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w o m e n TARA FADENRECHT IOUSTINI ELOUL LETÍCIA LAXON ANDREIA SPLISGAR ASHLEIGH ALEXANDRIA GEESKE JANSSEN KATIE CERCONE TEREZA SIKOROVA JAYOON CHOI STORÄE MICHELE

INDEPENDENT

WOMEN’S CINEMA


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Contents 04 Storäe Michele

128 Ashleigh Alexandria

[the listening heart]

Poppy

28

144

Jayoon Choi Peta Pan

Andreia Splisgar Chapter 12 "the velvet revolution"

56

164

Tereza Sikorova

Letícia Laxon

Paraziti

Trial of the foreigner Galina

76

184

Katie Cercone

Ioustini Eloul

SOLARA Saturnalia

Faces and Masks

106

202

Geeske Janßen

Tara Fadenrecht

Of The Old School

Saccharine Symbiosis


Women Cinemakers meets

Storäe Michele [the listening heart] brings to life an original story grounded in Mayan and Yoruba cosmologies. In this Afro-Native futuristic film, our protagonist is a child healer named Ix Chel who hears an archaic term, 'love,' and searches for its meaning. [Re]indigenizing the myth of the Mayan Goddess Ix Chel –a healer connected to Earth as a midwife of safe passage– this story follows a common paradigm of women who are hurt and disembodied when going against social norms. But, in this film, their voices are reclaimed through self-healing. storäe michele, [known by her ancestors as Michele Stanback] is an artist, art therapist, eco-feminist, writer, director and educator of ten years. As an Interdisciplinary Masters of Divinity graduate of Union Theological Seminary, storäe infuses the arts into theological inquiries--exploring rituals, and breathing new life into sacred spaces for meaningful reflection. Her first film [the listening heart], is performed with an amazing cast of incredible women of color, bringing to life an original story grounded in Mayan and Yoruba cosmologies. Through embodied poetry, song and dance, she uplifts the feminine divine and investigates ways we communicate the meaning of love. storäe is committed to the sharing of these stories with women of color as subject— [re]mythologizing and unearthing the narratives of our ancestors.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

Hello storäe michele and welcome to WomenCinemakers: we would like to inform our readers to visit https://www.storaemichele.com in order to get a wider idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid training: you studied at University of Maryland and at the prestigious Pratt Institute of Art, and you later nurtured your

education in the field of Interdisciplinary Arts at the Union Theological Seminary: how do these experiences influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum address your current artistic research? Each educational endeavor revealed a different facet of who I am and how I navigate throughout the world. Each experience taught me a different perspective. As a life-long learner, I integrate collective wisdom from my childhood, community and travels with the voices of artists, alongside the philosophers, poets, social critics, and theologians that I have studied. Engaging in academic circles for so long has taught me that it is vital to hear and challenge these


Women Cinemakers voices—to wrestle with their ideas, while appreciating and expanding on them. As an undergraduate I integrated art and healing through psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park. There, I designed my own curriculum through the Individualized Studies program, self-titled Art Reflections on the Human Condition. I also collaborated often with community and facilitated art therapy groups with children for my internship. I was the youngest individual on a team of creative arts therapists at M.V. Leckie Elementary School in Washington, D.C, a school that was affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks—one of the planes that hit the Twin Towers in New York City had students and teachers on board, leaving the school community traumatized. Art was incredibly healing and transformative for these young students. This experience not only affirmed who I was as an aspiring art therapist, but later encouraged me to step into the classroom as an educator. At Pratt Institute, I attained a Master of Professional Studies in Creative Arts Therapy and Creativity Development. This program spurred my desire to shed light on the invisible, to fill in the gaps (the things that are not said), to read between the lines, and to create new meanings that reveal our shadow selves so that we can address our trauma. Through the identification of disconnections, untruths, and erasures within the artistic process, healing occurs. My art serves as a vehicle to “color in white spaces” and “endarken” them with truth—a mantra I acquired from eco-feminism—that moves beyond pure Enlightenment rationalism to a truth-telling rooted in intuition. As an Interdisciplinary Arts Master of Divinity scholar at Union Theological Seminary, my research and practical experiences were integrated as I utilized performance theories, understood mythology as sacred collective wisdom, and collaborated with fellow artists in rituals as performative storytelling. Within my first semester of seminary, a small group of colleagues and I constructed a course that we continued for nearly two years, focusing on a creative interpretation of an early Christian text called The Acts of Paul and Thecla. In our interpretation, Thecla is a queer individual, who goes against social norms and is tried and punished repeatedly for the crimes of speaking her truth. Our second year as a collaborative cluster, the story began to live differently, and our classroom became our workshop. From our student-led courses,


Women Cinemakers The Thecla Project emerged as a touring, interactive, improvisational performance and soundscape. We each wrote scenes, musical scores, original lyrics, and contributed to set and costume designs. Breaking the third wall, our audience became active participants, co-creating meaning-making through movement, song, and chant. I was struck how the audience journeyed with the performance, engaging the story differently through active participation. Retelling the story this way, developed my sense of the necessity for communal accountability, as well as my commitments to framing the narrative as personal and to embracing myth as authentic. Yoruba (West African) faith traditions then became the heart of my research—the griots, gatekeepers living on the margins, gather community to discern truths from lies. I extend this framework using an Afro-futuristic lens. I seek to inquire what truths our Indigenous myths hold utilizing a black feminist and eco-feminist theoretical approach. In many ways the black queer feminist-womanist philosophers, poets, and thinkers have added to my dialogue like Alice Walker, bell hooks, and Audre Lorde by offering me freedom to find my own voice from my particular positionality as a black queer woman. Their ways of knowing counter the normative research methods in that they draw inspiration from nature, stories from the ancestors, and encounters with love. My academic experiences certainly provided the time and space to think deeply and become critical in my approach, but by far, my greatest teachers are experience, community, and nature. I use my intuition as truth and wisdom. As a black queer feminist-womanist creative, I trust and honor this process. For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected [the listening heart], an interesting Afro-Native futuristic film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and whose trailer can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLUZl_L__O4. What has at once captured our attention of film is the way it provides the viewers with such a captivating immersive and multilayered experience. While walking our readers through the genesis of [the listening heart], would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? The genesis of [the listening heart] stemmed from my journaling about the power of myths. I queried: How do we understand myths? What


Women Cinemakers myths are we being fed? My hypothesis was that myths are stories which communicate our human condition illustrated by our joys, concerns, fears, oppressions, and a host of other felt emotions and realities that guide the way in which we live. In order to make these myths relevant to our social climate, we must recreate them and make them new. We must illuminate the truths behind these stories. As I explored this concept, my peers would push back—why do we need new myths, and how do we honor the old? I dove into fairytales and their various translations. I wondered why there were so many translations, and what I should learn from their ethnic specificity. I also investigated the ways in which stories are told—orally, performatively (as spoken word), as documentaries and even as Disney films. Each had a specific audience and was created for a timely purpose, but in real time (my time) and in my context, it took on a different meaning. I realized that even when stories are old, flat, and oppressive, the listener can breathe new meaning into the text. We can create space to give grace (when applicable) to the old meaning and embrace the new. We must honor the context which the story once served and glean from the possible lessons. Here, my understanding of myths began to evolve and [the listening heart] was born, as a children’s book. As a teacher of ten years, I would often sit with my tiny scholars, ages four and five, “crisscrossed applesauce” in a circle. This circle represented our community of learners. It was in this circle that we gave eye contact, sang boisterous (and at times ridiculous) rhymes; but most of all, we told stories. As we all know, four and five-year old’s have a highly active imagination and our shared experiences were eventful to say the least. However, our community time using this paradigm became our ritual. I realized how interconnected we became through the sharing and integrating of our stories. It is through this wisdom of communal storytelling that our ancestors were connected to the world and found compassion towards one another. I also remembered how the fairy tales and myths I read to my students were internalized as truth, but these truths were patriarchal, and often retold a one-sided romance of a damsel in distress or a young girl who conforms herself to societal norms. If she fails to conform, she is hurt, disembodied, or beheaded; she must have a prince or live alone, miserable and aged. This paradigm unnerved me and ethically, I had much difficulty relaying these messages to children. The


Women Cinemakers paradigm was not demonstrative of love. It was not demonstrative of wholeness. Thus [the listening heart] was a counter-narrative for our children. It was written in poetic prose because I observed how rhythm lives in our bodies— especially for children, in a way that lingers. We have greater recall when words dance. In the initial writing stages, I collaborated with poet Edyka Chilomé and we spoke about love and ways in which love can be communicated in human-to-human and nature-to-human relationships. We imagined a world rebalanced, where language is [re]indigenized and the word love is now archaic: people do love and no longer need to constantly say it. Throughout my writing process, I inquired about how love is demonstrated or explained in an intergenerational construct. What isn’t said? How do we break the cycles of being unloved and abused? My research illuminates my passion for the goddess archetype, as I desire her true story to be heard and reclaimed from the Western “hegemonic imagination”, as Emilie Townes calls it, that has created her for her doom— the moment she turns away from set normative values, she is destroyed. I reimagine her as highly integrated, radical and imperfect—wild and holy. Three years later, I finalized my drafts and realized that the story was living differently. I could hear the voices of the characters. I heard them sing and perform. I saw moving images. I knew then that the [the listening heart] was also a film, and a week later began the process of allowing this story to take shape in a new form. Elegantly shot and marked with essential and effective cinematographic quality, [the listening heart] features careful attention to blocking with keen eye to details: what were your aesthetic decisions when shooting and editing? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? As [the listening heart] is my first film, I collaborated very closely with my brilliant cinematographer, Chris “CSpins” Guzman, on the film’s aesthetics and perspective. After creating my initial storyboard with whimsical scenes and avant-garde costume ideas, we spoke about my desires to keep the children’s book formatting and allowing our audiences to jump into a circular versus linear format. We also had to be really creative with our shots in order to cultivate a futuristic and picturesque-feel, unreal fictional scenes which overlapped the here and now with the future. Understanding my vision, Guzman opted for two cameras: Sony a7r 2 camera with a Canon


Women Cinemakers 24—150 mm lens and Vivitar 130mm fix 200mm lens and Canon 50mm lens. The Vivitar lens was bought from Russia and is vintage—circa 1960s. Its solid glass provides a dreamlike film quality, though it was functionally difficult to use. We used the Vivitar for both of our favorite scene in the film, the transitional shot of the triple Hecate—the Goddesses’ that were having tea. This was shot at quite a distance, at least 25 feet away. We blur out the background fireplace allowing the characters to stand out in their colorful garbs. Our location for this scene took place at Union Theological Seminary in the Refectory. Union was built in the 1800’s and lends to the magical realm of the Goddesses. [the listening heart] is your first film and as you have remarked once, it is performed with an amazing cast of incredible women of color, bringing to life an original story grounded in Mayan and Yoruba cosmologies: would you tell us something about the collaborative aspect of this exciting experience? Casting was one of the most important factors of my film. I selected women of color of all backgrounds. Many of them are established within the music industry or performance dramaturg, while others had never before considered acting. I personally knew or had witnessed each woman’s strengths and personality before filming, so the casting was tailored to their personalities to give the characters life. As I stated previously, I love community and I envisioned this as an opportunity to collaborate with women, allowing for our intuitive, creative selves to guide our process. In preparation for our shoots, I sent them newly revised scripts and only asked that they become familiar with the rhyme and rhythm. Once on set, we read the scripts together and I also retold a version of the Aztec myth Ix Chel. We then moved into a discussion about love: how have we encountered love? How did our parents or grandparents relay meanings of love? What didn’t they tell us? Sharing our love stories created safe space to discuss the film in depth. In this way, the film was healing for the women who participated, and we were excited about the possibility of transmitting a sense of love, hope, and intergenerational healing to our audience. We even drew from one another’s strengths and talents on the day—of as final editions to the script. For example, Cocoa Sarai, a


A still from


Women Cinemakers gifted song-writer and singer added lyrics to my favorite song, “Honestly Healing,” which made for a smoother performance of the song and was a pivotal scene in the film. [the listening heart] deviates from traditional filmmaking technique seems to aim at developing the expressive potential of the images and the symbols that you included in your work: how much importance do symbolically charged images play in your work? In particularly, how do you consider the relationship between poetry and your filmmaking practice? As you have brilliantly suspected, I am a highly symbolic and expressivelycharged artist. My ethos is to communicate the intricate details of my characters’ healing and justice and to allow the audience to be comfortable in seeing themselves in each role. The truth is, we are all things at once: bad and good, villains and victors, complicated and simplistic. These characteristics are vital to who we are as humans, and it is important to embrace these dynamics. Within my artist statement concerning my theoretical positioning of [the listening heart], I am explicit in challenging my readers to consider poetry as the language of women. I believe that women locate themselves in the round, the abstract, the off-centered to the normative-socio behavior, articulating themselves uniquely within the world. But I do not carry strict definitions around “woman.” So, in action, for me this looks like, for example, extending beyond the current trope in modernity that says, “the future is female” to “the future is non-binary” which is inclusive and transformative. This is my location and perspective when entering the conversation of love and intergenerational storytelling. The performance and expression of theater and film is sacred to me. I understand that this art form captures moments in an unforgiving way (one cannot take back the imaging that has already been put out for reception), encapsulates the social climate (trends of thought) in a given time, as well as evolutions of varying liberations. When translating my script into a film format, I had to consider: what am I communicating in this moment? Who is included? Poetry allows for these types of questions to be considered in our narrative, even if they are not explicitly stated. It is not linear. And does not have to explain itself. Interpretations of the film welcome a host of thoughts that shift and evolve within each viewing. The same way that poetry provides space for interpretation and new insight within each reading, I hoped that [the listening heart], would challenge viewers with each


Women Cinemakers encounter, that it would push boundaries within every rhyme that needed to be listened to more than once. I wanted my film to become a ritual of the ways in which we could love and interact with each other. Your research about the character of Ix Chel seems to be very analytical, yet your film strives to be full of emotion: what was your preparation with actors in terms of rehearsal? In particular, do you like spontaneity or do you prefer to meticulously schedule every detail of your shooting process? My preparation with my actors was primarily spontaneous, in that I initiated conversation and integrated feedback into the backbone of their characters’ positionalities. For example, Jadele McPherson, a theatre dramaturg who plays “Mama,” integrated her interaction with Afro-Cuban and Black southern women into her character. The dialect and vernacular of the original script was brought to life by her own experience. In the acting moment, McPherson included a message that was also of importance in her personal heart-work of Ubuntu (from Yoruba, a West African faith tradition): “we don’t throw each other away.” In the “tiny universe” of Ix Chel and Mama, we also hear Ix Chel’s first lesson in the meaning of love through an illustration about peaches. Mama communicates the importance of each of our particularities and our value, which is affirmed in the whispers of the ancestors. Speaking through the Feminine Divine, Mama is additionally expressing care of nature, and Mother Earth. Though, I had my own interpretation of the philosophy, I find it vital to have many voices heard. As a director, it is important that the message is communicated through lenses that do not emulate my own. I do not see myself as a gate-keeper of wisdom, but a facilitator of creative possibilities and collective wisdom. Each voice is valuable to the production. Given some time constraints, my film was shot within a month, and we only had one month of editing. I scheduled the shoots in groups and spent each waking moment of editing with my cinematographer to have the film completed by our screening date. As stressful as this process was, I knew that my actors’ time was invaluable. We had no wasted shots. Every shot was planned and coordinated specifically for use in the film. Still, my usual method is to be spontaneous, to trust the creative process, and to be flexible.


