for me, so the costumes were thought in relation to all the other elements present in the scenes where they would participate. In Les Cochons for example, I had really liked that story and finding real pigs was

not only a huge bureaucratic hassle but also expensive... and so I though I should just have fake pigs.... and I think that the story gained something with it because suddenly the whole absurd discussion about whether those animals are pigs or donkeys becomes even more absurd as they are neither... they are representation of pigs. The four-episode formula suggest a shortstorytelling style which was popular in the Middle Ages: the "novella", jut think of Boccaccio's Decameron. How did you choose this peculiar tetralogy formula for Vieilles Histoires?


merchants and so forth that had been travelling and learning stories. Returning to your question... when in the written form these tales always come in multiples like in The Decameron, The Arabian Nights, Śukasaptati and so forth — in the act of story telling also, for example in Morocco where this costume still manages to survive a story teller normally makes sessions of three, four, five tales. Plot wise these tales are generally quite simple: soon after the beginning there is a conflict and then its resolution... They have to be so that they can be easily memorised and properly processed by the listening audience. When one is exposed to a couple of them altogether experience becomes richer, each story has its narrative texture. As I mentioned before the stories that really grabbed by interest weren't the ones with purpose of moral education, instead the more absurd ones....Like sort of Seinfelds of the Middle Ages. Soon I saw that three would be the minimum of stories I should have so that the work grab these different textures. Then as I knew I would be working with a restricted budget I had to work with stories that could be filmed cheaply... and I arrived to this five stories. Lately I've actually been thinking that there is another story that I would like to also portrait.... so maybe there will be a sixth one even... Your cinema is rich of references. Besides the Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini we have previously mentioned in our interview, can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work?

Ah! There will be four short films but there could easily be six, seven ... Although I only planned to shoot four films these will portray five stories: The Silent Couple, The Pigs, The Tailor’s Dream, The Story of Kulla Panthaka, and A Parrot’s Tale. Of these the first two are concluded and I'll shoot The Tailor’s Dream together with The Story of Kulla Panthaka, i.e. one of the characters in The Tailor’s Dream will tell to another The Story of Kulla Panthaka. I want to use the film depicting these two stories as also a way to reflect on the migratory and oral aspects of these tales — this is possible because as the story goes the tailor steals from his costumers and so I could create characters (the costumers) that were

One film whose imagery really marked me was Le Mepris by Godard, the shots of the statues partly painted has always stayed at the back of my mind and I gave it a great deal of thought when I was shooting an earlier project — A Game of Roles played by Characters, Stones and Minerals. The films of Straub and Huillet, Manoel de Oliveira, Serguei Paradjanov, Antonioni and António dos Reis were really influential in many levels to my practice, I believe that their influence is quite visible in my work... I also drink a lot from Pedro Costa .. not so much from the films he makes (though I absolutely love them) but from how he makes them... I really appreciate hear him speak about his work methodology and production. Thanks for sharing your time, Catarina, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker


career. What's next for you? Have you a particular film in mind? I'm currently writing a new performance in collaboration with Kirsty Roberts (who

collaborated with me on the making of the costumes of Vielles Histoires). We'll show it at the end of this coming Spring at the Tropical Botanical Garden in Lisbon; in fact it will be made specifically for this garden. We are still


in the beginning of the work so I can't tell you much about that yet... Film wise there are two projects I would like develop, but they are still just desires.... one would be to make an adaptation of some of Sigismund

Krzhizhanovsky's short stories and the other would be about a group of Trobairitz living in Occitania in the 12th and 13th centuries. But before diving into those films I need to find funding to finish Vieilles Histoires!


Natalie Goldman An artist's statement

The window frame of a vehicle acts to keep one’s physical view fixated only on what is before them in the present. The past and future are obliterated and obscured through speed and perpetual movement, allowing the traveler to stay focused on the very immediate present as the landscape tumbles and unfolds itself, one image into the next. Lucy Lippard, when writing about walking as a form of meditation, describes that, “motion allows a certain type of mental freedom that translates a place to a person kinesthetically.” (1) The appearance and disappearance of the landscape before us and the hypnosis one experiences from taking the outside world in

through this constant movement that is both repetitive and excitingly unfamiliar gives way to a meditative thinking. Mesmerized away from awareness of the physical into our mental world, one can become absorbed in pure thought, enveloped with the imagery of the mind. In his book America, Jean Bauldrillard explains, “driving is a spectacular form of amnesia. Everything is to be discovered, everything to be obliterated.” (2) It is this experience of time and movement that gives way to a unique form of thought during travel. In my video vanishing point, I combine footage and soundtracks from ten road movies that have significance to me. I am interested in road movies that are destinationless in a literal sense, without a physical landscape or space being sought. These road stories are perpetuated for


A still from vanishing point

the most part by internal rather than external conflict, and are often an escape to find the state of mind where one can develop means of introspection and creativity. I concentrate on the movement of these images, removing elements of plot, character and context. I further obscure these images by enlarging elements of movement in the background, and blurring the images to remove signifiers and reference to the specifics of the movies themselves. Baudrillard concludes that, “speed creates pure object. It is pure object, since it cancels out the ground and territorial reference-points, since it runs ahead of time to annul time itself, since it moves more quickly than its own cause and obliterates that cause by outstripping it.� (3) By removing traditionally representational elements of the road movie landscapes, my

intent is to create a suggestively narrative work to push this concept of pure movement and pure object created by the speed and the process of travel.

1 Lippard, Lucy. Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society, The New Press, 1997, page 17. 2 Baudrillard, Jean. America, Verso, 1988, page 9. 3 Baudrillard, Jean. America, Verso, 1988, page 6.

Natalie Goldman


An interview with

Natalie Goldman Natalie Goldman takes at heart Harry Smith's words "Film frames are hieroglyphs, even when they look like actuality. You should think of the individual frame, always as a glyph, and then you'll understand what cinema is all about ". In her quest to explore the notion of movement Natalie produces something hypnotic and memorable with Vanishing point: deconstruction, fragmentation and appropriation come together in a related artistic strategy. We are pleased to present Natalie's work for this Videofocus Edition. Natalie, we want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for vanishing point? I had made a few pieces about the motion involved in travel, and what this kinesthetic experience does to the thoughts and mental state of the traveler. I'm a huge film buff, and while I was making these pieces I was especially tuned in to watching “road movies", particularly ones with a meandering, introspective bent to the story. I made a connection across the soundtracks in these films, because there was always something melancholic and solitary about the instruments used. I made an additional connection between these road movies and the final shots of Truffaut's The 400 Blows. There is a similar desire for escape, and an extended shot of the body moving silently through the landscape. I started “vanishing point� by recording the soundtracks from a selection of these films, and arranged this appropriated music into a new composition that became the audio for my piece. This was a new order in my process, as I usually start with the imagery first. After arranging the music, I collected small clips from these films. I was attracted to shots of the landscape unfolding, lights from traffic in the background, the rapidly moving view out a window. I mostly chose images devoid of figures, with the exception of two shots. From the beginning, I knew I wanted to degrade the quality of the images in post-production, and so


Natalie Goldman


A still from vanishing point


I added to that effect by recording the films playing on my computer screen with a mini-dv camera. From there, I expanded images to focus on details, used blurring filters, and excessively slowed down the images to create visual artifacts in between frames. I used opacity and layering to connect the transitions between edits to create one ongoing and seamless movement throughout the piece. I wanted there to feel like there was a narrative progression in the video even though there is no narrative. In this video you opt for an associative, almost surrealist methodology, This sense of juxtaposition gives your film a playful yet utterly subversive sensibility. Can you comment this aspect of your art practice? There is a similarity in my work and some of the practices that the surrealists developed to take control away from the body and bring power to the mind, such as automatic writing, and their work with chance. I was not concerned with accessing the deeper subconscious and the hidden, less rational recesses of the mind as the surrealists were, but I was certainly aiming to distract viewers away from their bodies by hypnotizing them into a singular focus on thoughts and consciousness rather than physical reality. The distinction being that my work is concerned with finding methods and space to access that first layer of consciousness, and not the suppressed subconscious ideas that the surrealists were interested in. I find being lost in thought at all is a luxury and difficult to do in the modern world. I’m surprised by your description of the work as subversive. I can understand “vanishing point”as subversive in this way: that I am using the tools of art and technology (such as video) to create a meditative atmosphere, which is in contrast to much of the world around us. I created a piece that doesn’t tell the viewer what images exist in their mind, but gives the viewer a pathway to access their internal, mental space, which will be different for everyone. Vanishing point features a masterly work of editing, yet it goes further in

