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w o m e n BONNIE LEE CHEN WANG RUTA BAUZYTE - JAROSZ THEODORA PRASSA MARÍA LORENZO RHEA STORR GLASZ DECUIR TIZZY CANUCCI ANNA ESTELLÉS MORAN SOMER OSI WALD RICARDO WERDESHEIM

INDEPENDENT

WOMEN’S CINEMA Cinemakers

Theodora Prassa


cINEMAKERS W O M E N

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Contents 124 04 María Lorenzo O.Wald, R. Werdesheim, M. Somer Re-organization

Improptu

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152

Anna Estellés

Theodora Prassa

Akar

Lavyrinthos

52

180

Tizzy Canucci

Ruta Bauzyte - Jarosz

76

202

Glasz DeCuir

Chen Wang

The Digital Pilgrims

It was in black and white

Hold the Light

Utopia Process

100

224

Rhea Storr

Bonnie Lee

Junkanoo Talk

Switched At Birth


Women Cinemakers meets

Osi Wald Ricardo Werdesheim Moran Somer A trippy animated journey through the hundreds of catalogues printed by the Israel Museum over the last 50 years. The catalogues are an endless source of inspiration – Art of any type and time, Archaeology, Brides from Afghanistan, scattered texts, butterflies, a cabbage, Bauhaus, cigarette ads, limbs, squares of colour... We scanned, cut, filed, tore and read. We found ourselves reorganizing the catalogues over and over, recognizing connections and dismissing them. The more we broadened our research, the more the film became personal. At the end, we realized the film no longer deals with the art we absorbed but with the way we look at it, the space between the artists, the text and the observer - the gap between the art pieces and the catalogues. The piece was initiated as a site-specific projection for “Contact Point” 2015 – an all-night event that hosts artists in a range of media who engage with art works throughout the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Re – Organization was screened on the main wall of the museum during a headset party.

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

Hello Moran, Osi and Ricardo and welcome to WomenCinemakers: to start this interview we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.zaz-animation.com and www.osiwald.com in order to get a wide idea about

your artistic productions. In the meanwhile, we would ask you a couple of question about your background. You have all solid formal trainings: how did these experiences influence your evolution as filmmakers? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum direct your artistic research? We met while studying animation at the Bezalel Academy of


Women Cinemakers Art and Design. Osi was always drawn to combining dance and animation and, following graduation, went on to create performances that incorporate both disciplines, alongside her work as a veteran animator for a range of professional projects like “Waltz with Bashir” and “The Congress,” and as a lecturer. Moran has studied plastic arts and art history before getting into animation studies at Bezalel academy where she specialised in stop motion and experimental animation, and discovered her passion for creating artistic experiences through the animation medium. Short after graduation she joined with Ricardo to establish ZAZ animation, their own studio. Ricardo Is the head of animation studies at Sapir college, as well as a well accomplished director and animator. " ZAZ animation studio" worked on independent productions and music videos as well as commissioned work for Israel's leading brands, all made with actual materials, all trying to push the envelope of Israeli stop motion. Our shared desire to explore the medium of animation brought us together. We are interested in the research yielded by a particular combination of idea and technique, coupled with a strong emphasis on a defined visual world. Through the prism of the subject we choose to address, we examine fundamental questions emerging from within the medium of animation - movement and timing, working with materials, constructing a world, the divide between two and three dimensions, etc. Both our formal training as well as our ongoing work as lecturers lead us to observe and question matters that most people consider esoteric or just fail to consider at all. We reside and create in Israel, a small and relatively young country, whose complex daily reality favors entrepreneurial endeavors, improvisation and finding solutions. Not many

funds are allocated to the arts, and so budgets are always limited and insufficient, which forces us to create alone without the assistance of a staff. Consequently we need to take responsibility for all aspects of filmmaking in addition to finding clever solutions that can help realize the project and make it feasible. The work on “Re-Organization,” for example, took place entirely in 2 rooms at Ricardo and Moran’s home, which at the time served as their studio. With the help of an improvised green screen, their bedroom was transformed into a studio and, donning green masks that we bought on the internet, we played the characters. Due to limited space we had to break down all of


the movement material in order to shoot it frame by frame without its spatial component and then effectively recreate the movement on the computer. Supine figures were filmed standing up and then rotated on the computer to be shown lying down. Israel is also a relatively young country and lacks an extensive tradition in animation. “Waltz with Bashir,” which Osi worked on, was the first full-length animated Israeli film, and even this was created guerrilla style with a limited staff. Circumstances like these certainly leave us adrift, but on the other hand always make us feel like pioneers, leading us to ask questions

about the medium, requiring that we observe and examine our craft with fresh eyes. When we finished work on the film, buried up to the neck in the green screen room with torn and tattered catalogues, an anxious cat rolling around in them and Osi breastfeeding her 6-month-old, we stepped out of our creative bubble to a country on fire. Jewish terrorists had burned down the home of a Palestinian family, claiming three lives, and a young woman was murdered at the Pride parade in Jerusalem. Suddenly our work seemed so escapist. We asked ourselves if it was legitimate to create a film that doesn’t at all address the


local environment, what happens around us. Is it even possible to make a non-political film in the reality in which we live? For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected Re-organization, a captivating animation film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at https://reorganization.wixsite.com/reorganization. What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into the inspiring potential of the art catalogues is

the way your sapient narrative structure provides the viewers with with such a multilayered visual experience. While walking our readers through the genesis of Reorganization, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? In particular, how do you consider the relationship between artistic heritage and contemporary art? In celebration of the Israel Museum’s 50th anniversary and as


Women Cinemakers

cardboard boxes that we loaded onto the car and started looking through them at home. Initially, we made high-resolution scans of everything that interested or inspired us - filing them into folders on the computer. At the same time, we began consolidating visual ideas, stories, animated sequences and drew connections between characters. We also considered different “directorial constructs” that could contain our varied ideas.

part of its “Contact Point” event, Renana Raz, the artistic director of the event and Neta Cohen, the producer, invited us to create an animated installation that addresses the catalogues housed in the museum’s archive. We were permitted entry to the museum’s wonderful archive. We spent hours browsing the archives’ catalogued shelves and even more time in the museum’s library which contains hundreds (more than 700) catalogues from the museum’s 50-year history. We came out with 142 catalogues in

The Israel Museum is a very interesting institution. It houses both contemporary and ancient art, Israeli as well as international art, youth exhibitions, architecture and design alongside painting, sculpture, and additionally features several historical and archaeological exhibits. When we received the catalogues there was no hierarchy of any kind. It was exciting for us to scan a catalogue about Herod the Great, or about Syrian brides, and then move on to catalogues devoted to Dada and Surrealism, Soviet posters, contemporary Israeli art or Bauhaus buildings – to create associative links between these, make up stories about them. In some of the catalogues there were even advertisements, and these also made their way into the film. We treated the materials at hand like a great big visual tapestry that was our playground. As ideas continued to surface, we tried to find a shared logic, recurrent themes or motifs, but quickly understood that this was nearly impossible. The catalogues covered just about everything. What seemed at first like a very clear limitation (working with museum catalogues) turned out to be a limitless point of departure, a bit like using Google’s search engine as a constraint.


Women Cinemakers So we arrived at the conclusion that our film should address the nature of our process: our efforts to draw connections and then break them apart, treating the catalogue and curatorship as subjects in themselves, the catalogue as material – paper, letters, print … The physical acts of flipping through and scanning pages – as well as the rearranging of artworks and body parts – were incorporated into the work in the form of pages, books, hands and bodiless limbs. This is exemplified by the motif of the headless figures, which take trips through the catalogues in search of a suitable fit. Drowning in a sea of endless ideas, we made a short animation test: a white cube in which television sets hang from the ceiling (inspired by the work of Nam June Peik, “Allan and Allen,” from 1991). The TV sets screened video loops that we created from works found in the catalogues, and headless figures moved relative to these sets, trying to situate themselves in such a way that the monitors could act as their heads. This scene, which to our mind explored the relationship between curator, artwork and viewer, and the function of the catalogue as a mediating agent, was the first anchor of the piece. This led us to select several ideas which formed the basis of the work’s structure. Every idea opened a new area of research and was realized in real time throughout the creative process. This is certainly not your standard work process for animation. Because of the medium’s complexity it is customary to meticulously plan the work ahead of time before realizing it, but we sought to explore an alternative approach, one in which the piece reveals itself through the creative process. Moran focused her research on materials – she examined different possibilities harbored by the paper and text. She tore pages up, folded them, breathed with them, dug in them, crumbled them. Through the material, she gave life to our

physical gestures throughout the course of the process - like turning pages, reading, focusing. And to our changing attitudes toward these catalogues: Initially we treated them like sacred objects, taking great care when flipping through pages or scanning. After delving into them they became a familiar place where we would wander about and so they ultimately lost their meaning, making a transformation from words and images to concrete material – paper, shapes, print and color, which we would play around with at liberty. The thought of the catalogue being a conserved memory of a once living event, an experience that was once very physical, guided the work on a lot of this part. The animation tries to "revive" the works of art with different approaches: giving the


pages emergency mouth to mouth resuscitation, compressions and defibrillating them; digging through the catalogues to find symbolic orifices and organs (eyes, mouth and genitals); and using the fingers and hands recurring motif. These practices were effectuated on the catalogues not only as physical masses: Having in mind the meaning of the artwork, the experiments were led in response to shape, color, form and content of each different catalogue. Ricardo and Osi worked together on the other sections. The chapter with the television monitors became longer. Hands roll in headless human figures into a white space filled with television sets. And just beside is a room that reveals what drives this strange gallery space: Enormous hands emerge

from the floor and manipulate strings with their large fingers. Their repetitive motion is what activates the monitors in the adjacent room. In the following chapter, the image of a leg and shoe without a body, something from a previous project by Ricardo and Moran, reminded us of the work by Robert Gober. The shoe’s motion in the white room acts like a metronome, and is each time endowed with new meaning when situated beside or within another work of art. A hand, cabbage, or at the beach ... In the chapters that we called “Airborne,� collages created from dozens of tiny details taken from the various catalogues unravel an associative chain linking everything from the sacred


to the Holocaust to resistance to Bauhaus to capitalism to industry to communism to loneliness. The camera follows a troupe of headless women, led by a headless man who rides a bodiless leg. They fly over endless landscapes and observe from above - holy books become houses, sculpture busts become mountains, staircases blend together to form endless trails. This journey represents a kind of figure for the viewer’s experience as well as for our creative process. The absence of a head invites viewers to choose what to observe and so give this journey their own interpretation. The chapter that we called “CMYK� is a dance scene based on a space created by combining a photograph by Lee Miller with

A still from

one by Frederick Evans. A limited vocabulary of gestures was arranged into a choreographic routine that was performed in this fabricated space. The division of the windows reminded us of pixels, and the color palette we chose was CMYK - the primary colors of pigment used in printing. A large, lone figure which enters from one end of the frame is pixelated and prompts reactions, expressed in color or motion, in several smaller figures at the other end, as well as in their surroundings. We were drawn to a work by Herbert Beyer, a collage depicting trees and eyes, due to the faceless eyes and the forest, a space that you can both explore and lose yourself in. In the foreground of the frame a man in a suit wears different pairs of eyes that we assembled from various catalogues - each pair is


Women Cinemakers As noted earlier, we met during our studies at Bezalel. Nowadays, we teach alongside each other. We came together in light of our shared background and interests. But mainly because of the sense that together we make the most out of standard creative processes, and approach animation as a research-oriented process. Our collaboration also had practical reasons. Making an animated film is a long, labor-intensive process that is complex, detailoriented and very difficult to execute alone. Throughout this process it is important to have someone who can help you carry the burden, who can motivate you to continue working and help broaden your perspective. Each of us is drawn to a particular aspect of the work and each has his or her own areas of expertise. While each is responsible for a particular “part,” we nonetheless maintain a constant dialogue. We have brainstorm sessions where we define objectives. We evaluate the results of these objectives in another session where new plans are consequently drawn up.

an artwork that offers a different perspective on the world and a new identity for the viewer. When the man turns off the light on the forest of eyes, headless men light small areas of the forest with oil lamps. Of course, due to the nature of the creative process many ideas were never fully developed. It's no doubt that collaborations as the one that you have established together are the growing force in contemporary art scene: could you tell us something about the collaborative nature of your approach? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between different creative minds?

The creative process can be a very lonely one, plagued by selfjudgment, disappointments and obstacles. Our collaboration allows us to free ourselves from the grip of self-judgment as this is shared with others. So that on the one hand, we raise the bar in terms of the professionalism of our work and on the other, allay the fear of failing. Moments when we get stuck or lost are opportunities for discussions and debates wherein each time somebody else can take the lead and offer a fresh perspective on an issue that for another has reached a dead end. Communicating your ideas to somebody helps to clarify them. And though there might be times when you present an idea and your partner doesn’t really understand what you’re saying and thinks your talking about something else completely, nevertheless something is regenerated and enriches the work. The creative


Women Cinemakers process wavers between moments of gathering and scattering throughout which we aim to identify the underlying current or essence of the work itself. And at the end of the process each of us connects to the film from a different place. This collaboration of creative minds enriches the final product, making it more complex and layered. As you have remarked once, the more we broadened our research, the more the film became personal: we daresay that Re-organization unveils the ephemeral nature of human perception that raises a question on the role of the viewers' viewpoint, inviting us to going beyond the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to unveil such unexpected sides of reality, urging the viewers to elaborate personal interpretations? When we situate an object outside of its usual context, we force viewers to observe this object differently. When we bring two objects together, we encourage viewers to consider their relationship. When we string two shots together we invite viewers to identify how they link the two. As artists we don’t feel the need to convey an unequivocal message to the world. We see the work as an invitation to communicate, and try to remind our viewers of the possibility of rethinking things, identifying new and surprising connections, observing and asking questions. We remind viewers just how subjective the gaze is. Perhaps these reminders can encourage empathy in life outside the context of film. In one scene there’s a leg wearing a shoe, inspired by the work of artist Robert Gober, which acts like a metronome. It turns from side to side in a white cube (which suggests a gallery space) and the images around it change with each tap. Once it’s placed next to a head of cabbage, another time next to Marcel Duchamp’s “Bicycle Wheel.” Once the white space transforms

into a tea table at a Syrian wedding or a landscape from a painting by Nahum Gutman. Each pairing like this causes us to perceive the shoe differently, and generates in us a new string of associations based on the relationship between the shoe and its surroundings, and the relation between its present environment and former one. At some point the shoe is shown next to a sculpture of a hand. This sculpture is then replaced by a different sculpture of a hand, and then another. The rate of substitution increases and viewers fill in the gaps to form a continuum of movement. This perceptual ability - effectively bridging the gap of individual frames in the form of continuous motion is an act of interpretation. The eye (the brain, actually) latches on to what is similar between the frames and effectively creates the illusion of continuity.