Women Cinemakers As an Interdisciplinary Master of Divinity graduate of Union Theological Seminary, you infuse the results of your artistic research into theological inquiries exploring rituals, and breathing new life into sacred spaces for meaningful reflection: how do you consider the relationship between spirituality and your artistic practice? Cultivating creative space is my spirituality—it is my ritual. The West African Yoruba faith tradition informs my need to deconstruct myths and reimagine stories to speak to my location in the world. Within this tradition, healing happens through ritual and storytelling, which includes call and response, movement, and song. The Yoruba priestess actually reminds me of the blues woman; longing to be whole and retrieve all of what was stolen, she allows her body to sing the blues. The blues is more than just music—womanist theologian Kelly Brown Douglas considers the blues a story of black living. From this understanding the blues begins with experience in the body, rendering the invisible as visible—the body speaks. She sings because it connects her to her innermost self and her ancestors. In direct opposition of normative white stereotypes, she subverts the narrative and creates a ritual of loving herself. Likewise, this illustration is echoed in the themes found in the African diasporic traditions: being unashamed, embodying practices, speaking to the pain of our ancestors, speaking truth to power, and healing. The Yoruba faith tradition tells the story of African bodies in a new world, it sings the language of their ancestors, reflecting who they truly are. They sing, “Our black is beautiful.” Thus, my artistic practice serves as my spiritual embodiment. And this shows up in the film. In [the listening heart], our ancestral guides and Orishas are represented by the Triple Hecate: three goddesses in formation as one. Their names originate from the Yoruba tradition, specifically Lukumí: Nana Buluku, Yemoja and Ochún. Together they follow Ix Chel through various pathways of knowing, the caminos. Their voices resonate in song and poetry as spiritual blueprints of Ix Chel’s understanding of the meanings of love. It is my intention that through this film, a new ritualized aesthetic emerges—one that beckons listening, community, and self-care through expansive consciousness. Marked out with a seductive beauty on a visual aspect, [the listening heart] addresses the viewers to a wide number of narratives and we daresay that it could be considered an allegory of human experience:


Women Cinemakers

would you tell us how much important is for you that the spectatorship rethink the concepts you convey in your pieces, elaborating personal meanings? How open would you like your film to be understood? In my experience, art that is not normative is often in conflict and will most frequently be observed with great reservation. And, I’m okay with that. To be frank, some spectators expect for meanings within the film to be explicitly communicated. Inviting audiences to broadly approach and create their own meanings will rarely make it into mainstream. This is the artist’s plight. I desire for my audience to trust their intuitive thoughts and expressions in encountering my art. Even so, there are some things that I hope audiences will glean through this film: love has many meanings beyond the romantic, and even romantic love is not an endless giving of the self. It is a dialogue between two consenting partners and though you may unintentionality hurt each other, it is important to be responsible for your actions, and take responsibility. Also, I consider this film to be a ritual. A ritual must be embodied, becoming an integrated part of your lifestyle. The messages of love in my film are mantras to live by. Viewing this short film multiple times will present new applications of love. As a ritual, I want it to foster transformation, to allow brave space for healing, and to enable our reconnecting to our communities and authentic-selves. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in experimental artistic productions. For more than half a century, women have been discouraged from getting behind the camera, however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. What's your view on the future of women in experimental cinema? Do you think it is harder for women directors to have their projects green lit today? I am grateful to the women who have navigated the challenging realm of directorship within a primarily male-centered field. It is not uncommon to walk on set and be one of few women asked to be on the production team. Having a lens and voice that differs from the male gaze is important.


Women Cinemakers

Such inclusion allows for the expansion of consciousness and imagination. After all, art should inspire new thoughts. I am also grateful to have witnessed women, namely in the genre of AfroFuturism, like artist/ singer-songwriter Janelle Monåe, portray their take on film as story and resistance in the mainstream. I am delighted when I notice organizations funding dream projects specifically for women directors and filmmakers. I think it encourages us to stay the course, and even if one person is moved by our art-in-motion, we continually value and create our heart-work. With the accessibility of crowd-sourcing via social media and grant opportunities, I hope that more resources become available to women who create-- enabling them to acquire bigger budgets and utilize technology in unique ways. The future of experimental films will hopefully also be inclusive of more meaningful collaborations with diverse creatives across the world. Im excited to hear from new voices and I hope to be a part of that movement. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, storäe michele. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I aspire to cultivate new narratives through film for women of color, which provide space for our complexity, truths, and communal healing. I plan to continue offering workshops and presenting on panels to interactively educate audiences as embodied practice. As an interdisciplinary artist and contemplative practitioner, my heart-work will always integrate various mediums and continue to stretch my own perspectives and imagination. I am also writing my next film, a hip-hopera entitled Medusa Sings the Blues, about a queer woman of color who retraces her roots to the Libyan Goddess Medusa—a woman misunderstood. I am currently building a cinematographic team and have begun casting main characters. I would also love to think more collaboratively, and brainstorm with community, seasoned practitioners, and established resources. The film industry is extremely competitive as it relates to finding sustainable financial resources, locations, equipment and promotional materials. I would be grateful to connect with those knowledgeable in these fields. I always welcome invitations to present workshops or to speak on panels. Feedback from attendees helps to nuance my stories and expand my artistry.


Women Cinemakers meets

Jayoon Choi Jayoon explores a various spectrum of our mind, sub-consciousness and ultimately questioning what forms a self. She turns these intangible phenomena into an immersive audiovisual experience using moving image, space projection and drawing. Jayoon often uses herself as a tool to represent both female and androgynous beings in her narratives. Her audience are invited into a place filled with confined colours, symbolic and surreal metaphors, to reflect back ourselves.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com Hello Jayoon and welcome to : before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we would like to invite our readers to visit and we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned your BA in Illustration from Camberwell College of Arts, you nurtured your education with an MA in Information Experience Design, that you received from the prestigious Royal College of Art: how

did these experiences influence your artistic evolution? The experience I had in RCA have exploded my practice into the next level. The whole two years course was designed to break whatever limit I had as a creative. It was a rare experience to be surrounded by super talented, proactive and inspiring people in one place. There was a total freedom in collaborating or getting help from whichever department as you like. I presume it'll differ in each year, however, there was a strong community between students who were there for you when you fall into pieces, to support each other. Oh- we


all cried and drank so much. Actually, we still carry on doing so until today. It was a repetitive process of consecutive experimentation, bring your research, back to the intention, critique, debate, let go of the pre-existing outcome in your head, do something beyond, beyond the limit you have set within yourself. The only expectation I was given from the tutors were to excel, refine and don’t fall into what exists already, including yourself from

yesterday. Through that, I became aware of what I am proficient at executing briefs, at the same time the execution repertoire I have. Seeing fellows student's outcome from the same brief was a magnificent inspiration too. This continuous two years of challenge made to look into where does my creative drive reside, what I am trying to communicate and to whom? Foremost how to work with myself without breaking into pieces. Moreover, how does the relationship between your cultural


substratum due to your Korean roots and your life in the United Kingdom direct the trajectory of your artistic research?

adaptation intensity differs depends on how influential/dominating culture you inherited in contrast to your surrounding. Like we are communicating in English now.

The culture shock swept me off like a planet impact. The bigger the differences, the greater aftermath. I experienced that every value I hold in life was denied and I had to adapt to whatever is in front of me in order to survive in the new environment I was given to live. Somewhat I find this

When I visited Korea after spending x amount of time in Europe, I felt somewhat relieved there is the sea of people looked alike to me. I no longer ‘looked’ alien or ‘exotic' by appearance among the crowd. Unfortunately, that relief didn’t last very long. As soon as I start interacting with those similar


looking kind, people start noticing I’m an alien by inside. The story you read from the physical appearance was not even a prologue. I then wondered ‘What could be the tactile, physical embodiment of that ‘real thing’ beyond our outer skin?' and 'What is writing the content?' I start spotting unfamiliar things - the kind of things, once too familiar that I don’t even imagine to question. I began noticing the crack, and the cracks were everywhere. It

accumulated into the question of ‘Why do I do, what I do?’, or ‘Why do you? or they?' The boundary between ‘I’, ‘you' or 'they 'got blurred. This led me to research into what role does audiovisual content plays in shaping the mass behaviour, as in mass media, advertisement, propaganda and religious visual languages.


For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected I Don’t Really Care Who You Are, As Long As You Are There For Me, a captivating experimental film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at . What has at once captured our

attention of your insightful inquiry into the

interstitial poionts between different individualities is the way it provides the viewers with with such a multilayered visual experience. While walking our readers through the genesis of I Don’t Really Care Who You Are, As Long As You Are There For Me, would you tell us what did address you to explore this theme? It was based on what I observed from people around me.


Whether it was with someone I know, or with perfect strangers or with myself. The inspirational moments were; People who just talk, talk and talk, got to the point not caring whether the other person is actually listening or not. Such as my elderly next door neighbour continuously talks for 20 minutes without a pause. (He is a lovely being though)

Who is pissed off at a particular situation or a person repetitively no matter what. At a party, where people are talking to each other but actually not talking about anything but to keeping themselves with a company.When we say ‘Hey, how are you?’ then ‘yeah I’m good’ then a few chit chat follows. When kissing someone feels like we are kissing our desires or projected idea of a person, rather than the person itself.


A friend mine once told me, ‘If he isn’t particularly your type, then just put a paper bag on top of his head, it’s all the same’ Could you tell us something about the collaborative nature of the production of I Don’t Really Care Who You Are, As Long As You Are There For Me? It was totally an unstructured process. I invited people within

RCA into the shooting space. I stood in front of the camera and we talked on various topics to trigger wide parameters of their characters. I sat with collections of face footages and start assembled them, in a random or a curated order. Marked out with stimulating multidisciplinary approach, your practice involves moving image, space projection and


drawing, to create immersive audiovisual experience capable of challenging the viewers' perceptual parameters: how important is for you to trigger the viewer's cultural parameters? What do you hope your spectatorship will take away from your work? I want my work to be as free from any cultural markers as possible, a blank slate as it were, in order for the viewer to not attribute biases of any kind upon it. Hence why there are several androgynous figures in my work representing ‘human being', instead of representing ‘female’ or ‘male’ as a gender. On the same notion, I have yet to depict any particular culture as a source in my work. I see that the perceptual and cultural parameters are interrelated, in order to provoke one outcome as the other. Ultimately I would like to provide a trigger to the viewers that shifts them to a slightly unfamiliar angle, even a tiny bit. Until what was so familiar and normal becomes questioned. During that process, I hope it’ll also cover the cultural parameter, as culture defines its meaning as shared custom and belief among a collective of people. Or simply, to question, 'What is that what I’ve just seen?’, 'What is it doing to me?’ would be just as satisfying reaction. To provoke thought, or a lingering feeling, which would not have crossed their mind otherwise, is my job as an artist. How would you consider the relationship between with other people and your creative process? In particular, do you think that a creative process could be from perceptual reality? Every moment and the interaction I make with others end up melt into my creative process. I answer this as a question. Where does the perceptual reality

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Women Cinemakers appears and where does the creative process occurs? Are those two connected or disconnected? An important aspect of your artistic research is centred on the exploration of what forms individual identity along with what elements construct social norms. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, " ". What could be in your opinion in our contemporary age? I suggest to get out of the idea of what ‘film’ or ‘cinema’ is supposed to be. Praise the masterpieces from the past, but don’t bind ourselves to them. Be playful with unfamiliar and unpredictable aspects popping into our face. Experiment with it, keeping the critical eyes, then the contemporariness will shape itself. Does your artistic research respond to moment?

cultural

Mass communication, as in advertisements, propaganda and historic religious visuals are my biggest inspiration and research topics. Because these are factors which try to influence mass behaviour, social norms and values in society. Within these vast categories, I’ve been eyeing the dark art design movement in the mass media. How much are we going to toxicate ourselves by surrounding ourselves in so-called slot machines? Destroying our concentration span whilst being simultaneously attentive to beeps and flashes? Following on from this, An American Researcher and writer Matthew Crawford stated that 'Junk attention is a “mental equivalent of obesity… they’re like junk food’s killer combo of sugar + fat + salt orchestrations.” I wonder what could be the balanced diet equivalent in terms of audiovisual content.


You often often use yourself as a tool to represent both female and androgynous beings in your narratives. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that " ": as a multidisciplinary artist deeply involved in dance, how do you consider the relation between of the concepts you explore in your artistic research and of your practice? In front of the camera, or facing a blank space, I can express whatever is compressed within me. I improvise as I experiment, which makes it harder to deliver this process to other actor/actress to do on behalf of me. That's when I actively connect to my creative core or so-called consciousness. Isn’t human consciousness often described as a black hole? Performing itself is the most abstract process to reveal it's abstractness. So far, my physical being understands my content the best and performs it the best. I use my body as a communication tool to represent ‘a being’ who happened to share some physical appearance of me. An interesting aspect of your practice is the fact that you are concerned in making the viewers aware of your process, addressing them to reflect back ourselves: we find this decision particularly interesting since it seems to reveal that you do not want to limit yourself to trigger the audience perceptual parameters, but that you aim to address the viewers . Are you particularly interested in structuring your work in order to urge the viewers to elaborate ?

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Women Cinemakers I find this question is answering itself. Indeed. As I explained above, I intend to provoke a trigger, not a statement. I wish for my audience to find their own question to engage within my work. In particular, what is the role of metaphors in your artistic process? We use language in order to communicate with each other. It’s a systematic structure, a common promise between a particular group of people. It reflects a culture, shared collective unconscious in order to aid understanding. Likewise on audio-visual language. However, a language cannot deliver everything, we try to describe as much as we could, empathise based on our experiences, however it is not possible I could ‘get’ the 100% of what you are trying to deliver via text or words. There are indescribable content we wish to communicate, and often it’s intangible too. Within that system, I ‘use’ the rules of communication mixed with my own to reveal that intangible content I wish to communicate. By its nature, it ends up becoming an encrypted code. It may translate into various words and meanings, but none are correct, and all are correct at the same time. Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovi once remarked the importance of not just making work but ensuring that it’s seen in the right place by the right people at the right time: how is in your opinion online technosphere affecting by the audience? The meaning of the right time, the right people, and the right place is changing in this simultaneously connected world, especially where the boundary between the physical and digital is all jumbled up together.


Women Cinemakers In my view, this overwhelmingly evolving technology is continuously throwing us 'the new tool' to play with, by doing so, it makes us look back on the meaning of the physical world, which we may have been taken it for granted. I see that the value of experience, tactile, sensory, physical materials are re-discovered and reinvented along with the technology to both creator and consumers. In the museums and gallery scene, let alone a virtual tour or an online archive for the data experiences, there has been an interesting movement in embracing digital and physical qualities in audience experience. Such as IK prize presented by Tate for an attempt to explore art using senses and digital technology, or leading museums and galleries in London have been launching ‘Late’ events since 2016 to provides a whole social package of atmosphere to experience art to attract audiences.

algorithms and curated search results connecting all of our creative alike. Although, I find that just like the physical world, it takes time and labour to grow that Instagram likes into a genuine audience ground. Also, It does have a tendency to lock both creator and audience in the safe filter bubble. It became easy but not sure it’s the far best yet. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on in the contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something ' ', however in the last decades women are finding their voices in art: how would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist?

The fundamental core of digital is binary, whereas the core of human is still, unknown. Both of them has the qualities that the other cannot imitate. As far as 10101010 and the unknown complement together, it’s always the right time, the right space to connect with the right people.

Producing something ‘uncommon’ at the same time ‘uncanny’ makes my life very difficult to make a living out of it.

Do you think that today is easier to a particular niche of viewers or that online technology will allow artist to extend to a broader number of viewers the interest towards a particular theme? Of course, thanks to being online, I get connected to people I would not have been otherwise. A large proportion of my collaboration was initiated via online, likewise with feedback from the viewers. Just like how I get connected to Women Cinemaker, and how readers are reading this.

Point taken.

Whether it’s easier? Sure, it definitely broadens up the audience catchment area from a local to the globe. Thanks to

Once, a curator told me ‘A middle-class audience wouldn’t necessarily want to hang such this in their living room’.

Fair enough it was a drawing of the dead bodies rolling around the field, a piece dedicated to the massacre victims. If it’s a video work, I am asking a favour to a gallery as it’s tricky to make a profit while using their space. The above episodes are more of how challenging it is to commercialise my work. Besides that, any experience of being discouraged in the art scene because of being a woman? in London? not that I am aware of.


Women Cinemakers And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? In my opinion, the future of women is seeing ourselves as a ‘being’, detached from the given prejudice and ’norm' that are binding us externally as well as within ourselves. In a world where androgyny is prevailing, what will the term ‘woman’ even mean in the future?

ontological question of ‘What forms a self?’ then ‘What could be the embodiment of the human psyche’ has always been the core of my practice, and I will probably keep on working on this content. Ongoing projects are; I have been working on Friedrich Nietzsche, an attempt to

Whichever gender or quality you have, if you are discouraged or discriminated against what you are, then you should speak up, gather your voices together to bring the change to the world we are living.

visualise a metaphorical representation of his life and work based on his books. It’s a challenge to represent Nietzsche's philosophical thoughts as well as his mental scape as a human being.

The same strategy should apply to LGBT, queer, non-binary, racial differences, religious differences, men to help all beings. Whichever field you are working with, as a creative we are continuously cultivating for a better way to engage with our audiences, and I believe this is a great strength of the interdisciplinary field. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Jayoon. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I find philosophy often talks in an obscure manner, taking me into a labyrinth and I’m so lost, it makes me feel like a complete idiot. Wheres zen makes me let go of that I am even lost. They ask me questions that I could not answer immediately, but perhaps they are designed to speculate rather than examine. On a similar note, I’ve been inspired by Carl Jung’s practice, his observation on inner-scape of the human psyche amplifies my imagination. Through this project, I have started producing moving image

I don’t know.

as if I am drawing. Letting go of structuring a complete

Looking back a decade ago, the practice I do now is completely an unpredicted one. I will keep on experimenting, and see where it takes me. I hope it's an exciting one.

storyboard before shooting, but just shoot as how I flow.

