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
"Versus is the title of both the Dominik Ritszel's exhibition in the Bank Pekao SA Project Room and one of video works the exhibition is made of. Versusdepicts participants of an endurance training and 0:0shows hockey match audience. This double screening creates a space where the artist explores some hidden aspects of sport. "
Dana Berman Duff
Consciousness of the apparatus and the cultural conditions of the medium, along with an awareness of the position of the author, is fundamental to anything I make, along with attempting to make those conditions transparent.These days I’m primarily interested in stillness as a filmmaker and the inescapable fact of movement as a sculptor. "
""Throughout movie history the park bench has been a frequently used prop. It is vital in Forrest Gump, and many romantic comedies include an emotional park bench scene.In There Is Always A Park Bench I have created the dialogue by taking lines from other park bench scenes. "
"Breath is an exploration in the process of “lossy compression.” I am fascinated by the way we construct the systems around us to mimic what we feel is natural. We mirror our language of biological functions to relate to the machines that surround us. Memory is one facet of that discussion that intrigues me."
"Amygdala" is a scientific tale. Located deep inside the temporal lobe of the human brain, a small almond-shaped region orchestrates our emotional life. This is the amygdala, which is an ancient biology that deciphers whether an experience is emotionally traumatic or merely anxiety-ridden.
"When I'm 64 is about the poetry and sound of language. As such, it's almost entirely about sound, rather than meaning based on a traditional narrative structure.It was inspired by a news story about modern audiences finding Shakespeare's language increasingly difficult to comprehend, while still appreciating the sound of it. Intrigued, I sought to push this to the extreme by taking Shakespeare's 64th sonnet (hence,"
One film from The Disorders Series. The set consists of five films: Echo, Nectar, Smolder, Evidence, and Erase. Each film is inspired by a different mental disorder. Schizophrenia, eating disorders, depression, self-harm and addiction are all tackled, in that order. Erase is about addiction and the final of the series. (2011)
Interactive nose is a mockontemporary video art piece which mocks the obsession with interactivity in new media arts. The author uses a € 0.75 blinking party nose toy as an extension to her brain indicating her dirty thoughts each time it blinks as a response to hightech hardware components implanted in her brain that obviously keep track of her brain activity. However, none of this is true.
After Paradise is a contemporary re-imagining of someone else’s memory. It attempts to resurrect and re-contextualize the long-forgotten landscape images captured by my grandfather on his visit to relatives in Tahiti in 1955, a decade before France’s nuclear testing program showered vast areas of Polynesia with radioactive fallout.
Soft Pong Inari is a visual experiment in crowd-sourcing. Soft Pong Inari was made entirely from pre-existing photographs of Fushimi Inari Shrine, available for modified re-use in the creative commons. The film explores how a multi-subjective viewpoint can express a sense of place. The soundtrack is a study by Swedish composer Palle Dahlstedt.
David de Rozas
"Using language from the speculative documentary and the video essay, They Want to Give It a Name observes the process of naming the public landscape, exploring the connotations and relationships that the chosen name has with History, with the collective physique, with the city, and with its inhabitants. "
"Throughout history, there have been few constants, few ideas that remained the same without much variation or change. One of these concepts is rhythm. Rhythm is never changing, as the basis for it has been set since humanity first learned to speak. Even today, the rhythms of modern music are not very different than those of classic music. "
This animation parallels and explores the Ethiopian legend about the discovery of coffee (by goats and their herder) with in modern day environment.In this piece I create stop action animation using paint on canvas. After each frame is developed I take a still picture of the painting using a digital camera. I then paint the next scene over the old one. The entire animation is painted on a single surface. "
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. "
Dominik Ritszel Versus Versus is the title of both the Dominik Ritszel's exhibition in the Bank Pekao SA Project Room and one of video works the exhibition is made of. Versusdepicts participants of an endurance training and 0:0shows hockey match audience. This double screening creates a space where the artist explores some hidden aspects of sport. The hustle of a sports arena blends with faint sounds of a quiet training. The artist's personal experience is a very important background to his works which go beyond the conventional documentary canon. Ritszel, who himself was a hockey player for a few
years, shows what normally stays off screen in sport depictions. Dominik Ritszel tells the story of his works through images. He shoots and watches, sometimes secretly, real or prearranged situations. The main characters of his works are hunters, sportsmen, sports fans, soldiers and adolescent boys. On the one hand he explores attributes of manhood, on the other he points towards situations that break its rules. While working on Versus,the artist wanted to employ a prearranged situation to capture the moments that go beyond the predictable
A still from Versus, 2014
0:0 isthe an unconventional depiction of a event convention of sport rivalry. The cameraAuses stilltight from Through oceans of space and time I: sport Hey Bro from the spectators', not the spectacle's framing and close-ups to watch a group of young 2014 perspective. It shot during a few visits the artist men during a sport training. They are portrayed made to hockey stadiums in Silesia and it focuses out of the context of the situation they are in, exclusively on fans of losing teams. The event is through close-ups of handshakes, of a hand sliding shown form a reversed perspective where the over the floor slippery with sweat, eyes meeting in observer becomes the observed. Again, there is no a challenging look. He uses extreme close-ups to fulfilment. The fans take part in an event they are look for flaws in a seemingly hard and smooth so passionate about only to a certain extent. structure. There is no moment of fulfilment, Physically their participation is limited to the competing does not lead to victory, instead of seating area and they have no influence on what is manifestations of force and endurance the camera going on among the players on the unapproachable makes us watch moments of hesitation, suspended ice rink. The feeling of helplessness often turns looks, involuntary, anxious gestures. into aggression. Marianna Dobkowska
An interview with
Dominik Ritszel Dominik Ritszel's images make us believe in their truthfulness, because he captures private moments in close-up. In his diptych video Versus he undermines our knowledge in order to reintroduce us to the adventure of knowing, never suggesting answers but always asking questions. Dominik, we want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for Versus?
“Versus” is the product of my three-month A-I-R art residence in the Centre for Contemporary Art - Zamek Ujazdowski in Warsaw, where I was invited by Marianna Dobkowska. Initially, I wanted to gather and train my own private paramilitary army. As regards the whole idea, I was mostly interested in the sole process of training recruits and organising a group of people into one cohesive body. Then I started gradually simplifying this project to eventually make it a sport training session. Sport is firmly rooted in military tradition. In both cases, the body and the mind are regularly tested for endurance, in order to steadily enhance their efficiency. I was particularly interested in the relations inside the groups of people subordinate to one authority, as well as in the identity of an individual inside the overwhelming system of an institution.One of the common goals of both sports and military institutions is, among other things, turning boys into men. The process sets their firm standards for how the model “real man” should act and look. We set an audition to invite athletes, both professionals, or the School of Physical Education students, and amateurs. The screenplay consisted in the three-day-training sessions programme. The participants were following the hired coach’s instructions. As for the athletic training, the participants’ physical close contacts were particularly interesting to me. I wanted to find out how the men coped with the simplest situations, which sometimes would escape the clear and predictable confines of competing. Some exercises were intended to disturb this sports nature of the interactions between the players, like giving each other hostile looks lasting much longer than the ones we see for a
few seconds before the boxing fight commences. This project was largely connected with my memories and my sport experience I gained seven years ago. My family had a tradition in ice-hockey. Just like my father had, my brother and I, we started to play hockey in primary school. The training sessions were held every evening, and each weekend we would play games. Those days, I wasn’t interested in art, and there was nothing I had in common with it. Being part of a team gave me this unique feeling of power, making me believe we could get away with anything. Despite all that, there was a vague hierarchy inside the group, between better and worse players, the elder and the younger ones, the defenders and attackers, friends and enemies. We have been really impressed by the balance the have been capable of achieving in this work between classical sensibility and pure experimentation. In your video installation a common situation is
Versus, video, 7:49, 2014 Versus cast: Łukasz Czepiński, Konrad Jaworsk, Piotr Stechbart, Marcin Stromecki, Adam Zawiasa, Tomasz Coach: Paweł Orysiak Casting: Katarzyna Gryciuk-Krzywda Director: Dominik Ritszel Photography: Mikołaj Syguda, Paweł Nowik, Dominik Ritszel Sound on set: Radosław Sirko, Krzysztof Sokół Editing: Dominik Ritszel Production: Marianna Dobkowska Production Manager: Magdalena Kamińska Associate producer Katarzyna Tomczak-Wysocka Consultants: Marta Lisok Colour grading: Paweł Nowik Sound recording: Radosław Sirko, Dominik Ritszel Acknowledgements: In Situ Contemporary Art Foundation, Zuzanna Fogtt, Krzysztof Ritszel, Darek Filusz, Marek Okreskowicz, Dominik Skrzypkowski, Mikołaj Syguda © Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski, 2014
deconstructed into a series of suspended gestures, a process which is often used in experimental theatre, revealing both the architectonic and gestural nature of the player's act. Could you introduce our readers to this aspect your art research?
running quick analyses and making even quicker decisions. With teaching various techniques, strategies, arrangements, positions, and ways of moving around, coaches strive to eradicate the players’ ways of thinking and acting learned in the non-sport reality.
What I wanted to show in my film was something you cannot see in the sporting events coverage on TV. It’s basically impossible for you to notice the moments of hesitation, doubt, or fear in sports. Coaches aim at increasing the efficacy of their protégés. The athletes follow their instinct
Given the conditions provided by the sports institutions, it seems fairly easy, as all is based on a set of well-defined rules, calculation, and results. The average man, who goes to work every morning, is usually not too eager to submit
A still from Versus, 2014
A still from Through the oceans of space and time I: Hey Bro 2014
himself to yet another means of disciplining his living, quite on the contrary. Sport is underpinned by an isolated vision of reality where the players compete with each other in a fair bout, following clear rules. The score also greatly depends on the referee and his irrefutable decisions. The wins and losses leave no doubts. We would much like our day-to-day reality to be as comprehensible and clear as the one we can watch from the stands or sitting in front of the TV. Sport gives you a sense of being in control of your emotions, stress, body, and image. Hence, it is often being recommended to people suffering from all kinds of depression. Nonetheless, in a sporting event, it’s all about the expectations of the spectators. The audience is an intrinsic part of sports, and that’s why I decided to juxtapose those two worlds: the players’ sterile reality versus the audience hungry for show. I wanted to provide the players with suitable conditions letting them forget about the circumstances of the training they were undergoing. The presence of a coach was supposed to distract them from the cameras and the filming crew, and to be the young athletes’ only reference point, as well as to turn their minds away from the fact they were being watched all the time. My aim was to fish out the subtlest impulses, gestures, moments of hesitation, all being the points of resistance in the constantly propelled dynamics of exercises. Your art is rich of reference: Versus reminds us of Bill Viola's early works. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work?
I personally find many similarities between the early works of Bill Viola and Steve McQueen. What I mean, is the uninhibited level of curiosity and excitement over the video, where the reality captured in the frame becomes in its own way more attractive than what we witness in our everyday living. I pay more attention to the use of simple means of expression, such as editing, rather than the cutting-edge technologies. For that reason, I particularly enjoy the works of Harun Farocki, who was able to explicitly outline his observations without needless embellishing. In his films “Stilleben” (1997), “Nicht ohne Risiko” (2004), or “The Interview” (1997), he employed different staging entangled with documentaries on particular events. The cinematic works of Jorgan Leth are another source of my inspiration. I respect him for his extraordinary sense of observation, the analytical attitude to a subject, and the sound,
A still from Versus, 2014
minimalist filming technique. Jorgan Leth knows how to bring the seamless balance of a documentary, journalism, and poetry. His works make you feel not only like a viewer but also like a part of what he is trying to present. Leth used to do table tennis and bicycle racing. Having watched his documentary “A Sunday Day in Hell” (1976) on the Paris-Roubaix, a classic cycling race, I stopped perceiving sports as mere entertainment. Versus reveals not only a huge sense of absurd: we have the impression that in your video tragedy is always behind the corner. Do you agree with this interpretation of your work?
I would describe the danger building up in my films as something of a safe catastrophe, which
eventually never does any harm to anyone. I reckon the tension the character or characters experience is always more of a certain simulation. Lots of people imagine their own death. Some want to attract the attention of the people who actually ignore, or underestimate it, or who wish to see it in a good light, whereas others simply cannot help themselves but have such visions, due to their actual phobia of losing their lives. It’s a certain kind of a film dramatic structure, we like to see ourselves in. How did you get started in experimental cinema?
When I was still a student, I had plenty of opportunities to try out different media.