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dematerializing the image through a series of subtractive techniques whose aim is to remove signifiers. As a result, blurring and erasing are no doubt fundamental elements of your cinematographic language. How did you develop your visual style? Blurring and erasing is a major stylistic element in much of my video work. It started with a piece I did before “vanishing point”called “My California” I was partially influenced by the way Charlie Kaufman treated the mind in his films (Eternal Sunshine, Being John Malkovich). The mind wasn’t just a state


of being but a physical location that had a unique visual logic to it. In “My California”I was searching for a way to represent my Grandma’s olive ranch as it existed as my personal memory. I reflected on how it actually looked when I recalled it in my mind rather than how it was when I was physically present there. It wasn’t photographically represented in my memory, and so a clear, full resolution video image did not conceptually make sense. I did a lot of blurring in camera for that piece, and I was attracted to how the brightest parts of the image came to the foreground. I was able to represent the fading and degradation of a memory through this process. I began

using this type of imagery for other pieces that depicted mental reality and induced contemplation. I found that using tactily soft images that were suggestive and not representational left space for the viewer to reflect on their mental processes. It is a similar psychological method to an inkblot test. By taking away texture and definition through these techniques I am able to concentrate on the overall mood of the video, and the affective response I want to gain from the viewer. Another important element for this work is to employ slow-motion. By slowing the time of the images, I relationally slow the body of the viewer. Through this change in the body’s


A still from vanishing point

rhythm, I slow down the mind as well, creating an entry into the meditative thinking I hope to produce in my viewer. Filmmaking is always considered a subtractive process by avant-garde directors: "the secret is to remove elements" said once the Armenian filmmaker Sergej Parajanov. Do you agree with this vision? I agree in that the frame itself is a subtractive process of the world around it. You are choosing what to put in your frame, and what to remove. My method for “vanishing

point”was certainly subtractive in a larger way, but I do not agree that this is an absolute rule for what makes an avant-garde film. The removal of elements creates abstraction, it is this way in any artistic medium. For me it was visual and narrative elements that I wanted to reduce. This was conceptually important for “vanishing point”as the piece is about creating a method of meditation similar to the process of travel, but not about particular narrative points, locations, or characters. Specifics would have been a distraction, so I removed them.


about poetics, affect, and sensory experience then it is traditional narratives. With experimental cinema, I can create images that I haven’t seen before. I can work in postproduction to experiment with the medium of video itself - paint with it, layer it, use multiple channels, and use the growing array of digital tools available to push the moving image beyond a single frame composition. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project?

How did you get started in experimental cinema? My education at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts really brought me into the world of experimental cinema. I had originally aspired to be a more traditional film director, but studying video under the framework of the avant-garde and conceptually focused arts program I was in brought out a more abstract side to my videos. I realized that I am not so interested in using video for the purpose of storytelling. I needed moving images to evoke moods and psychological moments for my viewers. My work is more

I keep sketchbooks and notebooks to record ideas. I generally start with something small. For instance the latest project I am working on started with a single note to myself, “relationship between cat purr and gamma waves. 40hz.”I looked back in my archives, and the original note for “vanishing point”was simply “Possibility of appropriating movie footage of driving shots. Should be mostly about the rhythm of watching out the car window.”It’s an important step for me to put something in writing, it gets the ball rolling, even if it is just a hunch, a what-if, or something simple. From here I spend a large amount of time researching to fully develop my concept. I’ll read a lot of theory. With “vanishing point”I was reading Lucy Lippard and Baudrillard, and articles by Wim Wenders and Walter Salles that were influential on the piece. I devour a lot of movies as research. I’ll create idea maps and lists of key words, write short statements about the piece. Once I have the concept fully developed, which usually includes a written proposal, even if I am the only one to ever see this writing, I begin filming. This part of my process is generally the quickest. The way I collect footage is somewhat off-the-cuff, documentary style. My videos are usually made with a one-person production crew, myself, so there is not a lot of organizing in the filming stage that needs to be done. Most of my creation of a video piece will happen in post-production. I have the concept fully researched and present with me, and during post I hold that in my mind as I improvise and experiment with the images I’ve


A still from vanishing point

recorded. I’ve usually set-up a hypothesis about what I think a certain process will evoke psychologically or affectively for the viewer. I can test that hypothesis in post-production. Thanks for sharing your time, Natalie, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker

career. What's next for you? Have you a particular film in mind? My work has progressed from a focus on the introspective world and the power of mental perception, to a study of the cognitive self as it is influenced by the body, and intertwined with


other species and its environment. I am still using video, but the films I am creating right now serve as an installation atmosphere for interactive sculptures and wearables. In these latest pieces I am using biological sensors that integrate the autonomic processes of a participant (like the pulse, or respiratory rate),

and externalize them alongside biological rhythms of other species. The videos I project in these installations contribute to an atmosphere of science-fiction where these strange encounters between species can exist.


Shih-chieh Lin A Short History of Decay by Lin Shih Chieh

When I first watched Bruce Conner and Joseph Cornell’s found footage films, I was amazed by how the artists transform the used images into something else. It was almost like witnessing the process of incarnation, a transcendental moment of seeing the new soul bringing the old body to life. Today, we have more access to the resource of images than ever before. What can we do to create a new approach yet meanwhile have a conversation with the found footage tradition? In the past, experimental filmmakers could create their art by utilizing the physical, chemical, optical and hand drawing technique on the celluloid. There is such an intimacy between the film and the filmmaker, from minds to hands and

from hands to the objects. Through re-producing and re-creating from the existing image, the filmmakers show the viewer a dialectical relationship between the image and the medium. In this digital era, most of the moving images are the illusionary existence composed by codecs. Like a spell, the right amount of RGB combination makes an image presented to the viewer perfectly. We are mesmerized by the mirage tower created by the codecs. However, if we take out one or two bricks from the mirage tower, it will collapse. Eventually we know the digital image is illusionary. A Short History of Decay is sampled from Assignment Taiwan, a propaganda film made by the US army in the 70s, introducing the colonized history and the establishment of the US military in Taiwan after World War II. The image itself has gone through different phases.


A still from A Short History of Decay

First it was a 16mm film, and with time it decomposed in the archive. And then it was transferred to the digital image and decomposed in a digital way. In A Short History of Decay, first I experiment with decontextualizing the signs, liberating the images from this cause-andeffect linear propaganda illusion. Surprisingly, I find the naked images almost equal to the signs of violence such as, war, bomb, explosion, gun, tank, military, and colonialism etc. Also, I mess with the key frame between two shots so the images are mingled with glitches. I put the sequence into Audacity, an audio editing program, and apply the sound effect onto the image instead of the audio as it supposed to be to create a “chemical process� in the digital image. There are many resource on the internet to teach people how to make this kind of glitch art. Technically this video is not groundbreaking, but I found it interesting that the form

itself can be seen as a metaphor of its content. As we understand, History is always an interpretation rather than fact. In the process of deconstructing the images, I also deconstruct the illusion of History. A Short History of Decay is a work to fight against the illusion. As a native Taiwan-born islander, I am always anxious and doubtful while facing our own history because it is always told by the hegemony. The anxiety in identity usually stirs up the desire to destroy, like someone standing in front of the mirror nakedly hoping to shatter it. This subconscious impulse is perhaps what drives me to make this video. And through this cleansing ritual, I am finally free from the spell cast by the history.

Daniel CortĂŠs


An interview with

Shih-chieh Lin Shih-chieh Lin's peculiar use of found footage reveals his remarkable effort to get under the skin of the cinema, exploring the blurry boundaries between personal and collective memory. His film A Short History of Decay disassembles the forms of contemporary media, subverting the cause-and-effect illusion and rejecting the descriptive function habitually allotted to the cinema. We are glad to present Shih-chieh Lin for this Videofocus Edition. Lin, how did you get into experimental filmmaking? Before I came to the US to study in the film school, honestly I only had a vague idea about what experimental films are. Most of my knowledge of experimental films came from film history books with a small chapter introducing avant-garde filmmakers such as Maya Darren, Stan Brakhage, and Andy Warhol etc.. At that time I was in my early 20s and was eager to make a film, but I didn’t have any formal training and resource. What I had is a DV and a basic editing software on the computer, so I just tried to make a collage with the footage and found footage I collected. It was more similar to compose a piece of music visually and I enjoyed the creative process a lot. This short video got me into California Institute of the Arts where I had acquired a more complete history and context of experimental filmmaking.

In A Short History of Decay you explore the psychological nature of the cinematic image playing with the notion that images tend to exist in continuum. We want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for A Short History of Decay?

an experiment for a documentary project I was working on, in which I was thinking about making a scene glitchy. Therefore I started to research the technical aspect of making a glitch video, and I looked for the online archival footage for practicing purpose. Surprisingly I found this US propaganda film called Assignment Taiwan, made in the 70s to briefly introduce the history of Taiwan and the aids from the US military in Taiwan after World War II. The footage provided another interesting perspective to examine Taiwan’s colonized history, and all of sudden I found it possible to turn this practice into a project. The glitch in the video can be a conversation between the form and the content, not merely existed for the sake of the glitch aesthetic. The glitch is a device to shatter the illusionary interpretation of the history and the history preserved by the media of hegemony. This work eventually turned out to be destructive and nihilistic against history in a way; thus I borrowed the title from E. M. Cioran’s book “A Short History of Decay.”