The execution method may have been shifted over the past decade but my practice question remained the same. The

amusing. Indescribable content often reveals itself by

Letting the unpredictability appear through improvisation. To be fair, that means I struggle most of the time, but it is exploring the matter.


Women Cinemakers meets

Tereza Sikorova Lives and works in Brno, Czech Republic

What is coexistence with a parasit? It is not only about to hate or love. It is everyday addiction. A film Parasite by Tereza Sikorova is an physical guide of a presence and relations. The expression of life is the body. The body, that is the physical presence. Movement is not just moving bodies in a space. Movement is work with time. Motion is work with narrative. Movement can happen in the viewer's mind. Moving is happening in his perception and participation theresa.sikorova@gmail.com

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

Hello Tereza and welcome to WomenCinemakers: to start this interview we would ask you a couple of questions regarding your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as an artist? What are the most important influences that affect your current practice? Hello and thank you. Yes, there are a lot of people

and events. Let me say that any artistic cooperation has moved me forward. Whether positive or negative. I do not remember that I have ever experienced any uninteresting or weak experience. Things, I consider very important are the certain types and approaches to artwork that could have influenced my development as an artist. For example, the difference is to create choreography for a dance or for a drama performance. The approach to the new thing has to be a bit different to surprise and fulfill everyone. Actors and dancers perceive the theater


quite differently. Then, for example, the basic principles of creating a street show (site specific), or a black box, or a gallery, or just in front of the camera as a movie. There are all different ways of performance, different forms that offer us possibilities and limitations. We then need to know how to use it properly. These events and experiences move me the most. However, I consider my studies at the Janacek Academy of Performing Arts in Brno (Czech Republic) as an important artistic and human landmark, there I studied Clown Scene and Film and finished it two years ago. This study was very intense, demanding and fruitful. I studied under the direction of Pierre Nadaud, a person who is very intuitive and thoughtful. Now, however, I have quite a distance from my studies and I am now developing my own handwriting. This is about the process of making, approaching yourself as both a director and an interpreter. For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected Paraziti, an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your work is the way it unveils the elusive bond between the real and the imagined, to provide the viewers with such an intense visual experience, enhanced by a sapient composition. While walking our readers through the genesis of Paraziti, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea?

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Actually, I got the assignment to process the theme of a parasite. As a medium, I chose a video, specifically "dance for camera". Movement and movement of the body, interconnection of elements of physical theater and dance is the most natural way for me to express my thoughts. I like to experiment with other genres and interconnect each other. I might call it an intermediary approach. Then the film Paraziti is, of course, a metaphor of human (non) coexistence, filled with both explosiveness and peace, reflected in some forms of desire. It is the interconnection of imagination and the body and the questions of their mutual relationships, the mind and the body. I was interested in individual extreme states and their expression through physicality. The couple who plays in the movie is incompatible as well as inseparable. This idea of the film is supported by its other components. We have a costume made of plastic. They are air-filled plastic pads, so there is almost no warmth and human touch between the two bodies. The music is seemingly smooth, monotonous. After a while, however, it acts impatiently and urgently and crawls under the skin. The shooting itself took place in former freezers, that is, in the industrial area of former slaughterhouses. I consider this film to be a kind of visual intertextuality. Paraziti communicates sense of freedom and at the same time reflects a conscious shift regarding performative gestures: how would you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the


details of a performance and the need of spontaneity? How much importance does play improvisation in your practice? I would like to emphasize that this shooting was a combination of challenges for me - technical, personal and creative and a little subversive, and yes, improvisation has, to some extent, some place in my work, as long as I know that space has been created for it at some point. But you need to know where you want to be in your movie or performance. I think

Paraziti is the right ratio of spontaneity and some inviolability to artificiality. This ratio is also the concept of the film. All this counts on concrete and conscious images that play their specific role in the message. Improvisation helps me to reflect myself. It's a perfect rendition. Knowing yourself at some point. I do not mean just dance or movement, but also verbal, musical. It's our natural rhythm, it's listening to yourself right now. But I perceive improvisation in


different ways. I think it's also important if you want to know the people you work with. Improvisation can therefore be an appropriate means, but I think it is one of several means. For example, if I create some live performance on perfectly accurate movements, I need to feel a kind of human factor there anyway. Possible error. Authenticity. Speech of individuality.This is essential and visible in my work. On the other hand, at school I met only this approach to work, that is, the idea of the performance is born

only in the process of testing, which is actually fixed by improvisation. So I think it somewhat narrowed my perception. Nowadays, in the contemporary physical theater (and experimental film), there is a big problem here in the Czech Republic or Slovakia precisely in the misinterpretation of the work and in its great abstractness, which the spectator can not recognize and anyhow identify with expression. At the end of the show, chaos remains in his mind, but he


Women Cinemakers appreciates it, because he feels it's an interesting piece of work and he thinks it's his fault he does not understand. And that's very bad. You know, dancing may not be just abstract, as it was in the bloom of ballet. Dance does not have to be just a personal statement of feelings through your body, or some imitation of something beautiful or ugly. It does not even have to be revolt, interpretation or enlargement of reality. These are somewhat obsolete approaches that have been used many times. Today everyone tries to imitate Pina Bausch, who was an admirable personality with the new ideas of motion and dance theater. And that's because she uses a perfectly precise language in the right context. But I feel that there is a need to constantly seek your own way of making, using your own thoughts. For example, I am just inventing my new genre of "Naboku". This name is a word game in Czech, because it sounds Japanese, but the meaning is dancing aside. It's a game for me. I just love playing and discovering. We would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception? And what do you hope Paraziti will trigger in the spectatorship?

Of course. This movie is made for viewers. I wonder how and what the viewer feels when he's watching the movie. As you have remarked once, "movement can happen in the viewer's mind": your pratice reflects physical level of presence and relations and we daresay that you aim to create a a gateway into other realities: how do you consider the relationship between perceptual reality and the realm of imagination? Moreover, how much important is for you to trigger the viewer's perceptual parameters in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? Yes, even the viewer is the actor of our film. The movement is not only in the bodies of the dancers, but in every viewer watching the movie Paraziti. And as well as from a psychological point of view, when there is communication between two or more people, it is also happening in our minds. So imagine dancing as a kind of communication. We each create our own brain connections. Can you tell us something about the collaborative nature of Paraziti? What was your preparation in terms of rehearsl? We all spent together almost 24 hours a day for about three weeks. I wanted to make sure that we all come together and the result is so more authentic. A


Women Cinemakers substantial part of the preparation was devoted to creating a choreography for the film. For some parts of the film we created storyboard with my cameraman Michal Kaminski, who also cut the film, mainly because of the greater interaction with the rear projection. In the rear projection, both dancers are connected by some kind of a navel-cord. This starting point was also one of our important inspirational sources for us. In essence, this is in contrast to what is going on in front of the camera where we often connect in the body, but in fact, as if we were still disconnected. Shooting took place with two cameras. One camera was a kind of intimate probe, the other one captured the overall definition of the individual dimensions of space. The space where the bodies are located, the space between the bodies, the distance of the bodies from the camera, at the same time we have often captured the characters by literally longing for privacy, which they can not achieve, simply it is not allowed in the enclosed space. It is a place where it is not advisable to stay longer. And this feeling is adapted to all the shooting, saturation of colors, warning sounds to the great detail of the hands, eyes, parts of the body etc. Once one character tries to break out of the grip of the second, there is a clear soundtrack that this should not be done, this place is dangerous for one and just should not be left. This place may be the relationship of two people or a place that binds you in some way. It can be different.


Women Cinemakers Sound plays a crucial role in Paraziti and we have highly appreciated the incessant rhythm suggest such an uncanny sensation in the viewers, challenging their perceptual categories: why did you decided to include such persistent rhythmic commentary? And how would you consider the relationship between performative gestures and sound? Yes, that's true, the sound is very important in Paraziti. I'm glad you felt that way. My intention was sounds that emphasize some emotional mismatch. The truth is, I wanted music that would be disturbing. Sometimes, however, parasitic music also acts as a counterpart to the whole movie. My endeavor was for the music to attract the viewer into his own universe. As for the movement of the dancer and the connection of music, emphasis was often placed on the editing and movement of dancers based on feelings of music. As I mentioned above, the space in which the film takes place acts as a forbidden area in which there is constant emotional turmoil. They are such explosions of emotion through movement - editing and music. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter


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Women Cinemakers once underlined that "it is always only a matter of seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": how do you consider the relation between the abstract feature of the ideas you aim to communicate and the physical act of creating your artworks? Almost any abstract idea can be materialized, that is, expressed specifically. The body is also nothing abstract. It's just like using the movement alphabet and how you can decrypt your or other body movements. It's a kind of psychology of motion and body language. I think if you know what you are doing, you are creating a particular thing - a work. For example, if you feel the atmosphere you want to get into the show, you also have to know which one. And that's the concretization of the abstract. Of course the viewer can have different experiences and perceive individual details differently. It is up to us - the artists to create a trail for the viewer who will not have to be lost. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view

on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? Well, there are not many questions of gender in my pieces. Not that I did not consider it important, but my work does not stand on it. But to answer your questions, it is a fact that women in art are currently a great trend. The gallery favors the curators of women or women artists or at least tries to make the balance equal. It's very up-to-date. And I think it is right. But I do not have strong emotions because I'm not a purely "female" art. But I believe it is needed. However, we must perceive the difference between mass culture and alternative culture. Women as Hollywood directors are still missing. So there are still no good conditions here, but I feel it's changing. In history, of course it was complicated. Art was divided into males and females more or less only from a historical context, and the absence of this division would be the satisfaction of long generations of female artists who sought equality and understanding of their art, their links, and their thoughts. In addition, once women were exposed naked in the galleries quite normally, but women themselves could not see naked models, so they painted more flowers, landscapes which was not considered a great art.


Women Cinemakers Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Tereza. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I'm currently working on my theatrical performance, a solo, I call it butobatman. It is a fantasy story of one character, absurd in its behavior. The performance is in the field of contemporary clown, dance performance and audiovisual works. At the same time, I apply for a doctoral program, where the subject of my research is the authenticity of staging and the authenticity produced. I would also like to say that it is just a few days we arrived with our film company DeColt Film from the International Film Festival in Moroccan Agadir, where our film One Step Before the Paradise was officially selected and film Paraziti is going to be presented on TDP18 festival in Ireland, so we have plenty of energy to create new things. There's a lot of stuff ahead of me, and I hope I'll be able to finish it all just as hoped to.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Katie Cercone Lives and works in New York City, USA

Solara Saturnalia (Kawaii Kali REDUX) is a feature length film by artist Katie Cercone exploring Afro-Asiatic algorithms, Japanese appropriation of American Hip Hop and contemporary worship of the many faces of the Black Earth Mother. Filmed in Tokyo, Japan, SOLARA is a kaleidoscopic flow of third eye candy set to an original soundtrack by Alees Yvon and XHOSA. The film features rapper Kawaii Kali’s first recorded single. A dynamic shape-shifting Goddess, SOLARA Saturnalia is a contemporary mythic figure whose siren signals the rebirth of the global hood. Amongst her many guises she represents 4 primary faces of the Great Mother: Solar/Sun energy associated with Japanese deity Amaterasu and Ganguro “heavily sunburned black face” as a form of her worship; myths of the snake and the rainbow tracing back to indigenous Buddha; Black Sailor Moon as a contemporary expression of the female Buddha Tara in her blue/black incantation, and creator/destroyer Kawaii Kali.

Interview with Katie Cercone maker of SOLARA SATURNALIA (Kawaii Kali Redux) Starring Alees Yvon and the Black Diamond Ganguro Gal UNIT An interview by Francis L. Quettier

School Of Visual Arts (SVA): how did these experiences influence your evolution as an artist? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your artistic research?

and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com Hello Katie and welcome to

: we would

start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid background and after having earned your BA from Lewis and Clark College you nurtured your education with an MFA, that you received from the

A great deal of my motivation for studying at Lewis & Clark College in Portland was immersing myself in the radical d.i.y. / zine culture / LGBTQ / feminist / punk ethos that fundamentally permeates the community spirit there. The first time I visited PDX it was to sell and trade my feminist


zine Ms.Direction (2002-2006) at the big symposium downtown. I remember how that experience opened my eyes to a new way of being - the dumpster diving, the gender-bending and sexpositive / body-positive queer feminism, the cohorts of fly lady boiis and punk femmes in pastel spandex wielding sewing machines, bikes, typewriters and you name it to aggressively make their own media (video, music, wearable art or all of the above)‌ swallowed me up, for a few years at least. I was put on to some of the late 90’s laptop feminist electro pop icons of the time like Tracy & The Plastics and The Blow. I lived off campus in a big purple house and created the self-designed major . Few students had successfully argued for a self-designed major at my college. I was able to mostly avoid the mundane ivory tower vibes up in the hills my junior and senior year. This was when I began to research the 1970s feminist body art coming out of Los Angeles and New York City. I became convinced that visual art possessed a kind of supreme power we could harness as feminist movers and shakers. I had to search the school library high and low for the mere 2 books it held on Feminist Art. 1970s Feminist performance art nonetheless captivated me to no end at the time. I left the west for NYC and took up leagues with the other feminists in what was the emerging era of the internet girl and the mainstreaming of feminist intersectional and queer politics via the web. Suddenly I was making art in Chelsea under the tutelage of big name feminists like Marilyn Minter and cofounding the radical, queer, transnational feminist collective Go! Push Pops with Elisa Garcia de la Huerta. You are a versatile artist and before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we would invite to our in order to get a readers to visit synoptic idea about your practice: in the meanwhile, would you tell us what does address you to such captivating interdisciplinary approach? How do you select a medium in order to explore a particular aspect of your artistic research?

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Desire churns the world, I like to think I “follow my bliss” in the most radical, post-colonial ghetto bruja kinda way. I have to feel deeply curious and almost obsessed with my subject matter. There has to be an imperative of personal healing, cultural catharsis and collective shadow work as well as the social justice element innate therein fueling my efforts. I can be very reactive at times living as a woman in a world ruined by greed and abuse of white male power. My first conscious creative act of feminism was making my zine in high school, which led to an internship at Bitch Magazine. Healing from an eating disorder at the time, I entered college writing for Bitch and wanting to study Psychology to help other girls in recovery. When I cracked open my Psych 101 textbook, I was horrified to find its glossy pages clogged with demeaning stereotypes about women - an institutionalized sexism loosely veiled by the academic jargon of white male patriarchal decree. The move towards Gender Studies was in many ways a knee-jerk response to the disenchantment I experienced getting my toes wet in the fields of Journalism and Psychology. Uncovering “Feminist Art” my senior year was an ah-ha moment revealing what appeared to be at the time a completely lawless zone of creation. Meanwhile I was living in Brooklyn, where the bombastic bass of the reigning top 40 rattle your walls as you sleep and kindle your adrenaline in the wee hours. I became curious about the spirituality of hip hop and wrote a thesis on Lil Wayne. I curated a show at CUE Art Foundation ushering into the gallery space a provocative ethos “Hip Hop Feminism,” as coined by Joan Morgan. Next came research into Fertility Cults, Goddess Worship and finally Shamanism, which eventually felt like a full circle. Healing, decolonizing alchemy, gypsy pelvis sorcery, spectacle, the wizardry of the Word, a holistic approach to embodied power embracing the liminal aspects of gender - all the tactics I’d picked up over the years neatly aligned with the sacred arts approach. Doing research on shamanism felt like a return home to a more holistic art form (outside the “white box”) - Shamanism held a living tradition with a very utilitarian function. In fact, in cultures throughout the world it was considered


Women Cinemakers no more sexy than dentistry. The major problem here in the West is capitalism’s need to absorb the creative flow into a commodity void of all vital life force, squeezing us Holy Creatrix into one “industry Madam” or another. My Mom always envisioned me as some kind of doctor with a white lab coat and I feel like she was never wrong. I held on to the title “artist” because I felt like it made sense no matter how far I departed outside of the realms of the formal art world or Feminism - meanwhile eliding my work with titles like witch or prophetess, and adopting my spiritual moniker (and MC name) “High Prieztezz Or Nah.” Moving through each symbolic “Death” of the self invoking ancestral knowledge and wisdom of the otherworlds is a key aspect of the life and work of any Priestess. In the modern sense I’m a culture maker, in the universal sense I’m merely a guardian of the threshold. This is the ancient role of women and gender queers, the original Feminism. Resurrecting this lineage and through that healing our collective relationship to the the earth and to the divine all fuses together poetically in one interdisciplinary approach. For this special edition of we have selected , an interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at . What has particularly impressed us of your insightful inquiry into is the way you provided the viewers witch such captivating and multilayered experience. While walking our readers through the genesis of would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? When I wrote my proposal for the J.U.S.F.C. Fellowship in Japan, I was riffing on an article called “The Yellow Negro” written by Joe Wood in 1997. Wood’s article was for my purposes a fascinating investigation of the often peculiar ways in which Japanese people