This scene explores the arbitrariness of meaning. In this scene, and throughout the film at large, we remind viewers about the effect their own personal histories have on their experience of the art itself, as does the way they position themselves relative to it, i.e., the way they consume it (in the museum, through a catalogue or screen). Various scenes throughout the film relate to the viewer’s experience, the figure of the headless man who observes from up close and from far, from outside and in. He makes choices, substitutes works of art where his head should be, appropriating them to the point where they become himself, acting as the screen through which he perceives the world. He performs a double gesture - he observes the works of art that we observed but also highlights the way we chose to

organize these into a film. And so in many ways the hierarchy between artist and viewer is undermined. We provide viewers with a slew of images saturated with meaning and invite them to take on our role, as artists who catalogue, organize, observe and make choices. The minimalistic and penetrating soundtrack by Ori Kadishay provides Re-organization with such an ethereal atmosphere, to enrich the footage with an emotionally powerful sound tapestry: how do you see the relationship between sound and moving playing within your approach to filmmaking? The film “Re-Organization” was originally created as an installation that was screened on the enormous wall of the Israel Museum library, in conjunction with a silent disco (where


partygoers listen to music via headphones). As such, the film was made without a soundtrack and each person’s experience of the film was colored by the particular music they were listening to at the time.

acts like an organizing agent and in many ways is the most narrative part. It has recurring elements, a relatively limited range, and leads viewers to attribute specific meanings to the wide array of images displayed.

When we decided to make the piece into a film it was clear that we needed to introduce sound, to endow the piece with a particular sound. And so we were looking for a musician and sound artist who could give more depth to the work, introduce his own take on the piece – who could, in effect, be a collaborator. This is how we met Ori Kadishay with whom we continued to collaborate on future projects.

Throughout the soundtrack body parts were linked with mechanical sounds (a leg was given the sound of a metronome, hands the sound of a machine) and sometimes lifeless objects were endowed with bodily, human or organic sounds (breathing paper, or vomiting cuts).

Insofar as sound was introduced only after the film was made, our dialogue with Ori allowed us to see it with fresh eyes and to be more concrete in our approach. The sound in this work

This combination highlighted our immersion in the world of the catalogues, but also the difference between observing an original work of art, as opposed to seeing it reproduced in a

The sounds waver between noises from a cold, mechanical world and warm, organic tones.


Women Cinemakers After sharing our thoughts with Ori about different parts of the film, he described the sonic landscape that would characterize each part - a consistent, but not necessarily realistic language that would represent the actions taking place on screen. These sounds, made to fit the pace of the film itself, represented the first version of its soundtrack. At this point, some parts were almost finished, while others were decidedly empty, namely those areas in which the animation described a kind of expansive landscape that needed to be filled with music. Thankfully, Eyal Talmudi from the band Malox allowed us to use music from his album “Gaza Trip.” It is a great privilege to include such wonderful material, alongside musical arrangements that Ori prepared especially for the film.

catalogue, with the soul of the artwork having passed, or perhaps transformed into the pages of the catalogue. The sound served many purposes: to refine associations that are triggered for us by the images, to create an atmosphere, and also to highlight moments of humor in the work. We hope that this can offset any sense of self-importance that is an inherent part of a piece devoted to works in the museum collection. The film was very musical in nature, even prior to the soundtrack, shaped as it was to carefully coordinated movement and rhythms that were playing in our head. In fact, every film has its own sense of timing, prior to the creation of music or a soundtrack.

Re-organization was initiated as a site-specific projection for “Contact Point” 2015 – an all-night event that hosts artists in a range of media who engage with art works throughout the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. 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 technopshere affecting the consumption of art by the audience? The one-time screening of the work as part of the “Contact Point” event was a significant, exciting experience. In many respects we consider the adaptation of the work from a sitespecific piece into a film essentially a new piece, separate from the original, despite the similarity between the two. The original screening related to the architecture of the building on which it was screened (in contrast to the rectangular format of conventional film screenings). The sheer size of it invited viewers to situate themselves relative to the piece, to decide which part of the frame to focus on. Shown in the context of a silent disco party (music via headphones), the


Women Cinemakers changing soundtrack created new relationships for each repeat viewing. Indeed, viewers were at liberty to wander about, move, dance, come and go as they please, observe to their heart’s content, all the while making choices about when to focus on the work and when to just stand in beside it. The time and location of the screening created the context for the film. The connection to the museum, which functioned in this case as a white cube, screened as the movie was on one of its walls, was evident to the audience from the outset: It was clear that this event was devoted to artists’ reactions to works from the museum collection. In many respects the movie “Re-Organization” deals with this transformation, from one medium to another, and in the way the consumption of an artwork influences the viewer’s experience. As curators, arranging works together in the form of an exhibition, we make the work part of a larger whole and so invest it with new meaning. When we observe a single work of art our gaze turns inward, exploring the world of meaning contained by this single work and the way in which it resonates with us. When we observe a work displayed within a particular collection, we look for the meaning of the work not only within the boundaries of that particular piece, but in its affinity to other artworks as well, acknowledging that thought was put into organizing and making these connections. The catalogue is how we take the exhibition home with us, and as we flip through the pages of a catalogue in a new environment, new hierarchies and connections are consequently established. We can return to it at particular moments in our life and in so doing appropriate it for ourselves. Several figures found their way into the film which the three of us discovered only through the catalogues, and which we had never seen in reality. Clearly, the experience of an actual work of

art differs from seeing its reproduction. We tried to acknowledge this divide as well in our work. Today’s world is an increasingly interconnected web. The pace of life is getting faster and faster and the wealth of information at everyone’s disposal tends to devalue memory and recognition skills in favor of organizational ones – curating, drawing connections, filtering, making hierarchies. Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing left to discover or invent - that every invention is just a reorganization of things that have already been made. To a large extent our initial experience of the catalogues was a similar one: A limitation that turned out to be endless, a nonlimitation. We tried to convey this sense of abundance to the viewers, who are offered the role of curators, not very different from their role when surfing on the Net. We have highly appreciated the way Re-organization accomplishes the difficult task of establishing direct relations with the viewers: to emphasize the need of establishing a total involvement between the work of art and the spectatorship, Swiss visual artist Pipilotti Rist once remarked that "we are trying to build visions that people can experience with their whole bodies, because virtual worlds cannot replace the need for sensual perceptions." Do you aim to provide your spectatorship of an enhanced visual experience capable of working as an extension of ordinary perceptual parameters? In all of our recent work we try to involve spectators - both in terms of their active gaze and freedom to interpret, and their physical location relative to the piece. “Re-Organization” was originally experienced in a party setting. It was exciting to see how viewers imitated the movements of the figures on screen, generating new choreographies in the process. Our connection to the piece was also very physical in nature. We try not to limit our activity to the computer alone but deal with


Women Cinemakers actual materials as well, performing physical acts like flipping pages, moving, painting, tearing. We often incorporate the use of our bodies and different body parts in our projects. So that, in fact, all the human figures shown in the film, in addition to the body parts (those which were not taken from the catalogues) were played by us. Rich with symbolic references, Re-organization creates entire scenarios out of images belonging to universal imagery: what are you hoping Re-organization will trigger in the audience? Moreover, how open would you like your work to be understood? As animators, both in our everyday jobs as well as in our formal training, we are guided by the desire for absolute control over the end product and the viewer’s experience of it. In animation, you have the opportunity to attend to every aspect of the frame. When you create every frame out of scratch and pixelate each figure and break up each movement into tiny units, every single detail becomes a matter of choice. The lengthy process required to complete such work allows you to examine every detail and consider the way it promotes the general idea. Considering the amount of work it takes to produce a film, artists generally fear that all their hard work will be in vain - that the movie will be misunderstood, its intention unclear, consequently justifying an extensive period of pre-production and planning. And short films … Well, this format invites some kind of “efficiency” in transmitting a “message” in a short time. In our work we try to liberate ourselves from these conditions. We are not interested in conveying a single idea to the audience, but rather seek to involve viewers in the very questions that occupy us, in all those associations and connections that flood our minds. Every creative process for us is an opportunity to observe the world and through this to learn about ourselves. Similarly, we hope


Women Cinemakers that viewers can use the animated “magnifying glass” that we present on a certain subject in order to reevaluate themselves and their relation to the world and consequently the way they observe. A number of our pieces, and this one in particular, deals with fusion, collage – we draw connections, some more predictable than others, and see what these connections provoke in us. Those that spark our interest we share with viewers, and hope to trigger in them a personal chain of association that reflects their personality, history and cultural background. This necessitates a very dynamic process that tries to see itself as it were at every moment along the way, involving an extended period of artistic research that culminates in the film in a relatively short time at the end of the process. We experiment with animation on a particular subject we’re researching, explore their visual potential, and formulate answers for ourselves throughout the process but try to unravel these when we reach the film itself, making room for viewers to ask their own questions. The fact that we are three people already involves multiple interpretations of the piece, so that instead of trying to unify our perspectives into a single, unequivocal thought, we try to retain this ambivalence in the film. The ability to control each frame and treat it intensively allows one to cram in an endless amount of detail and imagery. We use this ability to clutter the frames and incorporate as many ideas and contexts, devoid of any hierarchy, whose affinity is elusive but nonetheless present, at least to our minds. The resulting product forces viewers to select with which elements to compose their personal interpretation of the film. The recurring motifs in different scenes suggest the possibility of building a bigger picture from these individual parts, inviting viewers to play an active role in their experience of the work, and seek out connections and relationships. At times, the moving images represent a kind of “mega-scene,” like a bird’seye viewpoint or peering into the night sky or ocean. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in the contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged


Women Cinemakers from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades women are finding their voices in art: 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? Fortunately we were raised in an environment that did not consider gender a factor in our ability to become professional artists. As part of the way we conceive our artistic practice, we do not try to identify ourselves with a particular field but rather focus on finding opportunities that allow us to do the creative research we want. For us, art is a research-based process that involves visual, movement and theoretical explorations. The creative bubble maintained by the three of us is extensive enough to sustain this practice and validate it. Our aim is the creative process itself and therefore we don’t feel susceptible to pigeonholing. At the same time, we are always happy to meet more people who find our research interesting. It seems like the broadening of artistic horizons, interdisciplinary initiatives and the increasing openness of film to different narratives are carving out a new space where women might fit in. This space is still being defined, not yet overtly masculine or patriarchal, and, in the spirit of the times, has remained gender neutral, which might make it easier for women artists to find their place. The ability to embrace and contain the complex moment without wanting to resolve it, is a quality usually attributed to the feminine nature. The tendency to the non-conventional might be characteristic to newcomers – aiming to exam paradigms, and not obey them.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? In the last year we created a site-specific piece called “Joints.” This 11-minute-long film was screened at the beach in the city of Bat Yam, on the border between the sand and shore, and viewed by people walking on the promenade that overlooks the sea. The physical site of the piece, together with the sound of the ocean and the sense that the waves of the film continue the actual ones of the sea created a unique experience of witnessing a world as though emerging from the water. The work was created as part of a residency at the Fest’Factory Artists Complex in Bat Yam and premiered at the Bat Yam International Festival of Street Theater and Art. “Joints” continues the research we began with “ReOrganization” regarding creative processes in animation. The work describes an alternative evolution of body parts and various sea objects that wash up on shore only to retreat back into the sea. As part of the process, we compiled indices of movement for body parts and sea objects that we shot in animation and created from these over 80 hybrid creatures. These creatures gave way to mini-creation stories that examine the relationship between humans and objects and our relation to nature. The trailer for this piece can be viewed at: https://vimeo.com/227953029 An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Anna Estellés Lives and works in Spain (Valencia) and Indonesia (Yogyakarta)

Trips take you to unknown landscapes in which geography evokes other images. Aesthetics can be between the beautiful and the deformed and sometimes you do not know if there is the limit, there is or isn´t?

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

Hello Anna and welcome to WomenCinemakers: we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you studied Physical Theater in London, Dance Theater in Barcelona, later Dance Therapy and other performing art trainings: how did this experience inform your artistic evolution? Hello WomenCinemakers, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to participate in your magazine and your interest in my work. I consider myself a researcher in the art of movement, both in the creative and the health fields. Everything that is a body in movement interests me, which brings me, at a creative level, to experiment with different formats that appear in my life and through them explore

ways to show and express through body and movement from different prisms. In the field of health, I am interested in how to help people to self-regulate and heal themselves through body and movement, having a body awareness and developing creativity. And at a social level, working with repressed groups, using both approaches. It´s very useful and interesting, together they have a synergic effect. Could you tell us what are your most important influences and how did they affect your art practice? My influences have been very diverse, I began my training in Performing Arts with Physical Theater in London. A great influence was Pina Bausch. She was a very disruptive artist in her way of working as a choreographer, she worked from the emotion and then the movement appeared and its staging. It was so poetic and so risky. She broke the world of contemporary dance and came closer to the world of theater. Butoh dance fascinates me a lot. Étienne


Decroux of course was one of my first influences, I studied with his last disciples, in London. I learned many things there, but one of the most important, was his poetics in movement through action, through real movement, which is transformed progressively into a metaphor. It is very political. And so many others, Peter Brooke, Peter Greenaway (I worked on one of his films). Theatrical movement, look for the drama, the meaning in the expression.` I am looking for poetry through the image, either on stage or in the audiovisual field, an image that evokes feelings, that the viewer finds in his imagination, in his life experience. Video art Bill Viola. And of course the places where I have lived have influenced me deeply, and the people I have meet. Also my personal experiences. My motherhood, raising my children, etc... You are the founder and leader of Akar, an eclectic and contemporary company of performance art based in Indonesia that involves performers with multidisciplinary backgrounds, and we would like to invite our readers to visit http://akardancetheater.com in order to get a wider idea about your work. It's no doubt that collaborations as the one that you have established are in our everchanging art scene and that the most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project: could you tell us something about the collaborative nature of Akar? Akar for me is an artistic platform in continuous transformation. Depending on the project that we face, different artists collaborate. On a human and artistic level Akar has offered me wonderful experiences, and I have learned a lot. Working in Indonesia, which has a totally different culture, since I am Spanish, has been very rewarding