We have been impressed by the way you are able to subvert the cause-and-effect illusion, like in Alberto Grifi's film 2La Verifica Incerta": can you introduce our readers to this peculiar aspect of your film? The goal of a propaganda film, in general, is to promote a political ideology and convince people with a big picture through its narrative. However, the cause-and-effect montage for me somehow always lacks persuasiveness. Since the structure built up by the cause-and-effect montage seems so fragile, I decided to deconstruct it and reduce it to merely visual elements. According to the visual elements and their rhythm, I re-edited the film into a piece closer to the visual music. And of course, I’ve made some jokes about the cause-and-effect illusion as well. For instance, I cut “a man looking through a microscopic” to “a psychedelically colorful president hall.” Such inside jokes gave me a lot of fun in the creative process.

Glitches are a fundamental element of your cinematic language.

I’ve always wanted to do a glitch art project, but I couldn’t find a solid statement to provide a new ground in the aesthetic. A Short History of Decay initially was actually

How did you develop your visual style? The glitch in my film is a correspondence to


Shih-chieh Lin


the word “decay.” It is a gesture of revolt against the history represented in the media. It is also an “obvious” conjunction between two images. The debris from the previous frame scatters into the next. As for the sequence with the magical and lo-fi color effect, those were the sequence I put into Audacity—an audio editing software which allows me to apply the audio effects onto the video clips— and apply the sound effect on. On one hand it was like tinting the black and white image digitally; on the other hand, it was like messing around the chemical structure of digital black and white image and turned it into color. Even a black and white image can be an illusion. What was the most challenging thing about making this film? I would say the technical issue was the most challenging part. I had to mess around with different codecs, so a lot of transcoding, datamoshing, and re-transcoding in order to make the glitch effect looked right. Because I also put the video clips into Audacity, there were a lot of trial and error to experiment with different effects. It gave me the same excitement as I tried various chemicals to develop my 16mm films in the darkroom. We have previously mentioned Alberto Grifi, an Italian pioneer of found-footage video, however your filmmaking style is very far from what is generally considered 'academic'. Who among international artists and directors influenced your work? I love the found footage films by Bruce Conner. It was so impressive when I watched Take 5:10 to Dreamland and Valse Triste in the school’s theater. I remember I was tired that day, so I watched the film in a state of half awakeness and half sleepiness. The viewing experience turned out to be quite special. The films seemed to have a deep connection into my subconsciousness. That was the time I fell in love with the found footage film and wanted to seek more artistic potential in the making of it. Another filmmaker who inspires me a lot is Rebecca Baron, my teacher at CalArts. Her Lossless series provoked my thought about the media in the digital reproduction era. Other inspirational filmmakers that influenced my work include Peter Tscherkassky, Martin

A still from A Short History of Decay

Arnold, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. What's the future of found-footage art in your opinion? What will be the influence of platform like vimeo and youtube? We have accumulated too many images in a


pace that we will never have enough time to catch up and digest, but to be optimistic, the online platform like Vimeo, Youtube, or any other online archive give a greater chance than before for people to rediscover the old and rare images that only a few people have access to before. And since we’ve had enough

footage online, it can also be an image lexicon database that allows people the freedom to create their own vocabulary through the found-footage. There is a great potential in found footage art. We are lucky in the era of internet, but we need to know what we really want.


A still from A Short History of Decay

Thanks for sharing your time, Lin, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker career. What's next for you? Have you a particular film in mind? I will start a found-footage video workshop in

Taiwan, encouraging people to “recycle and reuse� the images to resonate a new voice. I would also like to have people look through the archival footage and rediscover what we have but forgotten in the history, being image archeologists.


Another project I am going to do is about life emancipation. It is a religious ritual in which the buddhists release trapped animals into the nature. By doing so they get good karma in return. It is especially popular in the Buddhism countries in Southeast Asia. The

project will be closer to an ethnographic film, but I am also thinking to make it as an installation. We’ll see.


Maja HodoĹĄÄ?ek An artist's statement

The video filmed in an abandoned cinema shows a teenage boy from Slovenia dressed in a militant uniform of the former country The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He

belongs to a generation born in the second half of the nineties which means he never lived and experienced Yugoslavia. However, he is fascinated by this particular historical period (1942-1992). In the video we see him imitating the former leader Josip Broz Tito. He is performing a fictional speech that he wrote


A still from ELAN

An artist's statement

The video filmed in an abandoned cinema shows a teenage boy from Slovenia dressed in a militant uniform of the former country The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He

belongs to a generation born in the second half of the nineties which means he never lived and experienced Yugoslavia. However, he is fascinated by this particular historical period (1942-1992). In the video we see him imitating the former leader Josip Broz Tito. He is performing a fictional speech that he wrote


An interview with

Maja Hodošček Set in an abandoned cinema, Maja Hodošček's film "If you remember, I always talked about the future" explores the theme of the failure of the socialistic promise in Jugoslavia. Maja's research is not only political but also metacinematographic:embracing an absurdist approach reminding us of Pirandello’s plays, If you remember presents a multilevel context. How did you come up with the idea for this work, Maja? My work doesn’t rely on a particular narrative that I would construct but is rather a result of living experience and functions as an open platform in which the main agency would be to “learn” how to accept coincidence and various modes of unfamiliarities and uncertainties. One of the main aspects of my work is that I never use preconceived scripts, my films are not based on a firm solid structure but are rather loos or fluid. In almost all of my recent films I focus on the political aspects of the category of youth. Especially I am interested in means on how the young ones can enact citizenship, practice collectivity and inhabit an empowered political awareness in a system where by law they are excluded from participation within the society (until 18). The film follows this interests. The idea came through an encounter with the main protagonist of the film, who I meet at a workshop I held in a local high school. I’ve noticed his fascination with not only the former leader of Yugoslavia but more with the aesthetic regime of the previous state. He would collect objects, money, stamps, etc. or would study socialist architecture. It is crucial to mention that Tito was strongly emphasising importance of the young generation, even to the amount that his birthday would be celebrated as a national holiday called The Youth Day. What interested me was how the performer who has no direct experience or reference to the former political system besides official history, personal memories of others or visual archive, would understand and perform a historical figure. He wrote the

speech himself and performed it in an abandoned cinema where there is no audience, no addressee. The meaning of what is being said and the whole constellation in which we encounter the imitator of Tito is absurd, and speaks about the impossibilities or difficulties of re interpretating, understanding, translating or representing particular historical period. Tito's speech pronounceed by the teenage boy dressed in a militant uniform reveals a


sort of coexistence between past and present in imagination and perception.

So, I wouldn’t say is a coexistence but more a dilemma.

I would like to emphasise that the film has no ambition to embrace a certain mode of nostalgia but it rather creates a gap where we can rely on some of the historical political achievements or failures however due to radical systemic changes have

From the first time we watched If you remember, I always talked about the future we found it a powerful reflection on the fictional nature of cinema itself. Could you introduce our readers to this aspect of your work?

difficulties in trying to currently activate them as one of the means of critique or resistance.

I have an ambivalent relation to the concept of fiction because I’m not sure what exactly is meant by the term fiction. For me cinema


many times can be more “real” than what is assumed as fiction and vice versa. I believe that our everyday relations are constructed, we inhabit social roles and play them so in a way the fabric of our everyday lives is fictional by itself. How did you get started in filmmaking? I studied art education, I never had any particular training in film. I’m learning cinema by watching films, talking with my colleagues and then by doing them. I guess the reason why I choose to work with moving image is because it allowed me to participate in social relations and through that unpack particular political and economic conditions. In a way through cinema I can activate myself, produce concepts or ways of looking, ask questions or propose different perspectives on particular normative structures. Your cinema is rich of references. In particular If you remember, I always talked about the future remind us of Investigation of a citizen above suspicion, an Italian masterpiece of the 70s by Elio Petri, as well as Dusan Makavejev's imagery. Can you tell us your biggest influences in filmmaking and how they have affected you work? I’m interested in documentary mode and its potentials, especially in the question on how film itself can be discursive, what language does it use in order to stimulate engagement. I found a sort of grounding of those interests in the Yugoslav Black Wave Cinema, that movement had a crucial impact on my work. Especially cinema of Želimir Žilnik who I strongly appreciate. Watching those films made me understand film in a non-traditional way and it sort of opened a space for speculative thinking and questioning. Your cinematography reminds us Orchestra Rehearsal. In many shots showing the teenage boy whites are overexposed, communicating a strong sense of isolation. Could you comment this aspect of your film? It can be thought as isolation or retreat from public sphere. Through my research and experience working with the pupils it became clear that the private sphere is the place of social relations and a place where identities are formed. However, the more the focus is on

self- realisation and success as a result of personal capacities, the more the collective agency is dissolving. In the film, the teenage boy is overexposed but at the same time he is alone, his speech is addressing the absent community. That is also one element that contributes to the whole absurd atmosphere where nothing seems at its place. Defining your artistic vision, we daresay that your personal experience is your main source for your works, even when they face political or sociological themes. Where do you get the ideas for your work? Personal is always political. Reading feminist theory stimulates me to ask certain questions, to recognise systems of hierarchies and oppressions. So, I guess that would be one important strand that informs my work. Then


direct living experiences, especially my unsolved question with the educational institutions. In high school I was really a bad student, I just couldn't understand why I have to master a knowledge that is being imposed on me, I found no connection too my own interests. I was more interested in different systems of learning. I guess the dilemma I have with the concept of schooling haunts me in a way to go back to school, to work with pupils in such manner that they can inhabit a more open or a certain kind of creative position within the school environment. They become poets, performers, filmmakers, etc. This way of working in close relation with different people informs my work in many ways. Thanks for sharing your time, Maja, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker

career. What's next for you? Have you a particular film in mind? Currently I’ m in production. I’m filming again in the same high school and the videos are a continuation of my last film entitled We Need a Title in which we observe the school debate club during a process of writing a poem collectively. I gave the poem they wrote to different groups of pupils; musicians, actors and singers. They will try to interpretate it in their own way and I’m filming them during the process of creating a new work. Again in this film I’m interested in potency of collectivity and its mode of becoming.