Throughout my first years at the Academy of Fine Arts, no one really urged me to pick a specialisation in a particular field. I wanted to see if I could make it in graphic arts, painting, sculpture. Those days, the chair of intermedia in Poznań was at its best, with such multimedia artist alumni as Wojciech Bąkowski, or Konrad Smoleński. I envied the studio facilities and equipment that academy had. I bough my first camera mostly out of jealousy and frustration. One of my first significant video pieces I made in my sophomore years was the “See you all” shown in the Centre for Contemporary Art Kronika, curated by Stach Ruksza. For this piece, I spied on people from far distance while they were out on evening dates, strolled through
A still from Versus, 2014
A still from Through the oceans of space and time I: Hey Bro 2014
empty parks, relaxed on beaches, etc. The people I watched had no idea they were being filmed. I made this video simply because I was curious of how people behave convinced they’re all alone. I would often spend hours on one situation, then condense the whole footage to a couple of minutes. It was then, when I started to notice in those seemingly trivial situations, having neither beginning nor end, a certain quality of a mini-plot, and I liked it. While I was hiding spying on people, I felt as if I was observing animals I was too afraid to approach. My anonymity also gave me a sensation of having an obscure advantage over the people I observed. The rhythmical element is extremely important in Versus. By definition cinema is rhythm and movement, gesture and continuity, however rarely in mainstream or narrative cinema we assist to such a spectacular ode to movement like in your film. How do you conceive the rhythm of your works?
I introduce it very instinctively, and my goal is usually to create something of a pulsating tension. Most of the time, I try to bring about this effect by the right editing or inserting characteristic sounds. In “Versus”, the rhythm was strongly imprinted in the sports theme. In sport, each exercise takes balancing your breathing and then keeping up the right pace. When I was editing “Versus”, I came up with the idea to make the ambient sounds of the spectators spread like sea waves. This procedure allowed me to distinguish the sounds of the players in training, which were fading into the stifling wave of shouting and whistling noise from the stands. In general, the sounds of the football or boxing matches tend to be very hypnotising. Personally, when I watch football on TV, I often fall asleep, listening to the thumping kicks and the fading away noise of spectators. In institutions such as for example schools, hospitals, or prisons, you can too, in fact experience the rhythm of a building’s architecture. All is numbered, with guidelines, operating manuals, and the lists of dos and don’ts hanging from every wall. The building seems to be obsessed with organising and putting everything in order. Places like that are what I find most interesting. Institutions take away your feeling of identity, imposing not only the discipline of given actions, but also the discipline of existence. People always try to break free from such an order.
A still from Versus, 2014
Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project?
Each idea requires a different set of preparatory measures. Sometimes I draw storyboards, I draft some instructions, and I carefully plan the shots, whereas some other time I only take along a small note with a list of key ideas. I often run screen tests. As for the 2003 “The “Prelude” video (presented on the “Milk Teeth” exhibition in the BWA in Katowice, curated by Marta Lisok), half of its footage I shot including the actors’ performance, and the rest I filmed posing myself, without showing my face though. In general, I try to proceed to filming as soon as possible, or at least to run test shots, given the possibility, of course.
A couple of years back, I would rather do shorter and less complicated projects, since I assumed this would let me reach faster some better results. Today however, I begin to spend more and more time on every new film I make.
the city noise by means of special machinery. Under the influence of his thinking I began to wonder how I could “show sound”, just like Tom Tykwer in his “Parfume: The Story of a Murderer” wondered how to “show smell”.
Thanks for sharing your time, Dominik, we wish you all the best with your artist career. What's next for you? Have you a particular film in mind?
I like the context of marking urban space the way the “blockers” (Polish term for chavs living in urban tower blocks) do it playing loud music on their phones when on public transport, or walking down the streets. The film is intended to be a sound journey through urban corners, backstreets, and backyards. The hooded individuals will play our guides, and their sentimental reminiscences and stories will become entangled with the urban noises soundtrack.
I am now working on a film subsidised by the National Centre for Culture through the “Young Poland” scholarship programme. I have already started shooting. My new film focuses on the urban space noises. One of my inspirations was the Futurists manifesto by Luigi Russolo, written in 1913. Russolo made an attempt to recreate
Dana Berman An artist's statement
Consciousness of the apparatus and the cultural conditions of the medium, along with an awareness of the position of the author, is fundamental to
anything I make, along with attempting to make those conditions transparent. These days Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m primarily interested in stillness as a filmmaker and the inescapable fact of movement as a sculptorâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;that thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no such thing as permanence or the fixed or
Duff motionlessness. I’d prefer to be still, honestly, but my mother accuses me of running all the time and always moving too fast. I like animals, such as tarantulas and cats, who can both sit stone-still for hours and dart away suddenly. I wonder how long it takes to look, that is, to see something. I like
seeing movies in theaters to experience the body in time in relation to looking, and in relation to others looking. I like watching films where there’s little movement—I’m surprised by the volume of emotion in stillness. Dana Berman Duff
An interview with
Dana Berman Duff You are not only a video artist, you are a multidisciplinary artist working with sculpture too. In your personal statement, you say: "I experience film as a 3-D dimensional medium that is very related to sculpture". Could you better introduce our readers to this peculiar vision? In particular, in what manner your sculpture influences your video art? I work in both film and video and each operates in a different way and are both related to sculpture in different ways. But my comment that film is a 3-dimensional medium works for both: moving pictures are made in space and move around in space and we are “in” that space when watching video or film. It’s not a flat medium with a fixed point of view—typically. There’s an additional way that film is dimensional, where video is not: handling rolls of plastic strip covered with little pictures is a hugely tactile experience. I thought while editing one of the first 16mm films I made after many years of primarily shooting video, “This is a lot like sculpture—so material… and so expensive.” Your works are marked by a strong effort to destabilize language through the use of refined cinematography. How did you get started in filmmaking? I started shooting Super-8 film when I was a sophomore in high school. I was lucky that there happened to be a class offered by a fresh-out-of-college teacher who hooked up with a program at the local art museum. It was pretty standard narrative-style storytelling with super-8 cameras. Later I went to grad school at Cal Arts—not in the Film School but in Fine Arts—and studied with John Baldessari, Michael Asher, Barbara Kruger and a number of other amazing artists, including Morgan Fisher. He taught a seminar on experimental film that opened my eyes. I have very little technical training in making films or video and learned by trial and error, and by taking a class here or tutorial there.
As far as destabilizing language, I think you’re making reference to the seemingly absent narrative in “Catalogue.” It only pretends to be a non-narrative film—and I thought it was when I made it. But the dramatic arc revealed itself when I viewed it with an audience and they gasped at a climax and giggled in what might be a denouement. I thought this was a great joke on me! Another way to look at it is that “Catalogue” isn’t structured according to any cinematic convention or Structural meter. While there’s no overt point of view, the film’s timing is structured according to my interest and my desire—it is me who’s looking at the catalogue, not merely demonstrating it. I’m not calculating the seconds on a pointed finger making a statement about commodity. I cut when my desire or interest has waned and move on to the next image. Why have you used 16mm footage for this project? There is a particular reason linked to the ephemeral qualities of this rare format today? The source material for the film “Catalogue” is a gigantic retail catalogue that’s dropped on doorsteps all over the US once a year. It’s stocked with mid-priced designer furniture and objects, the designs ripped off from the original high-end manufacturers and famous designers. The objects are manufactured in cheaper materials and in labor-cheap countries. This company doesn’t sell the least expensive mid- century chair you can buy (there’s an Ikea version and a Wal-Mart version of the Danish designer Arne Jacobson’s Series 7 chair from 1955), so this company’s goods still have a certain status quotient— despite the fact that almost everything in the catalogue is a stolen design. I buy these chairs to make sculpture and to use in my home. When I was paging through the gorgeous photographs I noticed that the images were de-saturated to resemble stills from film noir movies. Since these pictures already looked like movies, I thought the only thing missing was for them to move. So I decided to turn them into an actual film. In effect, I set out to make the original for the catalogue’s copy. I cast the objects in a movie as an unfolding pageant of products experienced in time by simply looking at one after another. Of course, I wasn’t looking at beautiful objects, but the heavily-styled representation of each thing as it was fixed in the photograph. There are multiple of layers of representation or “copying” in the film. An integral part of
Dana Berman Duff
watching “Catalogue” is taking in the beauty of the black and white film. I realized while making this piece the difference between film and video: in video we look at moving pictures, but in film it’s the picture that’s moving—you can see the grain in every frame; the image is alive and vibrating. In your statement you say "The catalogue presents de-‐saturated photographs of staged rooms shot and printed to resemble sets for film-‐noir era movies, hypothetically increasing their desirability". This concept has a huge importance in your artistic research as well as in your video making. Could you comment it? In the catalogue of “Catalogue” a strategy of resemblance is what sells products. For this particular company it’s profitable to activate nostalgia, a type of longing, not for a time actually lived but for a type of life depicted in movies of another generation—which is emblematized by black and white film. The choice of the subject for this work remind us of Jan Svankmajer's films. What draws you to a particular subject? You may be thinking of the idea of “antique” that black and white film connotes, and Svankmajer (and especially his admirers, the Quay Brothers) tends to use antique objects in his animated work. But there’s little similarity in my intentions to Svankmajer’s. I’m not especially interested in creating fantasy worlds—I’d rather expose them. In “Catalogue” I’m interested in getting the film experience closer to home: real things in real time with an awareness of my own watching.
The catalogue is real, even though what it represents is not. Black and white film or photography gives the artist an opportunity to distance from the subject, to reduce the information, so the propensity for the viewer to identify with the subject is stalled or prevented. In “Catalogue” we are aware, or at least reminded, that we’re looking at a picture most of the time. I guess it’s a bit of a tease, since the sensuality of the black and white film can be especially engrossing. What's next for Dana Berman Duff? Are there any film projects on the horizon? I’m working on making a film for and directing a collaborative theater project of live performance and projection with the playwright and poet Sissy Boyd. A former dancer now in her seventies, Boyd is experiencing the failure of her short-term memory, which is making economic survival problematic but which is also surprisingly freeing to her creativity. Giving in to her forgetfulness of certain words, in particular, frees her to find new words and areas of consciousness and expression—she says she finds that her loss of memory heightens her sense of presence. The structure of the theater piece will foreground the relationships of body and memory, forgetfulness and freedom, presence and absence, reality and representation in a series of repetitions and loops in an effort to create an authentic experience of failing or lost memory for the audience.
Hugo Hedberg An artist's statement
"Throughout movie history the park bench has been a frequently used prop. It is vital in Forrest Gump, and many romantic comedies include an emotional park bench scene.
In There Is Always A Park Bench I have created the dialogue by taking lines from other park bench scenes. For instance, I used lines from Annie Hall, JFK, Mr Bean, 500 Days of Summer and Men in Black.
A still from There Is Always A Park Bench
I have always appreciated the bench as a good place for talking. Normally a conversation is controlled by eye contact and body language. When two people sit next to each other, both facing forwards, the dialogue tends to get more relaxed.
The bench can be seen as a symbol for everyday encounters. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m interested in adding an absurd element to such habitual situations. In There Is Always A Park Bench I wanted too evoke feelings of both familiarity and uncertainty. â&#x20AC;?
A still from There Is Always A Park Bench
An interview with
Hugo Hedberg Hugo Hedberg is master at creating entire scenarious out of small, psycologically charged moments, taking at heart Maya Deren's teachings " It is not the way anything is at a given moment that is important in film, it's what is is doing, how it's becoming." We are plesed to present his film There Is Always A Park Bench for this Videofocus Edition. Hugo, we want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for this work? There is a large window outside my school. Outside the window there is a park bench. I saw this bench one day and wanted to make a film on a park bench. The window looks like a projections screen in a cinema. With that in mind I came up with the idea to make a film with scenes on park benches from other films. As mentioned before I have always appreciated the bench as a good place for talking. When two people sit next to each other, both facing forward, the dialogue tends to get more relaxed. I was interested how I could twist that dialogue. We have been impressed by your foundfootage practice reminding us of Alberto Grifi's film La verifica incerta. How did you select the film fragments? Have you used a specific criteria? I started by gathering a lot. I found a thread on a filmforum that actually listed scenes on park benches. That was helpful. But I then picked out the fragments that would somehow fit together. The conversation was often about love, relationships or other existential subjects. But I didn’t it want it to be a fully functional conversation, I wanted an absurdity to it as well. How did you get started in experimental cinema? I actually started making absurd films with my friend Tom when I was a kid. We used to borrow his dads film camera and create these extremely weird characters. Though it wasn’t until many years later (art school) I started making real productions and creating my own visual imagery. Artists are often asked about the inspiration for their work. We have previously mentioned
the Italian filmmaker and found-footage pioneer Alberto Grifi, yet your style is more modern, reminding us of Douglas Gordon's videoinstallation. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Jesper Just and Salla Tykkä are two scandinavian artist that has inspired me. I like how they combine conventional cinematic language with more experimental/avantgardistic expressions. I’m also influenced by the japanese artist Koki Tanaka. Especially the film ’Everything is Everything’. A piece that beautifully and funny reflects upon simplicity, rhytm, objects and time. Roman Signer is also a great source for inspiration. But Im not just inspired by artists and filmmakers. For example I totally agree with the swedish film director Ruben Östlund when he says that the some of the most powerful moving images today come from Youtube. In There Is Always A Park Bench familiar scenes are pervaded by an unheimlich feeling. Your sense of juxtaposition give your films a playful yet utterly subversive sensibility: how did you develop your visual imagery? By watching a lot of different type of films. I like Douglas Gordon but are also influenced by silly romantic comedys. My goal is to be somewhere in between… In these last years we have seen that the frontier between Video Art and Cinema is growing more and more vague, just think of Steve McQueen's career as a filmmaker. Do you think that this "frontier" will exists longer? Not very long no. I think the digital era is a major part of this. Everyone has the possibility to shoot a movie and upload it. Thanks for sharing your time, Hugo, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker career. What's next for Hugo Hedberg? Have you a particular film in mind? I’m currently working on a film based on folklore characters, especially tricksters. I’m reading stories by Nasreddin from Turkey, Till Eulenspiegel from Germany, Saci from Brazil, Pulcinella from Italy and Askeladden from Norway.