Women Cinemakers have appropriated mainstream black culture and music, filtering it through their own idiosyncratic cultural lens and colloquial belief systems, often, not without a habitual clinging to violent xenophobia and nationalism. In my foray into Japanese youth culture and its hyperrealistic performative fashion subcultures I found a mirror to my own obsessive interest in American Hip Hop and rap, what was at the time the focus of my performative video sculpture exploring the spirituality of hip hop and “hip hop feminism.” I wanted to find an alternative way to address some of the negative feedback I was getting that my work was merely “culture vulturing” appropriation. At the time I was recycling visual trope’s from mainstream hip hop’s gliteratti I scavenged online and remixing them into video sculptures with myself as a sort of internet avatar neon pop shiva or shaman. I was living in Bushwick and had found a new group of friends offering an inroad into the pansexual underground hip hop culture there, sometimes called “homo hop” or queercore, which was closely wedded to feminist and queer politics evidenced in popular figures like Azaelia Banks, Cakes da Killa, Le1f, Cunt Mafia and others. In traveling to Japan the initial idea was to bring some of the queer underground hip hop scene of Brooklyn to Tokyo and create a collaborative work with a group of Ganguro Girls. Having discovered that Ganguro (Lil Kim era Japanese blackface) literally meant “heavily sunburned faces,” I was dabbling in some feminist rethinking of cultural mythos, reenvisioning these young fashionistas as worshippers of the Japanese Sun Goddess Amaterasu. Rap artist Dos Global and the notorious fashion icon Egyptian Lovher (Alees Yvon) came on board as collaborators and we made our way to the “Land of the Rising Sun.” In Japan I was able to take some more time with the research and dove deep into the Japanese folklore of mountain witches, empress, shamans, magical girls, and ethereal beasts. Solara Saturnalia draws and weaves together cross-cultural archetypes of the Great Mother tracing back to the Queen Mothers and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, in Africa, the cradle of humanity. One finds that in many ancient legends around the world, women


Women Cinemakers kept fire in their genitals. SOLARA Saturnalia investigates the transfer of values from matrifocal Africa through Goddess Mother cults of Asia accompanied by ecstatic dancing to drums, tambourines, pipes and cymbals - what is more or less the ecstatic roots of all religion. SOLARA Saturnalia explores contemporary Japanese youth (and the world’s youth at large) appropriating the music, style and swagger of Black American Hip Hop (in some cases to the extreme of blackface) as the rebirth of the global hood. My intent was to establish in a modern work with a massive pop appeal spiritual commonalities which could promote the growth of a global society with a shared set of spiritual values and profound sense of stewardship of the Mother Earth. Elegantly shot and featuring sensuous cinematography with rich color palette and peculiar use of close-ups, is a transporting visual experience, capable of communicating an unforgettable symphony of feelings: what were your when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? Well, I will say each scene became a close collaboration with Alees Yvon, “Egyptian Lovher” who was the star of the piece. She really took initiative in the project and added a great deal of input. Originally I met her in Bushwick where I picked up a kawaii Ganesha at her yard sale. She is such a strong, dynamic, socially intelligent and beautiful creature I was a bit bewitched by her. There was an easy working rhythm between us, both water signs (Alees is a Pisces and I am a Scorpio). We kind of merged around our interest in Death, Sexuality and Girl Magic. I feel it was some sort of coming of age ritual for us both to shoot this film. There was a storyboard of sorts enhanced with lots of stickers. We did some mantra meditation and yoga in our downtime and Alees got us into the V.I.P. section of all the hot hip hop shows in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, which led to more than a few famous rappers appearing in cameo roles in the film. She also took me on fashion tours of all the hottest labels. We’d

get matcha soft serve, make twerk videos in the changing room of the poshest gothic Lolita boutiques and drink in the omnipresent sweetness of cherry blossoms in spring. Alees put together looks based on the concepts we laid out as the framework of SOLARA aka the 4 primary faces of the Great Mother: Solar/Sun energy associated with Japanese deity and Ganguro “heavily sunburned black face” as a and the tracing form of her worship; myths of the back to ; Black as a contemporary expression of the female Buddha Tara in her blue/black incantation, and creator/destroyer . Meanwhile, I shot this entire piece on my brand new iPhone 6. I had never even had a smart phone up until a few months leading up to this trip. It was so much power to suddenly have a pro piece of technology at the tip of my fingers, and many scenes were easily shot on the fly because I could just pull the phone out of my purse at a moment’s notice. We also both decked out our phones with the most ridiculous kawaii phone covers, mine had a bunch of diamonds and a small plush Daisy Duck that raised the surface at least three inches or so. Your experimental approach with different forms of narratives reveals the ability to urge the viewers to a conscious shift, evolving from a condition of mere spectatorship: do you consider the issue of audience reception? And what do you hope to trigger in the spectatorship? True skool folks know that Hip Hop is based in 5 Elements that check each other and encourage live action revolution, participation, call and response, and a collective invocation of divine energy. I find that video, and the major other medium of its distribution at this point (the Internet) can be powerful tools and at the same time highly problematic. There can be a deadly stasis that happens when a video goes viral and most of the viewers don’t get past screen lethargy. Meanwhile, advertisers are playing hard ball constantly at war with out attention spans


Women Cinemakers and literally - triggering physiological responses in our brain in an effort to keep us glued to the screen one click after the next. All this to move widgets that are going into a landfill and devastating the earth. Unfortunately, some of our era’s best artists become little more than coat hangers for the Fashion industry, driven into the ground by tour schedules and the pressure to keep producing salable art. This is why again my practice is and has to be so very interdisciplinary, why UNDAKOVA and I lead substance wellness rituals on the New Moon and hip hop yoga retreats in barefoot jungle paradise. This is why I write, curate, teach yoga and offer guided Goddess Oracle sessions with transformational breath-work in addition to making Art. This is why I keep slithering around a medium hoping, envisioning, surmising maybe I am getting closer to some kind of truth. I want my art to burn the stage! I want you to clap back! I want all wombyn to get their Nicky Minaj Cunt King on - at work, in the bedroom, whenever, wherever. We get through it when we honor the Goddess in all of her glorious and terrible forms. Sometimes the medicine goes down with a lump of sugar and sometimes we have to bite and break skin. Spectatorship is for church pews. We dare say that SOLARA Saturnalia also conveys such subtle stimulating criticism about androcentrism that affects our globalized still patriarchal contemporary age. Not to mention that almost everything, from Martha Rosler's Semiotics of the Kitchen to Marta Minujín's 'Reading the News', could be considered political, do you think SOLARA Saturnalia could be considered a political work of art, in a certain sense? In particular, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value? I definitely feel this film and all my work is political. I think women, non-white, non-cis-gendered, non-able-bodied, non-Anglo (and many other) folks have for a long time been left out of the discourse; not only of Art but of the sciences and the philosophies governing our major institutions. Gravely limiting and oppressive


A still from


Women Cinemakers assumptions on the part of white male patriarchy have caused a lot of trauma. I feel that in many ways women the world over are deeply suffering and unwell - emotionally, spiritually and physically. When the women of a society are not healthy a society is not healthy. Women are the basic foundation of social livelihood in their role as nourishers, emotional laborers, lovers, sisters, mothers, aunts, empaths, healers. Men in legion with the divine feminine roles share in this as well. History and the beginning of “civilization” and the written word essentially coincided with the end of matriarchy and the rise of androcentrism / patriarchy. Female-centric logic has trickled down through oral culture and the rich, multidimensional languages of the sacred arts, folk arts, dance and storytelling. As I like to say the “hieroglyphics of Goddess Worship” are embedded everywhere we look from the bars of the the Chevron emblem to the brand iconography of Starbucks. Taking back our power to name, proclaim and self-identify as women through the arts is powerful and so central to the fight for equal rights and representation. As women we also need to feel good about ourselves and create imagery that empowers us as women to speak our truth, stand in our power and love ourselves and our global sisters unconditionally. Another interesting work that we would like to introduce to , and it's a visual hip hop our readers is entitled yoga album filmed in Thailand with UNDAKOVA. Would you tell us the role of yoga in your artistic practice and research? All the threads synergistically aligned as I dovetailed my creative arts work with my nearly 20-year long yoga practice and more recently, pioneered a fusion of Hip Hop Yoga with my partner, wizard, healer, urban monk and empath UNDAKOVA. We are all meant to sing, dance, laugh, pray and create art every day of our lives! This is simply part of being fully human, a microcosm of nature and the greater cosmos. I accept my role as a leader in this right. The only medium is living fluidly in the creative spark of the present. Daily yoga practice is my regular spiritual hygiene, what allows me to stay centered and in my power. Yoga is much more


than the western-infused asana sequences we learn at the local studio, it’s an ancient, 11 limb living and breathing force that spills into everything I do. Feminist herstorians hypothesize it was created by women menstruating as one in rhythm with the waxing and waning moon. Researching the gods of Hinduism and Tibetan Tantric Buddhism is another great passion of mine and this research spills into my live performance with with Go! Push Pops and ULTRACULTURAL OTHERS. Mantra meditation has been a really powerful source of healing for me and this is woven into my coming EP with UNDAKOVA. We have a whole track dedicated to GANESHA, Lord of Abundance, Remover of Obstacles. Ganesha is known throughout southeast Asia at the first Shaman, guardian of the threshold. He is son of Parvati and Shiva, and represents the wise child born of passionate love, the male and female energy in sacred balance to drive forward human evolution. We’re bringing this into our work to add a bit of hip hop flava and invoke the power of Ganesh in call and response fashion. I’m throwing in my own hip hop feminist twist embracing my new role as a “Elephantine Queen” who trusts the world and funds the paradigm shift. How much important was for you to create a flow of images capable of triggering the spectatorship perceptual substratum in order to address them to elaborate ? I think we always bring to art our own elaborate personal interpretations. Art begins with the catharsis inherent to the creator and ends with the reception of the active “spectator” who could respond with rage, sadness, bliss, joy, erotic stimulation or a mix of them all. Art should draw to it those that can heal from it and move through and digest their own complex emotions around the issues it brings to light. We all need time to get out of our habitual ways of being, thinking and seeing sometimes - an urge to contemplate, meditate, feel, emote, ruminate…especially when it comes to those feelings

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Women Cinemakers submerged in the underworlds of the subconscious to protect our fragile ego from collapse. Art hopefully offers that no-man’s land where we can frolic into the psychoactive wilds of the imagination and the shadow self and ultimately, circle back to your own truth within, which is always paradoxically transient and evolving as we witness life living through us. How do you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of a shot ? How much importance does play in your practice? The divine play between structure and flow. Discipline and dynamic fluidity. I grew up really admiring my Father who gave himself to capitalism and the business of making money like a well-oiled machine. I’m in many ways as organized, efficient, disciplined and hard working as they come but as an artist, I tend to surround myself with people who’s timing doesn’t quite match the beat of the corporate drum. Sometimes we have to learn the rules so that we know precisely where, when and how to break them. Improvisation for me is the soul of the creative process. Everything else is priming you for the moment when you are dynamically in the now and able to respond spontaneously - creatively harness the gifts of the present moment into something profound. I also believe repetition can be deeply therapeutic and help to facilitate meditation. Rhythm and variation is the yin and yang of life. I also find that a major reason I am able to be successful as an artist is that I take good are of myself. Get good rest, nourishing food, and creating structures that facilitate ease in my life all enable me to use improvisation in a healthy, grounded, sustained way. Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic once remarked the importance of not just making work but ensuring that it’s seen : how is in your opinion online technopshere affecting by the audience? Do you think that today is easier to a particular niche of viewers or that online


technology will allow artist to extend to a broader number of viewers the interest towards a particular theme? That’s a really complicated question. On the one hand Instagram and Facebook have been huge tools for me building an audience for my work. The birth of Go! Push Pops our feminist collective went hand in hand with the rise of the internet as a space for artists to share, promote and dare I say their work. That being said I still think it’s a structure set up for corporate profits and we are mostly pawns of their scheme. We are giving up our privacy, our creative content and everything online… and many of us aren’t seeing tangible benefits. I also think young artists get swept up in catering to their audience or going “viral,” which has nothing to do with making good art or creating a sustainable career in the arts. I think it’s creating a schism for many young women who feel a lot of pressure to deliver sexy content, paint their faces like dolls and meanwhile find they have come to rely on the rush they get from the virtual attention when at the end of the day it still leaves them broke, confused, isolated and strung out on social media. I’m a big fan of digital detox. I’m also optimistic this is the aquarian age and these systems are being put to better use and will continue to increase in their power to bring people together for real change, heal the earth, forge alternative economy, and spread information, wisdom and knowledge that has been purposefully obscured for too long. I think Marina Abramovi is completely right but I also want to check her. She’s another celebrity to me. Art is overwhelmingly about who is who and sometimes it comes down to who is the biggest asshole or who has the fattest wallet. We need to think broader, consider the consequences of our actions, consider reaching audiences that have been marginalized from art discourse and can really benefit from some of these shifts in perspective, not just tickling the butts of the right gallerists, dealers, curators and other art world snobs. We need to

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Women Cinemakers balance legacy and fame with service and integrity. I don’t think the algorithms get me, or serve the fluidity and interdisciplinarity that is integral to my work. Conjuring the volatile trickster and not being predictable is important to me. Building something that consistently stayed in one lane would bore me to death. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? We’ve seen a great deal of progress for women in the arts in the most recent generations. Women are pouring out of art campuses like never before. The wealth of female professors, artists, writers, curators and gallerists creates a veritable ground for women to share resources and help one another push forth what is both “uncommon” and deeply challenging to the status quo. Meanwhile the growing TRANS community is exploding the notions of gender as we know it. Even one or two generations back women were faced with incredibly exclusionary policies in the art world, shamed, harassed and punished physically and emotionally for attempting to express their vision and views. Unfortunately the privileges we have here in the West are not shared by women in many parts of the developing world were many women face violence for opening a book and suffer regular discrimination and culturally mandated sexual abuse. Women who do have the privilege to make art have a responsibility to create change for those that don’t. Going interdisciplinary is challenging, because those people that are making money in the arts may not know where to fit you in. You may fall between the cracks and find a humble living piecing together random grants and draining odd jobs. None of this should affect your work or overall vision, which I like to think is divinely guided, but it does at times. Reality sinks in and we have


survival to take care of. Art mimics life and vice versa. There are many contemporary artists making work about these issues and coming together as collectives to advocate for fare compensation for artists doing the visionary work of changemaking art. My best advice is find your peers and your community and show up, be generous, be bold, and trust the universe will deliver. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Katie. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Right now I’m at a crucial turning point, and have been merging quite a bit with my partner UNDAKOVA, as we deliver our first hip hop yoga EP this fall. VITAMIX is a 3-track visual album we filmed in Thailand. We both wrote our own rhymes and are performing these tracks live at festivals and in more traditional gallery spaces alike. In September we’ll release the project online and share our message about health, wellness, finding the divinity in the body and getting your chakras on fleek. I love rapping, it fills me up so much. I’m also curating a small group show in the UK called I AM MY OWN PRIMAL PARENT. This show at KARST brings together some of my favorite artists including Narcissister, Tommy Lanigan Schmidt, Adehla Lee, Melanie Bonajo and others, and will coincide with a hip hop yoga workshop for local youth facilitated by myself and UNDAKOVA.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

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Geeske Janßen Lives and works in Leipzig, Germany

„Of The Old School“ is a short film which deals with light, skin, colors and slaughter. It shows in an atmospheric and memorable way traditional butchers at work.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

Hello Geeske and welcome to : we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions regarding your background. You have a solid formal training and you studied in Leipzig, Valencia and Braunschweig: how did these experiences address your artistic research? Moreover, how does your cultural background direct the trajectory of your artistic research? I grew up in a small village in northern Germany. My father is a pastor and my mother is an art teacher for

adults. And of course i did not want to do, what my mom was doing. But over the years, with out really noticing it, I kind of stepped into my mothers footsteps. Doing a lot of theatre and dance during my teenage years brought me to performance art. I loved the authenticity of it and so i laid all my focus on it during my first years in Braunschweig and Leipzig. After a while I wanted to find a new way of expressing myself, without it being me in the main center of my artwork. So I started a documentary work with two old ladies. We worked together for half a year just talking about love. In this process I mainly used video, photography and audio. And I recognized that these techniques give me a lot of different possibilities.