Lyndsay Martin


An artist's statement London-based artist Lyndsay Martin works with photography, collage, found objects and digital media to create visually rich, poignant pieces. Her work plays on ideals of life, the physical and emotional consequences of relationships. Lyndsay crosses the borders between photography and video installation. Notions of a Home video aesthetics and stories capture fragments of missing loves, lost conversations and abandonment. She is continually trying to achieve an equal balance between the beautiful and the ugly within the art, as well as exploring the hinterlands between fantasy and reality, drudgery and escapism.


An interview with

Lyndsay Martin Lyndsay Martin fills her contemplative films with metonymies to achieve a dense emotional complex. The materials she puts together to create her cunning works of art are mostly drawn from everyday life, yet she develops her own highly individualistic visual language. We have selected for this year's Videofocus edition her film installation Notions of a Home, a stunning work where drama is stripped down to its essential elements to introduce gaps and temps mort, fragments from lost conversations. Lyndsay, how did you get into filmmaking? We want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film installation: how did you come up with the idea for Notions of a Home? The installation - and the large-scale photographic prints that complement it started with some 1970’s/1980’s glamour photos whoch I picked up at Spitalfields Market. Being based in London gives me some great opportunities to source objects from some of the many markets. As a starting point for a lot of my work, Notions of a Home included, I tend to begin by sourcing an object from somewhere, be that a piece of vintage clothing, a domestic object or a found photo. I then begin to create and embellish a history for the object to create my story. Thematically, I have always had a strong interest in exploring the domestic environment and the relationships that are formed within it, often pairing the familiar objects/decor with the human emotions and relationships within to create a piece, so once I had found these photos, the rest of piece almost created itself. Why did you choose the dyptich format? I often juxtapose images to imply a narrative element whilst creating one cohesive piece, sometimes using multiple pieces within a collection to present more complex, overarching tale. Creating a video installation was a natural progression for me, moving on from my photographic work - the installation allowed me to take this way of working and push it further. Juxtaposing images


Lyndsay Martin


A still from Notions of a Home


A still from Notions of a Home


A still from Notions of a Home

sequentially like this gives me the ability to create more of a narrative by playing on how the images interact with each other. I like to think in turn this invites the viewer to stay a little longer and ask a few more questions. In your work the viewer is not asked to meditate on the action in progress decrypting a series of images like in serialist cinema, but to follow the logic of sensation.We have been impressed by your peculiar use of temps mort and static shots: your film features gaps in which the viewer project his own emotions, reminding us of Antonioni's early work. Could you comment this peculiar aspect of your experimental cinema?

The images are like pages torn from a book and read out of order or randomly spliced reels of film. The sequence of images and the storyline are deliberately left open to interpretation to reiterate this. Playing with the layout and speed of these images also allowed me to create a gradual build up of tension; although this is a ‘quiet’ piece of work I hope it is still powerful to the viewer - the quieter moments and beats within the video hopefully enable the viewer to project his or her own experience and emotion into it. From a visual point of view, Notions of a Home features a frontal composition. How did you develop your shooting style?


I guess I have always been slightly nosey and curious about other people’s relationships what people chose to show and what they hide, looking at how they select to present themselves in the outside world and in their own home. I have had personal experience of how extreme this can be, and although my work has origins in my own life deeply personal to me, I also recognise the need to allow interpretation on the part of the observer. Your art is rich of references. We have previously mentioned the Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, however your visual imagery seems to be closer to Alain Robbe Grillet's non linear cinema, as well as Bill Viola's video art. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? It has tended to change as I have developed my practice, but influences that have been constant include Francesca Woodman, Sarah Lucus, John Stezaker, Alice Anderson and Berlinde de Bruyckere. They are all artists whose work inspires me when I am feeling a little lost with my own practice, Sarah Lucas in particular. As I work for the Tate Gallery part time I am lucky enough to have seen some great exhibitions and have to say it is always a great way to seek some inspiration. I did get to see Bill Viola’s Five Angels of the Millennium when it was showing at Tate Modern and it was just beautiful, it is definitely my favourite work by him. Notions of a Home is my first project making a video installation and I had a lot of fun producing it. It allowed me to create some of the visuals that I had tried but failed somehow to achieve with photography. I think my shooting style has just come from the work I have done over the years with photography and collage, it has been a natural progression. It is a really nice surprise to see how well the installation has been received and the feedback I have had so far. Human experience is often the starting point of your filmmaking. What draws you to a particular subject?

Thanks for sharing your time, Lyndsay, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker career. What's next for Lyndsay Martin? Have you a particular film in mind? I am currently busy starting a new video installation with an aim to hopefully exhibit it later on in the year in London. It is a collaboration with London based musician Daniel Fisher, whom I have worked with in the past. I am aiming to take all that I have learnt, good and bad from Notions of a Home to help create this new work.


Gerhard Mantz An artist's statement

In 2000 I started a series of generative art.I called it „Infinite Image Productions“. "Painting by Numbers" belongs to that series. Images are generated instantaneously by a special program in real-time. Unlike the prerecorded sequences in videos and movies, these animated images are autonomous, spontaneous and endless. Every image

generated is unique and is unlikely to ever return. A computer program is expected to be selfcontained, to run logically and to produce predictable results. My programs also use controlled commands, but beyond that they open windows to the unpredictable. They are scripted to provide possibilities and liberties for artworks to arise. Open windows for the magical and indescribable thing called art.


There are always a bunch of forms and practices favored by the artist. These grow familiar to him by repetition and return frequently in his work. This may be for corporate identity reasons, to make his work recognizable, or just a matter of habit. There is a vocabulary of forms and colors and also a vocabulary of self instructions and rules an artist follows. In the flow of working there are two situations when he brakes his rules. On is when he is at his wits‘ end and does not know how to proceed. Now he decides spontaneously and blind without knowing the result. The other is when things are running too smoothly, now he obnoxiously does the opposite of his rule or something entirely different. He calls that intuition. We usually consider these spontaneous decisions the reason for an artist to grow beyond himself, to create something surprising even for himself. The divine spark that converts the work to a work of art lies beyond the rules. There is an analogies in music. In a melody we are expecting the consecutive note. We are either confirmed or surprised. Our expectations come from patterned repetitions in rhythm and harmony.The derivation from these patterns and the variations in the melody build up the necessary tension to make the musik lively and emotional. A constructions of regulations not always regular.

A still from Painting By Numbers

Most people still think in mechanical categories about the possibilities of algorithms. People often tell me, a computer is a machine that can only do what a human tells it to do. It can not decide, has no will and no intuition. Computers are over and above that meanwhile. My starting point was the question, what happens in the brain of an abstract painter? A painter, as I have once been one myself. What is that exactly, the creative process?

These procedures translated into programming language lead to the Infinite Image Production Each program has a determined order as well as a determined structure of unpredictability. Thus an animation keeps its significant stile, while its single images diversify in form, color and composition. The process provides a possibility field open for the unpredictable, welcoming these divine sparkles. Infinite Image Productions€is a computermodel simulating the artistic image conception and shows how spontaneous decisions within the framework of a systematic structure and produces artworks. If not that much it is certainly a playful simulation and reflection about painting and creativity. Gerhard Mantz


An interview with

Gerhard Mantz Gerhard Mantz makes the perceptual process the subject of his films by emphasizing the medium's material form. In his exquisite software artwork he creates a genuinely affecting mood through precise rhythms and colors, inviting the viewer into a haunted, totally subjective flow of clean not figurative images. We are pleased to present Gerhard's work for this year's Videofocus Edition. Gerhard, we want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for Painting by numbers?

music without hearing, just because he knew how to do it. I teach the computer how to do it. Allegro Scherzando is the subtitle of your piece. We find that you focus on the synesthetic qualities of your work, and the use of a silent track is indeed an attempt at a more abstract narrative cinema. Painting by numbers often approach the sheer lyrical quality of visual music. How did you develop your visual imagery? The elements my imagery borrowed from abstract paintings of all kinds as long they meet my personal taste. But I am limited to the use of simple elements, those the hardware can handle one at a time - and also what a viewers perception can handle of abstract imagery changing over and over. Yes, this is visual music, no soundtrack necessary.

Painting by numbers belongs to a series of work called “Infinite Image Productions” I started in 2000.

From the first time we watched Painting by numbers we were impressed by the way you explore the process of painting and investigate the inner nature of the artistic act. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project?