Kristen Jones “In information technology, “lossy” compression is a data encoding method that compresses data by discarding (losing) some of it. The procedure aims to minimize the amount of data that needs to be held, handled, and/or transmitted by a computer…Typically, a substantial amount of data can be discarded before the result is sufficiently degraded to be noticed by the user. ” — Stephanie Syjuco
An artist's statement Breath is an exploration in the process of “lossy compression.” I am fascinated by the way we construct the systems around us to mimic what we feel is natural. We mirror our language of biological functions to relate to the machines that surround us. Memory is one facet of that discussion that intrigues me. Much like “lossy” compression, our physical memories may simply discard data, but keep
A still from Breath - Frame 1 Iteration 0
the integrity of the whole. Therefore, they are like the files stored on our hard drives, susceptible to alteration, overwriting, or even retrieval failure. When we ask the computer to store data, and leave space for the many other things we might need, ultimately we are asking a computer program to destroy the â&#x20AC;&#x153;unimportantâ&#x20AC;? data, in order to keep only what is best. Can we sincerely ask our
machines to be ethical for us, to choose what goes and what stays? Similarly, can we ask that of ourselves? Do we have accurate truths or are we simply just holding on to the best data? With every inhale and exhale, the frames begin to lose data, but the breathing continues. Each breath is another iteration towards what may be the computerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ideal of perfection. Kristen Jones
An interview with
Kristen Jones Breath by Kristen Jones presents a highly original vision of time and memory: drawing a parallel between biological functions and digital systems, Kristen explores the concept of lossy compression. Kristen, can you introduce our readers to your work? Could you tell us a particular episode who has helped the birth of this project, or simply an epiphany? This work grows from my fascination of technology and the complex nature of memory. My work initially stemmed from a place of loss. With the passing of my father, I never thought I would forget the rough stubble on his chin, the groggy “good mornings” as he left the house to go to work, the mundane nuances of our everyday lives together. However, gradually these pieces began to fall apart, until I awoke one day, unable to recall his eyes, then his voice…as if suddenly everything was beginning to unravel. I quickly scrambled for a photograph of him, and like someone wiping away a foggy mirror, everything came back into focus. This phenomenon stuck with me leading me to become consumed with the process of memory. After some research, what I found out about memory horrified and captivated me. I always imagined memory working the same way an old video tape does; you pop in the video tape, press play, and on it goes playing your recorded thoughts and sights. However, I quickly learned how wrong I was. Whether it is retaining and recalling an event that occurred in the physical environment or internally as cognitive thoughts, I found that memories, more often than not, lie in the grey area between reality and delusion. The process lent itself to this befuddled area. Unlike my video tape process I imagined, memories are more like thousands upon thousands of tiny building blocks. Every time a memory is recalled, these thousands of blocks must be assembled, and when stored, they must be broken down. This ambiguous process of memory is ultimately a destructive one. From reality to encoding, storage and retrieval, this constant push and pull sets off a downward spiral of decay,
reconstruction, overwriting, destructive updating, retrieval failure and displacement−all of which leads us here, to a distorted sense of past and feeling of forgetting. The concept of lossy compression suggests to us a sort of coexistence between past and present in imagination and
perception, which is essential for the art process itself. Could you introduce our readers to this fundamental aspect of Breath? In earlier work, I explored the process of generation loss, which is a type of lossy compression. The original exploration was one of a copy of a copy, which at the time felt
similar to a memory. Using a photograph of my father, it began as a perfect capture of a moment only to be decimated into a thousand pixels. However, when further research brought about the term â&#x20AC;&#x153;lossy compression,â&#x20AC;? the scope of my research and practice finally found an outlet that could reach a wider audience. Rather than just a focus on a personal memory, my work further evolved to
evoke emotions of the human condition along with ideas of memory, memory degradation, technology, and life. “In information technology, ‘lossy compression’ is the class of data encoding methods that uses inexact approximations (or partial data discarding) for representing the content that has been encoded.”[i] When files need to be stored, handled, or transmitted, these compression techniques are utilized to reduce the file size. Lossy file compression results in lost data and quality from the original version. Lossy compression is typically associated with image files, such as JPEGs, but can also be used for audio files, like MP3s or AAC files. The "lossyness" of an image file may show up as jagged edges or pixelated areas. In audio files, the lossyness may produce a watery sound or reduce the dynamic range of the audio. Because lossy compression removes data from the original file, the resulting file often takes up much less disk space than the original. For example, a JPEG image may reduce an image's file size by more than 80%, with little noticeable effect. Similarly, a compressed MP3 file may be one tenth the size of the original audio file and may sound almost identical. The keyword here is “almost.” JPEG and MP3 compression both remove data from the original file, which may be noticeable upon close examination. Both of these compression algorithms allow for various "quality settings," which determine how compressed the file will be. The quality setting involves a trade-off between quality and file size. A file that uses greater compression will take up less space, but may not look or sound as good as a less compressed file. Some image and audio formats allow lossless compression, which does not reduce the file's quality at all.[ii] “Lossy compression” was the poetic entry that my work needed to arrive at. With my base in human memory, I was captivated with the way we constructed these “information technologies” to mimic human functions. Instead of creating a whole new system, we paralleled our memory functions to the machines we built. Then we must patch it, in order for things to function and this is when new “systems” are created, such as “lossy compression.” With this lossy compression more questions arose. When we ask the computer to store data, and leave space for the
A still from Breath - Frame 1 Iteration 500
many other things we might need, ultimately we are asking a computer program to destroy the “unimportant” data, in order to keep only what is best. How does the computer decide what is best? Similarly, do we do this of ourselves? In my earlier work, I touched on the issues of deifying an individual, or keeping only the “best” memories. Do we have accurate truths or are we simply just holding on to the best data? How do you qualify best? Do we, as individuals, really choose what we keep or what we keep and what we discard is simply arbitrary? With every breath the figure takes, more and more data is lost, or perhaps more and more perfection is gained.
You are a multidiscipinary artist: In what manner your work as photographer influences your videomaking?
these frames through iterations of compression and ended up with hours of inputting, coding, compiling and finally editing.
My work as a photographer has helped me create a strong foundation as I move forward into this new world of video. That provides me another perspective, but also some hurdles I must overcome. Initially, I approached video as a photographer, with a frame by frame mindset. It helped me be very mindful of my framing, and also take hold of utilizing the idea of lossy compression. For my piece Breath, I took each frame and treated it as its own individual image. Using my newly gained knowledge of Linux and some coding, I placed
Video has ultimately given me the ideal platform for translating the ideas of memory degradation and technology that I was searching for with my static photography. The viewer can see each breath, and it invites the viewers to mimic each inhale and exhale. Almost unnoticeably it builds with each breath. At first it is a twinge here, then a twinge there, soon you have arrived at a place you did not think you would get to. It seems unbelievable that these seemingly heaving gasps are the same calming breaths from before. We reach a
Charlie - Stills 0, 100, 200, 500, 700, 1000
point of almost complete chaos, until suddenly, stark darkness blacks out the room for the beat of one inhale and exhale, then the figure that was once lost comes back in clear view to start another cycle. Your use of static shots in Breath reminds us of Bruce Conner's early works: how did you develop your visual style? Through my traditional training in darkroom photography, I developed my aesthetics through the many significant individuals I was exposed to in the field. I was introduced to artists like Imogen Cunningham who helped establish the idea of the photographing the everyday, surrounding objects and much like Bruce Conner and Francesca Woodman, also established the power of the nude. I found that I fell in love with the softness and the power of the body. Who among international artists and experimental filmmakers influenced your work? Although there are many who creep into my mind and find a place there, I can say that there are a few artists and filmmakers are swirling in my mind and have helped developed my ideas further each in their own way. Just to name a few artists: John Clang, specifically the way he addresses his fear of memory, the passage of time, and distance, Dinh Q. Le, the Starn Twins, for the daring way they approached and disregarded the preciousness of memory and traditional film photography, Wolfgang Hastert, and the collective ANTIVJ, for their beautiful projection mapping and captivating score. I am continuously inspired by a variety of artists who each are sharing a new perspective and continue to help broaden my thoughts. You are currently working and living in Shenzhen. Could you describe your experience in China? Shenzhen is absolutely fascinating. Seated right next to Hong Kong, this new city is bustling with rapidly growing technology, businesses, and people from various parts of China. I find it incredibly interesting that Shenzhen has become a hub of jobs and technology. The vast majority of people I meet are not native to Shenzhen; they come from all over China just to come to live and work in this city. I find this place truly inspiring. It is a
A still from Swing
melting pot of dialects, cultures, and people all encapsulated in the construction of new building after new building, fascinating architecture, and shared Chinese cultures and values. It could seem a specious question, however we have to do it, Kristen: what's the future of experimental cinema, in your opinion? With the growing integration of technology, I see experimental cinema transforming in the most unfathomable ways. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m excited to see what new technology opens up for the realm of
cinema. Previously living in San Jose and I was exposed to the way technology and art work hand in hand in incredible new and innovative ways. Also, with the ease of worldwide communications, ideas are easily being shared and spread. So, I tend to be an optimist, and again I am eager to see what is to come. Thanks for sharing your time, Kristen, we wish you all the best with your artist career. What's next for Kristen Jones? Have you a particular project in mind? Living in China, I hope to engage in the art scene and spaces. The art community is alive
and thriving and I hope to be able to connect and join the incredible artists working here. I will continue my work and keep trying to find the answers I am searching for as each new question emerges. Currently I am working with a fellow colleague of mine who I often collaborate with, Scotty Gorham. We are currently working on a couple of pieces, particularly pieces surrounding a work entitled Swing. This work explores the relative spatiality, directionality, and semiotic quality of image through human/device interaction. The viewer is asked to enter into
the fantastic digital world of the Swing video projection through the portal of the QR code by using a mobile device interface. The QR code scans to an animated GIF hosted on
Wikimedia Commons (commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Swing.gif). The GIF was created by extracting the image directly from the video, and both the swing in
the video and the swing in the GIF are identical. The viewer is then able to download the image-object directly onto their mobile device, effectively pulling the object out of the
image and reinstalling it into the viewing environment.