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Women Cinemakers but it is also challenging. That cultural and artistic shock has benefited me in many ways. Working with dancers of traditional Indonesian dance, actresses of different nationalities and creators of different disciplines and nationalities has been a great challenge and an experience with hard moments and at the same time, sometimes very gratifying . And it's still a great learning experience that I can walk away from. Art without collaboration for me has no place. For me collaboration is a cornerstone of production. I don´t like to impose my view but to integrate the different views and feelings of all the people involved. Although chanllenging, I need to build a synergism with the performers and other collaborators. The more diverse and eclectic, the more comprehensive and global. I am interested in art that is steeped in life and that is in constant connection with the moment and the personal and global environment of the artist. Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between artists from different disciplines? For me it is shown in the fusion, in being able to show that fusion without a part ruling over another, having a good combination that adds and enriches. So the result is bigger than it´s parts. It is an accompaniment between several disciplines, among the artists that make up the work team, as when you accompany your daughter in her growth. Your daughter grows but you with her too. Of course it´s not always easy to put together actors with traditional dancers or the later with contemporary performers but it´s very exciting and challenging, and you need to be very humble and open-minded. For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected Human Geography, a captivating performance


video 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 insightful inquiry into the relationship between the beautiful and the deformed is the way your sapient narrative provides the viewers with such an intense visual experience. While walking my readers through the genesis of Human Geography, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? In all my work the keynote that moves me to start a work is the taboo concept, the hidden, the dangerous, the annoying. In this case in Human Geography, it tries to show body parts that we normally hide, whether they are wrinkles, cracks, volumes that at a social level are not well seen and to show them from another perspectives. Generating deformed shapes into something beautiful and mysterious. It is a way of playing around, breaking the canons of beauty. And show beauty from another less common place. I also wanted to play with the spectator showing parts of the body that I could not recognize at first sight and that those images evoked landscapes. I kept this idea for a long time until I found my wonderful team, with whom I was able to create Human Geography better than I had planned. Synergy ones again. Featuring essential refined cinematography, Human Geography speaks of realism while involving the audience in a dreamlike visual experience: what is your aesthetic decision when conceiving this stimulating work? In particular, what was your choice about lens and what was your approach to lighting? I also wanted to get into that different non-sexualized magical sensuality. Where the body shows itself without that sexual charge. Where the body becomes a source of inspiration, it is a

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Women Cinemakers numen. I surround myself with great professionals and people who have advised me very well on a technical and creative level in the field of audiovisuals. We used hard lights to achieve contrasts and very pronounced and very marked shadows. The lenses with very open diaphragms to have little depth of field and the use of macros allowed us to have details of the skins until we get to see the pores, hair, etc. The rest we left it to improvisation, to the art of doing and letting to do, to the power of that magic that arises from good communication and when all the elements come together to work together along the same path ... It was a magical experience, as you can appreciate it in the video. We have really appreciated the way Human Geography stimulates the viewers' perceptual parameters and allows an open reading: how much important is for you to trigger the spectatorship's imagination in order to elaborate personal meanings? For me it is very important. That opening in my proposals so that the viewer can elaborate with their own vocabulary through their own experience. As an artist I think that is art, generating spaces where the spectator can dive in different universes that in the end are all the same and are all connected. I think that one of the functions of art is to generate those spaces where we reconnect with ourselves, where we relive those emotions or those moments. Art releases these stimuli through images, literature, etc., so the viewer reacts to them. On an individual level, everyone reacts very differently. We are different. What do you hope your spectatorship will take away from this work?


As an artist I think that art is an instrument of reflection, in this case, the taboo of the body is unveiled, and the viewer travels through unexplored and unrecognizable parts sometimes, where the image and sound create visual poetry. Sound plays a relevant role in your video and the audio commentary provides Human Geography with such uncanny atmosphere and we have highly appreciated the way you have sapiently structured the combination between sound and images: how did you structure the editing process in order to achieve such stimulating results? And how do you see the relationship between sound and moving images? We shot the video in Indonesia, I wanted it to have some gratitude towards this place, so inspiring and so exuberant for me. Gamelan (Indonesian percussion orchestra) seemed to me a very good idea to use in this video, it accompanied the images very well and enhanced that aesthetic frontier between the beautiful, the deformed and the mysterious, and the gamelan itself has a mystical, mysterious and dark sound. We found this gamelan theme and it seemed perfect for this video. The music accompanies the images and increases the magical atmosphere, generating more mystery and visual poetry. Your art practice is marked out with a successful attempt to impact on the audience on an emotional level, challenging their perceptual parameters and involving them to such an intense and multilayered experience: how much importance have you the ability of addressing the viewers to elaborate personal associations? In particular, how would you like your works to be understood? It is very important that the viewer elaborates his own perceptions. The language of this video plays with that. For me, the viewer has an active role when he observes Human Geography. The video does not have a very definite narrative. It

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Women Cinemakers plays with the mystery of the image and sound. It is very aesthetic. It plays with sensations more than understanding. That is the goal. To emphasize the ubiquitous presence of a bond between creative process and direct experience, British artist Chris Ofili once stated that "creativity to do with improvisation what's happening around you". How much does everyday life's experience influence your artistic journey? Does it fuel your creative process? Everything. As an artist, I am an instrument that expresses, shows and transforms what I observe around me through art. So, daily life is totally connected to my artistic work. and both fields are feedback one another. I think artists are a catalyst for society. And as artists we have to be aware of that. That is our responsibility in society. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artist's role differs depending on which part of the world you're in". As an artist concerned with current issues and universal human experiences, what could be in your opinion the role of an artist in our unstable contemporary age? I think there is a very large global crisis at the human and spiritual level. Art should have more prominence in our society. Artists are undervalued or badly valued. Our role is very important at a social level, because art generates spaces for reflection and at this moment worldwide, we urgently need spaces for reflection. I think we do need to stop and meditate, question ourselves individually and collectively. We have many things to condemn and question around us. Human life does not have the same value as before, apparently... and less if you arrive to the West on a skiff. Communication between people


has changed a lot since we have social media and the use of mobile phones. Does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? Yes, I investigate in what surrounds me here and now, both in Indonesia and in Spain, the topics I have researched are issues that affect these two cultures but they are usually universal themes, such as eroticism in femininity, vulnerability in man, non-binary gender, memory in the refugee. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in the contemporary art scene . For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last years, women, they are finding their voices in art: how would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? Women still have many spaces to conquer in society. For example, in art, we still earn less than men. Male artists are much more successful than female artists and are much more visible. I think that conquest of our own space in the world should be facilitated. I am a researcher, an explorer in the art of movement. I do not feel “uncommon�. But if is true, that personally, being a woman and a mother, it is very difficult to continue creating without neglecting your family and vice versa. At a work level it is very difficult to get a job, etc... when I had my children I stopped working for a few years, to devote myself to raise my children. That made things much harder, coming back the world of work again and more in a country like Spain, where maternity leave is just 4 and a half months. Where care work is not recognized nor boasted.

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Women Cinemakers And what is your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? I believe that little by little the future of women in the art world will be easier. As a result of the feminist struggle that we have been doing for many, many years. It has to become better. I feel that feminism is helping a lot and that there is a growing awareness that feminism is not only a fight for women, but for humanity. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Anna. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? Now I am working on a show with one of the most important dancers of Indonesia, called Didik Nini Thowok, we are working on a show that deals with the non- binary gender. In Indonesia, on the island of Sulawesi, there is an ethnic group that recognizes 5 genders. We have undertaken research work and now we are looking for funding to finish the project. I have just finished an artistic research residency in Spain where I have had the opportunity to work with refugees from different countries. How do you see your work evolving? I hope that my work will continue to developed among the performing arts, as a director, and video art. And also, using art as a tool for reflection in educational spaces and in different social environments. I hope I can continue collaborating with other artists and that life will bring me new challenges and wonderful projects. I believe that art should be more human and be at the service of the struggle to generate a better world.


Women Cinemakers meets

Tizzy Canucci Lives and works in Ulverston, UK Tess Baxter makes video art out of (rather than within) Second Life, working under the pseudonym of Tizzy Canucci. Her work is not just a recording of ‘the game’, as she is interested in extending the art form and the combinational possibilities. She montages material filmed in the virtual world with found material, as well as mixing it with itself. This includes still images, literature, archive film, poetry, music and sound, put into dialogue with the virtual world material. Although video art is often regarded as a visual medium, she sees it equally as an auditory one, and a sensory one through empathetic embodiment. She also uses it as a means of thinking about virtual space alongside actual world issues in a mostly nonverbal way. She publishes her video work, 40 pieces now, online on Vimeo. The Digital Pilgrims is an example of how Tess crosses time and space and virtualities, as the words of Chaucer are reapplied to characters in a virtual space. A public domain reading of Chaucer in Middle English blends with and into contemporary classical creative commons music. The descriptions of the pilgrims are sometimes the words of Chaucer, sometimes blended with new text to make parallels and comparisons, and sometimes rewritten to make a direct comment on today’s worlds. Ornamental initial letters were adapted from British Library scans of Victorian versions of Chaucer’s books. Published under a Creative Commons license, the video recirculates creativity. Tess was brought up in Lancashire and now lives in the Lake District, in the north of England. Seeing her older sister was better at drawing, she took little interest in art at school and turned to three dimensional work. During the 1980s she worked as a model maker. After a period in local politics, in 2001 she set up in business to publish her inventively combined writing and photography about local food traditions and landscape. In 2009 she graduated from UCLan with a BA in Sociology, and the following year with an MA from Manchester University in Gender, Sexuality and Culture. She is currently at Lancaster University working towards a PhD in Contemporary Art. Her past – three dimensional model making, social and political concern, editing the graphical and verbal form – all come through in her machinima, as does her long fascination with animation. But her influences are wide and draw from the history of film, poetry, music and literature

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

Hello Tizzy and welcome to : 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. We would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions regarding your background. You hold a BA in Sociology, and an MA from Manchester University in Gender,


Sexuality and Culture: moreover, you are currently pursuing your PhD in Contemporary Art at Lancaster University: how does this experience that influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum inform your approach to art making? Hello, and thank you for inviting me to talk about my work. I started my BA and MA in my mid forties, after I’d been working in various jobs. Most recently, I had built a small business using new, affordable desktop publishing software using my own writing and photography. I was already working with words and the visual image, so it was natural that I chose modules in film and photography in my studies. But I was interested in art and its relationship to society as a cultural process, rather than pure aesthetics or history. I’m inherently multi-disciplinary, and would draw anything I felt was relevant from anywhere, working across boundaries, connecting and translating. In my view, authors and film directors are some of the most astute observers of society, and their perspectives can add richness to academic analysis. It was during my BA that I discovered Second Life, having coming across a mention while writing an essay. I only intended to be there for the weekend, just to check out what it was! But I was enthralled by it as a space, both aesthetically (the good, the bad and the ugly) and as a social environment. My first job was as an architectural modelmaker, so I think the three-dimensionality also attracted me. During 2014, I decided to wind up most of the business, and I was looking for employment. It seemed obvious to build on the MA, and I got a job at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal in visual arts and in marketing. I started working with video to support my marketing role, and I kind of fell into its artistic and creative possibilities as a consequence of wanting to practice. Editing is the part I enjoy most, and in retrospect, that is the thread that runs through my life, using different media at different times. While working at the Brewery I visited Lancaster University to look at an MA course, but after an hour of chatting with one of the tutors

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Women Cinemakers he said I should really put in a proposal for a PhD. Again, there’s not an entirely straight line from there – I could have done a theoretical PhD, but it was picked up for supervision by Charlie Gere in Contemporary Art, and he asked at the first meeting, in a very leading way, whether it would be a practice based PhD. Jen Southern is my other supervisor. I’d just had shown in the Supernova Digital Animation Festival in Denver, and I had the confidence to give an enthusiastic yes by that time. Since I started 18 months ago, it’s been an amazing time, having the time to both think and make. I still can’t quite believe where I am. It certainly wasn’t a plan – more a mixture of curiosity, being in the right place, taking my chances and sometimes some misfortune and desperation! For this special edition of we have selected , a captivating experimental video that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can ben viewed at . What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into is the way the results of your artistic research provides the viewers with such an intense visual experience. While walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? Behind me in my office is a frame containing four tiles showing scenes from . We found them when my father died – he was not much of a reader and we had no idea why he had them. But I liked them and got them framed. I think we often speak from the happenchance of our experiences, the unique set of things that comprise an individual life. The as an idea had been floating around in my head for a while. Also, there was also a sim in Second Life called which I really wanted to work with. Then one day I had a note that said that the sim was going to close


Women Cinemakers on the coming Friday - which focussed the mind! Complicated ideas often benefit from gestation, but sometimes need a kick to get them started. The prior thought meant I had a list of characters already, drawn from a couple of versions of the . Each time I’d come back to them, my mind was building ideas in small parts without really knowing it. So while I had the practical details to do - to define the characters, locate the resources, clothing and props for the avatars - I’d already done a lot of thinking. But I definitely didn’t want to just do a ‘literal translation’ from a Middle English book to a modern virtual world. I wanted to contrast, reinterpret and translate, setting the past against the present. Although I developed the verses at the very end of the process, they illustrate what I mean. Some of the character descriptions were very close to the Middle English versions, for example the ‘Clerk’. Others, such as ‘The Miller’ were completely rewritten to make a comment on today’s society. Others were mixed; ‘The Cook’ is one where I directly relate a forgotten past to the present. ‘The Host’, by the way, is autobiographical – ‘Blender of old and new, I am she and she is many’. Tizzy Canucci in Second Life and Tess Baxter in the actual world. But also going beyond that... ‘Me, I can change during the course of a day. I wake and I’m one person, and when I go to sleep I know for certain I’m somebody else. I don’t know who I am most of the time’, as Todd Haynes quotes Bob Dylan in . Finally, I wanted to balance gender equally across the characters. I expect Chaucer was accurate in reflecting who had the time, means and ability to go on a pilgrimage when he was writing the , but today’s virtual worlds are more equal, and tend towards the female. feature such an ambitious fusion of Chaucer's medieval world of The Canterbury Tales and today's digital world, addressing the viewers to question the nature of their perceptual categories: how do you consider


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Women Cinemakers 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? Erving Goffman commented that ‘real life’ is a realisation that cultural ideas ‘belong… more to make-believe than reality’. Clifford Geertz claimed that ‘since Plato, the west has confused the imagined with the imaginary and the fictional with the false’. We never leave the real world, even when in virtual worlds, we just go into a different part of ‘reality’. On the other hand, the past is unknowable in that we can’t go there. The past is our interpretation created from our position in the present. This is not to say that some things are more accurately documented or known than others, but every generation reinterprets what is recorded in their imaginations, filling in the gaps and the detail. Perception, imagination and reality are knotted together, not separated, different things. And I’m not interested in some kind of seamless portrayal, a smooth re-interpretation. At times I want to draw you in, but then I’m looking to create discordances to snap you out again. I think that’s a different approach from a lot of literature and film that just wants to pull you in and hold you there. In film, there’s a formula – the Hollywood formula - that has been refined to do just that, presenting a chain of events in comfortable, predictable ways. I want you to be aware that there is more than one story going on at a time, and move you between them – and you won’t catch everything. We’re scared of missing things because we hang on narratives and understanding, but it doesn’t matter. Everything doesn’t have to make sense, and mood and feeling matters – which is a David Lynch kind of attitude. I don’t know what people will make of what I do, and I don’t try and second guess. I worry too much already about having to explain or justify my work – I still think that anyone likes my strange work is something of a miracle! We have appreciated the way you montage material filmed in