My artistic needs changed during the time and the schools made it possible to get to know another way of working, talking about art and experiencing. I’m glad to have had the possibility to explore these different schools. You are a versatile artist and your practice is marked out with such stimulating multidisciplinary feature, and before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we would invite to our readers to visit in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production: Moreover, do you think that there is or that connects all the aspects of your artistic research? And how do you select a medium in order to explore a particular theme? My main interest is the human being with all it’s aspects. I’m telling the stories of someone else with my eyes, ears and body. I have a genuine interest and I’m fascinated how we are all so different. I like to get an idea of other peoples lives and learn about their reality, which often is completely different to the one I’m living in. As an artist I have the possibility to approach people in different ways. I’m able to ask a stranger questions that wouldn’t be appropriated otherwise. How do you start your prayers? When was the last time you trusted the wrong person? In which moments are you jealous? I have got sort of a wild card but I have to be very cautious with it. For me it’s important that the participants taking part in my artistic research feel safe,

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Women Cinemakers not abused nor let down. When I explore the idea for a new project I right away know which medium I want to use. There are things that I wouldn’t touch while working with performance. For example using material I gained during interviews. Authenticity is very important for me. I could never use someone else’s words pretending they were mine. I have a performative way of shooting: I am not trying to lead where the project is going, I am open about it’s development. In „Of The Old School“ I was just being a spectator, capturing my view in video material. I think that it is precious to my artistic work to have been influenced by different schools. All of my works have something in common: My love for not obviously aesthetic images, images that can especially be found in places no one would be looking for them. I want all people and objects in front of my camera to behave and act as natural as one could react in front of a camera. I am motivated by my surroundings, conversations, odd situations but also simple repetitions of everyday behavior, that I feel need to be questioned and displayed. we For this special edition of have selected , an extremely interesting short film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our


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attention of your insightful inquiry into the way traditional butchers at work is the way you have provided the results of your artistic research with such captivating aesthetics. While walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us what did address you to explore this topic? Two years ago I accompanied a hunter while he was

preparing a hare and took pictures. I was affected of how easily the hare was skinned, how the flesh looked and every single part was used. I was lucky to witness these scenes, because usually you don’t get to see the whole process: from the hare on the field to the kitchen table. When I heard that the pigs are being slaughtered soon, i asked if i could join, film and photograph it.


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I find it very interesting how things change. The butcher I visited had four tools to work with, and all of them looked like they have been used for decades. Functional tools, that are mend to work for more than a lifetime. Every movement was fulfilled with perfection, the butcher clearly knew what he was doing, he was serious, very calm and concentrated.

Brilliantly shot, features gorgeous cinematography and a keen eye for details: what were your aesthetic decisions when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? I used a small camcorder, Sony FDR-AX 53, which is inconspicuous and does not attract too much


attention. This way it’s easier for me to shoot sensible situations, shifting the focus away from giant video equipment. A small camera gives me the opportunity to lower the insecurity of the filmed participants, the shooting becomes more natural and I get the authentic moments I’m seeking for. In “Of The Old School” I started filming during the day, but in the end I didn’t use any of this material. The daylight made the images seem harder and they looked like something the spectator would expect. After dusk the pictures looked softer, more mysterious and ultimately led to more aesthetic recordings: You could see hot water steaming and blood all over the floor. The butchers were already used to my presence, so I could come closer. During the evening hours the scenes were much more eidetic. Showing details, gives the action of butchering another imagery: one that can be kind, respectful and personal. I wanted to show the beauty and naturalness of butchering and I wanted to generate images that you wouldn’t expect from it. The close shots make it possible to develop a sensitive way of looking. To experience it as an aesthetic and archaic moment. Not as something that is seeking for sensation. We have really appreciated the way stimulates the viewers' perceptual parameters and allows : how

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much important is for you to trigger the spectatorship's imagination in order to elaborate personal meanings? What do you hope your spectatorship will take away from this work? I want to give cause for thoughts, but not telling anyone what is right or wrong. These thoughts depend on what the person until then saw, felt and got involved in. I try to make my work easy to read, so everybody who wants can take part in it and take something along. The perceptual parameters are different to every individual and of course there is something like a cultural common sense. But personal experiences are very strong. You can relay to sounds, colors, materials individually. I met a woman who’s parents have a small butcher shop. She related these pictures of „Of The Old School“ to her childhood. She was pleased of the respectful view of her parents work. I also met a guy who does not want to have any relation to the origin of his meat. He had a totally different perception. He was offended by these scenes of the film. The images and sounds are beautiful and strong because of their archaic nature. I feel that this nature of the images makes it possible to connect


to this art work in any kind of way. Featuring well orchestrated camera work, has drawn heavily from and we have highly appreciated the way you have created such insightful between the environment and the story that you tell through your images: how did you select the location and how it affected your shooting process? I shot the film one day before christmas. It was at my older brothers best friends house. His whole family and friends were present, kids were playing. It was a very open, friendly and warm atmosphere. Everybody was helping to have some good meat to take home at the end of the day. Nobody really knew me, but because my brother is very close to them, the butchers trusted me. They especially trusted me that I wouldn’t use the material in a way that would harm them or their reputation. Because of all the discussions about eating or not eating meat, huge slaughterhouses and animal abuse it is a very delicate scenario to be filmed in and to film. and Marked with captivating , the sound provides the footage of your film with such enigmatic atmosphere: how do you consider

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A still from


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Women Cinemakers ? The sound is an important part of the film. I like to work with the actual sounds to provide more authenticity. The sounds in „Of The Old School“ are very significant, because some of them are far from what we are used to hear. For example the sound of a metal bell rubbing to the get the bristle off. I am a very visual person, so it is the image that comes first and the sound follows. Part of the language (low German) in „Of The Old School“ will be forgotten in some time. My parents do speak it too, I can only understand it. There is no need to translate these few words, they just show the interaction between the old and the young. It is about getting the atmosphere. So the language and it’s sound do interact with the images that won’t be seen for so much longer. Another interesting work that we would like to and its audio mention is entitled commentary is based on the voice of a woman which tells stories that happened in the village. When introducing our readers to this interesting work, would you tell us something about the relationship of your everyday life's experience and your creative process? In particular, does your artistic research? daily experience I grew up in a small village and so I have a bias


Women Cinemakers relationship towards it. On the one hand it pictures the peaceful and tranquil life. On the other hand I experienced that in a village, like in a city, strange things happen: Things that are brutal, disgusting and sometimes unreal. I interviewed a villager, who worked in a shop that was some kind of a meeting point. He told me the stories he got to hear over the years. I edited these into a text and had a professional speaker to read it. To universalize the village and it's stories and, to not expose the interviewed, I only used the original text in its essential parts. And also the professional speaker is neutral. The stories evoke images like a huge fight involving a samurai sword, fight clubs before barbecue and a senior accidentally getting shot by the police. The stories told in “The Village” come along with pictures of evolving fume, not knowing where it comes from, nor where it is set. The issues I deal with in my artistic work have different origins but they mainly are results of every day situations, like walking down a street and seeing some interaction that then makes me think. Or after visiting some special event like an erotic fair. Or it's something I want to learn about, so I make a concept and start asking people about

their feelings, experiences and lives. Being able to use different disciplines gives me different results. Performances are intense for my body and mind, because I always do long durational pieces. Working with strangers and doing interviews often lead me to interactions with people that are very honest and tell me their stories. This can be a burden as well a blessing. I often feel that I am given some kind of present; For example an old man told me his story of rehab, what he thought when he woke up during the nights. He said, . We have been highly fascinated with the way your performance addresses the viewers to explore , urging your audience to challenge their perceptual categories to create : how much important is for you to trigger the viewer's imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? In particular, were you interested in creating a work with that reflect human condition? „Childhood“ shows how every human being evolves with every step it goes and every action it


Women Cinemakers takes. It is not predictable where we are going to be, what life we are going to live. Small decisions at a time can affect the rest of our life. There are so many potential ways a life could be lived. Our childhood is the basis to it all. And at some point we stand there and have some kind of survival kit with different tools to fix and understand certain situations. I try to have something in my work that triggers the viewers imagination. Because of that the contents of my work is close to life. You do not have to have an intellectual and deep understanding of the subjects I work with to refer it to your own personal understanding of things. I want to produce art that is possible to understand without extra explanations. Over the years your work has been presented in several occasions and one of the hallmarks of your practice is the ability to establish direct involvement with the viewers, who urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship with your audience. Do you consider ? And what do you hope to in the spectatorship? If I start developing a performance, it often begins with a surreal image in my head. Then I begin to

think about how it could be transferred in reality, what my role during the piece is and how my counterpart could react. The audience plays a huge role in my thinking about a piece. It does not have to interact and it is not forced to do anything, so I think about creating a situation that is strong and fierce, but gives every person the possibility to react and to be part of it in his or her own way. I try to get to the viewer through aesthetic and authentic contents and actions. I consider the issue of audience reaction, but the reaction does not change the performance, because every reaction is possible, wanted and implied in the concept. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Geeske. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I recently started my artistic research about erotic faires. My interest in these occasions lies especially in the moments between total excitement and boredom. I hope that my work will never stop evolving and I’m looking forward to see where it will get me. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Ashleigh Alexandria Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, USA

Glitter body art on dancer Dee Dee Dame. Expressing Black culture through art, dance and fashion.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

Hello Ashleigh and welcome to : we would start this interview with a couple of questions regarding your background. You have a solid formal training and you graduated with a Fine Arts degree from Hampton University: how did these experiences influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, does your cultural background direct the trajectory of your artistic research? The direction of combining body paint, film and photography in my artistry formed through time. I grew up in the arts, participating in various recreational activities including dance, painting and drama. I have always gravitated to drawing and painting portraits. Attending Hampton University was not an original choice

for me however, I was open to the HBCU (Historically Black College & University) experience. While enrolled, I had broadened my knowledge on perspective, lines and color theory which enabled me to create more original work of my own. Respectively, my creative process has been influenced by the history of Black artists who came before me such as John Biggers, Augusta Savage, Lorna Simpson, and Kara Walker, just to name a few. These artist have their own artistic style. As I strive to find my voice as a artist I take with me their accomplishments as a reminder to stay true to my calling. I would say my cultural background has a heavy influence in my artistic journey. I have a need to depict my culture in a positive light, in a world that tries to dim our shine. For this special edition of we have selected , an extremely video that our readers have already started to get to know in the


introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at . What have at once impressed us of your insightful exploration of Black culture is the way you have provided the results of your artistic research with such a captivating and unconventional aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? Poppy came to life through an idea I had to recreate my own version of a scene in The Wiz. Visually, The Wiz has had an impact on my life. I loved how each scene was adapted and influenced with Black culture and language to tell a universal story. In the original Wizard of Oz Dorothy was lulled to sleep, overcome with the opium of the Poppies. The Wiz however, showed Jezebels in place of the flowers dancing in the street, sprinkling opium in the air. This appealed to me a darker side of our reality. My attempt with Poppy was to create a visual that embodied the spirit of Blackness with New York City’s Gritty streets. Instead of using multiple women to bring this specific scene to life. I came to the conclusion that one woman would be just as impactful. I would say Dee Dee symbolizes a flower that rose through the concrete, so to speak. features elegantly simple cinematography by Angie Vasquez and Jean Andre, and keen eye for details: what were your when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? Generally poppy is red in color so naturally inspired the use of a red color palette. I envisioned my muse as a

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Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


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Women Cinemakers blank canvas that can be transformed into a work of art. I used red glitter on Dee Dee’s skin to illuminate her so that she could shine through the darkness of the night. I wanted the stills to be captured on polaroid film as it is a timeless medium. It is also rare, being that the film is expired. The Digital (Canon mark D) camera was used to capture more fleeting moments, as well as the actual footage for the film. Angie Vasquez and Jean- Andre share my eye for detail as they know the vision I have for my works. Once I decide on a shot I need, I know they will be able to bring that to fruition. seems to develop , that you enrich through your body painting practice: many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that " ": how do you consider the relation between of the ideas you aim to communicate and of creating your artworks? Since I am inspired by my history and by my surroundings, the process of my works are sparked through my everyday life. I usually purchase my materials after I have conceived a solid idea. Recently, I have began camouflage body painting where I blend my muses into their environment, however their energy stands out. With this particular project I wanted to emphasize Dee Dee as Poppy. I knew the lights from the street lamps would bounce off of her glittered skin. Therefore, I had to make sure Dee Dee embodied Poppy so


that she also felt that she was in character. The body paint that I do accompanies the subject and allows them to feel empowered by merely being apart of the illusion. In deciding location I imagined where a Poppy from The Wiz would roam. Downtown Manhattan fit the aesthetic I wanted to recreate. At every turn there were “sets” organically placed to accommodate Dee Dee as Poppy. Overall, I would say my work is %50 planned, the other %50 is the confidence I have in the natural flow of energy between me and my team. We have appreciated the way your approach

conveys sense of freedom and reflects rigorous approach to the grammar of body language: how was your work with Deedee Dame and how did you balance relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of your performative ? Does play gestures and in your process? Dee Dee studied the poppy scene as well as “The Wiz” to get a sense of feeling for her role in the film. The majority of her movements are “off the cuff”. We had a speaker play the music that would be used in the film.


This is Dee Dee’s own individual method. I mostly wanted her interpretation of the original dance, not an exact replica. Our interaction was a mutual understanding of what needed to be conveyed. As you have remarked once, you believe that : does your artistic research respond to cultural moment or do you aim to provide the viewers with an experience that goes beyond such historical categories?

In my artistic works I strive to provide fine art visuals that are inclusive to Black and Brown bodies. I wouldn’t say it responds to a particular cultural moment, however it is definitely an experience where you are viewing these people as a work of art themselves. Reality television has targeted this specific group, often negatively. Furthermore, If I have the power to gather my resources for a shoot that is positively visually stimulating using Black people as a focal point, then I would be doing myself a disservice by not taking that opportunity.


We have been highly fascinated with the way you involve the viewers to such multilayered experience and we daresay that you seem to urge your spectatorship to challenge their perceptual categories to create personal narratives: how important is for you to trigger the viewer's imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? The visuals of my works are important in capturing the audiences attention, especially in this day in age. However, there is variety in the type of body painting I chose to do scene to scene. I have works that are blatant such as the glittery and boastful Poppy, and then their are works I have that you may need to pay closer attention to. My goal is to remain consistent with the muses I choose to work with, that they represent a feeling of pride and beauty. Sound plays a crucial role in your video and we have appreciated the way you sapiently structure the combination between performance gestures and sound: how do you see ? Sound was imperative in emphasizing movement in this film. The feeling that Dee Dee felt in that moment while dancing, was what I wanted to convey. During editing I had to make sure the two were constantly aligned to invoke such feeling. The song used was entitled Poppy as well and it was orchestrated by legendary composer Quincy Jones. This song was what persuaded me to begin this project as it stirred emotions of nostalgia inside of me with the use of the instruments in the genre of Funk. A genre that was invented through Black culture.

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Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


interview

Women Cinemakers We have appreciated the way your style conveys elements from classical aesthetics and urban art, blending the boundary between traditional heritage and contemporary sensitiveness: could you tell us your biggest influences and how did they direct the trajectory of your artistic research? My biggest influences in my works are a combination of my history and the history of art itself that I had been taught through out the years, especially at Hampton University. My knowledge of classical art during the 18th century plays a role in how I like my subjects to compose themselves. The portraits created during this time were very natural and in the moment. I often push for candid moments while shooting. It is very important to me that the person I am painting feels comfortable, this is why I include my subjects in the overall process. It allows them to be completely themselves while shooting in harsh and gritty environments. When it comes to aesthetics, impressionist artist Edgar Degas has influenced my use of rich colors, lighting and movement. Also Kerry James Marshall’s storytelling of Black life in his paintings has made a pivotal impression on my personal artistry. It’s rewarding combining the two styles, as it has become a rare occurrence in mainstream media. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something ' ', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional


artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? I believe the future of Women artist in the contemporary art scene is very promising. Women are gaining more respect in various areas of life due to social media and it’s instant access to extremely talented people. It is a given that people of color and women are included. I have experienced this for myself as many opportunities have risen for me to showcase my works through these platforms. Everyone has a story to tell and generally speaking, to an extent, society is much more open and sensitive to these stories. I am extremely hopeful that more women will have their voices heard, that is why I, along with a few other women artists I know have created is a collective that honors individualism while celebrating and promoting a community for new artists to connect through diverse art mediums and social events. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Ashleigh. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I thank you for your time and this wonderful opportunity to share my insight. I will be taking advantage of this summer to create as many works possible, continuing on with my theme of highlighting Black life experiences with body painting. I can see my works evolving to include men of color and love interactions. In a visual world, It is necessary to represent these values for the future of Black youth.