Jeannette Louie An artist's statement "Amygdala" is a scientific tale. Located deep inside the temporal lobe of the human brain, a
small almond-shaped region orchestrates our emotional life. This is the amygdala, which is an ancient biology that deciphers whether an experience is emotionally traumatic or merely
A still from Amygdala
anxiety-ridden. It structures our emotional responses to these experiences. "Amygdala" is an experimental video that illustrates how the perception of fear operates by combining the
lyrical tradition of a fairy tale with the vernacular nature of presenting scientific fact. Jeannette Louie
An interview with
Jeannette Louie Jeannette Louie achieves a sublime lyrical quality in her own work. She generally eschews the improvisatory style that is so common in the lyrical genre in order to create complex and labyrinthine work based on scientific basis: her interest in biology reminds us of the theatre of Romeo Castellucci, blending science and art in his marvelous piece Tragedia Endogonidia. Amygdala, a short film by Jeannette, recently awarded at the prestigious Athens International Film & Video Festival, combines incantatory pictures with histological images in order to explore the perception of fear. Jeannette, how did you come up with the idea for this film? Amygdala is a cinematic characterization of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In 2006, I was formally diagnosed with PTSD after struggling with psychological and biological symptoms for a number of years. I was fortunate to find a process of recovery, but it was a slow and lengthy journey, one that was riddled with setbacks. When I started to regain some clarity, I wanted to understand why this disorder caused so much damage. I found solace in reading about the primal parts of the brain, gleaning what I could from various texts on neuroscience. In order to understand the complexity of the limbic system, I made up a geographic realm and meditating upon this place inspired the creation of the film, Amygdala. In your film you eschew traditional storytelling opting instead for an associative methodology. Could you introduce our readers to this aspect of Amygdala? Do you remember how you felt as a child when someone read a story aloud? The action conjures a hypnotic sensation. Words enter the mind through auditory means and entwine with thoughts that are already wandering through a stream-of-consciousness. Images appear in non-sequential form and the passage of time feels lengthened. It was a difficult task
for me to read scientific texts while I was under recovery. Because the communication systems in my brain were compromised, I found myself struggling to understand simple sentences and so, I read those texts aloud to an empty room. After a while, the process became comforting to me and I attained the ability to comprehend again. I wanted to recreate that feeling for Amygdala, to have a narrator acting as a tether for viewers while they journeyed through the dense synaptic forest of the limbic system. Abstraction in general is defined by a desire to intensify subjectivity, which is at heart of every expressionist’s desire to go beyond realism or the limits of imagination. In your work you achieve a stunning balance between a “hyperobjective” vision and a subjective chain of images like in the films of Robbe-Grillet. Can you introduce our readers to this idea behind Amygdala? During the worst years struggling with PTSD, I existed in a liminal space where my reality and a dream world converged. In the light of day, voices shouted out of nowhere and if I closed my eyes, I’d see flashes of violence. At night, if I attempted to sleep I transformed into a somnambulatory wanderer walking in and out of darkness stumbling across horrific scenes. However, I did not want to replicate an image of hell for the film. I had stepped beyond the limits of imagination in my daily life and I desperately wanted to find rational ground again. My intention was to create a scientific fairy tale. Therefore, I produced a geography that would simulate the synaptic landscape of the mind. I used a metaphor, that of a synaptic forest, to house Amygdala. I often photograph in a dense forest reserve near my home and this landscape transformed into the one you see in the film. The character, Amygdala, inhabits this lush environment where sensation and events appear post-apocalyptic. She intuits reality as abstractions, which prompted me to render her world as a visual poem while the narration became a spoken stream-ofconsciousness tethering a collage of visual associations. The word “cadence” persisted in my mind during the film’s formation and consequently, Amygdala followed a lyrical structure which is why it emanates a fairy tale quality. I had to create a balance between the visual stream of abstract nuances and the auditory didacticism of the narration. Both imagery and words hover between storytelling and documentation, simultaneously suggesting
A still from Amygdala
A still from Amygdala
supposition and actuality. Most important, the film reflects the manner in which the mind discerns the ambiguity of what is real and what is a hallucination. We have been impressed by your visual imagery reminding us of Darren Aronofsky: Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? It always begins within the realm of insignificance, during the moment when day shifts to night and even a little to the left. Some thought becomes more and more apparent while snippets of phrases dash in and out of my peripheral realm. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a bit similar to pain, the chronic kind that occurs slowly over a few days and escalates into an obsession. When this â&#x20AC;&#x153;painâ&#x20AC;? persists throughout the day then I know it is time to concentrate on a new work. However, I tend to endure it for quite some time before moving onto the next phase. The process of coaxing something that is essentially philosophical in nature to transform into physical form is genuinely hellish. Not only does anguish occur during the creation of
the aesthetic interpretation, the physical activity of acquiring the technical means to materialize an idea is similar to embarking on a long voyage with an indeterminable end. In the case of Amygdala, I did not have access to certain HD digital devices or programs so I faced a difficult engineering conundrum. And, I also knew I wanted to work with a particular actor, who lives in Berlin and who is in constant demand, which meant that I had to record in a foreign sound studio. I tend to overwhelm myself during the earliest stages of a project and that feeling causes a kind of paralysis. By finding my way out of this paralysis, I know I have embarked upon the voyage of materializing a new work. How did you get started in experimental cinema? My earliest creations using moving image were not intended to be cinematic. I was intrigued by the perceptual possibilities of projecting video in an installation format. I had a revelatory experience after creating an experimental animation, entitled Cadavers in the Trees. The animation dramatically
A still from Amygdala
portrayed a dying tree and was devised as a metaphor for mortality. The limbs of this tree were entirely covered in carvings giving it an anthropomorphic quality of having tattooed skin. Even though I created the animation for exhibition in gallery spaces, it showcased in numerous film screenings. Experiencing Cadavers in the Trees in cinematic space, with audiences that were different than what I was familiar with, made me realize how I had sidestepped into another dimension. This immersive environment not only absorbed people it also engaged them to become highly aware of their own consciousness. In a philosophical sense I found my way into the cognitive realm of a stranger. I’m strongly attracted to the psychological and even more so, to the understanding of how the mind perceives. I saw how experimental cinema could operate as a portal for me to probe deeply into the inner workings of synaptic space. We have previously mentioned Aronofsky, yet your cinema is far from what is usually considered academic. Can you tell us your
biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Can you recall being enamored by a book as a young child? Maybe not a whole book, but a section of text where the protagonist reveals herself in a manner that is incredibly poignant? It seems implausible that the author, a simple human like yourself, could actually capture the essence of what it is to be human and fallible. Literature jettisons me into the timorous space of vulnerability. Time after time I return to D.H. Lawrence, particularly “The Rainbow” in order to find moments depicting pure humanness. He compromises the reader by rendering scenes that are completely vivid thereby turning the reader into a witness of impropriety, of things that are tender and tenuous. I long for this when seeking out any art form and yes, this quality can be found in Aronofsky’s and RobbeGrillet’s films. However, films produced on the epic scale of Aronofsky’s are required to succeed in a consumer culture and consequently, incorporate characteristics that are predetermined for mass audience appeal. Experimental cinema is completely compelling
A still from Amygdala
because it is devoid of hierarchies. It hovers between the esoteric and the idiosyncratic. D.H. Lawrence was demonized for turning the experience of aesthetic enjoyment into something else, something that engaged the visceral, denoted the every day yet revealed the palpable, hermetic and ignited what is kept perceptually pulsating. I’m more inclined to look for inspiration, moving or still, that will inflict this sensation, which does occur when I peer at Santiago Ramon y Cajal’s drawings of neurons, Daido Moriyama’s b/w photographs from the 1960’s, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Codices depicting human dissection, The Quay Brothers’ Street of Crocodiles, and the
anthropomorphic sculptures of Daisy Youngblood. Experiencing these works creates a vacuum where I am sucked into the small spaces of being fallible, of being greatly self-aware and attentive to what it means to feel alive. And, knowing that another human maneuvered me into such a position is always astonishing. Thanks for sharing your time, Jeannette, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker career. What’s next for you? Have you a particular film in mind?
I recently completed a short film that presents the trauma of lovesickness. It is called The Making of Love. Back in 2007, I met a teenage girl who was seduced by an older man. I learned of her experience over the course of a few conversations where she hinted at the relationship and its effect upon her. When we parted, she handed me pages torn from her private journal. I sealed these pages in a large envelope and put them on a shelf in my workroom. Years later when I knew she was no longer a minor, I read those pages and felt inspired by the grace and acuity of her words. I also understood why she was held hostage by her memories. I believe I will always be drawn
to episodes that make us feel vulnerable. Anguish forms an astonishing array of human identities. As to what I will create next, I’m taking a moment now to contemplate the violence of our time. I’m deeply saddened by the divide it is creating and concerned by war’s ability to endure. And I’m asking myself what impact should I create to compel others to ease the aggression being used in facing adversity. I know the answer lies somewhere inside human psychology and that I am merely standing at its threshold. I’m gathering the courage to enter.
Douglas Ogg Ogg Douglas An artist's statement
poem. (In other words, rearranging the word order completely by chance.)
When I'm 64 is about the poetry and sound of language. As such, it's almost entirely about sound, rather than meaning based on a traditional narrative structure.
I found that the new version (which serves as my script) maintained a certain poetic quality, and I liked the result of how it still echoed certain meanings to be found in the original sonnet. Obviously the rhyming structure is gone, as are other structures such as matters relating to line and number of syllables and so forth. Certain words were given emphasis, and pauses applied for effect.
It was inspired by a news story about modern audiences finding Shakespeare's language increasingly difficult to comprehend, while still appreciating the sound of it. Intrigued, I sought to push this to the extreme by taking Shakespeare's 64th sonnet (hence, When I'm 64) and applying a random word order generator/scrambler to the original text of the
To match it visually I made the film in black and white (stripping it down to the bare essentials); went for a tight shot (to emphasise the words); and shot it from the side (reflecting my mission
A still from When I'm 64
of looking at the content from a new angle). I used myself as the performer, and the piece was shot in a single take to keep the nature of the performance authentic and flowing. The closing panel (from Hamlet) is asking us to consider just the melody of the language by its own merits. In a way, it's like a song now; just melody, no lyrics. The title When I'm 64 serves two functions: First, it plays on the Beatles title (about getting older), which coincidentally is also the theme of Shakespeare's 64th sonnet. Secondly, it asks "when" is it 64?
I have some theatre background, but would consider myself primarily a visual artist that uses whatever medium best expresses my ideas. I think this piece reflects that, in that the restructuring of the language echoes principles of cubism and collage, but without the obvious seams. At university I studied English, including, coincidentally, taking a class on films based on the works of Shakespeare (although my major emphasis was on James Joyce). Before, and during that period, I was painting, making collages, and also writing, as the overlap and fusion of language and imagery has been an area of consistent interest and artistic exploration.
An interview with
Douglas Ogg Douglas Ogg's complex, labyrinthine work knows no boundaries between high and low culture, nor between visual art, music and theatrical forms. In his short film When I'm 64 uses William Shakespeare's 64th sonnet as the jumping-off point for a spellbinding meditation on the synaesthetic nature of cinema. In his work the viewer is not asked to meditate on the action in progress decrypting a series of hidden symbols, yet to follow the chain of signifiers like in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Douglas, how did you get started in filmmaking? I grew up in a house that loved film, albeit of the commercial, Hollywood variety. My grandmother had worked playing piano to accompany silent films in the UK, and my mother had worked in a movie theatre in Canada as a teenager. As an usherette, she would often watch the same film numerous times, providing her with the ability to recite the dialogue when watching it decades later on TV. My mum loved everything about movies; she bought movie magazines, went to see them regularly, and was the force behind at least two family holidays to Hollywood and southern California to visit studios and film locations, as were excursions in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, especially those used by Hitchcock for pictures such as The Birds, Vertigo, and Rebecca among others. As a boy, family movie nights were a regular occurrence, often supplemented by heavilyedited silent versions available for public circulation from the town library. My movie-making began as a teenager by using the family's no-frills 8mm movie camera to produce short experimental films (solely for my own amusement). Although technically silent, I developed a method for creating soundtracks based on using multiple cassette recorders to produce a companion dubbed audio track. Still, matters beyond just basic
razor blade editing, and genuinely syncing audio were out of reach. As a result I grew exceedingly frustrated and lost interest in making films, and instead turned to (for me) more manageable mediums such as painting, sculpture, and performance. In recent years my interest in filmmaking has been rekindled due to the advent of highdefinition digital video and editing software. As Cocteau noted, "film will only become an art when its materials are as inexpensive as pencils and papers"â&#x20AC;&#x201C;and that was certainly true for me. Film offers certain unique dimensions, and therefore the incentives for expression not available in other mediums. When I'm 64 represents a fascinating confluence of ideas: numerous voices, references and fragmentary echoes from different cultures and languages participated in the semantic organization of the film. How did you come up with the idea for this film? When I'm 64 was inspired by a news story about modern audiences finding Shakespeare's language increasingly difficult to comprehend, while still appreciating the sound of it. Intrigued, I sought to push this to the extreme by taking Shakespeare's 64th sonnet (hence, When I'm 64) and applying a random word order generator/scrambler to the original text of the poem. (In other words, rearranging the word order completely by chance.) I found that the new version, (which serves as my script) retained a certain poetic quality, and I liked the result of how it still echoed certain meanings to be found in the original sonnet. Obviously the rhyming structure is gone, as are other structures such as matters relating to line and number of syllables and so forth. Certain words were given emphasis, and pauses applied for effect. The closing panel (from Hamlet) is asking us to consider just the melody of the language by its own merits. In a way, it's like a song now; just melody, no lyrics. The musicality of a language we don't understand. The title, When I'm 64 serves two functions: First, it plays on the Beatles title (about getting older)â&#x20AC;&#x201C;which coincidentally is also the theme of Shakespeare's 64th sonnet. Secondly, it asks "when" is it 64?
Your film focuses on the tensions between perception and subjectivity: can you introduce our readers to this fundamental concepts of your art practice? One of the core tenets of Gestaltism is that people seek structure and meaning, and when it is missing, they will attempt to supply it. When viewers realise that a narrative-based structure has been abandoned, they began to apply individual words like puzzle pieces in support of constructing a meaning. The choice of word order was much less structured in Elizabethan English than it is in modern English. Shakespeare used this freedom to enhance rhyming structures, and to present a more open-ended narrative structure. So, in a way I am just taking this to
the point where meaning is neither derived from, nor dependent upon structure. We have previously mentioned James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, yet your sensibility seems to be closer to Samuel Beckett's last prose piece Stirrings Still, and not by chance your minimalistic use of black and white and out-of-sync reminds us of (rare) films by the Irish master, especially Eh Joe . Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Certainly Beckett has been a figure of growing importance across a number of fronts. While I tend to like certain artists, I try to avoid being directly influenced, as I am driven by the desire to create something I haven't seen.