Women Cinemakers the virtual world with found material to create out of previous ones. German art critic and historian Michael Fried once stated that ' .' What were the properties that you were searching for in the footage that you include in your works? Maurice Merleau-Ponty said something similar, but went on to say that things ‘take on meaning’ through the arrangement of elements rather than specific ideas. I think this is a crucial part of how I work – it’s about how things are put together that generates meaning, being relational and part of a process, rather than a ‘thing’ in itself. I’m always looking for material that might be useful. Making time to browse and wander and collect ideas is important, to watch film, listen to music, read. To follow other people’s ideas, like David Lynch I just mentioned. And earlier this year it was Sally Potter, Chantal Akerman and her contemporaries. In practice, I get my virtual world material together, review it all, and see how it speaks to me. I rarely have a narrative structure in mind before I start, and in a 5-10 minute work, it is more about communicating emotion and ideas than a story. I then spend several hours looking for music that fits the mood I have in mind, usually from creative commons material on Free Music Archive. I then go back to editing, and the music then influences the pace and timing of the visuals. Editing for me is a process of reiteration, one part speaking to another, letting the relationships evolve until I feel the balance feels right. But it’s an awkward environment to work in – it won’t let me do exactly what I want to do. But I like having to work with constraints and problems that force me into thinking differently, unpredictably. wasn’t just the usual mix of visuals and music, as it needed to be fused with the literary material. I didn’t want to explain the characters immediately, so I set up a first visual section, followed by a textual and visual one, connected by the illuminated letters for each character. I took these from the British Library flickr


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Women Cinemakers site, and recoloured them from the original monochrome scans taken from Victorian books on Chaucer. Also, while looking for texts of the , I came across the Librevox reading on Internet Archive of the ‘Prologue to the Canterbury Tales’ by Kristen Hughes. Some parts sounding familiar, others foreign, musical as verse should be, it added another layer of richness. We daresay that your practice highlights how the impetuous way modern technology has came out on the top has dramatically revolutionized our lifes as well as the idea of Art itself: we are urged to rethink about of a piece of art, since just few years ago it could be considered of an idea. We daresay that new media will soon fill the apparent dichotomy between art and technology, to assimilate one to each other: what's your opinion about the relationship between Art production and Technology? Heather Horst and Daniel Miller claim that the digital is neither more or less material than that which preceded it – just because something is intangible or virtual does not mean it is immaterial. Laura Marks talks about ‘haptic visuality’, where our visual experience is always multi-sensorial. As embodied beings, that complex relationship between the senses means we navigate virtual space as physical objects as if embodied – a thing among things, not a tear in the fabric, as Merleau-Ponty put it in . As humans, we are cultural, and depend on technology and tools like no other species. We are always losing some skills – for example bookbinding is an art that died as a commonplace practice even before the ebook came along – but we gain others. Cultural attitudes are the things that really change, and the technology is more of a catalyst. If we value art, it will flourish, and people will find expression. I think the emphasis on learning outcomes in education as if that is all that matters, and not recognising that we also need to be rounded (or spiky) human beings is a mistake. League tables in Universities also create distorted ideas of what constitutes worthwhile research and ‘evidence’.


Women Cinemakers

But my fear is that digital techology will increasingly be controlled by capitalist Behemoths like Facebook, Google and Amazon, whose commercial interests are increasingly suffocating novelty in favour of predictablity and commercial worth. They may proclaim ‘social’, ‘community’, ‘innovation’, ‘sharing’, but they all want to drain your innermost secrets in exchange for mirages. We’ve got to the point on the internet where you can only keep your soul when you pay someone not to steal it. That may sound pessimistic, but these companies have absolute power, and its absolutely corrupting them. Elements from environment play a crucial role many of your artworks and we like the way you have created such insightful between such surroundings and viewer's imagination: how would you describe the relationship between environment and your creative process? Does it fuel your creativity? My environment is crucial. It is easy to get caught up with ‘getting things done’. Finishing things is crucial, of course. But so is having time to explore and be aware. Ideas come out of these quiet spaces, not out of the rush of working to targets and deadlines. So I’m listening to Ella Fitzgerald and glancing at the rain falling on the fields outside my window as I write this. You need a well of experiences to draw on, never knowing which ones will be directly of use. I produce work out of Second Life because it has been shaped, formed and created by many other human beings with parallel creative instincts to mine. It’s a rich environment, with things of brilliance and inspiration, and much that is banal, commercial, tacky or crude. The mixture is important. Sometimes it is particular virtual spaces that provoke thoughts. Furillen City was like that, and I worked it into Another video, was made from the opening of an art exhibition, the space, the art and the people catching my attention as it was happening. involved a performance by SaveMe Oh, whose work I’ve recorded several times


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A still from


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Women Cinemakers and worked into videos. Her work is spatial, creating an artwork that is an environment in itself, often created alongside sound by Second Life musicians. I think I have only once into one of her performances with the intention of making a video. But I do know that if I go, I may get drawn in with a feeling that I want to do something with what I am experiencing. I need to feel I can add something to it myself – I’m not interested in making a mere recording of events. Multidisciplinary artist Angela Bulloch onced remarked

". Technology can be used to create innovative works, but innovation means not only to create works of art that what haven't been before, but especially to already exists, as you did with Chaucer's masterpiece: do you think that one of the roles of artists has changed these days with the new global communications and the new sensibility created by new media? Kenneth Goldsmith too talks about how art is never original – it’s the recombinatory skills of the artist that matters. No one says anything utterly original and disconnected from everything else that went before – and if they did, no one would understand such radically different work. However, I think the invention of recording methods changed our attitudes. Up until then, the original performance was ephemeral, unavailable for direct comparison. It needed someone to interact with it and actualise it – I’m thinking particularly of music, when sheet music was common and the composer’s performance was one of many. Classical musicians know they may produce many versions of the same piece through a lifetime, all different interpretations, some better than others but all valid. Music is now mostly a product – or the musician is – and it’s the norm that the writer records the original and ‘covers’ are seen, largely, as second rate versions. I think digital technology pulls two ways. One is that it allows for


Women Cinemakers adaptation, fusion, variation and inventiveness. But it is also a place where ownership and copyright can be enforced very tightly, because it is searchable. I think artists should get continued reward while they are alive, but with copyright terms now being up to 140 years from the date of publication, there is a lot of a material that will become totally irrelevant before it can be reused legally. The rules work against the idea of shared cultural commons. The release of cultural material makes a society what it is, which is not about ownership, but citizenship. And copyright often enforces the claims of owners who bought the rights and had nothing to do with the creative process. But, if you are a Google or a Spotify, you are big enough to determine your own rules and impose them on everybody. I don’t know where the internet will go, but I agree with Tim Berners-Lee – it’s not going in the right direction. You often use digital platforms in order to reach your spectatorship and over the years you have published over forty video works on the vimeo platform. Marina Abramovic 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 technopshere affecting the consumption of art by the audience? Do you think that today is easier to speak 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? I have little desire to make work that no one sees. I used to do a lot of food and landscape photography for my books about local food history. I barely take any now, as they would just sit on a hard drive. Video work is what I mainly do now and it all goes online where it can be seen. El Lissitzky commented that the real action happens when someone interacts with art and ‘goes through imaginary space, with changing perspectives’. I’m curious as to how it will be received. But sheer numbers aren’t the objective – I’d put my work on YouTube if I wanted that. Quality affects perspectives, not quantity. My choice of Vimeo is


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


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Women Cinemakers partly because you have higher visibility if you are doing something different, whereas YouTube is increasingly catering to a commercial market. It’s also an act of resistance – you cannot watch a YouTube video without giving Google (knowingly or unknowingly) permission to track you and collect data on you. I think it is easier to find a niche online, but you still have to work at it. Niches don’t sit neatly on one platform but spread across them, so you have to engage with people in several places in order to get people to come and look. Temporality is also a factor –you have to keep producing new work that sits at the top of timelines. But that’s not an issue for me. My body of work matters, as a collection of small works. I don’t see the latest work as superseding what went before, but as adding to it. True, I hope I am learning, improving and developing, but my latest work has a more complex relationship to my early work than simply ‘better than’. 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? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? My early 50s were a difficult time, when what I did fell away from me. It’s a desperately difficult time for women to get back into employment because of all kinds of prejudices around age and gender. I’ve had to travel in optimism and take risks, following whatever lines I could. I did get to the point where I feared I would spend the rest of my days stacking shelves at minimum wage. On the way, I’ve had help, support and inspiration from many people, men and women. Kindness doesn’t have to be gendered – if there is one thing to take from my Masters, it is not to essentialise gender, but to see it as tendencies. That said, there are real power politics at play, and the experience in video games shows just how aggressively mysogenistic online spaces


Women Cinemakers can be, as well as against people of colour. Men get forgiven for repeat offending around morality in a way women rarely do. But it’s not just overt – it’s in the petty prejudices and put-downs that erode people’s self-worth. My work lies on the intersection of art and film, and I see commonalities with what I do with women and feminist film makers who tried to restructure and rethink what film does, can do, and how it might better reflect personal. But clearly supporting yourself financially is more difficult if you getting smaller audiences. Being different is never an easy life, and those who are different need to support each other in their diversity. Contemporary Art is a space where loud voices rise to the top, and women often don’t have that drive to hype themselves and overstate what they do. I’ve certainly had to learn not to justify my work, resist the need to explain it, or talk about it in an apologetic way, but to let it stand and accept what others say. I think this is where mutual support comes in, but as critical friends, not merely cheerleaders. So to go back to the original question, if women want a future, women will have to make things, do things, question things, be present wherever possible, and present alternatives to the status quo. And encourage diversity, the young and the different. And be positive. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Tizzy. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I don’t know! Walter Murch said that film editing was the discovery of a path. As in writing, you don’t write what you know, you write to find out what you know. That’s what I’m doing. I never knew it was going to lead here, but I look forward to finding out where it will lead me in the future.

An interview by Francis Quettier and Dora Tennant


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers meets

Glasz DeCuir Lives and works in Hondarribia, Basque Country, Spain

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

Hello Glasz and welcome to : we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions regarding your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, does your cultural background direct the trajectory of your artistic research? Hello, I am glad you chose me to be included in WomenCinemakers :) Answering your question about influences, I think our “landscape” defines influences for each one in several ways. I am Basque, I was born in San Sebastian. This is the land where sculptor Jorge Oteiza (http://www.museooteiza.org/) is a remarkable example to follow, not only as sculptor as he was an influencer in all arts theory, aesthetics and experimental arts. His “Theory of Space” had been an important reference for all artists around here, and around the world. Not only on “arts” he had been followed by architects, writers, poets too. I am thinking now on “Quousque Tandem...!” (1) and “La Ley de los Cambios”(2) (The Rule of Changes) publications I suggest everyone to explore and read.

I had been lucky and I knew him directly because was friend of my father, so I met him when I was very young few times and I use to remind his advices. My father is artist too and had been involved in art themes during all his life, and also taught me a lot of things, overall, to have my own criteria and to try to use culture as a tool to make think, to get satisfied myself and to try to understand the world from a global point of view to a personal way and viceversa. Art is a way of living, and a way to contemplate all the mankind and the Universe. About Jorge Oteiza, I want to talk now about his wife Itziar. All we know at back a great artist there’s a great woman, and this is the example, too. Itziar was inspiration and hold for Oteiza often, an energetic woman who was dear friend of my mother too. Daily life with a creative person needs an special character, and both of them they were outstanding women. Itziar was a light for his husband and be sure we owe her support and trust on him a lot. I studied arts in San Fernando University Complutense of Madrid, later I had done workshops as pupil with Elena Asins (https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elena_Asins). Elena Asins was a pioneer on computer arts in “Centro de Cálculo de la Universidad de Madrid” on the 70s in a project supported by IBM. She was during years on Arts research at Stuttgart


University and she transfered me the great influence of Ludwig Wittgenstein thoughts, from the point of view of intentional nature of Arts. This means, by example, to be conscious what we are doing in each moment, to get control of the method. I define myself as machinimator, that means digital filmmaking about real time animation. The path to this state began in a real work, a real location, real activities and ends in a virtual character. My name as filmmaker is Glasz DeCuir, my pseudonym. What defines my work, and my character I will explain you later. Nor I am going to explain how was the “bridge” from my real artwork to a virtual one. From material to inmaterial, from my background and my personal experiences to a non-space. My un-link to make “material” art pieces began with the experimental serial I developed influenced by Elena Asins. I worked on visual poetry or experimental poetry during years. Recently ARTIUM’s Library -Artium Museum is a contemporary art museum located in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of the province of Alava in northern Spainorganized an exhibit where displays examples of amazing experimental poetry, focus too on basque artists. I was included too. Here is a short documentary I made about this event you can watch here ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5jrImw92k0 ). Visual Poetry was the first step to immaterial arts for me. I changed collages and other real-organic techniques for 100% computer art. I think cultural background of course directs from inner ourselves our lives, and in extension any creative process, but mind works always directing and, for any creative experience, imagination is needed working in same time, in once we decide what to do. The use of computers on a creative way was a decision, an intention holded by all changes around with internet. Now it’s time to explain how Virtual Worlds and Digital Cinema emerge in my life and defines my creative process. I decided to visit a “Virtual World” in 2017 for an event I saw announced online for Museums Day that year. The platform was Second Life, very popular then and there I founded artists from several countries around the world. I began to make movies and I need a time to learn, of course! I had some knowledge of audiovisuals from Fine Arts University but was not my area, and all that was happening around - and that is

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Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


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Women Cinemakers happening around yet in virtual worlds- is new, a new way of arts and cinema. In fact, between others things, Peter Greenaway gave an speech in University of Western Australia. He is a well known character as cinema director and great communicator, and we saw that on his words, you were enthusiasmic and polemic for the machinima community. You can read the full speech here (http://uwainsl.blogspot.com.es/2011/05/peter-greenaway-interviewfollowing.html) You are a versatile artist and your pratice is marked out with such stimulating multidisciplinary feature, and before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we would invite to our in order to get readers to visit 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 in order to explore a particular theme? We had lived the jump to adapt to a new space, computer development inserted in our lives with internet and mobile tools. There are a new media experiences we already know, and more virtual ways are been developing now. Concept of space, time, and other ones are changing. Soon we will have things people can’t imagine quite now. Our presence turns more to immaterial with the networks, and connections ways with other persons, the way we interact, are obviously changing. That what we are all seeing in our mobiles, our computers will be stronger each day. There are a lot of artists working underground that are unknown yet by general public, because those new tools are pushing to new ways on digital cinema too. “Experimental” by definition has tu be underground, not massive or known by public. Video editing by example, is done with same software for al, but living new times force us to search for new ways, to search our path and manage the tools to enphatize the concept or the medium we are talking about. McLuhan is known for coining the expression "the medium is the message" and thats important today; Also I had been interested by other thinkers like Marc Augé, the french anthropologist who coined the phrase "nonplace" to refer to spaces where concerns of relations, history, and identity are erased. Its related to architecture and spaces, the way we


Women Cinemakers

live the space. My serial “From Places to Non-Places” talks about this concept, how we move in new ways, exploring and giving them a new identity, another meaning different could had been thought in first look. The relations between humans and machine is fact that’s changing our lives. Another important influence for me is Yuval Noah Harari who make us think about the consequences of a “futuristic biotechnological world where sentient biological organisms are surpassed by their own creations” from ethics side too. I think are very interesting ideas.