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Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers meets

Andreia Splisgar Lives and works in Berlin and worldwide

Inspired by time and space shifting Metaphors - the Tarot Card no 12 (probably the most significant card of the desk) and the throwing of pigments during Holi festival in India - the performance shows a transformation of darkness into light through the representation of a hanged woman in an edge and timeless space, swinging weightless and releasing gravity, in a storm of illuminating pigments. In order to shift from past into new shapes, to gain knowledge and new visions, the simple experience of reversing once state of being - literally turning physically and mentally upside down, to feel and see differently - and observe from new perspectives, is a dazzling moment of transitoriness dreamlike yet crystal clear.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com Rejecting any traditional classification regarding its multifaceted nature, the work of Berlin based interdisciplinary artist Andreia Splisgar triggers the viewers' perceptual and cultural parameters, offering a multilayered visual experience. In her work Chapter 12 "the velvet revolution", that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she walks us through the liminal area in which perceptual reality and the realm of imagination find a consistent point of convergence: we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and captivating artistic production. Hello Andreia and welcome to : we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. Your practice is marked out with insightful combination between performance art, photography, writing and filmmaking, revealing that you are a versatile artist, capable of

capturing the expressive potential of the media you include in your works: would you tell us what does address you to such approach? Moreover, are the any captivating experiences that did particulary influence the evolution of the trajectory of your artistic research over the years? Over all the time space that I have been able to express my thoughts, my sensations, visions and believes, the only trajectory which is a constant, is the questioning of a so called „reality“. In every artistic approach, in every storytelling, through all media I use, I try to visualize and vocalize the parallel universes that there are. Each experience, wether it has been the study of psychology, the acting/dancing education (from Carmelo Bene to Strasberg, Pina Bausch to Japanese Butho, just to name some references), the storytelling, the passion for soundscapes and word play, that evolved from intense dream sections and the early study of mindaltering drugs, have told and assured me about the complex universe that our mind is able to travel and contain.


We are - literally - able to travel border free when creating. A sensational gift and a powerful skill. There have been influencers and influences - as for example Aldous Huxley’s studies and the aboriginal power of transcending into various states of physicality, but also the long period that I have spend living in remote places within prosperous and extreme nature and having so intense contact with the elements (and animals) that are vital to our existence as earthlings. As Blake wrote: „ If the doors of perception were cleansed, the world would appear as it is, infinite and holy.“ So I have been greatly influenced by and whilst cleansing those doors and by the native curiosity to enter all those spaces and explore them, fearless, with eyes and ears and a spirit open wide. we have selected , a stimulating experimental video that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at . What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into is the way it invite the viewers to explore the liminal area where perceptual reality and the realm of imagination find a point of convergence. While walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell how did you develop the initial idea? For this special edition of

The initial motivation has been the wish to eliminate anything physical and emotional from a state of being, to let go all that we carry as an often useless weight of the self. Going from there, it became clear, that one has to radically turn one’s sight and sensation into another state of physicality and to celebrate initiation of a new consciousness. And than there was that Tarot desk that has been given to me the time I was traveling India during the period of the Holy festival. When I studied the major desk, my attention immediately fell on card number 12 - the hanged wo(man). She hangs upside down - unable to do much about this state of reverse, in complete darkness, invisible, until traces of light recreate her physical existence. Whilst around me (in India) everyone was throwing pigments on each other to celebrate a new beginning (a human weakness as much as the eternal

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Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


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Women Cinemakers hope for a better „next“ and the farewell of what has been), I became aware of these two scenarios. Who are we, if invisible, what do we feel when all we actually have been made of disappears. Do we sink in sub consciousness or are we delighted by the passive moment of reflection. What is left when everything has been taken from us ? Is what is left all what is needed ? How evolving is it to emerge from that passive into a new autonomous state ? Do I dare to give up first, to than probably emerge with a new energizing point of view ? Elegantly shot and marked with such a seductive beauty on the visual features careful attention to point, composition with a keen eye to details: what were your when shooting and editing? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? The aesthetic of all my images is of a radical elegance, always. It needs to symbolize the essential idea down to a minimum, so to be sharp enough to draw the line from a beginning. No superficial information is that one key to my language, enchantment the other. If you say absolutely everything, it all tends to cancel out into nothing. Let the viewer explore and meditate, become aware of the detail, sensitized and than hopefully able to abandon into the transformative process. After the decision to shoot in a small black room in total darkness and working with only UV light and floating pigments, the choice of camera and lenses have been very minimalist : wide lens and under water camera, no movements (static point of view) and less contrasts possible - so to make sure the image would resemble a trip into deep unknown waters. We shot in one take, than edited the whole on the base of the precise 5 minute long soundtrack, which has been created long in advance. Important to mention that most of my films are based on a „one time only“ performance and the team won’t be able to repeat the process, as I am against repetition in performing arts, no matter if on film or on stage. We have deeply appreciated this captivating video performance explores to create a kind of involvement with the viewers that touches not only the emotional sphere, but also and especially the intellectual one. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that " ": how do you consider the


relation between explore and

of the issues that you of creating your artworks?

A vessel - sometimes the body is nothing more than a sublime vessel that enables us to express and receive infinite sensations. That one vessel makes it possible to be guided through infinite variations, sometimes as clay to be formed, other times a burden to carry. But whenever my soul is back from its travels, my body sets in and translates. He allows me to experience and become technically able to share, to talk, to dance and to act. Here, I can sign Richter’s phrase. But what more am I able to tell, if my body would not be of importance ? A lot, nevertheless. Because infinite travels and experiences have been made out of that body and without it. When we talk about liberation and about going

beyond the so called reality, than we need to provoke that body to go with the idea, to transform with it, in order to tell new stories. It’s human, it’s the here and now, it’s our nest, our skin, our image we can’t deny it - but we can make a fantastic use of it. As a performer and as an activist, the physical act goes with the vision, as a creator and a dreamer, I can also dearly separate myself from it. Hölderlin said „wir werden im Vergehen - we become by dissolving“, and I have always considered this as a truth to myself. We daresay that could be considered an allegory of the need of changing perspective to unveil the invisible that pervades our reality but that cannot be detected by our sensorial experience. Do you agree with this interpretation? Moreover, how do you consider


within your process? Let’s always question one-dimensional reality ! Question patterns and rigid points of view, question clauses and false truths, question moral, fear AND instead find freedom in transcendence, beyond our selves and in the awakening awareness. Let’s try to evolve and see anew by transforming the matter. The invisible has a bridge to the visible. My stories might try to build those bridges and invite to cross them, to build your own ones and travel. Like the stars at night are symbols for the non human world, those stories can lead to the unknown and reveal a pleasure that touches different keystones. And I am utterly aware of the fact that these sensations and invisibilities can shift ones identity into fragile states,

because all that you could refer to, has been eradicated - as in a dream, that leads you into a territory that might have answers to your questions. It’s vastness scares at times, but that’s just the beginning. We might all agree, that questioning is never most comfortable, but essential to the liberty of ones individuality and the well (or better) being of many. Shakespeare: „Man, proud man, drest in a little brief authority most ignorant of what he’s most assured, his glassy essence - like an angry ape, plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven as make the angels weep.“


Marked with captivating , the soundtrack by Lord Litter provides the footage of with such an ethereal atmosphere: how do you consider the role of sound within your practice and how did you structure ? SOUND is my musical skeleton! When I am starting to create a new piece, in the beginning there is sound. The importance of the soundscape is as if tracing the new territory, the guideline of the story. A world within a world, a dream within a dream. It sets the rhythm to the move, enchants and irritates, builds up the ocean I/we dive in. The images, as the movements and the performance in grand, is always based on a finished soundtrack. Sound is probably the most transmitting sensation when it comes to images, it connects and leads through a world unknown. The words that are spoken, have been registered and finished before filming. Me myself is building the skeleton, than I am choosing musicians and technicians to compose and/or edit the samples and words. In this specific piece, the poems have been spoken backwards to the piano play by Canadian musician „My Name Is Claude“ and my meditative breathing whilst hanging and swinging upside down. Lord Litter has been my associate in editing the most complex of sound fragments, melodies and noises for years. The works that you create are often embossed from the traditions of fantastic film and surrealistic literature, and we have really appreciated the way challenges the viewers' perceptual parameters Rather than attempting to establish any univocal sense, you seem to : would you tell urge the viewers to elaborate us how much important is for you that the spectatorship the concepts you conveyed in your work, elaborating personal meanings? How open would you like your work to be understood? Talking of „Chapter 14“, it has been a provocation paired with an homage (sound bites of 60 of the most influential movies that I have watched in my past).

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Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


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Women Cinemakers And yes, I invite the spectator to call out for their imagination, to find pictures within that delirium of voices and sounds and the lack of a visible scenery that happens in front of them. There seems to be an infinite stage of plays before your eyes, it puts you in the role of a voyeur who is witness of an intimate happening that occurs behind a curtain. The surreal plays the role of the host in that dance of layers and layers of memories, which might have influenced my own creativity throughout my whole existence. Not given any precise relation to the images, the audience can be absorbed by the audible temptation, but at the same time disoriented by the missing visible part. In addition, I always work with masks, which means, you can place yourself under that masked identity, if you feel to, you can become me. Inevitable, anyone who watches is given a personal meaning to it - my message is rather working with the subconscious, the magical component and with what it calls out in you, that you haven’t been aware of by now . The second character revealed, is a creature half man half animal (anima(l) is the definition of soul) and is referring to our altered ego which we have to leave behind after struggling with all that information that has been layered in our minds - we have to break that glass, those invisible confinements, and enter the next level, we have to leave that beast behind and see further. „Werden im Vergehen.“ Once again, we must leave behind in order to become. But more than sometimes, I am myself travel down a vortex of visions, mystics and sensations and only by starting to study them intensively, only by performing, the message starts to find it’s language, its frames and personalities and with them , a clear meaning to me. It's important to mention that you have also created the label , under which pseudonym you develop various art projects and artistic co-operations, and we would like to invite our readers to visit : how do you consider the collaborative nature of your practice? In particular, can you explain how a work of art demonstrates communication between several creative minds? Actually I was looking for an attractive way to create stories without a protagonist , because I believe in the bliss of cooperation and contemporary communities . I believe in uniting knowledge and forces.


Women Cinemakers Considering, that in general I am much of a solitary in the original process of a new storytelling, the research period, the writing and sketching, I otherwise enjoy the interaction between creative minds. It kicks me out of my isolated comfort zone (if we might call it such). Not being a friend of the overly developed human ego, I am trying to create a language of multidisciplinary aspect. It simply depends on the project that I am working on - and the inspiring souls that are crossing my path. For an equal reason, I created an art factory in Berlin, where I offer studio spaces to artists that share a similar philosophy of life (the artist as an activist). The importance to share, care and evolve from the ego island, is a Noah’s ark in times where we risk to drown in an ocean of digitally supported and self created narcissism. It is the ultimate definition of togetherness. We have appreciated the originality of your works and we have found particularly encouraging your unconventional approach. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something ' ', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on in this interdisciplinary field? Unconventional or not, uncommon or not, as a woman you need to have a long breath and an extra potion of believe (and strength) in what you are expressing. I might even say, that from childhood on, I was living the life of someone that always questioned everything that human society has inflicted on others and I soon discovered injustice around every corner. In that sense, equal rights between the sexes (I even scrutinized those rigid determinations of physical differences) should have never become a reason to discuss, but a certainty always. I was confronted with oppression out there in the social life, from observations made within family life, to school hierarchies, to my first experiences as a free and autonomous female ( today I am more comfortable with that determination) artist. Theory and practice often collided on my way to liberty, whilst creating and moving through my every day life as an „uncommon“ and complex personality. Many times the power game of sexes felt bizarre to me and, of course, impossible to accept. The inappropriate behaves and unreasonable traditions never discouraged me though, the contrary - courage is contagious, as contagious as fear is (as Susan Sontag wrote).


A still from


Women Cinemakers Nevertheless, besides some sadly too classic (means miserable and intolerable) personal experiences in a male dominated (art) world, I have been always able to set my sign and tell my stories from A to Z and beyond. Plus, I never had to fit into anything and never desired such fashion. This did not change in any of the different countries I lived in, even in those countries, where women’s rights are beyond those of a western world. A challenge that needed to be taken with sensitivity and mindfulness. My view into the future needs to be be positive (but I admit, it has been more optimistic in bygone times), because I know the talent, the intelligence, the vision, the mystic knowledge, the wit, the sensibility and beauty of the female art, of a world where the individual creativity, the unique personae, wins above any cliché or tradition. Naturally the future of women will evade further the surface of the interdisciplinary field, as much as hopefully any field they are active in. But I also dare to say, that future feminism is no guarantee and not the only important must to the positive change which needs to happen. The planet is in such great trouble, that we should overcome these matters now, to finally and successfully evolve into a next state of careful coexistence, where it is clear, that there has to be a greater picture than male and female, us and them. A soon to come future where respect, equality, freedom and awareness are the greatest values to carry along. Because, when it comes to power play, female or male can develop both similar negative attitudes. Such things as human (and other) rights need daily maintenance and go behind the fact as what sex, in what skin we have been born in. Never forget that in the beginning there was nature, not word and if some radical thoughts in that field are appreciated, I invite to read the provocative and extremely lucid „Sex and Violence or: Nature and Art“ from Camille Paglia. The complexity of the theme is reminding us that our society had been already further in equality than it shows up today - and that is a truth that scares most. We evolve and we repress again and that shows how fragile freedom and equality between all living beings are, within the viscous desire for dominance and abuse of any origin.


Women Cinemakers Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Andreia. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? My favorite muses since time are the elements of nature, the animals, the process of dying (or should I say „the passing“ into another state) and the supernatural. There are many ongoing parallel projects that deal with these themes. After having spend the past years in Morocco, I finally will start filming a new performance in the Sahara desert, symbolizing the element of air and fire, than moving on to a Greek island which plays the part of the element rock, moving than into the sea to find release and unify the inborn connections. Each element will find its earthling companion and might face the extreme force of these elements in those various performing settings. An homage to the vital connection that we should (re)install with our planet and the great freedom and choice that evokes from such. Other than that, I am working on the script based on a short from Leonor Carrington, a story about a friendship of a hyena and a girl, both of them upset with the nature of their existence but daring to give future a chance by exchanging their personae. Which leads to a dramatic final conclusion. Since time me (and my partners) are planning to create a center where one can learn and experience about the art of awareness through performance skills. Such place should be open to every being that is interested in a refinement of the senses and actions - it is not necessarily related to the arts or to artists only. More on, after a tutorial of terminal care and the study of the Tibetan book of death, I am now writing the story of my father who is, since a second stroke, living in multiple realities and is constantly referring those worlds he is in to me, possibly knowing who I am and that I will take note and understand. Once again, I must observe how fragile the connection of the human mind/soul is to the here and now. We are on a time travel through the universe and we will never cease to define what we are, what surrounds us, where we come from and where we go to. The divine within is the divine outside, so let’s continue cleansing those doors of perception ! Thank you for giving me and my work recognition, time and space.