A still from The Shopper
Lately I've been very interested in the so-called Vancouver School (Stan Douglas, Rodney Graham, Ken Lum, Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace), French existentialism, and the Scottish artist Douglas Gordon. We are deeply impressed with the synestethic quality of your experimental cinema: in this film, for example, you focus on the melody of the language. Can you better explain this aspect of When I'm 64? English is not regarded as especially beautiful or melodic, or at least not in the same way that the Latin languages are. Despite this, it has still provided a toolbox deep enough for talents as diverse as Shakespeare and Joyce. With Joyce, in particular, the fusion of sound and meaning is something quite magnificent. Having these formal restrictions in place, I looked to where I could add a complimentary element, which I saw as being my interpretation in regards to matters of performance and presentation. With the way I approached When I'm 64 certain variables were set in stone: The original content (ie: Shakespeare's words), as well as the new order which had been generated by a random text scrambling computer application which I chose to accept "as is" in order to embrace the element of chance. That said, I did look at a couple of different options, before embracing the one that I felt provided the strongest opening, in this case the word "death". As such, it suggested a foundation of order, pulling the viewer in, before transcending into anarchy; words having individual meanings and inflections, but leaving the overall or grand meaning to be determined individually by each viewer. How did you conceive the visual style of When I'm 64? Again, I looked at what I was inheriting: A small amount of text and a word order that might seem like anarchy. To counterbalance these elements, I focused on what I could bring to the presentation. To keep the emphasis on the language being used I stripped it down to the most basic visuals possible; a monochromic palette, a tightly-framed shot of the mouth from which the words are being spoken, and
A still from When I'm 64 the use of a single flowing take to counter the fragmentation produced by the language. Thanks for sharing your time, Douglas, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker
career. What's next for Douglas Ogg? Have you a particular film in mind? 2015 has been a very productive year for me. I've already completed several new short films (The Shopper, ANYWHERE, Car Dealer), and have many others in various stages of
development. For the time being I'm mostly interested in short works, and in pieces in which I can exercise the greatest control over all the elements so as to maintain a purity and singularity of vision and expression, which is contrary to so much of what film has become as a collaborative art form.
One film from The Disorders Series. The set consists of five films: Echo, Nectar, Smolder, Evidence, and Erase. Each film is inspired by a different mental disorder. Schizophrenia, eating disorders, depression, self-harm and addiction are all tackled, in that order. Erase is about addiction and the final of the series. A still from ELAN (2011) A still from Erase
An interview with
Erica Schreiner From the first time we watched Erica Schreiner's Erase we were impressed by the stunning balance between the performative nature of her art and the painterly qualities of her film footage. Erase is part of a filmic penthalogy titled The Disorders Series we have selected for our 2015 Biennial Issue. Erica, how did you come up with the idea for Erase? The theme of Erase is addiction. Each video in The Disorders Series is based on a different disorder. I wanted to show addiction as something other than drinking from bottles repeatedly, something less literal. The result of the video involves me eating 25 live butterflies. It was an important act because I was doing something disgusting, something I didn’t even want to do. I’m sobbing through it. In the original tape, I’m even yelling and swearing at myself for eating living butterflies. I felt so terrible about it! Still, I had to continue on. I had to for the art, but more importantly, through all of this, I was conveying what I believe to be the essence of addiction. Watching your films, we have the impression that there is no wall between the viewer and the you. Can you introduce our readers to this fundamental aspect of your whole work? The most important thing to me is authenticity. There is a part of me that I express in my videos, and that part feels like the most important part of me. I’m not veiling as someone else. I’ve made 57 video & performance art pieces and they are all me. As I live my future and grow, the art will change and grow too. They’re all different facets of this exploration, living an examined life. Human experience is always the starting point of your filmmaking. What draws you to a particular subject? My experiences, certainly. Though my beliefs are constantly evolving and changing, the projects I’m working on at that time in my life reflect my world view and what was/is
important to me. Occasionally, I go back and view some of my previous work and honestly, it’s such a sweet experience. When I go back and view The Skye Project videos from 2006, I can see I was dealing with feelings of isolation, working through issues with my mother, certain aspects of my sexuality, identity, using more direct performance techniques. After that, I became more interested in abstract symbolism, dealing more directly with my femininity. At that time, I would even take actual events from my life and turn them into a video. In a video I created entitled Sauce, I had taken a brick from an ex-lover’s apartment, the place I’d lost my virginity, and I used it to violently smash apples. I submerged myself in water. I typed a letter to this person. I banged on typewriter keys, smashed the apples. It was very freeing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32KDTbyO BOY&list=UUAkLg8GJGFbmeXp3LPLivEQ In 2011, I began confronting mental disorders head on, depression, self harm, etc. as main themes. Now I’m working on something related but unique: Satori, a project that deals with the artist’s feelings of displacement in the world, and also a greater spirituality, the Universe and well, Satori. From a visual point, your use of color is not merely aimed at achieving extremely refined composition and desaturated
Fish - Still from Evidence, 2011 C-Print, Edition of 5
palette like in early Raoul Ruiz's films. On the opposite, your cinematography seems to be deeply influenced by the emotional potential of color suggesting deeply intimate atmospheres and a sense of vulnerability: could you comment this aspect of your shooting style? The colors in my video tend to be somewhat muted or midrange. This is partially due to my use of a VHS camera, and partially due to the way I’ve chosen to light the scenes. The VHS camera doesn’t allow for bright white and black-black, but of course, when I light things, typically, I am diffusing. It depends what I’m trying to achieve emotionally and then I create the lighting to compliment. Because there is no rulebook for how to light a scene when shooting on VHS, I’ve taught myself. There are different technical rules. I often feel I’m starting over with each scene and teaching myself how to light all over again. This is
actually very frustrating because I don’t like to get tangled up in the gadgets of making art. I just want to do it! Can you introduce our readers to your use of analog media like VHS footage? There is a particular reason linked to the ephemeral qualities of this rare format today? When I was 21, I was interested in cinema and had never seen myself on video. I didn’t even have a cell phone. I was kind of fearful of newer technologies, to be honest. I had a television with a built in VHS player. My boyfriend at the time, Chris Tenzis, gave me an old VHS camera he bought off ebay for $20. He knew I would be able to use it because I could record directly to VHS tapes and then play them directly through my VCR. I turned the camera on myself… long story short and that’s how I began using VHS. That was nearly
Reflection - Still from Nectar, 2011 C-Print, Edition of 5
10 years ago now and I’m still using the same camera because I love the image quality. I feel it. To me it feels painterly and organic, delicate. I’ve actually written pages about the importance of using old technology in these times. I’m hesitant to share that writing
because I have a hard time knowing if I’m intellectualizing something that really isn’t intellectual in nature. In that writing, some of the themes I discuss are the importance of repurposing old technology, the nature of experimentation, the consequence of high definition’s hyper real image quality, the importance of recycling old technology,
I studied under Marina with 11 other international students in the summer of 2012 at MoMA PS1. We were in a unique position with Marina because rather than performing her art, we were creating our own projects under her guidance with the promise of performing them in a final performance at MoMA PS1. Before that program, I already had a pretty defined style. So, though I respect Marina’s art and her place in history, it has not really influenced my work… at least not that I’m aware of. All in all, the experience was informative and important to my life. At the time, it was traumatizing and I remember thinking at some point that it might be best for me stop making art all together. It took about 6 months before I was able to turn the camera on again. How has your history influenced the way you produce art? There are a few ways to answer this question, since one has several histories. I have my family history, my gender’s history, my class history and probably more that I’m not cognizant of. Something that feels deeply personal to me is working in the lineage of performance art as a woman. I also have a strong desire to use affordable technology and tools because I grew up without a lot of resources. I grew up with a single mother, on food stamps, etc. Even though I was essentially poor, I was never willing to settle for a life of mediocrity. I was always working relentlessly and finding ways to be creative with what I had in order to try and trick everyone. I didn’t want anyone to know. In a way, I’m still doing this. It’s important to me use affordable tools and make my props because… it is it’s own kind of art, but it’s also my way of saying, look what you can do with nothing. Look what you can create when it’s just you, essentially. Art isn’t great because of the tools. It’s great because of the content. It’s great because of the artist. combating perfection, & intentionally working with encumbering technology. The Abramović Method has made a remarkable influence on your art vision: could you describe your experience with Marina Abramović?
In your work we can recognize a deep introspection: do you think art’s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artist’s expression? Could art steer or even change people's behavior? It has certainly done this in the past. Look at Warhol (who is my favorite video artist by the way). This is something I want to achieve. It’s
Still from Ohio, 2010 C-Print, 1/5
something Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d imagine every artist desires to do.
Schreiner? Are there any film projects on the horizon?
Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Erica. What's next for Erica
Yes, Satori! This is what I am living for. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been working on this for nearly two years now.
It’s a feature length video and performance piece. Entirely shot on VHS, I’m in front of the camera and behind it, simultaneously. I’ve done all of the camera work, performance, and now I’m in the final stages of editing. There
will only be one credit at the end of Satori. Its surreal, magical, a world unto itself, deeply intimate. I can't wait to share this with the world.
A still from Interactive Nose
Interactive nose is a mockontemporary video art piece which mocks the obsession with interactivity in new media arts. The author uses a â&#x201A;Ź 0.75 blinking party nose toy as an extension to her brain indicating her dirty thoughts each time it blinks as a response to high-tech hardware components implanted in her brain that obviously keep track of her brain activity. However, none of this is true.
An interview with
Ilina Konsulova Ilina Konsulova's works are a whirlwind of provocative imagery, ranging from video art to performance. If there is a connection with the surrealist tradition with her, it has more to do with the quest for the common unconscious: her videos explores the notions of gender and identity, tending to favour serious formal experimentation over imagery and symbolism. Numerous voices and fragmentary echoes from artistic languages participate in the semantic organization of her mockocontempory art pieces. We are glad to present Ilina Konsulova for this Videofocus Edition. Ilina, how did you get into new media art? Well, new media art happened to me quite along with my drawing, painting and collage experiments in “traditional” media 4-5 years ago. I remember once I was lying in bed tired of painting and hating the results… I was staring at my Winamp screen, playing Iggy Pop or something, and from that position it occurred to me that Winamp’s equalizer was showing me a… middle finger. I made a couple of screenshots, zoomed them in and printed them. Thank God the print studio worked 24/7. I had no reasonable explanation why those images thrilled me so much. They looked like nothing, just complete nonsense. What is more, at that time we didn’t study anything about digital art at the art school… So, I had to dig it out by myself… And it was several months later that I was translating the abstracts of some articles for the Department of Art, where I studied, and I came across an essay on the digital readymade – an excerpt from the MPhil thesis of Daniel Nechev’s who coined the term to fit Duchamp’s concepts to the digital world. I immediately fell in love with the article and… its author.
So, in a way love gave me new media art and vice versa. In Interactive nose you mock the obsession with interactivity, which is no doubt a remarkable trend of the last decade among new media artists. We want to take a closer look at the genesis of Interactive nose: how did you come up with the idea for video? To be honest, Interactive nose is a love piece in the first place. It is dedicated to my lover and fellow artist Daniel Nechev and originally the party nose blinked each time I thought of his penis. Actually, we were together at a local Chinese shop when he noticed this… hm-hm… product [?] and could not help to purchase it as a hearty present for me. We were both fascinated by its cheap looks and kitschy feel. And it was worth its cost. Armed with my present, I went home, stared at it for a couple of days in the company of a descent quantity of cheap wine to suit it, and one evening I just shot the video as a greeting to my boyfriend who hates the obsession with interactivity just as much as I do and loves nonsense to the same extent. Don’t get me wrong – I do not mock interactivity but the obsession with it. The dose makes the poison. Can you introduce our readers to the concept of mockocontempory art which is fundamental for your art practice and thinking? The term came almost half a year after the video. It is not that I didn’t know what I was doing but only after watching the 1992 Belgian movie “Man Bites Dog” referred to as a mockumentary, I knew what I did is ought to be called… In short, any aesthetics that is imposed and enforced as cutting-edge contemporary should be ruthlessly mocked especially in its own language, grammar and syntax. Your visual work is marked by the use of saturated colors and deep-contrast
Ilina Konsulova in No Matter What I Do [A Video Self-portrait]
photography. How did you develop your style? By the time I made Interactive nose, I was so fascinated with retro raw digital vision – nonhuman, in-human, un-human, post-human, sharp and artificial in color and form! I wanted to visually experience all the peculiarities of the media considered defects. Pixelization, raw color, noise, unnatural contrast – anything! I admired the machine’s visual language and saw any user-friendly beautification of the computer imagery as violation of its primal aesthetics. With time I learned to find visual pleasure especially in intended beautification which aims at merging RL with SL imagery. Still, digital images are so charmingly cold and
lifeless, and it is a kind of a paradox that the more effort we artists put in recreating our human environment in the digital world, the more scary and in[non][un][post]human it feels. What I find really interesting and frightening, however, is that we have started to model RL according to the SL models we had previously designed to mimic that very same RL. The very idea of our human embodiment has changed tremendously and is to be changing. What is more, raw digital vision is exploited to death. I even kind of hate me for exploiting it too out of childish ignorance and fascination… Boring… Let’s speak about influences. From the first time we watched your videos, they
My Cat With Broken Jaw
reminded us of Maurizio Cattelan's art. Have any artists from the older generation inspired you? Of course, any and every person has their inspirational role models and I am no exception. As for Cattelan, I don’t know… I wish I were as great as he is… Besides, he had that middle finger issue, too.