About my blog, there I display my last movies with a short explanation. Each movie has a different environment, as are different concepts also. The chance to live immersives experiences in virtual worlds are related to the artists are working them too. I have contact with artists, filmmakers and composers who live in several parts to the world. This is a great way to interact, to learn from others characters and to share experimental artwork. The skill “multidisciplinary” I think is a request of nowadays. We have


Women Cinemakers

access to a huge information about any theme daily, so we have to select, to have a criteria. That’s the difference on each one, the way we filter all data in the cloud each day. We have to filter concepts, experiences, background, our own interests and to decide the meaning of any content we generate. Look over instagram, facebook, twitter, a lot of online places where imaging is absolutely present: there’s a lot of empty content based on the “visual impact” online too. That’s ok too, but as spectator, me I ask, I prefer something that can makes me think

about, to get me curious, that pushes to know more, to think about it. we have For this special edition of selected , an extremely interesting 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 . We have particularly appreciated the way your insightful


walks the viewers through such a captivating multilayered experience: while walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? “Hold the Light” It’s an approach at view on a paint, a canvas. Here is present too my experience as arts conservator - I have experience as paints restorer too- and how we get closer to examine a paint, looking layers, details inside the whole work of art, searching damages, driving our point of view deeper inside the materials. I used the amazing music of a british composer I know in Virtual Worlds, named there Zen Arado. He is from U.K. his name is John Taylor (https://soundcloud.com/zenarado/tracks) and as he makes paints too as hobby, I used an image of one of his paints too as elements to explore perspective. Cam movements here are always from front to the bottom, coming and going. It’s like a zoom loop, constant where we see details we don’t use to percibe looking the surface of a canvas. The movements rhythm are like waves on seaside, following the “light”, colors, like a route you draw over a map to drive a circuit. When you watch the movie you can see color drops floating in space, coming and going that are the “paint”, the materials floating and getting you inside the image. The light means the creative process, how a brain elaborates an image, draws an space. At end of the movie you can see the original paint of the artists. This work is englobed in my Non-places experimentation. First one was “FROM PLACES TO NON PLACES: PARAHI TE MARAE” (https://vimeo.com/237266277). Parahi explores a Guaguin famous paint. There I deconstructed the image too, from an image very recognisable by all public, as Paul Gauguin has a very defined style let’s call it a “place”- to an abstract one, an unknown aesthetic that could had been done who knows where… a non-place, an unknown space. In both movies I use a deconstruction as method to explore imaging. Music for this short movie was done by Amplidyne Effect (from Macedonia) https://amplidyneeffect.bandcamp.com/ reveals exquisite eye for the details and breathtaking editing style, to walk the viewers into a visionary adventure. We daresay that this video attempts to unveil the

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Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


interview

Women Cinemakers

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 the relationship between reality and imagination within your process? Yes, that’s a good point. Relations between imagination and reality is something needed to explain it, as we were watching a world of different size, or we would had been transformed into a “drop of paint” floating in the universe of a paint on canvas. True is when we see an exhibit, by example, we see at first sight the general content, but sometimes, something makes the time stop. Mean when and we rest watching just only one detail, as we were living in slow motion. Our mind concentrated in just one thing, no more as when we are meditating. These moments when we percibe something that make our senses wake up an go one step beyond to other stage, is known in arts by the name of “catarsis” ( in spanish) in english is called “catharsis”. But I don’t talk about emotional catharsis happens when we’ve been strong for a long time and then suddenly break. I talk about a certain level you get when you are doing something very concentrated, so concentrated you don’t think in another thing, “what time stops”. When happens? what makes it happen? It’s something that can be lived by everyone but you need an special mood of perception, and you can do the same routine and sometimes happens, other day no. When you are painting, by example, when you get a very high level of concentration, happens you get blushed, or you rest time as “if you were out of this world”, is something sensorial yes, but real!. As viewers, we can live it too. Is that moment, that one I wanted to display in this movie too. Talking about the edit, I use Final Cut as tool, and I explore the ways to use this software on my own way. Sometimes I enjoy manipulating colors and imaging on a way don’t look they come from “virtual”, thought most part of my footage is recorded in virtual worlds. This way gives me a flexible way to play with images. True is rarely I film in real life because I don’t have a good camera for that and my interests are center on virtual filmmaking. Sometimes I made experiments with real life footage, like the edit I made of the classic masterpiece “Man with a Movie Camera” for the 90to5 Editing Challenge I won in 2016.


Women Cinemakers

This is an interesting call that aks to “resume” in 5 min a long movie you like. There I worked on amazing images of the experimental 1929 Soviet silent documentary film, directed by Dziga Vertov and edited by his wife Elizaveta Svilova. Was selected as Creative Edit Award WINNER 2016 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPynrTBq8Wg) For myself was a tribute to the original creators pioneers of experimental cinema. Important is always the edit on the movie, I think there you decide totally the movie meaning; And was a woman, Elizaveta Svilova, who made the original cut of Dziga Vertov’s movie. Obviously director name is always more known, but for me is important too to remind her work and empower female artwork, because she worked most part of time beside Vertov and following her husband's death, Svilova left the industry. Reading about this female filmmaker, she won and in 1946 her film “Fascist Atrocities” was used as evidence in the Nuremberg Trials. Another interesting work that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled : it is a complex work and we would give it an in depht look. Highlighting the fact that the online technosphere allows us to establish mutual connections as it never happened before, the results of your artistic research seems to point out the interstitial area where reality and virtuality coexists, in order to create a new kind of aesthetics. Would you tell us what does fascinate you of Adaptive resonance theory and what did address you to use its ideas to deveop this gorgeous work of art? “Resonance Theory (ART) and Intrusion Detection System (IDS)” (https://vimeo.com/249233312) is a movie done for SLARTIST@UWA Machinima Challenge. The University of Western Australia (UWA) in Second Life had an important role promoting Virtual Arts and digital filmmaking since 2009 till this last call. Slartists its an online platform where machinima filmed in Second Life and others worlds are reunited. (https://slartist.com/). Machinima (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machinima) is often


A still from


Women Cinemakers related to “games” but that idea is a mistake, there are a lot of movies done as art pieces, the same that an Installation, an artwork, a virtual sculpture can’t be tagged as “a game object”. Thats a great mistake, and over all “machinima” it’s a word liked to war-game-platforms and that fact had damaged the essence of the concept of filming in virtual worlds. The University of Western Australia (UWA) in Second Life had promoted calls for several ways on virtual arts production and creation. This movie I made called ART & IDS compiles great part of the developing of important artists who where related to this call, and has a blink to relevant facts happened there. By example, Cannes Film Festival award winning director, Peter Greenaway was on the judging panel for MachinimUWA III in 2011 and you can read his words in this links ( http://uwainsl.blogspot.com/2011/05/petergreenaway-interview-following.html), same as others filmmakers used virtual platforms to experiment digital cinema and new ways of filmmaking. Something very important for my creative experience was the network I made on virtual worlds, where are found very interesting filmmakers and artist experimenting new media ways. Of course my friendship with filmmakers who are or were working there, like Tutsy Navarathna (3), Laurina Hawks (4), Cisko Vandeverre, Chantal Harvey and others had influence on my work. I had to learn video edition during these years, I have an artists background but I had a short experience in video editing when I met those avatars. That I tried to show on ART & IDS, how I was first an spectator later I get inside the “viddeo editing” learning, watching, experimenting and choosing my path, very conscious of influences, letting them flow and fly to find my own language. So, this machinima is a mix of my experience, with the artists present in virtual creative process. Artwork Network & Artists displayed on that movie are Isadora Alaya & Emma (California, USA ); Nish Mip (UK): Rose Borchovski (Netherlands) ; FreeWee Ling ( U.S.A.); Bryn Oh (Canada); Yooma Mayo; Betty Turead (France); Holala Alter (Spain); Silas Merlin (France); Cica Ghost (Serbia); DeceptionsDigital (Germany); SaveMe Oh (Netherlands); Blue Tsuki; Cherry Manga (France); Shenn Coleman; Krystali

Rabeni. SaveMe Oh was included here because is complete artist character working in virtual worlds. I made a lot of movies related to her performances, where mixes her remarkable character and her unique way of working. Her imaging its outstanding and for my taste,she is the artists who better knows use the potential of the new media arts (https://www.flickr.com/photos/saveme_oh/) We have really appreciated the way you moved from a scientific research to create such brilliant piece of work: French anthropologist and sociologist Marc Augè once suggested the idea that modern age creates two separate poles: nature science and culture society. How would you consider the role of an artist in such dichotomies that affect our contemporary age? Arts and science walk in different paths, so I think arts develope more the intuition, the imagination skills that every artist have. Quoting Albert Einstein “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” That words I added them in “Resonance Theory (ART) and Intrusion Detection System (IDS)” machinima and of course imagination comes always from the known and jumps to the unknown. Themes like nature science and culture society let arts, and cinema production in an unknown place… The old times questions about: what is the goal of an artwork, entertainment, make to think? need artists to be rebels? or need to be visionary?all this questions come back. But are themes from Leonardo’s and Micheangelo’s age, and as on those siecles ( on Renaissance), nowadays we are living very individualist “culture”. Look the selfies trendy on social media, the EGO is located at first place…me i believe this will change. Maybe is a react because we are getting closer to the machinerobots era. Soon a computer would be able todo a complete movie without a director, actors, writers, composers…. What will be let for us? Maybe we are scared… But I believe that those changing eras are the most interesting on creative side, and we


Women Cinemakers will see unexpected ways on arts. Think on BIG makes us feel like living inside an anthill. My recipe for that is use my own experience to talk from small as anonymous person to global things could be hanging around. When you are making movie, you have an screenplay, all your background but the pulse of the movie come with the material, the footage you have on the edit, all those themes ( or others) will appear ( or not). I don’t care of storytelling the same I don’t care of aesthetic, appears or not. It’s good to know rules, to have a method, but imagination is needed for all filmmaking process on the way I use to work. Marc Augé writes in “ The Future” that “Technological innovations, exploited by financial capitalism have replaced yesterday’s myths in the definition of happiness for all, and are promoting an ideology of the present, an ideology of the future now, which in turn paralyses all thought about the future.” Maybe new cinema could help to society to get approach without fear to our contemporary age changes, or can make people ask themselves about the facts are changing in their own lives and realize that is a global fact. One of the qualities of your work is the fact that they engage the viewers to draw from their cultural substratum to elaborate personal interpretations, addressing them to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. Are you particularly interested in structuring your work in order to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? To be honest I never think what could people think when watch one of my movies, though I think are done for every public. One of my goals when I was filming in Second Life by example -a world that is understood as a game-, was to use the imaging on a different way as a “classy” second life machinima could look. This means, to don’t be recognized the platform, but this was a need I felt working with a virtual artist I know there, SaveMe Oh(5). SaveMe Oh is an avatar - a theater director from

Netherlands in real life- who has a very personal way of manage her performs attaching her own images during her performances. This is difficult to understand if you haven’t been there: to visualize that I had to add layers, overload images as the way she does during her live performances - and the same following the music- so making these experimental movies as “The Performance that was Not Allowed” I found new paths to explore editing. Creative work, you see is a collective experience, that we call immersive arts are involved in the performance of imaging, music and on my side, my video edit to have a movie as last goal. Each movie where I worked with an artist, had been focused on the handling of the environment from conventional cinema, moving planes in harmony with the concept to the atmosphere suggested by the artist work. Personal associations are done in fact by universal or contemporary icons inserted on the artist imaging - and of course what I choose to add or not add on the edit- and as filmmaker is that what is relevant to transmit, the performance feeling, as as the same time I always try to follow the music, in “The Performance that was Not Allowed” is an original theme done by a composer from Germany called Deceptions Digital, and music defines the rhythm of this video art machinima. Sound plays a crucial role also in your videos and we have really appreciated the minimal still effective sound tapestry by MorlitaM that provides Macula with such an ethereal and a bit unsettling atmosphere: how did you conceive the combination between sound and the flow of images? Music for this movie was done with MorlitaM, a great female composer from Galicia, a region of north of Spain, so we have some points of connection on our taste. Her music is remarkable, she is one of the most talented musicians I know. This movie talks about Macular Degeneration also called: Age-related macular degeneration, AMD. Macula (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xaTWtTrm7c) is a very special movie for me, because my father has this view damage or


Women Cinemakers illness. Here we worked on the concept first, what was we were going to tell, MorlitaM composed the music theme and later I did the edit with my own footage. Is a mix of real life filmmaking with scenes I recorded in virtual worlds, a touch of surrealistic aesthetic to display views changes that happen: blurred vision is a common early symptom, later happens cells in the macula slowly break down and you gradually lose your central vision. A common symptom is that straight lines appear crooked, with stains on borders and distortion. I chose black and white look to emphasize the dramatic feeling on this storyline with a minimal aesthetic. I think musics drives the spectator to the feeling we were searching, with great sensibility. MorlitaM does magic with her sounds; She is producer, composer and DJ. and she works on New Media Art creation too. You can find about her great music compositions here http://www.nimbitmusic.com/MORLITAM You are present in several 'virtual spaces' of the web and it seems that you are particularly interested in sharing the results of your artistic research to a wide audience. Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic 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 technopshere affecting the consumption of art by the audience? Do you think that today is easier to speak to a particular niche of viewers or that online technology will allow artists to extend to a broader number of viewers the interest towards a particular theme? I think is a “have to” for anyone to share as far we can our work. Any artwork is totally completed without feedback. I agree with Marina Abramovi words and I like the way she explores the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind, but I work filming on virtual media, immaterial. That means the language I use is very different to any performance as we are used to know made in real life. Online technopshere made able to share and connect networks, but I think is very difficult to find filmmakers and artist online, if are not “known names”, you know Youtube,