Women Cinemakers meets

Letícia Laxon Lives and works in London, United Kingdom

Letícia Laxon graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2017 and is currently completing her MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths. She works across the disciplines of drawing, film, performance, painting and installation. Drawing is central to Leticia’s creative process. The act of drawing - an investigative action that emanates from the body and returns to it - is the basis and structure from which her entire practice derives. Before studying Fine Art, she studied Literature and Linguistics in Brazil. The possibilities and effects of language contact are explored within her art practice. The sense of the absurd experienced by the human is expressed in her work. Absurdity in her art is often accompanied by the appearance of animal figures. She believes if the absurd results from the human condition in its quest for meaning, the proximity with nonhuman animals is an attempt to reach the world in which these creatures inhabit. Leticia’s recent practice with performance is marked with the desire to depart from a focus on the human body. Artworks in collaboration with non human entities such as: a chicken, a dead friend, a fabricated body of an octopus signaled this movement.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

Rejecting any traditional classification regarding its multifaceted nature, the work of Brazilian London based multidisciplinary artist Letícia Laxon triggers the viewers'

perceptual and cultural parameters, offering a multilayered visual experience. In her captivating performance Trial of the foreigner Galina that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she walks us through a multilayered experience capable of creating cross pollination of the spectatorship, to inquire into the nature of language and human condition: we are particularly


pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and captivating artistic production. Hello Letícia and welcome to : we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and after having graduated from Central Saint Martins, you joined the MFA program in Fine Art, that you are currently pursuing at Goldsmiths, London: how did this experience of training influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to your Brazilian roots and your previous studied of Literature and Linguistics direct the trajectory of your current artistic research? Hi and thanks for your interest in my practice. When I moved to London, my practice consisted of painting, drawing and installation. During my BA in Fine Art, I was strongly encouraged to experiment with other mediums besides the ones I was already using. A crucial aspect of this formal training was a workshop on live performance. I found it difficult to be able to distance myself from my memories of theatre in school and unlearn what meant to perform to physically experiment with the medium again. I grew up in a Salvador, a city in the coast of Brazil with a strong african heritage. Candomblé, a religion consolidated in Brazil with elements derived from African cultures, perpetuates in my imaginary and influences my artwork. The mythology of the orixás - the deities in Candomblé – comes back repeatedly in my practise. Studying Linguistics made me develop an attention to language that is non prescriptive and I hope I make art that operates and communicates from this position. For this special edition of selected

we have , a stimulating

interview

Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


interview

Women Cinemakers performance that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/257393051/b0f7c8bbb9. When walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell how did you develop the initial idea? Some years ago I shared a studio space with a Russian painter. The way she played with the difference between languages interested me. She was making huge paintings. Most of the canvas was covered in white paint and a Russian word was painted in the center of the canvas. Her choice to write in cyrillic - a foreign writing system to a painting produced and exhibited in London was intriguing. It was not possible for me to type the words and get an easy online translation for what she had written. Access to her symbol was not given. Despite this I could engage and produce understandings of the paintings. One day I expressed my interest about her artwork and I asked her name. I felt disturbed when she told me her name was Galina. I had never heard of this as a women’s name before. The name of a woman sounded so similar to the name for chicken in Portuguese: “galinha”. That night I started the script of Trial of the foreigner Galina. Your work communicates sense of freedom and at the same time reflects a conscious shift regarding performative gestures: how would you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of a performance and the need of spontaneity? How much importance does play improvisation in your practice? The idea of being onstage and not knowing what to do terrifies me, there’s a panicking fear in that. For Trial of the foreigner Galina I made detailed storyboards, scripting my actions and gestures, but I couldn’t predict how the chicken or the audience would respond to these actions.


Normally I draw the performance repeatedly and hone it until I have a strong representation of what will take place. Once I’ve created the structure, during the time that the performance is happening, I analyze the space, the position of the audiences, their responses to my actions and I will improvise in response to these conditions. The answer for this question about the necessity of scheduling details and improvisation also changes from one piece to the other. “Duck” for instance, an 8 hours performance that I made in 2016 was totally based in improvisation. The performance wasn’t scripted; I had a score consisting of two basic instructions: wear the duck outfit throughout the day and communicate only in Spanish.

The duck performance had a self-documentation aspect. I recorded it with a camera placed inside the back of the costume, in a diving cylinder that I was carrying during the performance as a backpack. Because the outfit was unusual people would get closer and start filming the performance from my back. While filming, they would realize they were being converted into performers for the duck camera. The behavior of this audience/performer is also unscripted. Your current performative practice is marked out with a successful attempt to escape from traditional anthropocentric approach, to involve animals as a potential performer and collaborator. This aspect of your


practice has reminded us of Romeo Castellucci's Oresteia: could the proximity with non-human animals be considered an allegory of your reflection about the nature of language and communication? The limits of verbal communication interests me. Probably my current situation, using a language that is not my native language in a daily basis, produces an awareness of the restriction, but when I go to Brazil the illusion of “great communication� is also quickly undermined. I started to perform when I realized that I didn’t need to speak during a performance. My memories of being a terrible performer in school are linked to an inability of

delivering the character speech. Gesture and actions are secondary for this type of theatre which I was exposed. The character exists basically through verbal language and there was no place as a performer there for me. My interest to involve animals in performance is linked to this aim for a communication that operates beyond the linguistic sphere. It is also a desire to escape the illusion of an independent self separated human body, a reminder that bodies are cross constituted. The possibility of a conjunction of different intelligences and sensitivities when you have creatures that apprehend reality differently


Women Cinemakers performing together. What happens when you conjoin these worlds? On a political level, I don’t think the animal recognizes and shares the world of the social situation in which he is placed during the performance. The staging of Trial of the Foreigner Galina in a city farm, an event in which I dislocate the audience to this place and also the dislocation of the chicken inside the farm gallery room setting all point to this. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that "it is always only a matter of seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": as a multidisciplinary artist deeply interested in the desire to depart from a limiting focus on the human body, how do you consider the relation between the abstract feature of the concepts you explore in your artistic research and the physical aspect of your practice? I don’t see a separation. It’s a constant overlap. For instance, in my recent work, I made an octopus costume using a seethrough fabric. My choice of material was motivated by a linguistic association: the see-through material as an allusion to a sea-through state. Once I started cutting patterns, stitching the fabric and constructing the garment in the three dimensional space, ideas around openness, accessibility and self-representation started to get developed. These concepts are constructed through my engagement with the fabric and not concepts that I had thought of beforehand. Following this experience with the octopus, I wanted to push these ideas on transparency further on. I am making a new performance now. I decided to document this performance with paintings that I


Women Cinemakers am making on doors. I am interested in what happens when you question an ontological connection between performance and document, the regular idea that the event precedes and authorizes the performance documentation. The paintings are made before the performance takes place and will be revealed during the performance as evidences of it. The performance is meant to be a grief ritual. I decided to use white paint on a white door to document the entrance scene of the performance. I initially thought the hospital context which the performance derives from was motivating my apparently illogical decision. The painting is intended to be figurative and not abstract, but the materials rends the figure inaccessible. The painting isn’t readable or open to interpretation because of material choices. How can you see when you use white paint on a white door? The performance was initially conceived as an act of remembering a friend that passed away, but the documentation of it already signals a process of forgetting. There is a reflexive link between materials and conceptual changes. I am not fully conscious of this at the start, the links get revealed in the actual performance of the piece. Your practice is marked out with such captivating eclecticism and we have really appreciated the way your approach combines a variety of features from different art disciplines, including drawing, film, performance, painting and installation: what does address you to such captivating multidisciplinary approach? How do you select an art discipline to inquire into a particular area of your artistic research? Thank you! It is rewarding to get feedback, particularly when it is so complimentary. To answer your question. The decision of what discipline seems often unconscious. I draw at the beginning and during the development of any project. Drawing is the structure from which my practice derives.


Women Cinemakers I have recently focused in live performance and my inability to see the work from an outside point of view motivates this decision. Some artists will create a live performance and have performers doing it. It is important for me to be the performer: I am searching for the sense of blindness that you arrive as a performer and the bond that this promotes between the performer and the spectator. While the performance is happening, I depend in the exchange of gaze with the viewer in order to create images and interpret the performance. There is no possibility of gazing inward. You can’t produce an outside image of the performance from an inside perspective. I can only visualize it through the interaction. We have really appreciated the way you challenge the viewers' perceptual parameters motivating their imagination to „finish“ the work of art by themselves. Rather than attempting to establish any univocal sense, you seem to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations: would you tell us how much important is for you that the spectatorship rethink the concepts you conveyed in your work, elaborating personal meanings? How open would you like your work to be understood? For Trial of the Foreigner Galina it was important to leave the meaning loose and the struggle to communicate was part of the artwork. I usually intend to work out a form without seeking to restrict it to an expression of my own intentions. But the challenging of the viewer is also a challenge to myself. I am constantly thinking about the effort to translate, considering it from the perspective of the artist and of the viewer, and where in the process of reaching out certain ideas are transformed. One of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to establish direct involvement with the viewers: do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial


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Women Cinemakers component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of artistic language is used in a particular context? When I am planning a performance I regularly include the audience in the drawings that I make for thinking the performance. I have also a recurrent interest in producing in the performance some kind of ambiguity for the viewers as to where they belong – are they within or outside of the work? It is a constant question which I know will keep returning to in my practice. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Letícia. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I am working on a new performance now in which I’m pursuing my interest in collaborating with the non human animal. The impulse to start this performance derived from an autobiographical fact: in February 2017 a friend and art collaborator died. From this event, I inherited his clothes. Amerindian ‘perspectivism’ is a relevant source of ideas for this work. In this worldview the world is inhabited by different sort of subjects or persons, human and non-human, which apprehend reality from distinct points of view. In these semiotic systems humans are those who continued as they have always been: animals evolved. Western evolutionist mythology is questioned: animals are ex-humans, not humans ex-animals. The interspecies aspect of the performance I am making resides in the embodiment of a dead friend: “animals are ex-humans” The performer is becoming an animal through this gesture. The work aims to tension the limits in which the physical body of the animal in contemporary performance occurs. I will be exploring the grief of losing him and moving the grief on this performance with his clothes. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Ioustini Eloul Lives and works in Corfu, Greece Ioustini Antigone Eloul (GR) is an independent artist combining art with technology and science. Her artistic interests are related mostly to Video Art and Electroacoustic Music while her research focus is on the interdisciplinary field of Neuroesthetics and Installation Art. In her artistic work, Ioustini produces audiovisual artworks presenting her outcomes after having intensively completed a research investigation on a theoretical topic related to her personal life. Currently, she is interested in ontological possibilities of gender and how the language constricts its boundaries. The aesthetic approaches of her video and music creativity are based on the characteristic aspects of poetic language in which the words, semiotically speaking, are released from theirs strict sign/signifier/signified/referent model and, psychologically speaking, meet a 'prediscursive' or 'preconceptual' perspective. In the same way, images and sounds are confronted as means carrying 'prediscursive' meanings and breaking theirs symbolic-real-imaginary triad. In her research work, Ioustini explores, viewed through the scope of Neuroscience, the issue of how the integration of technological element in contemporary art effects the spatial perception related to embodied cognition. The integration of technological advances in contemporary art, in conjunction with scientific contribution, gives new perspectives to artists to investigate how humans see and interpret the world. The corporeal body, as a sensory information receiver, plays the mediator role between the internal and external world by transferring physical energy to a mental level. Could technology boost this mediator role of body by “hacking� its sensory receptors as a challenge to enhance our spatial abilities? And how do artists deal with this new challenge of re-embodiment as a new means of artistic expression? The interdisciplinary field which involves Neuroscience, Technology and Art is an attempt to indicate a contextual understanding into cognitive processes of art by finding correlations between body, brain and world. This attempt generates contestable new aesthetically perspectives. Through her research, Ioustini proposes alternative ways of exhibit audiovisual art through the intermediality aiming to boost viewers’ spatial abilities via a parallel visual and sound diffusion in space.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier

influenced your

and Dora S. Tennant

address your decisions in your artistic research?

due to your Greek roots

womencinemaker@berlin.com

Hello Ioustini and welcome to : we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and after having graduated from the department of Audio and Visual Arts of the Ionian University you nurtured your education with a PhD: how did these experiences

IE: Hello

and thank you for inviting me to give

this interview. Corfu has an interesting historical path and the Byzantine and Venetian influences are in sight even nowadays. Having been a center of cultural rebirth in past, Corfu tends to be more open to the customs of other cultures compared to other cities


Women Cinemakers of Greece. So, I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up and have been educated in a Greek island having such a multiculturalism in arts. I have been engaged with arts since I was very young due to my inclination towards drawing. During my adolescence period, I took piano and flute lessons and I also participated in numerous school music competitions and events. At the age of eighteen, I decided to continue my studies in a department which combines contemporary digital art and audiovisual expression. The Department of Audio & Visual Arts, founded in 2004 and located in Corfu, is the only University in Greece which encourages the cooperation between scientific and art community. At the moment, I am doing my PhD research on the interdisciplinary field of Neuroesthetics and Installation Art. Unfortunately doing an artistic research in Greece is a difficult task due to the lack of infrastructure and financial support. Nevertheless, there is an open and cooperative spirit among people showing eagerness to provide their aid which transcends beyond every obstacle to your goal. For this special edition of we have selected , a stimulating that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at . What has at once captured our attention of your inquiry into is the way it provides the viewers with such an intense visual experience, enhanced by elegant composition. While walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? In particular, how did you develop the initial idea? IE: I am a good reader and almost all initial ideas of my artistic creation come from a book or from a combination of different books. As an introverted person, I was wondering how I could improve my social skills. Therefore, the initial idea of came after having read by the sociologist Erving Goffman. In this book, Goffman presents human social interaction from a dramaturgical analysis approach by answering three questions: 1. how do we present ourselves to the public, 2. how can we control the public's impression concerning self-presentation, and 3. what can and cannot we consciously do during the self-representation? According to his theory, the has many different elements and individuals choose to show only the most appropriate for their ‘performance’. Hence, the person's image is not stable, unalterable and independent; Instead, it is characterized by a constant identification and redefinition imposed by the public. In addition, he agrees with the representatives of Symbolic Interactionism, James, Mead, Cooley and Sarbin, that we do have and alternate


Women Cinemakers as many roles as are our social environments and circumstances. However, Goffman's theory has been strongly criticized for two main reasons: 1. due to his weakness of making a clear definition of , which causes conflicting interpretations, and 2. because the use of a dramaturgic model can create problems in its implementation in real life. , released in 2013, tries to pose its questions to the audience related to the self-others-real triad. What if we choose a different role in our everyday life? Would not we stay the same? To extend this reflection further, why do the environments require us to play so many different roles in order to achieve a functional communication? And how do we succeed in playing so many different roles in our daily life? Is self-awareness the prerequisite for the harmonious coexistence of all these conflicting roles? The answer is yes! Only with self-awareness can we handle all these conflicting roles and activate them according to the truer reality. By closing the door of ambivalence does not as a necessarily lead to balance but often to greater misery. The notion of composition of different conflicting roles has intrigued many artists from different areas. I recommend readers think about by Robert L. Stevenson, Frida Kahlo's self-portraits, Claude by Ingmar Cahun and Cindy M. Sherman’s photographic work, the film Bergman or by Darren Aronofsky and so on. At this point, I would also like to mention that is the artistic part of my graduation thesis, completed under the supervision of Mrs. Marianne Strapatsakis, former Associate Professor with scientific field “Formative Artistic Act with emphasis on Video Art”, and under the advisory committee comprised of Ms. Dalila Honorato, Assistant Professor with scientific field “Aesthetics with emphasis on Image Semiology”, and Mr. Andreas Mniestris, Assistant Professor with scientific field “Electroacoustic Music”. This project was a challenge for me to apply all theoretical and practical knowledge that I had acquired from my curriculum to the production of a film. And I did it! Deviating from traditional filmmaking, we daresay that highlights the struggle between perception and experience to question in our media driven age: how do you consider the role of direct experience as starting point for your artistic research? In particular, how do the details that you capture during daily life fuel your artistic research? IE: I am a living being and, as all living beings, I am used to being bombarded with information. Nevertheless, as human being, I interpreter this information according to my psychosynthesis, which means that some information, both


consciously and uncosciously, is ignored while other triggers my attention. This is the sparking of genesis an idea, an issue as a basis for artistic creation, but after that follows an investigation from an interdisciplinary point of view. In my opinion, a circular path is detected between direct experience and artistic research. One hand washes the other and both wash the face!

An important aspect of your artistic research is centered on the issue of how the integration of technological element in contemporary art effects the spatial perception related to embodied cognition. French anthropologist and sociologist Marc Augè once suggested the idea that modern age creates two separate poles: and


. How would you consider the role of an artist in such dichotomies that affect our contemporary age?

perpetual re-definition. How could we see science as a separate pole from nature? Nature feeds into science, and vice versa. In course of time, the phenomenon of convergence becomes more and more

IE: Human thought is based on the binary system; we always seek for

pronounced. We can consider this by taking as an example the

binary opposites when we analyze concepts. But concepts end up

notions of posthumanism, transhumanism, new materialisms and so

having more convergence points. That is why we are led to a

on. All these notions question the concept of identity and its


Women Cinemakers ontological possibilities. I can see the role of artist as a needing call for a redefinition. A characteristic example comes from Bioart: how can we define Eduardo Kac's Alba, the transgenic rabbit? Sound plays a relevant role in your work and we have appreciated the way the gorgeous sound tapestry provides with such an enigmatic and ethereal ambience: according to media theorist Marshall McLuhan there is a 'sense bias' that affects Western societies favoring visual logic, a shift that occurred with the advent of modern alphabet as the eye became more essential than ear. How do you consider the role of sound within your artistic research? Moreover, how do you see the relationship between sound and moving images? IE: I am inclined to believe that, before reaching to any opinion, we have to approach things from a interdisciplinary point of view. Not only is it very interesting to find out the deviating and converging point of all these interdisciplinary theories but also to understand, from a critical perspective, why this is happening. Marshall McLuhan well said that “the eye became more essential than ear�; but this statement of the dominant role of image has sociological and philosophical approaches. From a neurobiological perspective, the eye is always more essential than ear, as visual sense plays the dominant role in human beings. In the attempt to seek the essential and unchanging knowledge of the world in an ever-changing environment, human brain and its sensory nervous system reject a huge amount of sensory information. Nevertheless, in order to have a holistic awareness of reality, brain combines information from various sensory systems such as visual, acoustic, tactile, etc., and processes them interactively in different brain centers, such as the frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes. Consequently, it is a high-level cognitive process characterized by subjectivity, personalization and distortion, as the memory that consists of past experiences plays a key role. From a psychological perspective, the characteristic properties of images and sounds, such as color, texture, pitch, loudness, timbre etc., can evoke different interpretations, meanings and emotions. For instance, in case you want to evoke the emotion of fear, you have to combine images characterized by dark colors, sharp texture, vertical and horizontal intense lines with sounds characterized by low level, small tempo variability, sharp duration contrasts and so on. Thus, this analysis evidences that despite the dominant role of eye/image, we need all sensory informations in order to achieve a unified experience. The converging point of all these interdisciplinary approaches regarding the relation between sound and image is that the outcomes depend both on biological and social factors.