I definitely feel visually/sonically and intellectually pleased (this is my way to say “I love”) by the work of Vito Acconci, Marina Abramović, Pipilotti Rist, Stelarc, Nam June Paik, Tracey Emin, Yoko Ono, Nirvana, The Prodigy, Iggy Pop, Merzbow, Victor Erofeyev, ULTRAFUTURO, Hermann Nitsch, Rembrandt, etc. I just cannot list all the artists that had formed me as an
From the Unsorted Struff series
artist since the cave drawings to nowadays…
overt allegory. As a result, in the arsenal of artistic techniques that you use, several grotesque elements are no
Still, I cannot skip my favorite Eva and Franco Mattes aka 0100101110101101.ORG and their synthetic performances in SL.
doubt recurring themes. how did you develop your irreverent vein? Let’s simplify all that so that it doesn’t sound
Your work blends a heady mix of philosophical idea, sexual frankness, and
so complicated (not that it is not complicated). First off, we’re living in a quite grotesque time.
We have always lived in a quite grotesque time, bearing in mind the latter has been usually invented and defined by us, humans. Artists of any epoch are a good proof of this.
onto love. Served with a descent portion of humour, of course.
Second, everyone has their own haunting fetishes. Mine is love. What you call â&#x20AC;&#x153;sexual franknessâ&#x20AC;?, for me is merely an observation
So, everything is perfectly natural just the way it is.
Grotesque + love = me.
Thanks for sharing your time, Ilina, we wish you all the best with your artist career. What's next for you? Have you a particular film in mind? Sort of. I have in mind a short video featuring a “human kitchen robot” – a character that does all the cutting, chopping and blending of
vegetables for a meal to cook only with his/her mouth. But for now it only exists in the shape of some sketches and nothing more. Thank YOU, Stigmart, for giving me the opportunity to share my work and concepts with your audience.
Lauren Kohne After Paradise After Paradise is a contemporary reimagining of someone elseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s memory. It attempts to resurrect and re-contextualize
the long-forgotten landscape images captured by my grandfather on his visit to relatives in Tahiti in 1955, a decade before Franceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nuclear testing program showered vast areas of Polynesia with radioactive
A still from Through the oceans of space and time I: Hey Bro 2014 A still from After Paradise
fallout. Set to music which hints at the looming demise of both the idealism and natural beauty of that place in time, the film projects an equally elusive and fragmented succession of now sixty-year-old 2x2â&#x20AC;? photo
transparencies, backlit by what we recognize today as the nuclear-esque swaths of color, sunlight and shadow. Lauren Kohne
An interview with
Lauren Kohne How did you come up with the idea for After Paradise? I think I was looking for an escape. I had just moved to Los Angeles from Massachusetts, and I was in a transitional space in work and my art, which is a stressful place to be. On occasion I would take the transparencies out of their envelope and look at them. I thought often about where and when they came from. The original photos were taken in Tahiti by my grandfather in 1955. I thought about what he might have been thinking when he took these photos. I wanted to reproduce them in a way that might capture a sense of suspended time and beauty, while suggesting the reality that time has indeed passed and the place has in a way suffered. I’ve always been taken by these old Tahiti transparencies, and deep down I think I just wanted to transport myself on the ultimate vacation, with my grandfather, so we could go back to the place these pictures were taken. Only instead of him taking the pictures, I would be holding the camera, and playing the music in the rental car. That’s the advantage the living have over the dead. We get to retell their stories, reimagine their vacations, and set it the soundtrack of our liking. I suppose that’s what storytelling is. I realize that I’m not fully answering your question. I am telling you what I was seeking and where I was at the time the idea for making a video came to me, but I don’t think I can ever pinpoint how an idea comes to me. I think it comes in pieces; one piece and then another and I keep following the breadcrumbs to see if it leads me somewhere. In After Paradise you have used succession of sixty-year-old 2x2” photo transparencies, an unusual video technique. Could you describe your process? Looking back on my process I understand that natural light was an important element. The late afternoon sun shone through a large window overlooking the front yard area containing a guava tree and an overgrown Bougainvillea bush. One afternoon as the sun was shining
though the front window I taped to it a large, silk textile. The textile was hand painted with bright, saturated colors. I then taped the transparencies to the scarf and took multiple, rapid, photos with my iPad. I noticed that the sun created a stained glass-like affect through the painted colors, while the wind swayed and bent the tree shadows in and out of the camera frames. From there the information was cropped and placed into video format with each shot lasting .02 of a second in length. The process ended up being a combination of analogue, digital and a physical collaging of materials. - - This collage-like approach I believe is instinctually derived from my fine arts practice. I have a history of working with a mixed media, layering and using found and mundane materials such as masking tape, thread, glue, cooking oil, bus tickets, postcards, playing cards, coffee filters, textiles and ribbon. I also have a habit of collecting random small objects. I have small boxes with items like old keys, jacks, tiny figurines, marbles, stones, magnifying lenses, bottles, thimbles, coins etc. I have always been attracted to the physicality of tangible materials especially when second hand, worn, discarded, and/or thrifted, so I had an interest in keeping the essence of the analogue film with as little artificial digital filtering as possible. I wanted the variation in the picture to come from the actual sunlight, and shadows using only the painted textile as the filter.
A still from After Paradise
Can you describe your encounter with old analog media that inspired much of your cinematography? I came across the transparencies over six years ago in my grandfatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s closet. He had passed away in 2000, but left an archive of relics in his work den - among them being hundreds of photographs and negatives. He was a structural engineer who worked on projects all over the world, and so he traveled extensively and always had a camera with him. When I came across the transparencies I immediately recognized that the images must have been
taken somewhere in Tahiti (my grandmother has relatives there). What struck me about these tiny images was their likeness to untouched nature, similar to what I would imagine prehistoric landscapes might have looked like. For me, they possess a sublime presence. My grandfather rarely took photographs of landscapes, and I suspect he must have felt especially compelled by it â&#x20AC;&#x201C; though Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never know why. So for years I kept the transparencies with only a vague idea of doing something with them. Until recently, I never thought they would become a video.
A still from After Paradise
A still from After Paradise
Your art is rich of reference: we have previously mentioned the films of Chris Marker. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Big influences for me are artists who are fascinated and intrigued by the everyday and somehow find ways to magnify and illuminate simple things showing complicity within them (either in the content of their work and/or the medium in which they choose to make their work), while tackling and questioning subjects as lucid and slippery as memory, perception
and time. Chris Marker’s ‘La Jetee’, and ‘Sans Soleil’ have been examples of this for me as well as, Charles Burnett’s ‘Killer of Sheep’, and the work of Abbas Kiarostami among others. These artists have made a brand of humanistic work from what I find moving. Their films reverberate. - - Tacita Dean is a visual artist who makes experimental films as well as 2D visual work. Her piece, ‘Film’, was a tribute to analogue film and has been described as a moving poem. Some of the old film techniques she used and her hands-on approach were an inspiration for my process. Specifically, in one section of her piece, she
random postcard picture found at a flea market or she might leave the postcard unmarked to let her audience feel the absence of a forgotten story found in the flea market abyss of revived yet anonymous treasures. I find that I look for a certain limbo within the projects I embark on. There is something to be said for the found object containing remnants of a story that has long passed and no one to account for it. It makes the solidness of objects and credibility of history suddenly questionable. How did you get started in experimental filmmaking? I’ve always been interested in film, however it seemed very complicated and far away from anything I had done before. I’m used to building and layering objects and images with physical materials, whereas the camera as a medium I thought to be flat and onedimensional. I assumed that because I was not mechanically inclined, that photography and filmmaking was not for me. My perception changed when I had the opportunity to take a class that concentrated on neorealism films. It was here where I began to understand that film can be gritty, layered and simple. Not only that but understanding that a career can happen at anytime. Ousmane Sembene made his first film at the age of 40. Human experience is often the starting point of your filmmaking. What draws you to a particular subject?
hand painted certain parts of the filmstrip with varying bright colors. When the film ran projected onto a monolith in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, the colors she painted appeared and disappeared in surprising flashes. In After Paradise I wanted the viewer’s eyes to be in continuous motion, forever searching for a resting point, but never quite finding one. Dean’s color flashes made me think about how the eyes can be summoned to participate in a work of art and they can aid the mind in being active and engaged throughout. - - Much of Dean’s work is based on memory and lost images. She might make up her own story to a
That’s a good question. I believe what draws me to a subject are the intangible and the indescribable elements of human experience, like seeking out the moments of limbo I spoke of earlier. I suppose I don’t know what that is exactly until it hits me. Thanks for sharing your time, Lauren; we wish you all the best with your filmmaker career. What's next for you? Have you a particular film in mind? Thank you. I’m working on a few short pieces with themes that focus on psychological experiences. The idea I am most excited about takes place in the trunk of a moving car.
Soft Pong Inari created by Michael Lyons soundtrack by Palle Dahlstedt 2:06 | Japan | 2014 | Stereo | No Dialogue
Michael Lyons Soft Pong Inari A visual experiment in crowd-sourcing. Soft Pong Inari was made entirely from pre-existing photographs of Fushimi Inari Shrine, available for modified reuse in the creative commons. The film explores how a multi-subjective viewpoint can express a sense of place. The soundtrack is a study by Swedish composer Palle Dahlstedt.
Screenings: The Festival of (In)appropriation, Los Angeles Filmforum, February 2015 Antimatter [media arts], Victoria, BC, 17.10-1.11.2014 10th Free Spirit Film Festival, McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India, 2529.10.2014 se23.mov, Montage Gallery, London, UK, 14.7-4.8.2014 shorts@fringe, Azores Fringe Festival, 12-16.06.2014
An interview with
Michael Lyons From the first time we watched Autoselbstreparatur we were impressed by the way you use telecine and analog media in order to symbolize the blurry boundaries of perception and memory. Michael, how did you come up with the idea for this work? As is the case with much of my work, I did not start with a fully formed concept, but it arose through my exploration of Super 8 film over the past year or two. In the case of 'Autoselbstreparatur' I happened to purchase a large lot of Super 8 films on eBay. My intention was to obtain raw material for a student who is working in direct (hand drawn) film. She needed clear film leader for her work, and it more interesting to start with exposed films and partially erase them to use as raw material. The films in this lot turned out to be all from the same (unknown) West Germany family and appear to date from a period spanning a decade or so from the early seventies. In addition to being charming portraits of a family's life, the quality of the filmmaking is relatively good for such vernacular work. Suffice to say, I decided not to erase the films. One film in particular, showing the grandfather changing a tire on an automobile, held my interest. This everyday scene seemed to strongly symbolize the technological era from which it dates - the twilight of a mechanical age which has now been superseded. The subject of the film resonated with my interest in Super 8 filmmaking itself. I happened to project it using a toy reproduction of an early handcranked film projector design and felt the resonance quite viscerally - as a physically experienced empathy between my cranking of the Super 8 film and the subject's movements in the film. I decided to record this experience by creating a digital capture using the handcranked toy projector, which allowed contemplation of the film in an active, physically-engaged fashion. It was only several weeks later that I began to consider this record of my exploration as a possible artwork. I considered reshooting or editing the digital video, but further experiments led to me to
view the raw, only slightly edited video as the most powerful record of the epiphany I experienced via the film. How did you get started in experimental cinema? I have appreciated in cinema since teenage years, and was always attracted by alternative and experimental works, however it is only recently that I began to make experimental films. Since childhood I have been actively making images as an artistically oriented photographer, but my main work is as a researcher and educator in several areas that bridge science, technology, and art. I studied physics at university but for as long as I can recall I have conducted parallel explorations in music and art, and my technical and scientific work has often involved using images and video in unconventional ways. I currently teach in a visual arts and sciences faculty and several of my research students have been interested in experimental films. Interaction with students stimulated me to think more deeply about certain technological and social aspects of visual media, especially photography and film, leading to more active artistic experimentation with film and digital video. Your work remind us of Alberto Grifi's experimental films. Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Some years ago I happened to read, by accident, about Grifi's very interesting work as a video art/technology pioneer in the sixties, however I am not very knowledgeable about it and unfortunately have not seen his experimental films yet. This is definitely something I would like to investigate further. A cursory check informs me that John Cage and Marshall McLuhan were influential for Grifi and these two are also important for my way of looking at things. I grew up in Canada, where Marshall McLuhan is regarded as a kind of intellectual hero. His critical but creative and flexible way of thinking about media have always attracted me. I also discovered John Cage's work and way of looking at things as a teenager and this had a big impact on my way of thinking and living. I have wide interests in art tend to appreciate conceptual, experimental, and process-oriented work. My most important current influences are my students. To give one example, for a few consecutive years, I had some students were strongly interested in working with photochemical film rather than digital video,
whereas our faculty is wholly digital. This led me to a reconsideration of film as a viable medium for artistic expression and has ultimately led to the works we are discussing here. So I greatly value the interests and viewpoints of my students. The analog format you have chosen for Autoselbstreparatur presents painterly and materic qualities. Could you introduce
our readers to your approach to analog media? There is a particular reason linked to the ephemeral qualitities of this rare format today? I am not sure I can precisely answer this question as I have no fixed approach, other than to strive to bring my personal and contemporary viewpoint to whatever I am looking at or working on. With regards to the
A still from Autoselbstreparatur
A still from Autoselbstreparatur
qualities of film, perhaps it is helpful to recall Walter Benjamin's observation that the obsolescence of a technology presents opportunities for artistic expression. There is no doubt that film has adopted a special aura in the post-digital age. The aura is new and perhaps it lends a kind of paradoxical novelty to film. Personally, my love of the beauty of photochemical film was renewed through the interest and curiosity of my students, for whom film can appear novel because they have so limited experience with it.