Vimeo and other video platforms are plenty of videos and search are very directed by search tools like google criteria… its very difficult for any artists or filmmaker to get views because we work on themes are not “trendy” or shared by influencers yet, but in that mare magnum you will find very interesting works and machinima too. For a quick find, if you want to know more about films in virtual worlds, I suggest you to visit slartist.com(6) managed by the avatar Lapiscean Liberty ( Fred https://www.facebook.com/LaPiscean) who works supporting the Arts in a 24 Hour Original Content Community. You will find a mix form different platforms, and styles to discover, from movies done just for fun to machinima produced by professional ones. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in the contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades women are finding their voices in art: 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? Women we had been fighting for our work during ages, now we have a better presence but far away of male co-leagues have already… We all know the difference that daily happens in the industry, and same on arts. Male characters yet have more “authority”; but women we are warriors and hard workers and hope with time all can be more equal. By the way, in virtual worlds a lot of male directors and artists chose to be a female character, some they do that to empower woman and I like that. Now I remind “Laurina Hawks” who is a great filmmaker and writer in real life (https://www.facebook.com/hawksverse/) from Germany, but there are a lot of examples. Me I began a serial dedicated to women machinimators called “When Women Talk”. The channel is in https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE6dZiMq_pB6vXd0USFZ


yMA ; First chapter is a tribute to Pooky AmsterdamProducer and Writer for PookyMedia Films http://www.pookymedia.com/ a great woman from U.S.A. who is an example to follow. Award winning PookyMedia (7) videos in this new genre on filmmaking is a great example for web series made by professionals of the industry like Russell Boyd or Rysan Fall I invite you all to watch, you will enjoy their work a lot. Here is the documentary I made about her https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYaLLLWt7vE Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Glasz. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I will go on experimenting new media ways and‌ Work, work, work and see how flow all!! :-) Thanks a lot for your questions and to the readers of you publication, thank for your time. Now I want to share the best influence I have in my life about arts, my father Juan Luis Mendizabal MENDI who always worked in cultural themes in San Sebastian and was artist too: he thought me to have my own criteria and the love for arts. My documentary of his last exhibition. The event was in Tabakalera in San Sebastian, promoted by Kutxa Foundation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCIA804lJLk (1) https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quousque_Tandem...! (2) http://www.museooteiza.org/2013/04/edicion-critica-dela-ley-de-los-cambios/ (3) https://vimeo.com/user3382860 (4) http://wissdorf.com/ (5) https://vimeo.com/savemeoh (6) slartist.com (7) http://www.pookymedia.com/

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Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers meets

Rhea Storr Lives and works in London, United Kingdom

I propose an adequate film-language to speak about black identity by questioning how a body performs and how other bodies react. My work asks who has the right to speak about a given culture. Of Bahamian and English heritage, my interests centre around the inherent tensions of being in between two cultures. How do women of mixed race perform? How do we represent ourselves? There is often a sense of dislocation in my films; I frequently use digital and 16mm processes within the same work, treating film and digital recordings like bodies. I aspire for my work to have agency by laying bare the power relations of photography in the articulation of black culture, in short, image making as capturing. My work positions itself at moments of tension where images meet a resistance or are themselves resistive. I am compelled by those images which deny access, fail to articulate what they represent or don’t tell the whole story. Recent screenings include Hamburg International Short Film Festival, Germany, European Media Art Festival, Germany, International Women’s Film Festival, Germany, 34th Kassel Doc Fest, Germany, Alternative Film and Video Festival, Serbia, Aesthetica Short Film Festival, UK, Crossroads Film Festival, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, US, Affinities, Or the Weight of Cinema; National Museum of African American History and Culture, US, Black British Shorts; ICA London. Rhea Storr gained an undergraduate degree from the University of Oxford an MA from the Royal College of Art.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com Hello Rhea and welcome to WomenCinemakers: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a

solid formal training and after having earned your BFA (First Class) from The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford, you nurtured your education with an MA in Contemporary Art Practice, that you received from the Royal College of Art: how did these experiences influence your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does your cultural


substratum due to your Bahamian and English heritage direct the trajectory of your artistic research? I've always been concerned with the mechanics of image making and how images function as a frame for a particular world view. Images can be a way in, particularly when you are somewhat dislocated from your heritage, which for me is The Bahamas. Early on in my education I made some large periscopes from wood and mirror. I would go on walks to film through them. I wanted to disorientate people and question my known environment. In short, I created mediated experiences that were paralleled in the way I had experienced Bahamian culturethrough television, music and accounts from family or friends. I've been fortunate enough to receive a privileged education, where I have learnt (through error) that it is important to speak up and communicate your view as a woman of colour. For example, what can I learn from a rigorous anatomy class? How could I apply it to bodies that look like mine? It is easy to feel alienated but it also allows you to work in ways people don't expect. You are an eclectic artist and your practice ranges from video, writing and drawing, 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 http://www.rheastorr.com in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production: would you tell us

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Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


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Women Cinemakers 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? The work usually starts with a question, a problem or an image by which I am frustrated. I absorb a lot of information with a roaming, unfocused, intuitive eye by reading texts, images, looking at objects or experimenting with filmic processes. The evidence of this research will not necessarily be visible in the final work but a sort of constant peripheral making allows me to understand which parts of the work are important. I'll often produce drawings, photographs or scores on the way to arriving at moving images. Writing is invariably the most immediate and therefore first iteration of the work. For example The Image that Spits, the Eye that Accumulates started life as an elaborate letter concerning a mixed race body in an eroding Norfolk landscape, unable to move or speak. Much in the manner of W.G. Sebalds’ The Rings of Saturn, but from the point of view of a mixed race woman undermining objective standards of categorizing colour. Over the following year I produced photographic stills of the eroding Norfolk coastline captured on expired Kodachrome stock before finally moving on to 16mm film, phone footage and digital recordings. I like to be positioned on the threshold of something which is hard to define; ultimately the medium is just a vehicle to better represent the idea.


For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected Junkanoo Talk, a stimulating experimental video 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 your unconventional style is the way it provides the viewers with such an intense, heightened experience. When walking our readers through the genesis of Junkanoo Talk, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? In

particular, do you like spontaneity or do you prefer to meticolously schedule every details of your editing process? Junkanoo Talk started life in the form of a text entitled An Adequate Language which posits the idea that language is inherently inadequate. I wanted to think about cultural ownership and who has the right to speak about whom, particularly with respect to my own heritage. Junkanoo, as a carnival of The Bahamas, was an apt focus for the cultural in between that I


wanted to explore; the carnival often depicts other countries, scenes of national pride or is politically motivated. Considering The Bahamas as a former British colony, I find Junkanoo themes which exemplify Britishness or Royalty particularly hard to navigate. So the film is very personal to me, it considers a carnival which I have only indirectly experienced and the editing style reflects that frustration. There's also an element of wanting to control the image of the carnival subject; another

reason why the editing of Junkanoo Talk is painstakingly orchestrated. The detail of it helps maintain a rhythm too, which is incredibly important in carnival. We have highly appreciated the way Junkanoo Talk challenges the spectatorship's perceptual parameters to explore the struggle between reality and dreamlike dimension, your film provides the viewers them with a unique multilayered visual experience: how do you


consider the relationship between reality and imagination within your process? The dreamlike quality of Junkanoo Talk is an internal private space made public. It aims to have the taste of a few select elements of carnival. For example, when I designed the costume it was important to use colour in a way which would suggest a flag and therefore nationhood. You can see the imaginary flag on the dancer's chest. It signals to the outside. Often too I like to use abstraction to obscure an object or subject. There is something perverse in this impulse, to enact a forensic type looking (as in the crepe paper closeups) which conceals the context of the object and the costumed body. I see it as a form of resistance. 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 a researcher particularly interested in unveiling the idea of black identity, what could be in your opinion the role of artists in our post-truth contemporary age? In particular, does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? I want to see black identity talked about in a way which acknowledges its complexities. Image making is inherently political, it makes bodies visible and decides who gets a voice. For Junkanoo Talk I researched elements of Bahamian music and carnival arts but

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Women Cinemakers

culturally I'm heavily influenced by African American music or films. I was raised in rural Yorkshire, England, so I'm interested in defining a black identity which might leave room for all of these places and cultures, which at times may disagree or converge. Post-truth arguments ignore the specificity of a particular culture and its authority. At the foremost of my thoughts: What does it mean to be Mixed-Race and British? Even this does not seem particular enough. Marked out with such your video addresses the viewers to a wide number of narratives: in our opinion Junkanoo Talk could be considered an effective allegory of human experience: would you tell us how much important is for you that the spectatorship rethink the concepts you convey in your pieces, elaborating personal meanings? Junkanoo Talk only conveys a small part of what Junkanoo is like. (A relative once commented that the costume looks more akin to something form Trinidad and Tobago, much to my dismay). As a spectator in my films you are often made to piece fragments together. Speaking in fragments is an apt way of conveying multiple and conflicting narratives. In Junkanoo Talk I want to communicate a culture over which I can claim only partial authority and where the spectator has no power, by depicting a body which can speak but


refuses to be seen. The contradiction of visibility and refusal to be present is the reason why you see only glimpses of a body. The spectator knows there is a meaning which they are denied. Personal meanings for the spectator are inevitable. Someone watching in London might compare it to Notting Hill Carnival because that's their frame of reference, but in reality it's totally different to Junkanoo. The film is told in a very poetic, opaque way, which nevertheless for me has specific meaning. Part of the joy of working in such an open way is that many meanings can exist alongside one another. Both realistic and marked out with dreamlike quality, Junkanoo Talk is marked out with an essential and at the same time seductive beauty on a visual aspect, 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 the relationship between reality and imagination within your process? The focus of Junkanoo Talk is centred not on the invisible, but the hard to communicate or seldom acknowledged. My response to an image is to make another image. It is cumulative. The communication of carnival in Junkanoo Talk is somehow lacking and

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A still from


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Women Cinemakers therefore requires the incessant repetition of the same sequence of images. I wanted to give texture to an inherently ephemeral medium. In particular the subject matter evokes tactility and working with one's hands by considering the presence/absence of a body and the involved or obsessive way in which the costumes are constructed. In Junkanoo many metres of paper must be cut with a special type of fringing and cannot be stuck flat onto the costume. Working on 16mm film and utilizing the film grain mirrors the tactility of the costume. A huge part of carnival is to attract the eye and I find film to be really aesthetically pleasing in and of itself. Some things can just be pleasing. Sound plays a crucial role in your film: marked with captivating minimalistic quality, the soundtrack provides the footage of Junkanoo Talk with such an enigmatic atmosphere: how do you consider the relationship between sound and moving images? The work is choreographed to form a constantly interrupted rhythm. It borrows sounds from Rake 'n' Scrape, a type of music in the Bahamas also prevalent in Junkanoo. Most of the sound is made up of noises played on my own body, the brushing or beating of skin recorded very closely and amplified later. The method of making the sound is mimicked visually in the paper close-ups. Again, it is a kind of abstraction


which obscures by looking very closely at the body. Static was also very important to the work, as an auditory marker for sound which is absent, an empty machine-made Nostalgia, an event from which I am dislocated. I wanted to show that the image is incomplete, so carnival music and dancing body never occur simultaneously. Hearing image and sound together would legitimize the image or authenticate it in some way. We daresay that your practice seems to reflect German photographer Andreas Gursky's words, when he stated that Art should not be delivering a report on reality, but should be looking at what's behind something: are you particularly interested in structuring your work in order to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? It is not particularly useful to make a report on reality when the subject matter is masquerade, costume, degrading film, imagined portraiture or eroding landscape- subjects which I entertain in order to consider problems of communication. ‘The image that spits is the image that rejects me but sits beside me nontheless.’ My work becomes more opaque through poetic language and allegory. I am often really close to the work because I've managed to implicate my body or voice in some way. Once I made a work of my

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Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


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Women Cinemakers Grandfather's portrait (Henry) which was painted from a photograph after he died. He was made to look a little older. I had never met him but rescreened his image onto 16mm film. At that point it's very difficult to make a report on reality. Over the years your artworks have been showcased in several occasions including your participation to the Hamburg International Short Film Festival and to Crossroads Film Festival, in San Francisco. 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? It is important to me that the audience is engaged by the visual element of the film, which could mean making an abrupt cut, playing with colour, scale, duration and medium. To a certain extent I want to remain in control of the attention of the spectator, that they are not left to drift for too long. I collect information from lots of different sources and the finished result is perhaps the distillation of an oversaturation of images. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in the contemporary art scene. For


more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades women are finding their voices in art: 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 don't really see it as finding a voice as such but having my voice heard. I want to talk about mixed race identity and cultural representation which might be viewed as unconventional. (Although I don't think it should be). It need not be medium specific: I took much inspiration from the way in which Audrey Lorde describes vocalizing her experiences through poetry. It is also really important to look at who gets historicized, who is written about, whose work continues to be shown. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Rhea. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Junkanoo Talk is the first of two further films about Caribbean carnival in relationship to England. Over the three films the inward black box world of Junkanoo Talk opens up to Leeds West Indian Carnival and finally to Junkanoo in The Bahamas. Internal to external, I'll be considering performative roles at carnival and how the costumes get archived. The second film is the winner of the Louis Le Prince Experimental Film Prize.

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Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers meets

María Lorenzo Lives and works in Valencia, Spain

At the turn of the 20th century, pioneers from around the world competed to conquer and spread the art of animated photographs; in this pursue, the Lumières’ Cinematograph prevailed over others inventions whose names evoked, like the gods, power over the living: Etienne-Jules Marey’s Chronophotography, Dickson’s and Edison’s Kinetoscope, Eadweard Muybridge’s Zoopraxicope, and many others. Nowadays, however, pre-film inventions and devices continue to inspire many filmmakers who incorporate them into their movies, performances at galleries or multimedia shows. The animated short film Impromptu is a tribute to the origins of film through its forgotten parents, for cinema never was the invention of a single person, not two, but of many pioneers who contributed their ideas and innovations in the late nineteenth century. Most remarkably, Impromptu is a homage to that Fin-du-siècle period, to their female muses — such as Loïe Fuller, Carmencita or Anna Belle —, and to the fascination for movement itself. Impromptu is a joyful interlude where the past emerges in full color and excites the imagination, stimulating a feeling of nostalgia. The creative process behind Impromptu has led to combine different languages of animation with five musical themes by Fryderyk Chopin, to explore the underlying poetry of the score. Intentionally, each animated segment from Impromptu is conceived from a premise, suggested by the characteristics of the music themes. Thus, the first segment, “Prelude”, brings back the magic of Phenakistiscopes, an early animation device invented symultaneously by Joseph Plateau and Simon von Stampfer by 1832. The second movement, “Serpentine”, takes the chronophotographies by Muybridge, Ottomar Anschütz, Marey, or the early films recorded at the Black Maria studio, to recreate a lively dance. The third part, “Faces”, reunites 300 portraits that move to evoke Georges Demenÿ’s “portraits vivants”, looking for a continuous movement or raccord relation between them. The fourth part, “The Man on the Train” takes freely from the mysterious disappearance on board a train of film pioneer Louis LePrince, who recorded live action scenes on paper strips by 1888. To finish, “The Wave” suggests the movement of the sea from an abstract, geometric reduction, to eventually reach realism, as a tribute to Marey’s first chronophotographic film, “The Wave”, featured in 1891 at La Revue Générale des Sciences. Impromptu was shortlisted for the Spanish Academy of Film “Goya” Awards in 2018. It was produced by Enique Millán in Valencia, with the cooperation of the animation studio Pterodactive, and with Universitat Politècnica de València.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant

introduce you to our readers with a couple

womencinemaker@berlin.com

of questions regarding your background.