My basic question always was: is a machine capable of making art. Before I knew anything about computers like most people then, I dreamed of an artificial mega brain that knows better than any human how to seduce and captivate us with intricate images beyond human imagination. When artists started to use computers and software in their work I lost my dream. From what I could see from the results of my colleges and myself my answer was definitely no. A machine cannot make art!

I never start with a blank sheet. By watching what I made already I am getting ideas for improvements or new elements to add and others to delete. Trial and error. It is a constant work in progress. One version emerges from an earlier one. – O.k. o.k., in the very, very beginning one has to start with a blank sheet, right. If I really have to, I scramble something together randomly and arbitrarily. From that starting point I improve and it can only become better.

In 2000 I did a complex website where a lot of data had to be loaded before start. The internet was very slow at that time. To prevent the visitors from losing patience I entertained them with a non repetitive animation while the content was loading. I was so fascinated with my animation that I continued to write more complex scripts for animations. I watched these animations develop their endless variations of form and color for hours. Every now and then the combinations were surprisingly stunning - way beyond my personal creative skills. And yes today I think a machine can be creative and can produce art. The machine does not reflect about it, cannot judge and compare. (But frankly who can do that in art, anyway?) The machine produces blindly. Like Beethoven who could compose

With the advent of digital software, a new generation of abstract cinema has emerged, which tends to refer back to more metaphysical approach of earlier pioneers such as Wilfred and Belson. What was the most challenging thing about making this film using digital technology? The scripts I write, the scripts driving the animations, gets more and more complex. There are dead ends and detours and I am sloppy with code. I often forget to delete unused code, forget to write comments that explain what the code is for. I am ending up with a messy structure it works – but once I want to change or improve things months later I don’t understand my own script any more. As if somebody else guided my hand.


Gerhard Mantz


A still from Painting By Numbers


A still from Painting By Numbers


A still from Painting By Numbers


But I love the tinkering. Wilfred and Belson did not have the computers we fortunately can use today. For us the work is not less tedious but we can go further. How did you get into filmmaking and animation? Image making is a process over time. Not only that I found it entertaining to watch that process, an animation is also a way to organize and structure the elements of the image along a time scale not only in space and to play with the viewers memory. A close inspection of the painters' process - in particular abstract expressionism and motion painting- has been central to the genesis of your work. Can you introduce our readers to this preliminary phase of your work? I have been a sculptor and used to make color objects and installations when I discovered 3D software. I started to use the software to plan and blueprint these objects. Eventually I was getting more and more absorbed by the computer part of my work and soon I came up with models too delicate to build in a material. So I made prints from the objects as if they were real and presented them like photography. I was always thinking in abstract terms, with the objects, even with my landscapes. These are borderline abstracts, no big difference. Generally I am interested in the balance between random and order, in space and in clusters. Space opens a surface into depths. Clusters develop space but prevent penetration. It is always about attraction and rejection. Let’s speak about influences. Have any video artists from the older generation inspired you? In 1997 I lived in New-York and tried to get some random scripting into the 3D models for my sculptures. I was fascinated by the work of Manfred Moor. We showed in the same galleries, so I knew him. I could never figure how he programmed his animations. I tried repeatedly to shop talk with him, but he did not let out a syllable. He was extremely secretive. Never the less his work challenged me a lot. And it was in that Willamsburg loft that I wrote my first line of code.


Joshua Yates An artist's statement

this is (not) YATES is either a narrative fiction disguised as documentary, a pseudo self-portrait of a mischievous filmmaker, or an actual non-fiction video essay by a deranged lunatic. In any of these cases, the video seems to implicitly ask: When does a mask become a face? The whiskey-induced palimpsest of visual imagery invokes a delirium of multiple identities. It's a riddle of sorts, with all traces of the maker erased through a variety of formal means, be it the disturbingly filtered voice-over, or the multiple transfers of the image that pass through VHS players and any number of video compressors before arriving on our computer screen as a multi-layered analog dream from god-knows-where. Who the fuck made this and why? For a moment, I think I see an image of Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers running towards the camera--that shot from the band's Under the Bridge music video of my youth. Is this a form of seeing weird shapes in the clouds, or some clue towards unlocking the mystery of this strange video enigma? Multiple viewings only enhance the mystery. But there is one clue worth noting: the words PLAY in the opening moments of the video. Is this movie simply having fun at our expense? Some video freak trying to give us nightmares before bedtime? Perhaps it's just a simple case of the unreliable narrator, and this is, in fact, Yates, after all. In the worst of all possible scenarios, this video is actually a mirror, and we see ourselves in the shadow-masks that flicker before our eyes.€


A still from this is (not) YATES


An interview with

Joshua Yates Joshua Yates' works result from the processes of reflection that reveal the psychology of the Self and the psychology of our understanding of culture. We have selected for this Videofocus Edition his short film this is (not) YATES merging autobiography, non-narrative storytelling and pictorial style. Joshua, could you introduce our readers to this personal work? I made this while taking a class with Sasha Waters Freyer. She’s an awesome person and she makes fascinating films. The prompt was to create a fake self-portrait. I drank a fifth of cheap whiskey one night, got very nostalgic, and this movie is what came out. I love masks. I hate the thought of losing my memory. A recurrent characteristic of many of your artworks is experience as starting point of artistic production: in your opinion, is experience an absolutely necessary part of creative process? I think so. For me it definitely is. But everyone is different. Do whatever works for you. Be honest. How did you get started in filmmaking? I grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Me and my friends skateboarded and jumped off houses and got into fights. Eric and Jay were brothers and they had a camera. Most of our adolescence was recorded and I’ve only in the past year realized how cool that is. I think I had a unique upbringing in a trying environment. Life at home was hard, but I wouldn’t trade my adolescence for anything. I didn’t really grow up watching films. Space Jam and Kids are the only movies that stick out in my memory. I watched music videos and professional wrestling and the CKY tapes. It wasn’t until college when I saw An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge that I decided to study cinema. Even then, I was more drawn to the analytical side. I think it was 2011 when I decided to pursue making my own projects.

Joshua Yates

We find interesting the way your surreal imagery goes further in dematerializating the image:could you comment this aspect of this is (not) YATES ? It only exists in this quality. I think different film/video formats set different tones. VHS felt right for this one. Something like nostalgia. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? It varies. Projects always seem to overlap, so everything seems fluid and enmeshed. I’m not sure the process ever really stops. I’m always jotting down notes of things I see and want to see again, things I want to say, hear, or rehear.


Music is crucial, too. Patsy Cline. Pantera. Three Six Mafia. I pretty much like everything except ska and contemporary country music. My mood usually dictates which direction I head in. It’s very intuitive. Intuition guides, intellect refines. I think it’s one of the few things that distinguish human beings from other humans beings. And the technicality of filmmaking can’t be overlooked, either. I dedicated a few years to getting comfortable with the craft because I think that stuff needs to become instinctual, second nature. It would be interesting to compare your films to the cinema of Jonas Mekas. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work?

I think influence is incessant. There’s always something influencing you, good or bad, conscious or not. Inspiration can be hard to come by. What inspires me filters into the stuff I make, for sure, even if I don’t want it to. As of late, what inspires me is: my dreams when I drink cheap red wine from Aldi, Japanese New Wave films, Denzel Washington, Harmony Korine, Spike Lee, Béla Tarr, Facebook, professional wrestling, J. Cole, Caroline, nostalgia, that cooking show Chopped, Dan Gable, pork tortas, and cheap red wine from Aldi. Thanks for sharing your time, Joshua, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker


A still from this is (not) YATES


career. What's next for Joshua Yates? Have you a particular film in mind? I’m currently working on a short fiction film called The Dying of the Deads. It’s an adaptation of a short story written by Jeff

Jackson. I made a trailer for his debut novel Mira Corpora, and this project sorta stemmed from that. It’s a hallucinatory three-part story full of lost teens, black metal bands, occult maps, parking lot purgatories, and dead


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girlfriends. Thanks for watching my stuff and asking me good questions.