I myself had converted to digital processes more than a decade earlier and working with film after this long separation made it seem new and fresh again. So, counter-intuitively, our appreciation for film is necessarily framed by contemporary circumstances, which are radically different, for example, from those of the world recorded in 'Autoselbstreparatur'. The films were purchased online, as were the projectors and some other equipment I use. Without the technology of the web and social networks, it would be difficult to obtain some
Autoselbstreparatur Michael Lyons 6:06 | Japan | 2014 | Stereo | No Dialogue
Hand-cranked telecine of a found West German Super 8 film, circa the 1970s. This digital trace from the twilight of a more tactile, mechanical era was created using a molded plastic recreation of an 8mm projector. Viewed digitally, the mundane events in the film seem more distant in time than the 40 years since they were photographed.
Screenings: Transient Visions: Festival of the Moving Image, Johnson City, NY, 17-18.10.2014 Experiments in Art and Technology IV, Gallery Kaos-no-Ma, Kyoto, 27.9.2014
of the things required for this kind of work. And it is clear that interest in and enthusiasm for a quasi obsolete medium like small gauge film benefits strongly from being able to find others through current communication media, who share a specialized interest. So our appreciation for film as a medium is framed by the context of post-web media. This is a large part of why 'Autoselbstreparatur' seems a poignant expression to me: it reflects and portrays the radical shift our media technology and culture has undergone.
You have co-founded the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression: could you introduce our readers to this experience and how it have affected your personal art research? In the late nineties I was actively pursuing research in human-computer interaction, seeking new, intuitive and more embodied ways to use the emerging digital technologies that were rapidly changing our daily lives. The
A still from Autoselbstreparatur
work that excited me most was taking place in the domain of music technology so, with some colleagues, I organized a workshop to explore a dialogue between new developments in human interfaces and musical performance. The workshop became an annual event (NIME) that is a combination of academic conference and experimental music festival. It continues to go strong and attracts the participation of hundreds of researchers and artists every year. NIME is one of the most exciting and
rewarding events of the year for me. It may seem removed from our discussion of experimental film, however this year, with a colleague and former student, we exhibited an installation combining Super 8 film projection and analog modular sound synthesis to generate experimental film soundtracks in real time. I have also used this system in several live performances in Kyoto and Berlin. In general, my interest in exploring the fundamentals of media and new means of
artistic expression are common to both areas of activity.
Michael Lyons? Are there any film projects on the horizon?
As an artist, how important do you think it is to teach what you practice?
I have several projects (both film and purely digital) underway but I cannot predict exactly where they will go. I'm also currently very interested in non-digital and hybrid methods of sound synthesis and am exploring this in conjunction with the film and video work.
In my case, it works both ways because what I practice is influenced by my students! Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts, Michael. What's next for
David de Rozas
They Want To Give It a Name, David de Rozas 28
"Using language from the speculative documentary and the video essay, They Want to Give It a Name observes the process of naming the public landscape, exploring the connotations and relationships that the chosen name has with History, with the collective physique, with the city, and with its inhabitants." David de Rozas
An interview with
David de Rozas "To ungovern is to empty words and images, thus allowing them to liberate their desires." A public open call process to name a plaza become the pretext for David de Rozas's investigation on virtual powers and ideological messages. David, how dow did you come up with the idea for your video They want to Give it a Name? During the last years I have been exploring and researching about ideas related to the act of naming, covering a wide range of topics that constructs many social and cultural representations. They Want to Give it a Name, began with an announcement to collect ideas; a public open call to name a plaza in San Francisco, California. The film consists on a series of speculations and interpretations related to this process, and the visual imaginary it activated. This plaza's naming process interested me as an idea to explore how the city is an object marked and signified by power and politics, and how the urban landscape appears as a complex text based on the cultural practice of naming. Naming urban places inscribes ideological messages about the past, the present, and the future, piecing together some records of who we are; names have a key role on the social and political construction of the urban landscape, the community, the territory, and the nation. Furthermore, the place the Naming Committee were naming was plaza, and precisely the connotations and visual imaginary that many squares and plazas have taken during the last years have brought back the use of the public space. A Plaza represents the public space; and public does not mean â&#x20AC;&#x153;something for everybodyâ&#x20AC;?, plaza means a place to be heard. In many countries plazas and squares are the places for voicing protest. When we name some plazas such as Sol, Tahir, Syntagma, the images that comes to mind are those of masses and protest. I'm talking about how these collective actions have also mediated to encourage the social thought and action in other plazas, and how the plaza in They want
David de Rozas with his family to Give it a Name is representative of the social dynamics I mentioned before. This particular process interested me as an index to explore all these issues. Your work has been deeply influenced by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben,
one of the most influential philosophers Italy has ever produced. When did you get in contact with his essays for the first time? I shouldn't say 'deeply', because I'm not an
expert on his work, but I'm close to his ideas. I quote him within the film statement because during the production of the piece I read â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Democracy in What State?â&#x20AC;&#x2122;, a book with articles by various writers and philosophers who explore the concept of democracy in the present time. I wanted to bring this title within
They Want To Give It a Name, David de Rozas 1
the statement because it is accurately playful, has a double meaning, and is open to a variety of interpretations. You can read ‘Democracy in What State?’ as an open question for democracy's condition; or you can read it as a question about the government form itself. The first one is specific in time, the second is about the structure. For me it's interesting to think how the second one implies a negation; democracy as a system that is irreconcilable with the State's structure. In the introduction, Agamben points out that it's not about sovereignty but about government. I consider that these ambivalences are present within the naming process that the film explores. Returning to your question, I first started being interested on got in contact with his essays years ago, when he published ‘The Coming Community’. Your art research crosses the boundaries
between documentary and video-art. In these last years we have seen that the frontier between Video Art and Cinema is growing more and more vague: do you think that this "frontier" will exists longer? In my opinion there’s no frontiers or classifications within a language. Many times, filmmakers, producers, studios, or institutions create those borderlines with the interest of reducing its possibilities. Nevertheless, I'm not saying that there's a common language in cinema, as well as there's no common language in other art forms; there's common tools but different uses or approaches. I don't consider them frontiers. If my work is crossed by documentary and video is because I grew up influenced by them. For me, video and documentary are the best paths to explore the subjects and the stories in
Naming Committee chose a name and in a way ‘closed’ this public process, they rejected many others. I choose to not do that, I want to keep this process active; not to govern the multiplicity that this naming process manifests. Like some poems, I prefer not to refer to things. I don't want be the policeman, nor the jail, neither the court. I don t want to domesticate, nor dominate, neither repress. I want to maintain the language alive, out of control, and undone to open the film discourses allowing space for freedom. Keeping language, bodies, and voices as ungoverned as possible, means to take care of them, to appreciate them for what they are. For me filmmaking is about reinterpreting and questioning, but its also a question of caring. Besides Agamben, can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Although there’s an strong rhetorical influence in my work both from writers and filmmakers my influences cover a wide range of 'things'; from poetry to friends, from cultural workers to musicians, from anonymous people to contemporary artists. I’m interested in both collective and individual authors. I'm open to be affected, influenced, and contaminated by all that surrounds me. the way I want to dialogue, show, and make an argument about them. I have been influenced by many other film form, authors, and mediums that perhaps are not as visible in my work. Video and Cinema interest me as formal medium, as a tool, and for the potentialities they have as an open language. To consider the notions of frontiers and limits within languages is to restrict oneself. In your statement you say "To ungovern is to keep them active; to recognize the value in their rhizomatic and chaotic ways of being." this is a fundamental concept of your They want to Give it a Name? It's one related to process that activated this film, as well as the form I gave to it's statement. In my opinion this process talks about the modern forms of decision taking as well as the control over life. Even that the
We have been impressed by your filmmaking revealing sort of coexistence between past and present in imagination and perception. How did you get started in filmmaking? The first video projects I did were collaborative ones in 2005. More than a cinematic approach, we were interested in the use video as a tool to register actions. We called them 'Acts' which I think were related not only to the idea of gesture, but also to the sense of 'Act' as a performative action. In some way that was the beginning of my interest in documentary methodologies. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? I understand filmmaking as a experimental process. Each project has its own way of being, disappearing, or maintaining their unrealized
They Want To Give It a Name 26
condition. As I said, I like to attend, research, observe, touch, feel, and learn. Most of the projects imply research, interviews, and observation. For the better or worst I tend to keep projects open, changeable, and unstable until the end. I'm not accurate; I think accurateness does not improve human life. To get lost is always a resource. Thanks for sharing your time, David, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker career. What's next for you? Have you a particular film in mind? Thank you for inviting me to participate in this publication. At this moment I'm working in two projects. They have completely different subjects, motivations, languages, and probably production processes too! One is related to an unknown artwork, which is probably the biggest collage in the world. It is a mural made with portraits of well known and anonymous people; a work in progress that started 33 years ago in San Francisco. I want to explore this collage as a personal archive and as a performative gesture made over the years that constructs an emphatic coexistence between those who are reflected and affected by its images; a relationship between time and history. The other is related to a project that helps and support individuals who have been in prison or incarcerated to access to high education. This project started in the 70's, and it's the only project with its characteristics in the whole nation (USA). I would like to put in value their project as well as their personal stories of effort and success, in a country where the policys that built up and support the actual prison system is discriminatory, affecting specific communities such as the black and the latino. For them studying at University level is an act of resistance and victory over a system than condemns low income communities.
They Want To Give It a Name, David de Rozas 1
Daehwan Cho A still from Light Play Fur Elise
An interview with
Daehwan Cho Daehwan Cho's cinema takes at heart Michael Snow's lessons "I wish to abandon imitation and illusion and enter directly into the higher drama of celluloid". His striking use of light and color depicts emotions and feelings in places where dialogue could not even scratch the surface. We are glad to present Daehwan Cho's Light Play fur Elise for this Videofocus edition. Daehwan, we want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for Light Play Fur Elise? Well, during my MFA tenure at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, I produced an experimental short film, one similar to Light Play: Fur Elise. I titled this piece Life, and the idea was to use candles and the vertical movements of these candles to represent a piano keyboard, similar to the concept of Light Play: Fur Elise. Life, however, took a more abstract approach, and was themed as the title would imply; about the precious entity of life. In Life, the candles represent the keys on a piano; the ones on the far right suggesting a higher pitch, while the ones on the left indicating a lower pitch. Depending on the duration of a certain pitch, the respective candle would continually rise until the pitch ceased. When the pitch ceased, the candle would plummet back down to its dormant state until its respective pitch was played again. With an up-tempo, jazz, trumpet instrumental as the music of the film, a flurry of candles seemingly rose and shrunk at varying speeds due to their roles in this particular film. This succession of these movements would continue until the music began to decrescendo down to a soft trumpet hum. As the music hummed down, the candles would merge into a single candle and eventually descend back down to its dormant state, where the candle would die out, symbolizing death and the end of life. The concept of Life had never left my mind since the creation of it. Even after eight years, the idea of music and light being combined continually lingered, sparking curiosity in me whenever I thought of a way to further it. Eventually, I felt that I had a concrete idea of how to further this idea and that was through
the application of various shapes and colors. It just so happened that I had a blue and yellow flashlight at home, creating the necessary colors for my new idea. What I needed was a keyboard to use as the focus of the film, which I would eventually hand make through the use of wooden planks and transparent wire. Selecting music was a trickier process
however, as there were so many different kinds of music I could use. I eventually settled down on the piece Fur Elise due to its wide range of tones, as well as its appeal to mass audiences. With all of these in place, I believed that I had all the tools to make my new project; one that would further my concept first portrayed in Life.