Hello María and welcome to WomenCinemakers: we would like to

Are there any particular experiences that did influence your current practice? In


particular, how does your work as a teacher of animation at the Faculty of Fine Arts in the Universitat Politècnica de València fuels your creative process? First of all, I was born in 1977 in a little town in the South of Valencia, Torrevieja. As many people from my generation, I grew up watching beautiful animation shows from Eastern Europe, and I particularly found very inspirating Frédéric Back’s (Canada, 1987). Later I could see in TV excellent short films selected at the Annecy festival, such as Paul Berry’s and Ian Mackinnon’s (1992), which made me understand that animation was a perfect vehicle for the stories I wanted to tell. So, when I was 15, although I had started my trainig as oil painter, I foresaw a possible future in animation. Later I enroled the Faculty of Fine Arts in Valencia, where they had just started to teach animation and, for my delight, I found that my lecturers were fond of the same films that had haunted my imagination. I felt totally encouraged to do the things I longed. Moreover, I attended to courses with

well-known European animators such as Raimund Krumme or Priit Pärn, who helped me to know firsthand the world of (short)filmmaking. I must also stress how important was for me the Spanish animator Isabel Herguera. At the end of my studies in 2000 I enroled the Doctorate school and I got a grant to start working at the Faculty, and eventually I became senior lecturer. Teaching at the Faculty is a time-consuming task: you must prepare your lessons, assist the students, etc. Moreover, during six years I had to teach animation in English. However, during these years I have found the way to continue making films, mainly in association with my parter and husband, Enrique Millán, a model maker who became a producer. The help of the Valencian Film Archive has also been essential to find funds for my films. Last but not least, working at the Faculty puts me in contact with very proactive students and I can always learn new things from them; very often I select as collaborators the more appropriate exstudents for each project, as I did for


: for digital composition and postproduction I required the services of Pterodactive, a small team of ex-students organized as a start-up company at Universitat Politècnica de València. For this special edition of we have selected , an extremely experimental video project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. We have been fascinated with the way the transporting atmosphere of your tribute to the origins of film provides the viewers with a multilayered visual experience. When walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell what did draw you to focus on this theme? Precisely, during the last years I’ve been teaching and it gave me the chance to delve into the origins of film. It is a so fascinating story... By the turn of the twentieth century Earth was truly the : there were so many pioneers competing to discover what to do with the animated photographs, as they called pre-cinema... But, at first, it wasn’t so evident that films would

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Women Cinemakers serve to tell stories. Eadweard Muybridge, for instance, invented sequential photography to allow the American millionaire Leland Stanford to win an eccentric bet. Thomas Alva Edison (via his assistant, William Dickson) wanted the animated photographs to be screened in little Arcade machines. At the same time, Georges Demenÿ wanted his version fo cinema to teach the deaf to speak... In 1888, another pioneer, Louis Le Prince, suceeded in record a real “film”, a sequence of seventeen frames photographed onto a continuous paper strip; however, he vanished misteriously onto a train between Paris and Dijon... So, many amazing adventures happened prior to the Lumière’s cinematograph. I wanted to create five little With tributes to these relatively unknown pioneers: the first one, “Prelude”, revolves around Joseph Plateau’s Phenakistiscope, a first demonstration of the “persistence of vision” theory; the second, “Serpentine”, focuses on cronophotographies; the third one, “Faces”, is a playful interlude where individual faces are animated as if they were only one person; the fourth part, “The Man on the Train” is a free ellaboration from Le Prince’s vanishing on a train; and finally, “The Wave” is an abstract tribute


Women Cinemakers to the first cronophotographic film to be exhibited, Etienne Marey’s “La vague”. Your film features such captivating combination between simplicity in the essential quality of the images you created and sapient composition: what were your aesthetic decisions when conceiving ? And how did you structured your post-production process in order to provide the flow of images with such consistent balance? In my opinion, all the little cronophotographic films that I quote in feature such simplicity. If I say the truth, my first aim with this film was having as most pleasure animating it as possible: I didn’t want to follow any preestablished script; instead, each part was improvised in contents and intention, and gradually it acquire sense as a whole. That’s why (improvisation) the film is called and not (a title that may would have evoked clearly the origins of film, the obsession with movement). Very often, each individual scene was animated during only one morning, from the first rough sketch to final art. I wanted

to use as many different techniques as possible, but keeping close to the drawing style at the end of the nineteenth century. So, painters and designers like the young Picasso, Ramon Casas, Ricardo Opisso, Klimt, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec were essential to find a coherent though variated drawing style. Moreover, I gave myself the opportunity to animate “under the camera”, painting the consecutive frames of an animation directly onto the same surface, which is a risky creative-destructive process that eventually freed my skills as an animator. Making all this by hand was a joyful experience. At the same time that animated each scene, I could combine animation with each of Chopin’s music themes I had selected. So, the soundtrack determined all the time the pace and rhythm of the whole. Featuring such brilliant combination between animation and references to some of the masterpieces of the pioneers of what ' in we could define ' the span of time that ranges from ancient ages to 20th century, is also capable of challenging the


Women Cinemakers viewers' cultural parameters regarding the notion of time and the influence of the past on contemporary art practice: how much important is to draw from the viewers' cultural substratum to trigger their imagination? Moreover, are you particularly interested to address your spectatorship to elaborate personal interpretation? How open would you like to be understood? is mainly a music film and, like Walt Disney’s , it is totally opened to the viewers’ imagination. Every viewer finds a different meaning deermined by their own background: most people enjoy the visual evolution, the rhythm, the dances, the aesthetic, and the emotion of movement. My four-years-old daughter absolutely loves it. Furthermore, a more initiated audience can easily discover the winks to early cinema and they try to identify as many references as possible. So, the film appeals to different audiences; the only secret is to be opened to it as a mesmerizing experience. is a gorgeous example of handmade style of production: how do you

consider your practice in relation to highend digital techniques? Do you think that your hand-made style provides your creative process with more freedom despite of what digital manipulation could offer? Moreover, how would you consider the relationship between pioneers' heritage and Contemporary Art practice? To be honest, right now I’m animating for the first time directly in the computer, with a graphic tablet. And I find that the digital tools I use reproduce very successfully the aesthetic features that provide charcoals and pencils onto good quality paper: that’s the result I look for. But even in this case I do not rennounce to add hand-made textures like scanned color papers or watercolours. was mainly animated by hand because I’m fast doing it... and I could do everything at home, without neglecting my own family... In my opinion, digital art is full of possibilities, but eventually we find inspiration in traditional art and different materials. Answering the second question, many contemporary artists are in love with early film and during my research I found many samples


Women Cinemakers


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Women Cinemakers of artists who create giant folioscopes and visual toys. Everything that deceives the eye is still so fascinating. The soundtrack by Fryderyk Chopin played by performed by Isaac István Székely plays an important role in and it provides the film with both intimacy and such a : according to media theorist Marshall McLuhan there is a ' ' that favors . How do you see

For me, each film needs a specific soundtrack. Music is never an added thing, it must be consubstantial to the film’s mood. So, I normally choose the music for my films from the beginning. In my imagination I cannot from my first short separate Gabriel Faure’s film, , and even my friends immediatly remember my film as soon as they listen to Eric Satie’s first . I have worked with original music only in and in , and both soundtracks were composed by my own nephew, Armando Bernabeu Lorenzo. I first edited the film with some For recordings from the Eighties, and we did not record the music until I met the fabulous concert pianist Isaac


István Székely, who lives near to Valencia. He was totally sympathetic to the project and he even added to it an unexpected music theme: Chopin’s , which served for the titles. Isaac István Székely’s scales at the piano, when he was just “warming up”, featured the main title. Thus, recording the music added a new dimension to the film: it not only forced me to re-adjust (for better) the rhythm of animation, but it completed the film just as it was needed. communicates sense of freedom and at the same time reflects regarding its visual unity: how would you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of a ? performance How much importance does play in your practice? A filmmaker need to make decisions continuously. In his , the animation master Jan Svankmajer states that the script is just a guide that you use when you don’t know what to do. A filmmaker must listen to the project all the time and find its needs. It is poison for the producer, who wants to see the films finished

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Women Cinemakers


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Women Cinemakers

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Women Cinemakers within schedule; but, fortunately, I don’t have such a constraint. Very often I rewrite scenes in the middle of a short film production, that sometimes takes me two years, even three, to be completed. While making , there were some moments when I didn’t know what to do... the abstract part was the most difficult to me, because I had never tried such language before. It took me time to understand the relation betweens shapes, colours and music, and gradually I learned how to combine them. But the production of was a very fast, intense experience: it took me only one year and a half, which is not bad considering that it is really five short films – in only one. We have highly appreciated the way your use of animation techniqueses adresses the viewers to explore the ambiguous point of convergence between the real and the imagined. Was the choice of creating an animation short aimed at providing your video with an ? Maybe the most imaginative and allegorical part of the film is “The Man of the Train”, the only part which remains vaguely narrative. It so little what we know from Louis Le Prince... I didn’t wan to tell a story with closure. The fragment opens and finishes with an optical toy: a Thaumatrope, which was one of the earliest


Women Cinemakers demonstrations of the “persistence of vision” as an optical illusion. So, all the story between these two points are merely an illusion... or that’s what I would like to suggest. For me it was also important to start the film with Plateau’s Phenakistiscopes because they provide a sense very close to hypnosis: leave away your worries from the present moment, and enter another dimension. “Prelude” is an invitation to beauty and magic, like all the optical toys were. Also, the sea is an important subject to me. I grew up only 200 meters from the sea, and I love swimming and sailing. For me, water means emotion, even passion. It’s not random that the is . popular title of Chopin’s The sea had an all symbolic meaning in my previous film, , it almost was a ... But for I wanted to explore its fractal movement, the mechanichs of its whirlpools, its mathematical connotation to express infinity. Even for the Ancient cultures, a simple drawing of a spiral meant , and that’s an universal language. We have appreciated the originality of your works and we have found particularly


Women Cinemakers encouraging your approach to animation: as you have remarked once, is also a homage to Fin-du-siècle female muses — such as Loïe Fuller, Carmencita or Anna Belle. Many female artists, ranging from Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi to French painter Victorine Meurent did not fall to prey to the emotional prettification and gave crucial contribution to the development of art: from immemorial ages 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 experiences as an artists? And what's your view on in this interdisciplinary field? It makes me happy that you mention Artemisia Gentileschi because I read her astounding biography long ago, and also Cammile Claudel’s. Both portrayed themselves as powerful, disturbing female characters, like Judith or Medusa, respectively. Creative women need to vindicate the , the negatives that have been traditionally ascribed to women who did not follow the rules, and propose more disruptive interpretation. And we will find that the audience is ready to receive these discourses. Many people still laugh very nervously when they watch the murder scene in my film ; but other


Women Cinemakers people, mainly women, have been able to reflect about it and about their own lives, and they have connected emotionally with the film. I like very much the work of female animators who ellaborate freely about sex and desire, like the Czech Michaela Pavlátova, the British Joanna uinn, or the Spanish – based in Belgium – Rocío Álvarez. And laughter is included in their respective views: probably we will only be able to demystify some taboos through a conscious laughter. One of the hallmarks of your practices is the ability to establish with the viewers, who urged to from a condition of mere spectatorship. So, before leaving this interesting conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. What are you aiming to provoke in the viewers? And what do you hope the spectators take away from your works? For me it is evident: if you spend two or three years of your life making a ten minutes film, you want to awake in the audience some reaction about it. It’s not just a question of prizes, selections and festivals. That’s narcissistic. I want to evoke something, to make and to make ;


Women Cinemakers although it is counterproductive to try to make think

– or part of the audience will be

upset. A short film is just a short film. But it must also be a experience: I’m not interested in the message as much as I am in the emotion. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, María. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I see my work evolving to digital processes, but I would like to return to hand made animation to create again little pieces. Right now I’m producing the animation segments for a very interesting documentary about one of the most important pioneers of film distribution in China – who casually was Spanish. It is a commissioned work and I was hired thanks to

, so it is very pleasant to

continue working on a so stimulating historical moment – and to hold certain degree of freedom to visualize it. Somehow the origins of film are always a powerful, everlasting inspiration. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Theodora Prassa Lives and works in Nottingham, England, UK

Lavyrinthos portrays representations of spaces and paths, which create the illusion of the infinite, the endless creation of plans, asymmetries and complexity which is life itself. Through intense geometric shots, I create repetitive compositions that negotiate human’s unbalanced relationship with his environment and paths of our own mind are represented. The square and geometry represent paths in our lives and the multiple layers dimensions and are strong elements here which bring together insights from the art of M. C. Escher, where he explores architecture, perspective and impossible spaces and the geometric abstract paintings of Piet Mondrian.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com is a captivating video by Greek multidisciplinary artist Theodora Prassa: featuring effective combination between elegant composition and captivating soundtrack, it challenges the viewers' perceptual parameters addressing them to question our relationship with environment. One of the most interesting aspects of Prassa's work is the way it urges the spectatorship to find the abstract in the real and the vice versa. We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her multifaceted artistic production. : we would Hello Theodora and welcome to like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions regarding your background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned your BA of Visual and Applied Arts from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, you moved from

Greece to the United Kingdom to attend the Nottingham Trent University, where you are currently pursuing a MA of Fashion and Textile Design. How did these experiences inform your current practice? Moreover, how would you describe the influence that your cultural substratum due to your Greek roots have on your general vision on art? If you had ask me three years ago whether I would use video art in my artistic development or not, the answer wouldn't be the same as today. Things have come natural to me with unexpected facts that I came across. During my undergraduate studies, I was lucky enough to get to know various techniques, one of them was Premiere Adobe. I did my first videos as part of a group with a friend of mine, who I met at the University, with whom we shared common aesthetic interests. Some of the videos were really good and travelled to many places as they have been selected and screened from various organisations around the world.