Jeff Jackson - website http://deathofliterature.com

Mira Corpora - trailer http://vimeo.com/73435834

Josh Yates - website http://thisisyates.com


Chris Shofner


An interview with

Chris Shofner Chris Shofner's work is essential for those who conceive cinema as an anthropological tool. He dissects wellknown and conventional contexts, disassembling the forms of contemporary mass media and using their inner structures to rebuild a world where identity is transitory. We are glad to present Chris Shofner's experimental cinema for this Videofocus Edition. Chris, we want to take a closer look at the genesis of your project "This is Chris Shofner": how did you come up with the idea for this work? I started exploring social media in my work during graduate school in about 2007. I was spending hours on Myspace and Facebook everyday at that time. I asked myself, “why am I on here? What am I trying to discover?” Eventually this introspection led to the collection of digital files sort of like “found objects.” My first large Facebook collection came in 2009 when I saved every one of my Facebook friend’s profile pictures for the video work, “FW: Who was your last…” In the case of “This is Chris Shofner” I started to wonder what people could discover if they were searching for “Chris Shofner.” If Facebook could be viewed as the great public archive of our time then what information is readily available about “Chris Shofner?” What can the exploration of another instance of someone identified as “Chris Shofner” help me understand about myself? What interested me about this particular “Chris Shofner” was the amount of seemingly private information that he shared publically. I just started digging through his profile, collecting every image, video, and piece of text that I could get my virtual hands on. While I was archiving this information I really wasn’t sure where it was taking me. Eventually it led to questions of public vs. private information. Therefore, I began exploring fair use through artistic commentary using mass amounts of appropriated content. I wanted to push the limit of interjecting what we think of as private information into a public context and explore

how that information might communicate in an unintended space. -We have been impressed by the way you explore the psychological nature of the cinematic image and its relationship to dualism. What is the influence of social media on the construction of identity and self-perception? Back in the days of Myspace’s popularity I found that I was very interested in reading my friend’s posted surveys. I was curious about my social group’s musical interests, what they were reading and how they responded to similar life experiences. It started to seem like I was searching their profiles to discover what “normal” was as if their answers to a survey were the “right” answers. I would oddly find myself questioning whether I should I conform my preference about an ice cream brand or to be completely honest. But it also made me think, “why do I prefer Cold Stone over Baskin Robbins?” So, I think social media can influence the choices we make in order to assure our status in a desired “ingroup.” As far as self-perception goes I believe that our use of social media helps us justify the choices that we make. We follow particular interest groups, public figures, and we have the ability to control what information we see on a regular basis, all of which support confirmation bias. At the same time that identity construction is shared with others. I believe that one will typically construct a social media environment that causes the least amount of cognitive dissonance. However, social media also allows for unique social identity construction. Who one appears to be online may not be who one appears to be in person. Which one is real or is one more real than the other or do they simply co-exist? That is a more difficult question to answer, as I am not sure each case could be judged as a whole or if that could even be known by anyone other than the individual. Nonetheless, it seems to be a product of the nature of social media.

This is Chris Shofner contains also a reference to the concept of Doppelgänger: in this sense there is very much in keeping with Kafka 's allegorical approach to literature, or Dostoevsky's novels. Do you agree with this interpretation of your film?


Chris Shofner


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Certainly. There is no doubt that “This is Chris Shofner” purposefully takes an allegorical approach to delivering messages. I come from the conceptual school of thought in regards to art making and I also find that personally I enjoy the challenge of dissecting works to discover hidden or true meanings. Since the subject matter of my work often revolves around issues that are beyond the public’s

vision it makes sense to me to build in symbolism through time-based visual metaphors to add another layer of meaning. What was the most challenging thing about making this video? The collection phase is a tedious process. For example, Chris Shofner had 405 Facebook


commentary under fair use posed the greatest challenge. How did you get into experimental cinema? When I arrived at college I had dreams of playing guitar for a living or at least writing for a well-known guitar publication. So I eventually ended up on a journalism track. Shortly thereafter I decided to try out a television production course. This was a revelation to me and I decided to change my emphasis to media production. However, it wasn’t until a year or two later that I took a course in time-based art with my now friend and artistic mentor Douglas Gast. I was exposed to the works of artists like Bill Viola, Nam June Paik, Vito Acconci and Stan Brakhage for the first time. Until that point I always thought of music making as my tool of expression. Video in my mind was only going to be a means of marketing my audio works. However, I began to see video as a new mode of expression that expanded my previous notion. The experimentation in that course and in my senior thesis led to a small portfolio that I used to apply to graduate schools. I entered the MFA in electronic art program at the University of Cincinnati where I studied under Charles Woodman and Benjamin Britton both of whom continued to help shape my work and understanding of experimental cinema. In your work we can recognize a deep introspection: do you think art’s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artist’s expression? Do you think that art could play an important role in facing social questions? Could art steer or even change people's behavior?

friends on the day of observation. I had to save each profile picture individually. The process took a couple of hours, but that sequence lasted only about 22 seconds. In the end I had tons of appropriated information that I had to figure out how to present effectively to an audience. So, I would say the process of collecting and effectively organizing mass amounts of information within an artistic

I do not deny that some artworks fit the category of “art for art’s sake.” However, I do not believe that art’s sole purpose is to provide a platform for artist’s expression. In my mind art can and does play an important role in addressing many different types of questions. If I didn’t believe that I don’t think I could spend one more second making it. As far as steering behavior, I do believe that we tend to consume materials that support our personal beliefs. However, I believe that art consumption can be an excellent way to challenge one’s beliefs in order to develop, strengthen or alter them.


Let’s speak about influences. Have any videoartists from the older generation inspired you? Absolutely. I would cite Bill Viola, Pipilloti Rist, Julia Scher, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, David Rokeby and Bas Jan Ader to name a few. In the mindset of a musician I think of these artists in the same way that I view Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page. I borrow licks, bits and pieces of the whole and

store them in my repertoire. My work is nothing more than an amalgamation of borrowed ideas often coming from this earlier generation of artists. Thanks for sharing your time, Chris, we wish you all the best with your artist career. What's next for Chris Shofner? Have you a particular film in mind?


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I am currently working on a new film dealing with social identity drawing from my largest collection of appropriated images from Facebook to date. I also have several large collections ranging from individuals to topics that are ready to be organized into new works. Some of these new collections also go beyond appropriated content from a single social media site like Facebook and more deeply explore individuals based on their Instagram,

Myspace, Google +, Youtube, and LinkedIn accounts as well. In the last year or so I have also started creating works of live cinema. In these “jam sessions� I improvise with video clips in collaboration with improvising musicians. I hope to continue to explore and expand this new way of working.


Julius Richard Triptych of Love Supreme (TDAS) is in fact a Pentaptych wich two first chapters Julius never watch or show. Filmed between october 12 and march 13, TDAS is the narration of an End wich is Two: End of Love and End of World. Escatological-

apocatastatical triptych that follows a visionary discipline: to watch what you have to see. Julius Richard Tamayo


Tamayo A still from TrĂ­ptico del Amor Supremo


An interview with

Julius Richard Tamayo Julius Richard Tamayo´s films are essential for tose who conceive cinema as an anthropological tool to explore the incommunicable. His titanic Pentaptych film project reveals an impressive effort to explore new dimensions of time and space in cinema. Julius, how did you get started in independent cinema? Before I start I’d like to thank you for the selection of my work and the chance to show and share it with you. Furthermore, the opportunity here and now to express some of the ideas in TDAS is a blue and soft door I’d love to cross. I will express myself in the “language of the Empire” instead of saying goodbye to language. Obviously, it is not my mean or maternal voice, but I’ll do my best in this ventriloquian exercise of translating oneself. Under the door it is written the word: “Instant”. Trespassing. Starting from the very beginning and trying to make the story short, I must say I’ve never dreamt of thought about becoming a film-maker. Beyond childhood dreaming of becoming a football player or a punk-rock star (my teeanage dreams), I decided to be a writer too long ago. This is the last century. I won a literary price in 99´ and travelled to USA to follow the steps of my then beloved Charles Bukowski. I was fourteen at that time, when I saw Frisco or LA for the very first time. From 99´ until 03´, I wrote a series of autobiographical books in Henry Miller´s dirt style (“E” (00), “Barna” (01), “Mandanga” (01), “Extinción” (02)) while I was studying Philosophy (in which I finally licensed). I quitted from writing at that time and then started my journey from words towards images which will carry me to this place and time. It follows this quote: Love has the need of reality. There is no doubt in telling it is a journey of illumination: the image will come in the time of resurrection. So, to use concrete terms, I’ve never been a typical cinephile. I abandoned narration in the Gutenberg Galaxy and it’s the same in Lumière Galaxy. I don’t read novels (I read all the books and sad is the flesh) and very soon I will not see nor watch cinema fictions (I watched all the films and sad is the blood). I arrived at cinema not by train but late and from a theoretical path.