We have been deeply impressed with the way you go further in dematerializating the image in your video. Frames are domined by a strong presence of black. Can you introduce our readers to this peculiar aspect of Light Play fur Elise?
A still from Light Play Fur Elise
Contrary to the norm today, for Light Play: Fur Elise, I used my Rebel T3i Camera to actually take pictures of the moving light, rather than taking a video to create this sort of stop motion video. By increasing the shutter time on my camera to the likes of three or two seconds, I was able to capture the light while it moved. This allowed me to create shapes, letters, anything of the sort within that span of time. In order to do this however, the lighting of the room was a crucial aspect. All lights within the vicinity had to be turned off, and the blinds all had to be closed, as even a shimmer of light could affect this project. Once the area was pitch black, I began the project. I used the two colors, blue and yellow to draw whatever I needed, whether it be a shape, a simple key, or even the title of my film. This was all possible due to the transparent wire we used, as the lights from the flashlights would reflect into the lines, creating a better visual of the light in the camera. The light, along with the unlit area around, proved to form a striking contrast, making the lights even more radiant. By definition cinema is rhythm, light and movement however rarely in abstract cinema we assist to such a spectacular light choreography like in your work. How do you conceive the rhythm of your works? Throughout history, there have been few constants, few ideas that remained the same without much variation or change. One of these concepts is rhythm. Rhythm is never changing, as the basis for it has been set since humanity first learned to speak. Even today, the rhythms of modern music are not very different than those of classic music. In order to seemingly mesh the concepts of archaic ideas and modern day ideas, I decided to choose Fur Elise as the music for my film, which proved to be a very wise choice. With this selection, I successfully fused older music, with new video technology and ideas. However, there was another reason that I chose to use the rhythm of Fur Elise. My father was a high school music teacher, and was very adept at an array of different instruments. However, there was one particular instrument that stood out to him: the piano. Whether it was due to my father’s influence or not, I was always messing around on the piano as a child. I was never especially deft at it though, despite all my cries and efforts. A song I fondly remember, however, is
A still from Light Play Fur Elise
the renowned piece by Beethoven, Bagatelle No. 25, or better known as Fur Elise. This fond memory has followed to me adulthood and still stays with me today, Fur Elise proving to be one of my all-time favorite pieces of music. Its sheer range, tempo change, and rhythm appealed to me in every way imaginable, leaving me at its whim. So then how could I ignore this piece of music that I so fondly adored when it also proved to be the perfect piece for this particular project? This left me no choice, leaving me to conceive the rhythm of this work through the tempo of Fur Elise. How did you get started in filmmaking? Ever since I was young, I always had a knack for telling stories, fiction or not. This didn’t change in the slightest as the years went on; in
fact this knack actually grew bigger. Throughout elementary, middle school, and even high school, I would always find myself daydreaming in class, concocting up all kinds of different stories and scenarios. While this wasn’t exactly beneficial to my grades, per say, it did help me decide what kind of life I wanted to lead. So, when it came time to decide what career path I would take, it became blatantly obvious, though not specific: creative arts. I felt that with my imaginative abilities, I could take up jobs such as being a cartoonist, writer, or basically anything else that required the slightest bit of creative thinking. This dream of mine was hindered for a few years however, as I first majored in history as an undergraduate at Yonsei University, a prestigious private school in South Korea. Immediately after graduation however, I took it upon myself to
chase the career I had finally settled down on and envisioned; film. I believed that simply writing or drawing would not be able to sate my appetite for my need to express my ideas freely, which led to me to become a filmmaker in graduate school in Korea yet again. A few months after my wife and I had our son, Yeajoon, I obtained the first Master degree and I thought that this would be a new beginning for me and our family, as I could now work and do what I loved. However, not long after, I believed my dreams had been obstructed, as my wife had decided that she wanted to study abroad. This in fact, ended up invigorating my filmmaking career. After much consulting and arguing, we decided to move to America, where my wife would graduate from college and I would receive my MFA. In
A still from Light Play Fur Elise
America is also where I would enter my first film festivals, and receive recognition for many of my works, paving the way for me to be a filmmaker. In your work the image finds a particular state of grace when it moves closer to the rhyming structure of minimalist music. How did you develop your visual style? The entirety of my visual style was based on the rhythm given by Fur Elise. As I stated before, I created the bars of light to symbolize the keys on a piano, so it was only reasonable that those keys would follow the rhythm given by Fur Elise. When the rhyming structures of Fur Elise were playing, I simply made it so
that the same two keys on the “piano” would repeat, perfectly imitating Fur Elise’s key motions. As the music grew to a soft-spoken tone, I made a lasting visual of light in an attempt to help visualize the decrescendo occurring in the music. It was the same when the music grew to be more dramatic and powerful; my keys turned into shapes and grew larger, sometimes overlapping to show the harmony of sounds underway during the film. How did you collaborate with Yeajoon Cho (cinematography) for this project? For Light Play: Fur Elise, it would’ve taken, quite possibly, days for me to work on this
What technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work? Light Play: Fur Elise took on many technical aspects, the first one being lighting. As I needed a pitch-black environment, lighting, or the lack thereof, proved to be a vital aspect in what many deemed as irrelevant. By creating this pitch-black scene, I would not be visible working the flashlights in the background, creating a scene in which the lights were solitary in their frames. This darkness also proved to be beneficial in that it created a striking contrast between the colors of the flashlights and the blackness that surrounded everything else. The second technical aspect was the shutter. The shutter of the camera, as most filmmakers and photographers know, controls how much light enters the camera, measured in both seconds and fractions of seconds. For this particular project, in order to show moving light, I had to use a longer shutter, which was about three to two seconds. This allowed me to capture the movement of the lights fully, while also capturing their radiance. A third technical aspect was simply the movement of the lights. By moving the flashlights in clear, smooth motions, the camera showed the shapes and bars of light more clearly, helping to focus the attention of the audience onto the lights more than anything else that may stand out. The final technical aspect I focused on was the overlap. Since the camera was framed in the same position the entirety of the shoot, the overlap of the lights was much easier than anticipated. By overlapping the lights, I, as previously stated, created a visual for all the harmonies used by Beethoven in his piece, Fur Elise. project alone and use the timed shutter to get all the scenes required. Thankfully, however, I had someone who was knowledgeable in the field of both filmmaking and photography: my son, Yeajoon Cho. Currently in both Video Broadcasting Three and Photography Four at Timberline High School at United States, Yeajoon proved to be a great help. While I created the lighting patterns on the “piano” frame I created, Yeajoon took charge of the camera, adjusting the shutter and controlling the lighting as he deemed fit. By doing this, he not only made the process much faster for me, but also played a vital role in the material aspects of this film.
Thanks for sharing your time, Daehwan, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker career. What's next for you? Have you a particular film in mind? I don’t have a certain agenda to follow for my future, but what I do hope to achieve is to continually change the lives of those around me for the better. Whether it is through teaching and helping students to become better filmmakers as well as people, or through my films themselves and the messages they share, I really hope to positively affect all those around me. I will continue my exploits of filmmaking and teaching, and hopefully, they will take me to where I want to be.
A still from Kaled, 2014
Ezra Wube A still from Through the oceans of space and timethe I: Hey Bro This animation parallels and explores Ethiopian legend about the discovery of coffee (by goats and their 2014 herder) with in modern day environment.
In this piece I create stop action animation using paint on canvas. After each frame is developed I take a still picture of the painting using a digital camera. I then paint the next scene over the old one. The entire animation is painted on a single surface. The still pictures combined and edited to make the animation short. In my interest to mix the old with new, this technique allows me to keep the past while moving forward.
An interview with
Ezra Wube Ezra Wube uses video, stop motion technique and photography to heighten and alter individuals' experiences of space and time. He plays on the originality and power of images in an area between the traditional and the innovative. We are glad to present for this Videofocus Edition his work Kaled (2014), a refined stop action animation exploring the Ethiopian legend of the discovery of coffee. Ezra, we want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for Kaled?
As both a coffee drinker and being originally from Ethiopia, over the years I dwelled on the idea of making art about this traditional legend. I'm inspired by traditional legends with their author-less, origin-less and unspecified time and place. Prior to making Kaled I made another animation short titled Hisab (2011) based on Ethiopian urban folklore. In this short there are three main characters; a dog, a donkey and a goat. The goat is portrayed as a trickster. Eventually I really wanted to make an animation short based on the legend of coffee so that I could honor goats. Goats are a very smart animals. In the wild when nomads find a new plant or fruit and want to consume it, they only eat it after the goats have since the goats know which ones are poisonous. I wanted to make this animation and parallel it with my contemporary day to day ritual as a coffee drinker. In Kaled you use paint on canvas, adopting a peculiar stop-motion technique. Can you introduce our readers to your creation process?
To practice this technique I staple canvas to a wall. On the wall across from the canvas, I have a camera that is connected to a computer. After painting a frame I take a picture of the finished work. I continue by painting the next frame on top of the old one, each scene triggering the following scene. When the desired exploration is realized I discard the canvas and I edit the still images together to make an animation.
Ezra Wube Your film is rich of references, your use of stop motion techniques reminded us of Borowczyk's early animation works: can you tell us your biggest influences in cinema and how they have affected your work?
My background was only in painting. Later in graduate school I became interested in photography and video. In a way animation became a means to combine them all. I think of my animation as painting but time-based. While growing up in Ethiopia I learned to paint by copying renaissance paintings. I'm influenced by their narration and their ambiguity of space and time. I love film, I watch a film almost every night. In Kaled you tend to use mythic subjects in a painterly way, where they are emptied, manipulated, and personalized. How did you develop your surreal imagery?
To make this animation I applied for a grant. The grant required me to have a story-board
A still from Kaled, 2014
which was a first for me. Since painting for me is hard to predict, having a life of its own, I usually decide the next scene on the spot. I didn't get the grant but decided to go ahead with the piece. In the animation I was exploring the legend and paralleling it with my personal experience with coffee; working in a coffee shop, being a customer and even working on the grant and making the storyboard at a local coffee house. In my work I strive to imitate life, the mundane being my subject matter. I feel like the closer art
looks like life the better. If you really look into life it becomes strange, why things are the way they are, how they flow, why there are no repeats. I think the surreal quality in my work is a reflection of this. An Ethiopian legend is the starting point of your film: how has your history influenced the way you produce art?
For me history is a story of the past, but mainly
A still from Kaled, 2014
A still from Through the oceans of space and time I: Hey Bro 2014
a way to make sense of the present. In my work I continuously strive to reconcile the past and the present. I combine a traditional medium, painting, with a modern medium, the computer. The tactical making of my work now only exists digitally, the singular authentic object is forever gone but its process has been documented. The documentation aspect of the work serves as an indexical vehicle connecting the past with the present. How did you get started in filmmaking ?
In 2004, my wife (an animator and musician) and I travelled throughout Ethiopia for a period of four months collecting Ethiopian folklore. We visited many towns and storyteller's households. It was the first time I had been introduced to the large and extremely diverse culture of the country where I grew up. We documented the oral stories on video. Our initial desire was to transform the stories to books, illustrations, paintings and music. After that we moved to New York City and rented a small apartment. We translated the stories. I was very inspired after the trip and was making tons of paintings. Once you finish a painting it becomes an object that requires space. I was getting swarmed by paintings. In college, I did take an animation course, however I found the process to be too slow, and I didn't like working horizontally. After stapling the canvas to my studio wall I then considered making painting animation from one of the stories we collected titled "I came from the sky". I felt relieved since I could now paint tons on paintings on a single canvas. The medium felt true for me and I felt like I could go on. Stop motion animation is a long and complex process, how long does it usually take to finish a piece?
My first stop action painting animation which was 2 minutes and 30 seconds long took me a year and a half to produce. I was working on other things on the side such as school and work. Now I can make about one minute of animation per month. Could you introduce our readers to the multidisciplinary nature of your art?
In my work the idea dictates the medium. I'm interested in painting, photography, installation and performance. I am experimenting with sculpture, but its challenging. Thanks for sharing your time, Ezra, we wish you all the best with your artist career. What's next for Ezra Wube? Have you a particular film in mind?
Currently, I am working on a stop action animation short for an upcoming group show entitled "Feedback: Art, Africa and the Eighties", reflecting on my personal memories of growing up in communist Ethiopia in the 1980s.
Ezra Wube's studio
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
A still from TrĂptico del Amor Supremo
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
A still from Tríptico del Amor Supremo
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”.
A still from Tríptico del Amor Supremo
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-
A still from Tríptico del Amor Supremo
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?
A still from TrĂptico del Amor Supremo
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!