Women Cinemakers In my artistic work, I combine Video Art with Electroacoustic Music. Let me explain the reason why I chose this genre of music. In Electroacoustic Music, compositions are made by every sound not only by musical instruments. For instance, you can make music only from door sounds. But let's consider what a sound is? In physics, sound is the pressure changes under atmospheric air transmitting in the form of waves and causing brain stimuli through our organ of hearing, the ear. From a semiotic perspective, sound is a sign, consisting of a signifier and a signified. Based on Ferdinard de Saussure's theory, the signifier is the vehicle of the meaning, that is to say, the conscious and, in general, external features of the sign that are perceived by the senses; in general, the material object. In case of sound, the signifier is its acoustic characteristics, such as the volume, pitch, frequency, etc., which are felt through the process of hearing. The signified is the meaning and, more specifically, the interpretations that may hide within the sign; a constructive meaning. So, when we hear a filtered noise (signifier), we tend to think that this sound comes from a sea wave sound (signified). In my sound compositions, I try to break the signifiersignified relationship, by taking sound as a material for music composition and eliminating or re-examining its meanings. In my audiovisual works, both music background and moving images function as a harmonious coexistence. Marked out with such an essential and at the same time seductive beauty on a visual aspect your video addresses the viewers to a wide number of narratives: in our opinion could be considered an effective allegory of : would you tell us how much the concepts you important is for you that the spectatorship convey in your pieces, elaborating personal meanings? How open would you like your works to be understood? IE: Beyond the medium one artwork uses, there is something in common: art, as all activities of human being, is a language; and language is a mind game. As a language, it uses its system, carries a message or more, and has a sender and receivers. Despite the message integrity, each receiver conceives different interpretations; and despite the effort to eliminate the , grammatically speaking, there is always an . In my artistic creation, I do find inspiration from my personal life, which charges my work with subjectivity, but I simultaneously try to curb any trace of voluntarism or, even worse, dogmatism. I just want to problematize and not to manipulate the spectatorship. But in the end, you need to communicate, otherwise it is pointless. The way to achieve this is to render some universal connotations. Let me explain what I mean with universal connotations by taking as example This film is a search story in which a young woman, after the


Women Cinemakers laughs of a child (inciting incident), wants to hide her face by doing a constant search for masks. These masks are found in different environments that reflect different social activities of the woman, such as the working environment, the family environment, the friendly environment and so on. Her attempt to cover her face is becoming more and more difficult as the masks that she finds are temporary. The climax and redemption comes when the woman reaches a dead end, having exhausted all the masks and cannot continue to search for a new one. At this point the child appears and gives her a mirror. Then the woman sees her face for the first time without the fear of shame. The face symbolizes the interior of each person, while the masks symbolize the various conflicting roles that fragment the face. The environments symbolize the various social activities through which the faces are produced. Finally, the child symbolizes the self-awareness, a necessary condition for the harmonious coexistence of the face and masks. These symbolisms reflect my effort to open the gates for communication by universalizing the concept behind but off alive. course the audience can give its narrative. This keeps Both realistic and marked out with such a surreal quality, reveals exquisite eye for the details, to walk the viewers into a multilayered visual journey. We daresay that this video attempts to unveil the invisible that pervades our reality but that cannot be detected by our sensorial experience. Do you agree with this interpretation? Moreover, how do you consider within your process? IE: I find your interpretation very interesting and quite challenging for me to explain the relation of art in general with the notions of real, imaginary and symbolic. This triad has been discussed by many psychoanalysts, philosophers, linguists, artists and so on, but the most well-known theory is that developed by Lacan. According to him, the real is the impossible as it is beyond of the logic which is developed by the symbolic realm of language. Our entry into the language determines our separation from the real, but it continues to appear as a traumatic experience. From this point of view, art as a form of language could belong mainly to the realm of symbolic having invisible strong bonds with the conscious imaginary and the unapproachable real. Nevertheless, art has the magical ability to open the gates to the prediscursive real. This might be made more comprehensible by taking poetry as an example. In poetic language, the words are released from theirs strict sign/signifier/signified/referent model which characterizes the symbolic and imaginary and they meet a 'prediscursive' or 'preconceptual' perspective which characterizes the real. From my own point of view, this is the reason why art can function as psychotherapy; because it


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Women Cinemakers gives us access to the traumatic experience of real. As you have remarked in your artist's statement,

. Multidisciplinary artist Angela Bulloch onced remarked that

". Technology can be used to create innovative works, but innovation means not only to create works that haven't been before, but especially to recontextualize what already exists: do you think that the role of the artist has changed these days with the new global communications and the new sensibility created by new media? IE: Stability cannot exist; everything changes but the move of change is in a circular way and painful. Nietzsche once said: "The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind." We ought to consider not only if the role of artist has changed by the current situations but also if the current situations can be changed by the artist. Technological innovetion has undoubtedly the power to change the social and artistic aspects of culture. This is its purpose. But at the same time, the social and artistic aspects of culture can influence the properties of technology. The good thing is that technology expands the possibilities of culture and these possibilities are expanding faster than the past due to the emerging movement of open science; the easily dissemination of scientific knowledge leading to a wider audience. Hence, the twenty-first century has come to break the gaps between art and science by bringing artists, scientists and technologists closer than ever. The readjustment of each role is an integral part of these new synergies, otherwise they cannot exist. Over the years your artworks have been showcased in several occasions including the Festival Les Instants Video in Marseille, the Musiques & Recherches in Brussels and the Audiovisual Arts Festival in Corfu. We have particularly appreciated your ability to create works of art capable of establishing direct relations with the spectatorship, so we would like to pose a question about the nature

of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of medium is used in a particular context? IE: As previously mentioned again and again, art is a language, which means that there should be a common intentionality - a conscious intention - between the sender and the receiver for achieving a communication purpose. From this point of view, the audience, as receiver, plays an important but not decisive role in artistic decisions. It is not my purpose to underestimate the audience by presenting an artwork being out of its understanding framework. But at the same time, I want to challenge the audience to a more complicated "reading". This is the reason why I introduce the hybridization and convergences of medium in my artistic creation. For instance, was developed to be presented with the mapping projection technique for video and live sound diffusion in a multi-channel loudspeaker system for music. Both these techniques, mapping projection and live sound diffusion, put emphasis on the element of space making the presentation of this audiovisual artwork more complicated. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on in the contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something ' ', however in the last decades women are finding their voices in art: as an artist interests in the cinematic arts with feminist theory, how would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? IE: We need the unconventional in all aspects of our lives, not only in art, because it is the way to rethink the conventional and, why not, to push further the limits. If you go back over human history, you see that the 'uncommon' is what boosts us to be evolved. Nevertheless, being unconventional artist is a challenging task regardless your gender due to people's uncomfortable attitude to unfamiliar, taboo, eerie, uncanny etc. It goes without a doubt that women artists have fewer opportunities to be distinguished in the contemporary art scene which discourages them from being involved in something 'uncommon'. But just consider what happens in the case of being a gay unconventional artist. For many,


Women Cinemakers being homosexual is something 'uncommon'. In my opinion, women are starting to gain their visibility in world due to the rejection of imagined configuration that divides people into binary gendered positions leading to hierarchical power relations between women and men. Extinguishing this imagined configuration automatically the hierarchical power relations between women and men are disappeared and new hierarchical power relations are created. But we are just at the beginning and my generation will not see the outcome of this change. However, it is worth a try. We have just to transcend the notion of gender, both biologically and socially speaking, by abolishing it. So, go for it! Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Ioustini. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? IE: It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to share my thoughts with you and the readers and thank you once again for selecting for WomenCinemakers. Concerning my future projects, I am currently working on a new audiovisual artwork which investigates the ontological possibilities of gender and how the language constricts its boundaries. This artwork starts with Freud’s statement “so by taking flight into the ego, love escapes annihilation” and ends up with Monique Wittig’s statement “language casts sheaves of reality upon the social body stamping it and violently shaping it”. The initial idea of this project came after having read the by the philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler. Simultaneously, I am continuing my research on my PhD dissertation, titled started in 2014 at the Dept. of Audio and Visual Arts of the Ionian University in Corfu, Greece. The main goal of my dissertation is to explore, viewed through the scope of Neuroscience, the issue of how the integration of technological interactivity and intermediality in contemporary installation art effects the visitors' spatial perception. To find this out, it is proposed to develop a contemporary installation in which will be attempted a parallel visual and sound diffusion in space using the EEG (electroencephalography) technology. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Tara Fadenrecht Lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Tara Fadenrecht peels layers. These layers often include the grooves left in the wake of power. As each layer is exposed, she worries their deposits until they cling by mere filaments. It is only when the layers reach this critical point is she able to fully dissect connections, muddle temporality, and reboot the layered system. She is interested in the cyclical nature of political rhetoric. Often her work becomes a mash-up of historical references intermingled with present-day blustering. Fadenrecht works in sculpture, video, animation and photography. She currently works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technolog An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

Hello Tara and welcome to : we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned B.F.A. of Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design, University of Kansas, you

nurtured your education with a M.F.A. of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Pennsylvania: how did these experiences influence your artistic evolution? Moreover, how does your direct your artistic research? Sculpture, metal sculpture in particular, will always be my first visual language. As I have a craft foundation, the process of 3D making has and continues to be a vital part of my process. While I


Women Cinemakers was the University of Pennsylvania, the progression of my conceptual development lent itself to animation and video art, often paired with fabricated metal and wood objects. I am an American consuming and synthesizing domestic and international propaganda filtered through an America-first, capitalistic lens. My work considers anti-Americanism sentiments via peripheral polities not aligned with U.S.-centric ideals and ideology. My newest work, of which Saccharine Symbiosis is an early part of, is all about omphaloskepsis; inwards looking at the innards of my country, to the point of complete narcissistic absorption. What could be more American? You are an eclectic artist and your practice ranges from sculpture, video, animation and photography, revealing the ability of crossing from a medium to another: before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we would invite to our readers to visit in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production: would you tell us what does address you to such captivating multidisciplinary approach? How do you select a medium and an art discipline in order to explore a particular theme? Certain bolts of inspiration can be broadly shared amongst multiple mediums, but sometimes the


Women Cinemakers

idea can only be fully realized as video. Duh Bo$s can only be a video personality. He cannot exist as a cheap, miniature ceramic clown or an oil painting. Not sure the world needs another clown painting. Duh Bo$s is technicolor. He’s a mover, a shaker. And a jerk. He demands an audience and will not work without one. For this special edition of we have selected ,a stimulating experimental film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can . be viewed at What has at once captured our attention of your insightful finquiry into the validity of power figure portrayal is the way your unconventional narrative provides the viewers with with such a multilayered visual experience. While walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us what did direct you to explore this theme? The protection of national interests via the clear delineation of geographic borders is not surprising or unique to my nation. However, the shortsidedness of any nation’s policymakers to forget the symbiotic relationship they have with their neighbors is maddening. Saccharine Symbiosis is a


Women Cinemakers

co-dependent frenemy tale. The two clowns go through the motions of shared existence. You sense that this show could endlessly repeat, a

perpetual farce with no resolution and characters stuck in their roles. At least they have upbeat music.


Women Cinemakers are metaphors in your practice? In particular, were you interested in providing your works with an allegorical quality? I love leaving breadcrumbs for the viewer and metaphors are an effective way of guiding. Simple symbols can be layered and injected with vital insights. The work is political, but the work utilizes clowns, polarizing in their own popularity, to survey the notions of border shifts, strategic dominance, and an interdependence that is all too often forgotten in neighboring nations. Duh Bo$s has no concern for the collective, but he does enjoy consorting with all sorts of archetypal types. The saint, the truthsayer, the hero—these are all embodied in Duh Bo$s alone, of course—pair well with the innocent, the tramp, the shadow found amongst Duh Bo$s’s frenemies. We have appreciated the way your exploration of the grammar of body language and its resonance with symbolically charged objects: how do you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of your performative gestures and the need of spontaneity? How much importance does play improvisation in your process? We have appreciated the way provides the spectatorship with such a multilayered experience: how important

I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work Orlando de la Garza. His theatricality and wealth of facial expressions are only surpassed by his


Women Cinemakers

improvisational skills. I did have a shot list for Saccharine Symbiosis which we filmed all of, but there was an openness during the process. We’re clowns, we needed to be spontaneous. I feel this way about the majority of my works. Once the process becomes too precious, I need to readjust and distill. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that " ": how do you consider the relation between the abstract nature of the ideas you aim to communicate and the physical act of creating your artworks? I don’t really think about it as my body. It’s Duh Bo$s’s body, his face and his mindset that the camera captures. When conjuring him, I embrace his belief in his superiority to all others. I remember his lessons in how extraordinary his people were and how entitled to the world he should feel. I adopt his mantra of mine before thine. And then I saunter in, like I’m walking onto a yacht. Another interesting work that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled and can be viewed at


Women Cinemakers

. We have highly appreciated the way your inquiry into the nature of the gesture of shaking hands addresses the viewers to such a multilayered visual experience, in order to reexamine the dynamics of contemporary propagandistic

imagery: how much important is for you to trigger the viewer's cultural parameters? What do you hope your spectatorship will take away from your artistic research? My work is a mash-up of historical references intermingled with present-day blustering. I look to


Women Cinemakers

expose and mimic the carefully crafted personas of those figures who riddle the international political sphere and shout their beleaguered beliefs upon their constituents. General Boss is a dealmaker. He’s an amglamation of smiles, suits and shaking hands eternally brokering for his interests.

I want the viewer to wake-up. Demand better. We don’t have to keep the governing system as is. It doesn’t have to be so separatist and fractured. General Boss is full of fissures found in the rotoscoped line. Until we demand less of the same, the face, the quote, the scandal are all


Women Cinemakers interchangeable, regardless of nationality. “Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle mérite,” Joseph de Maistre. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once remarked that "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in. It depends on the political system you’re living under". As an artist interested in the cyclical nature of political rhetoric, what could be in your opinion the role of filmmakers in our unstable, everchanging contemporary age? Does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? My role as a filmmaker is to perpetually shed light and be present. I make artwork that lures people in under the guise of novelty and fun, but forces you see your complicity in the fouled political process. It is an unstable and dysfunctional age, but this is a growth spurt for humanity. For most, this new reality is scary and unable to process they hold tightly to their dear beliefs. For a small number of others, now is the time to reassess the validity of our leaders and our ruling systems. , Sound plays a crucial role in provides the film with such an surreal atmosphere: according to media theorist Marshall McLuhan there is a 'sense bias' that


Women Cinemakers favors visual logic. How do you see the relationship between sound and moving images? Audio production is rewarding. The expansion of sound and the vibrance of the visual should constantly be resolved, there should be nothing in flux. Sound never dictates the first impression of my works, but it quickly sets the tone. I like that sound has this power over the visual. General Boss portrays a dealmaker. It is a loosely rotoscoped animation paired with a bombastic and repetitive soundtrack. The breath at the very beginning of the audio is vital to the rest of the audio. Coming in on the trailings of the first penciled lines, that breath is the same breath taken by the auctioneer, rattling numbers, dollars and deals off nonsensically. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Tara. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? aims to be the next chapter for Duh Bo$s. He’s partitioned himself off from the world and has fallen in love with a fear monger. He loves his guns. He’s taken up painting. Mostly self-portraits. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

Profile for WomenCinemakers

Women CineMakers, Special Edition  

Women CineMakers, Special Edition  

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