Julius Richard Tamayo

From philosophy I started to write on film trying to do “philosophy of cinema” and not film criticism. Don’t forget, thou, that the word “theory”, that comes from the Greek, means “contemplation” or, basically, “vision”. More concrete. I started filming two weeks before 11-S. In my 18th birthday that summer, I’ve been given my first Panasonic NV-GS. Sev-


eral years after that, I will lose all my footage, in 2007. I remember me crying helplessly in the bus station of Príncipe Pío in Madrid, just arrived from a trip to Venice, once I realised I’ve lost my equipment or it’s been robbed. I’ve lost the material from five or six years. From 2001 to 2011 I filmed dozens of tapes that I’ve never edited. I started to give them

light, to light-birth, in the springtime of 2011, at the very first moment in a Fluxus way, with no editing at all. My first public exhibition would take place that autumn, in Filmoteca of Santander where I’d show the second chapter of TDAS (in fact, the first and last time to project that piece). In 2011 I was a film-critic (writing for Transit (Spain), hambre (Argenti


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na) or La Furia Humana (Italia)) and also a filmmaker, but a very theoretical one. I’ve made my mystic journey from words and representation towards images and reality. I must say it was some kind of schopenhauerian way. I was trying to write the fifth chapter of “The world as will and representation” through cinema. But I was not writing… It’s a pity that in English we don’t have this beautiful word we use in Spain or Fance: “realizador”. Director or realisatuer: the thing is not to direct somebody or something but to direct own self. The place is for me clear and straight forward: community is the destiny of travelling. You know this important difference, in politics but also in aesthetics: the difference between community and society is that in society law rules but in community loves does. So, to answer quickly: I started in independent cinema to find the other, because I was a solus ipse. To find you. Cinema is a magic tool to do so. A magical tool descended from heaven. Is a machine with a destiny: to end up definitely with metaphysics. A phenomenal and phenomenological machine with and inscription: “straight to the things themselves”. Stan Brakhage, who maybe read Edmund Husserl´s meditations, call it “an adventure of perception”. That’s what cinema is for me: adventure of the eye/I, soul journey(e), invitation au voyage. For this Videofocus Edition we have selected your complex and layered work Tríptico del Amor Supremo. We have been really impressed by the balance the have been capable of achieving in this work between classical sensibility and pure experimentation. How did you come up with the idea for this experimental work? The word “idea” is a principal one. There is an “idea” of cinema and there is the “work” of cinema. The idea of cinema is a platonic one. Plato must be considered the fundamental and symbolical father of cinema. The idea of cinema he had is exact and precisely the same of the vanguards: vision and cinema are ways of emancipation from illusion. This is the opposite of cinema as “the factory of dreams”: cinema as a way of knowledge. This Socratic mood conforms the sensibility of cinema from EJ Marey to Stan Brakhage, from Dziga Vertov to Hollis Frampton, from Jean Luc Godard to Andrew Noren. I started in experimental cinema when I was reading thousands of pages on phenomenology and ontology, so my idea of experimental cinema is maybe related more to the theory of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Gaston Bachelard, Gilles Deleuze

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or Martin Heidegger than any other else. But, of course, I also made my encounter with all the experimental tradition, on theory and on film. I mean: for me, there’s no difference between “classical” or “experimental” in ontological terms. This is historical consideration, it’s a tale. We have “classical” in the experimental tradition also. In fact, the idea of “classical” in


cinema is quite an oxymoron. The cinema itself is a child, a not-yet-born maybe. There’s no such thing as “classical cinema”. What we used to call that way is “contemporary theatre”, and not a brechtian one. Cinema is essential and structurally a “modern” thing that arises at the same time as Marxism or Psychoanalysis. It’s a weapon or an instrument to lib-

erate bodies and souls, just like philosophy itself. What I found in cinema is a method. Again, the way, the path: “method”, from Greek, means “the way beyond”. What kind of method? Using platonic words, we can say the method is the “metempsychosis”: the migration of the soul trough time. What I found in cinema (I


arrived late) was the definitive meditation’s machine, a machine to make rituals and make them concrete and effective. And, in this discovering of a new prosthesis I also discovered a new way of thinking and writing without words, which was my mean and old obsession or (artistic, poetic) project. Moreover, cinema could make real the dream of dissolving the line between life and art, a thin blue line. Cinema is not a window but a door. You can cross through it. If you cross a bazinian window you fall. If you cross a brakhageian door, you enter an unknown place. Let’s not quote William Blake hic et nunc. Which cinema is this? I used to call it “child-cinema”, following the incarnations from camel and lion that Nietzsche proposed. I arrived to cinema as a child and found cinema was a child too. Then we started playing, experimenting and discovering… And, how many greens does this child see, how many blues do I see? This cinema is personal, like Maya Deren said. Not in a first-person way, but in an intimate one. Cinema is the confession of a searching. It’s nothing but that. Not literature. Not theatre. The real cinephilia is not with film or movies but with cinema itself. Just read the word: love to movement. That’s it. Then, when I discovered this, is when I became a cinephile. Then is now. We want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: could you tell us a particular episode that has helped the birth as well as the development of this project? TDAS was composed from 2011 to 2013. When I finished it, I was very tired, almost exhausted. I have also published my first book in November 2013 (written in 2008), called “Elementos enviados”, which is the fifth and definitive chapter of the series I’ve started in 2000 and took more than a decade to end. I’ve never thought about publishing so it was a huge surprise, something almost miraculous. I tell this because the relationship between TDAS an EE is very delicate and deep. Both are marked by logic of separation, both are written under the spell of eschatological forces. Also another series I’ve made at that time, “Tríptico de Tierra Verde” (2011 2012), is related with this stimmung, this blue and late-romantic mood. This life-episode is the end of a love. A big love. You know how it is. I will not explain too much. You can see it surreptitiously in the film. We don’t have a story, a narration, but we have a “history”… I remember here the words of the prologue of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of grass”: “Once we have the history we won’t need tales”.

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The first two chapters of TDAS were composed in the summer of 2011. That’s when my lovestory was about to end. Love is the work and the work is love. So, at that time, I had to start working in other thing in order to keep my love alive. The first chapter, “M” has only projected once: it was in the wall of her house, of M´s flamboyant home. There were like twenty people. It was her inauguration party. Our relation was ending at that time. I guess I was trying


not to lose her with those first two chapters, maybe. I believe it was the opposite. The first chapter has images of her back only. We cannot see her face. We see a glimpse of her face just a very little moment in the second chapter, “lincr es retro”. These two first little pieces are some kind of farewell or homage. I don’t see nor show them anymore. Two years later on the process, in 12´s winter and 13´s springtime, I’ve finished PDAS defi-

nitely. But I was not able to return to the beginning at some point, so PDAS turned into TDAS. I could see it was disappearing in front of my eyes. Then I realised what it really was: the five chapters followed precisely the process of mourning that Klübber-Ross indicates in her schema. In this process, in this travel, “M” is “Negation”, “inV/Fierno” is “Acceptation”. Here, the divine and magical machine functions as a methodical and psychoanalytical dialogue with oneself. It’s personal but not


obscene. There’s no scene to be outside or inside. Everything, in this way, is insideness. TDAS is, definitely, a Kaddish, a gloomy prayer sung in the style of Allen Ginsberg’s: crying. Like tears, images come from the inside. From the first chapter until the last I clearly developed a more complex way of seeing and giving birth, which I think is quite notorious. The idea of ek-stasis and epiphany was gradually incorporated in my making. “inV/Fierno” for example, is a very prolix composition with has six chapters itself and three times the duration of the first chapters. All this discoveries, is very important to reckon, were made right “after” or “during” the experience (experiment). This is not the result of an a priori concept, or the illustration of an idea, but the realms of an inquiry. This is what the psychoanalysts call an “insight”, or thinking with hands, thinking with eyes, thinking with heart. This is transcendent in cinema and in life, in theory and in praxis: to die and to rebirth are usually metaphors of the vision. TDAS is the testimony of that: the rebirth of an Eye/I. All of this is very dialectical but dialectic is one of the main skeletons of TDAS. An elementary and emotional dialectic containing negation, anger, negotiation, depression and acceptation. We have been really impressed with your cinematography: the use of hand-held camera as well as the refined composition reminds us of Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, a masterpiece by the Armenian director Sergei Parajanov. How did you develop your visual style? - Tríptico del Amor Supremo reveals a highly original and consistent vision of time. Could you introduce our readers to this concept? It’s very kind of you! Sergei Parajanov is a filmmaker I really love, as I do with other Armenian film-makers as Artavazd Pelechian whom I’m devoted to. Composition, a concept received from the painting paradigm, is closer to the point than the cinematographic notion of miesè en scene. It’s always a necessity to remind that, at the beginning, cinema was not related to drama but to science, not related to circus but research. You know the story: Griffith reads Dickens. There’s another story: Fernand Leger thinks in a 24 hour film. For example. That’s 1925. From the beginning, cinema has something to do with literature, theatre: no thing. Remember: cinema was invented to see how a

man walked, how a cat jumped, how a fly flew. Pure theory. TDAS is a work deeply composed along the years. It shows a visual style that might correspond to the double-faced nature of the image. One is the enlighten, the prosthetic moment of vision. The other one is the moment of giving birth (witch in Spanish is said: dar a luz, or give (birth) light). It embraces a hidden and occult idea: there’s no style but openness. This category from the phenomenology reveals the position of the film-maker, the realisateur, he who “makes” reality. Who’s he? It’s me or the camera he who sees what the eye cannot see? The very first time I’ve shown my work, in October 2011, Fernando Ganzo, the curator and the person who invited me, explain my style with these terms: “He films like a child. He edits like an old man.” These beautiful words perfectly illustrate that idea of soul journey I found principal in cinematic research. We have those moments when you have to be awake and pay attention. You have to be and to pay and this is a real economic order. But the flux in this economy is not money or something valuable, but the immaterial: time or light is what is being paid. This first moment I would call it “Enlightenment”. The second moment is what I name “Aluzination” (note that, in Spanish, light is “luz”). So, cinematic process is one of Illumination. And surely it needs time. I cannot express something like a “compositional view”, in painting, artistic terms. I’d rather speak about resonances or moods. The big question I found in cinema is that of Monica Vitti´s in Il deserto rosso: “What do I have to see?” And again, the answer goes to the inside first. And in the inside we usually find darkness. That’s where we start, your own darkness. That’s again too platonic, isn’t it? In the limit between inside and outside there’s an Eye/I or a camera. It needs to be open, started, ON. It needs to have something to do. There’s nothing to tell –reality tells itself- so let’s do something. This is the style: you have to stand up, to walk, to watch and to see. Ok, you have to know what cinema is. You have to watch thousands of films and read hundreds of books. Ok. But later you have to stand up (this is which make mankind) and look up to the stars and to the sky. This is what you have to do. If not, you’re still in the cavern, in your own dark movie. That’s because TDAS is an outside film with an obscure an inside episode. The triadic move-


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ment –based more on physic dynamics than rational dialectics- follows the spiritual movements of the inner forces out coming. It seems to me that it really illustrates a movement: a walk, a jump or a fly. The relations appear cleanly over the film: in the first of the three chapters we have two different dynamics. The first one shows, in a hand-held and fragmentary style, the aerial elements, or the feminine ones: air and fire. This very first segment was filmed the 22th of November (22-11), the day of M´s anniversary. The first image is an autoportrait while M is cutting my hair off. Not a metaphorical image but a very literal one. The second segment, filmed the 21th of December (21-12) that year of 2012, concentrates it attention in the sun: it was supposed to be the last sun of an era, according to Maya´s. It’s not hand-held but filmed with a tripod all along that day. The physic element here is fire. The dialectic, not far away from that in I ching, closes in the third chapter, “inV/Fierno”, where

we found the opposite elements, such as earth and water. We found similar movements as in the first chapter: movements of the eye or the soul that guides the flux of images. The middle chapter, in comparison, is set in a room, and we never go out. It’s filmed the 16th of March in 2013. I’ve been 24 hours awake filming all the time, not getting out my room, remembering. “Facies totius universi (domingo, 16 de marzo, 2008)”, travels in time but not in space. No movement here. This defines past: a no place. TDAS travels from light towards light crossing darkness. This is the basic itinerary. Light-dark-light. Outside-inside-outside. Or, in terms of time: it travels from present to future, showing past as a non-travel-possibility. We can do a word-play: since past is no-place, past is NOWHERE, in past there’s no space. An every image is past. But, what happens when we open the past, we enter to it and open a space in “the” nowhere?


A still from Tríptico del Amor Supremo

We definitely don’t find the future there, another no-place. We may find paradise, in this cinematographic edenology Jonas Mekas used to explain. We certainly find time, the seed of time, by opening a space in “the” nowhere: now→here, NOW HERE. We have two presents then (illustrated by “Ortoño” and his couple “inV/Fierno”): the instant of the event, the instant of the reminiscence.

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?

Time is the fundamental question, not only in cinema but in life in general. You can answer in a Kantian, Hegelian way: “I know what time is because I do time, I own it”, or you can do it from the Augustinian mood, which is mine: “I know what time is until they ask me. Then I do not know”. TDAS is my personal way to answer the fact that Brakhage signed: “The entire act of motion picture making, thus, can be considered as an exteriorization of the process of memory”. Wasn’t Plato who said that knowing is remembering? We found, at the end, cinema to know to know.

The m∞n is also an influence, I might say, but only during the night. The primary fountain was maybe Kafka, who wrote about writing: “you have to print the negative”. This is essentially cinematic. I was not only Kafkaian in my youth by Kafkaesque all my life. I read when I was a child. I believed it. No matter if you paint, film or write: print the negative.

Well, I’m quite sure my biggest influence in art, cinema or life is the Sun, whom, as Alexander Kluge considered, was the very first experimental film-maker (or abstract painter, or land artist, or performer). We owe light to it. I cannot measure its real influence.

It could seem a suspicious question; however we have to do it, Julius: what’s the future of experimental cinema, in your opinion?


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I will answer this by sharing with you a little text of mine (never translated into English), which also offers a number of human references that will answer more accurately the previous question. (Experimental)Cinema, moreover, is a futurecharged weapon, as JLG said, and I also wait very optimistically to the death of movies and films to come. Cinema is still a child or: 1. WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT CINEMA MAY BE. The cinema was invented to think but this was soon forgotten. (This was said by Jean-Luc Godard). Cinema will reborn when movies die. (I say this, here and now). You have to cross the desert of representation, a desert that grows (it was Nietzsche who said it). We must abandon the Conspiracy Bubble Fiction and Film: "literature of the imagination", as the mystic Simone Weil said, is boring or immoral. The disjunction is not exclusive. It is often both at once.

2. THE FILM IS ONE. And we are all filmmakers (Val del Omar was who said it). Film history is composed of all the films made: educational movies, news, advertising images, porn, sports, clinics, Hollywood movies and home recordings. All are the same film because the film is one (as Hollis Frampton said). We are all filmmakers because we are all Buddha (He told himself). The film is an oracle that tells us, as said Socrates by Delfos: "Know thyself". In its frontispiece can read the motto of St. Augustine: In experimentis volvimur. That's the motto of a reborn and amateur film. 3. A THEORETICAL AND EIDETICAL CINEMA. "Eidein", idea, to look. "Theorein", theory, contemplation. A cinema and a discipline: "looking the thing you have to see" (it was Henry David Thoreau who said it). Look and see. What? "No ideas but in things", as William Carlos Williams said. For what? To verify the First Material Truth of Cinema: "nothing takes place but the place" (was Mallarme who said it). Two forces gravitate around film, or vice versa, the film re-


volves around two forces: matter and memory, as Henri Bergson said. 4. THE DISCIPLINE OF LOOKING WHAT YOU HAVE TO SEE OR VIDEO MELIORA. Look what you have to see, "see better" (Ovidio). Metamorphosis of the gaze and eye’s metamorphosis: rebirth of cinema. Response to the question raised by Stan Brakhage: "How many green meets the eye without prejudice, the reborn eye?" A propaedeutic of film-making that says "we are all children-filmmakers" (Val del Omar was who said it). 5. CINEMA IS A MACHINE FOR MEDITATION (said by Claudio Caldini). Look, contemplate, meditate. A phenomenological machine with three legs: attention, arousal, epiphany. "No matter what they say attitudes and movies of men: the morning and cinema come when I am awake and there is a dawn in me" (it was Thoreau who said it). A new question that I pose here and now: How many blues meets the eye unprejudiced the reborn aye? 6. LUZAZUL (BLUELIGHT): SOMETHING GREEN TOWARDS BLUE. Rewriting a line from Valerie Mejer. An eye, a vision. "Light is the skin of the world." Let us add: and "deep is the skin" and "deep is the air” (were Emilio Pacheco, Paul Valery and Jorge Guillén those who said so). Light and air: this is the "skin", that is the "movie". That's the Second Material Truth of Cinema: "projected light: from us and for us." The light of cinema will follow the darkness of films. Cinema, like love, needs reality. Cinema Amador. Loving cinema. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Julius. What’s next for JRT? Are there any film projects on the horizon? Thanks to you. It’s been a pleasure and I hope it will be great to share my space and time with you in this Videofocus Edition. It’s not easy for me to show my work, so I really appreciate it. The space for community is very little in this society, as you surely know and experience. More over if we use the “experimental” (or the post-anti-other-) prefix.

A still from Tríptico del Amor Supremo

Yes, of course I do. 2014 has been a very active year. My period of illumination took until I was 30. Then I was illuminated, as Buda, as Christ, as Zarathustra, as Thoreau. Now I’m 31 I’m in my period of aluzination (if I can say it with a “z”), which will happily take place until my 33. In this period, I’m planning two different series, in which I’ve been involved for two years from now and it will take two more. The first one, called “Elecciones Afines” (Affinitive Elections) is almost completed, since its first two

Another series, a more complex and longer one, called “Aluzinaciones”, is composed by a dancing number of pieces, between seven or eight, where I concentrate in different metaphors of the living light. Only the prologue is completed. Three pieces (“Ascensión (luz verde)”, “912197X (luz roja)” and “Ulises (luz blanca)) have been developed during the last two years. Hopefully, this project will end in USA in 2016, thanks to a grant. The effort in this series is quite peculiar, since it will take

segments were finished in summer and the third and last one will surely appear in the next spring of 2015. It will be projected and premiered this April, in Bilbao, España.


almost six years to complete and its duration will extend several hours. The necessity of the “series schema” is principal in the analysis of processes and its different moments through lifetime and film-time. “Elecciones Afines” and “Aluzinaciones” are two long series that go further than TTV and TDAS in its existential limitations. It may surpass the double-faced condition of my work in cinema in this very first three years: the poetic-immanent and intimate filmmaking of TDAS and the philosophic-structural, more conceptual approaching of other works as “Jolibú” (12-13) or “Locus Solanus” (14), in a non definitive and essayistic uniqueness. The ritual goes on, but comes from the interior to the externals. You know this, you remember it:

“This is to introduce myself. I am young and I believe in magic. I am learning how to cast spells. My profession is transforming…” I might say I’m publishing soon a poetry book called “luzazul” and other one on film-theory that will happily have the title of: “Video meliora: aluzinatory theory of cinema”. Writer, philosopher, film-maker, cinemist-anartist: transformer!

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