While I was studying in Thessaloniki I have been visiting and volunteering for International Film and Documentary Festivals and due to my volunteering privilege I had spent many hours alone in the dark room to watch films. These experiences have provoked in me a great interest and variety of filming options. I have been lucky enough to travel and live in several places: I lived in Germany twice for short periods of times, I visited the USA so my inspiration comes from my work in different environment. Environment and people’s interactions are something that I study and research a lot, so sometimes from random shots new ideas are born. After finishing my undergraduate studies, March 2017, I decided to pursue an MA in the Textile field. My decision came from series of unrelated events. I was selected to participate in a Design Exhibition in Greece, also I have been asked to offer my designs to a company in San Francisco. While studying in England I work on video art and I am currently investigating the creation of textiles using drawing and photography, from video stills that I produce. At the beginning of my undergraduate studies, back in 2011, I didn’t focus that much on my roots, but then through the cooperation of the University with Cultural Organizations I was involved with projects investigating the relationship between various cultures, which is something that has influenced me in my future projects. In European Media Arts Festival (2016), where together with a friend we had been invited to present our work, it had been compared with the ''Myth of Cave'' of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, but Greek elements in my video practice was not then so intense in use. As I am growing older the more I experiment with my Greek roots. During the summer 2017 I was in Dresden, Germany and I produced the short experimental film Lavyrinthos which name comes from Greek Mythology. It is based on confusing structures designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. I felt the need to add something that would reflect my roots. We have really appreciated the captivating multidisciplinary feature that marks out your approach, that includes among the others,

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Women Cinemakers video art, etching, design, printmaking, textile and drawing: before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we would invite to our readers to visit https://theodoraprassa.wixsite.com 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 in order to explore a particular theme? Trying new things and taking nothing for granted is something that is needed throughout our lives. Without trying we never learn. In my case one thing brought another: I started drawing lessons very young, then it comes the time that instead of pencil and charcoal you use pens, watercolours, acrylics, different papers and then collages. I have also kept the multidisciplinary exploration that I had been doing during my undergraduate studies. As I mentioned above, the curriculum of my studies included a variety of subjects which helped me a lot in developing my approach. I collect a lot of things which I find interesting and I think they can be used in a future project. For example in the project Alexandria=Thessaloniki (2015), which is about the relationship and the connection between these two cities, each of us had to get inspiration from the culture of Alexandria. It was a project which was supposed to be exhibited in the new Library of Alexandria which was reborn in 2002 to reclaim the mantle of its ancient namesake. If we will be lucky enough, maybe sometime in the future our works will travel in Alexandria. For the work that I created for the project Alexandria=Thessaloniki. My work City and Walls, which took its name from some poems of Constantine P. Cavafy, a famous Greek poet who lived in Egypt, I had to read many of his poems until I chose The City and The Walls, where he presents the limitations placed on our life as walls. The work is made of three series which they derive from the map of Alexandria, which I reconstructed. In the third work there is a restructuring of my choice introducing literary and visual arts as parallel reading. This parallel reading and artwork is like an illustration for a book or even an abstract metaphor of the words and the meaning of the poems. In this


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project my medium was etching and digital print because I was part of the Printmaking group in my University.

For this special edition of

we have selected

In each work that I do the medium depends on what I choose to experiment with for some short period of time and where I am living, for example when I stay for a short period of time abroad, I can’t have my own studio, so a camera is something that comes first in my mind. At the moment, due to the influence from my studies, I experiment with screen print, illustration and colours.

directly at https://vimeo.com/232229893. What has at once

, a captivting video that our readers can view

captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into is the way your work addresses the viewer to the thin line between reality and illusion. When walking our readers through the genesis of


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, would you tell what did draw you to focus on this topic? Humans’ complicated relationship with the environment is something that I have focused on and have expressed my thoughts with various media so far.

Greece and Germany. Everything started with one of the many visits

I have a tendency to look up in the sky or the architecture of the buildings and I want to capture an abstraction and a movement. Lavyrinthos, one of my recent works, has been filmed between

lot of visitors daily from around the world. If you notice the

in the Museum of Acropolis in Athens, a modern architectural building that houses the findings of ancient Greece. There is a lot of movement inside the museum because there are a materials that have been used inside the building, such as glass on the floor, before the entrance, but also inside the building, you can


observe people walking on top of it which is something really captivating for me as it creates depth, abstraction and abnormality. One year later it was the right time to continue my filming. While I was in Dresden, I had been lucky enough to have a nice view from my window, but the city itself is so majestic which is unavoidable not to have a great view. I had spent many hours observing the view and taking photos. The half scenes of the video are from there. Sometimes ideas are born while filming. As Pablo Picasso had stated “ .” Because if you don't have something to work with, how can you develop and continue? It is like in drawing or when starting a project you start making sketches or collecting images, keeping a journal in order to start thinking and producing. Sometimes there are concepts that are stuck in our heads and we try to find ways to talk about them. “Lavyrinthos” talks about the coldness and the complexity of life. It has a futuristic sense due to the lack of bright colour, the repetition, the lack of communication and the transparency which represents multiple events and things that happen simultaneously no matter what we do. deviates from traditional videomaking to develope that you include in your videos. Especially in relation to modern digital technologies, what is your point about the evolution of visual arts in the contemporary art? Evolution of visual arts was something that has always been influencing art development through the years from Stone Age art up to contemporary art. Nowadays with the breakthrough of digital technologies, to communicate and let others view your work digitally helps artists have a broad audience and a more wide opinion for their work. This form of act is something that can be easily done by anyone and travel his work around the world. Internet has helped many film makers, and for emerging experimental artists like me, it is a great tool as you don’t have to deal with transport logistics, toll booth and dimensions for the exhibiting room. In the online world of internet you can manage your publicity and exposure and you can talk about your thoughts and beliefs to an unlimited audience.

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More and more International Film Festivals of any kind, from cinema to experimental, are being held every year in many places around the world and in the future I am sure they will gain a lot more reputation and many fans. I really enjoy seeing films from around the world and love the feeling when you are sitting in the cinema and worry whether the next two hours are worth sitting and watching a film and then the conversation that you have with your friends discussing the movie is something that keeps people’s interaction alive. One of my favourite things that starts happening in Greece, in large cities and probably to many parts of the world too, are Short Film Festivals which are being held on the terraces of blocks of flats. There, you can enter interesting buildings and you are able to see experimental short films which you wouldn’t have the chance to see before and this way you feel that you are part of a community. Furthermore, projections in buildings and in undergrounds is a new habit and act. This is more to the people that if they don’t go to art, then art comes to them. Furthermore, the way of expressing ourselves and the exposure in smart gadgets, web and apps has influenced the arts too. Things don’t have the sensitivity they used to have. However, we shouldn’t forget the power of art materials and don’t let skills be forgotten. I think the most important is to try to experiment with as much materials as you can, do what you really like doing even this is considered by some people as banal or not modern because the part of the procedure of art making is really what matters most. provides the film with such The soundtrack of and we have highly appreciated the way you have sapiently structured the combination between sound and moving images. According to media theorist Marshall McLuhan there is a ' ' that affects Western societies favoring . How do you see ? There is a big connection between sound and images. I think there is no sound without an image because are connected with memories. Sounds have multidisciplinary approach. Sudden loud sounds such as alarms, ambulance sirens, are things that are connected with bad situations and make us filled with worries. There are also the personal characterized sounds, which bring us


thoughts of our own and memories which contain images that are connected with our brainwork or sometimes imaginary scenarios are born by listening to sounds. Sounds are really important for the flow of a film, it can make it more interesting and it can also give you more ideas for editing, so it is really inspiring for my work. Sometimes I work with the existing sound of my videos or it comes after the editing. In terms of filming Lavyrinthos, I have to admit that the sound although it was something that I found later in the process of editing, it worked perfectly well with the moving image. When you don’t work with a team and you are multitasking, from camera, editing, distribution and you have to find sounds for your work, you usually turn to free copyright music. I am really grateful to the composers that work for music without copyrights for various sites because I have used their sounds to some of my videos. But starting cooperating with experimental and emerging composers is something that I want to do in the future and I am really curious what their images are while they are composing. Copyright is a big issue and I haven’t experienced it yet. In a previous short experimental video, after being selected by a Festival, I was concerned about the music that I used in my work and avoiding the copyright, after asking a lawyer friend, I changed the sound because of the composer who was well known. Luckily the video works well with the new sound. At the cinema we often listen to much known soundtracks in some scenes which can make us for example feel lovesick or homesick, so we can feel more involved with what we see and deepen with the characters. There are other sounds which have become known from movies such as ‘Misirlou’ by Dickdale & His Del Tones intro theme of Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino. he sounds that have been created especially for a film, based on their concept, are really amazing. One of my favourite composers is Clint Mansell and my favourite Soundtrack CD is from Air for the movie Virgin Suicides by Sofia Coppola. We have appreciated the way unveils the channel of communication between M.C. Escher imagery and Piet Mondrian's

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Women Cinemakers approach: in particular, we like your successful attempt to create such effective metaphor out of your elegant geometry to represent paths in our lives and the multiple layers dimensions. How much importance are metaphors in your work and in particular how much important is for you the viewer's perceptual parameters in order to address them to elaborate ? Abstract expressionism, cubism, minimalism are some of the art movements that I really appreciate. Throughout our artistic development and in the process of creating something, our influences and knowledge are things we will carry on with us no matter what. What it really interests me every time I create something is to investigate the meaning behind a material or an image and the associations that they generate. I want to put the audience in a position of using their imagination e.g. in Lavyrinthos I question where the endless walking is leading to. What is nice achieving is to make others think the meaning of a work before they read the text or even before reading the title. When somebody is watching a picture with everything completely normal we just see a captured moment, but when in drawing we see something unusual for example a sad face, or the use of intense colour. I will take as an example the work of El Greco, The Vision of Saint John, it is mysterious that is how it is interesting. You question the distortion of the forms and the use of colour in the clothes of Saint John and the other figures. Pushing the images and drawings a little further and make the viewer think is really important for me. Metaphors and references from theories or other artists are another way of giving an explanation each time you create an artwork. It is also happening often in the writing and in poetry, where writers use metaphors to describe things, such as beauty in order to make us better understand something. In my case now it was M.C. Escher and Piet Mondrian. From M.C. Escher’s work I focus on the series of artworks with geometry and irregular perspectives of buildings, which are perfect illusions and impossible to exist. As viewing his work my eyes lead to a continues movement without knowing where to start and where to finish and our


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common little mathematic knowledge was catalytic to dare to identify myself with him and to the born of the idea of Lavyrinthos. Before the completion of my film, Piet Mondrian came to complete the puzzle with his well-known abstract geometrical compositions which he end up doing after his landscape drawings at the beginning of his career. For me was like giving life and movement to his minimal line compositions. Lavyrinthos features repetitive compositions that - to quote your artist's statement - negotiate human’s unbalanced

relationship with his environment and paths of our own mind are represented: providing the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience, your work seems to bring the notion of non-lieu to a new level of significance. How do you consider the nature of the unstable bond between human and our everchanging environment? Environment is the place we are born and live until the rest of our lives. People have intervened so much in it and that has resulted in the climate change, population and construction of architecture. Nothing is enough and the consumption is growing. Things are


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being created to satisfy needs that we don’t really have and are continuously added but are unnecessary necessities. We are being trapped to a cycle of a daily routine and we try to find ways of ‘’escaping’’ in a reality that is no longer reality due to being watched, not living how we really want through fake relationships, government issues, psychological issues that are increased. Hobbies, music and various fields of arts are little pleasures to reveal feelings, understand who we are and think outside the box. Of course not everything is so pessimistic and we shouldn’t let ourselves down. In comparison with the past we are in such

advantageous position, in health and knowledge. Which at other times would be unbelievable to find cure for diseases or explanation in various phenomena. Although I am a city person and I always feel better living in the city centre and be able to visit galleries, I am starting appreciating nature more as I am growing. This is something that happens to most people as they grow older and are getting bored of loudness. There is in many everyday things of our lives from pretentiousness, from the things we think we need so sometimes we need a reminder for that. In Lavyrinthos there is the notion of non


Women Cinemakers – lieu because the space that is created is non-place although it comes from existing places the way it is composed it makes it non existing. There is no gravity in the space which I have created and no communication between the people, but a continuous walk and shadows. Every artist gives the rules in his works such as balance and perspective. Another interesting work from your recent artistic production that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled Where is home anyway and it questions the meaning of home and property. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "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". Not to mention that almost everything, ranging from Caravaggio's Inspiration of Saint Matthew to Joep van Lieshout's works, could be considered political, do you think that Where is home anyway is political, in a certain sense? What could be in your opinion the role of Art in order to sensitize the viewers about some particular themes in our everchanging contemporary age? Where is home anyway has clearly derived from immigration and the meaning of property and it represents these meanings in an abstract and conceptual way without wanting to derogate but sensitize. An element of Greece is there, as I use scenes from the Thermaikos Sea in Thessaloniki, as a connection to the migration flow which is a big issue nowadays in many parts of the world. The history repeats itself. What I wanted to have as a result of this work was to show the movement of the journey, so the meaning behind it was a bit of a mystery I guess. Art acts as a kind of reminder to people of what has happened before. Nowadays the artists are not only creative in their studios, they are close to society issues and concerns. I think it is necessary to deal with such topics in order to make people aware of what is happening around us and make them rethink their role in what is happening. My inspiration derives from elements of everyday life, in order to comment on the differences that separate us and the migration phenomenon that exists in not only Europe but in many parts of the

world. With starting point the sea, with a neutral scene of the sea of Thermaikos, which is directly linked to the journey and the distance, I question the meaning of home and property. Also, the element of the sea, indicates the fluidity and at the same time metaphorically the uncertainty, because it can easily pass from the calm into the storm upsetting the peace of mind and our certainties. I create a dialogue with the everyday life of people through various collages of neutral shots. As long as there is development and the distances between people have decreased due to residential institutions, religion and language. It doesn’t matter the origin and which part of the earth we inhabit because our needs are the same. Art nowadays is closer to the society issues and many contemporary artists choose to comment on many of them. I will give a well-known example of Ai Weiwei with his exhibition in Museum of Cycladic Art where some of his works had to do with a project he had done during his stay in the Greek island of Lesvos where refugee crisis has got a lot of publicity. I think artists should show awareness in the issues we are facing. They don’t need to create bizarre or ugly artworks but find a way to win some minutes of their viewer’s attention. No matter which theme we choose to work on, I will borrow Daniel Buren’s quote “ ” To comment on your reference to the Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco, unfortunately things we take for granted in other parts of the world people can’t express themselves or they travel abroad and even change the way they are dressing when they go back home. During my stay in England I have heard and seen so many stories like that because there you can find so many ethnicities from all over the world. Knowing where you stand and what your beliefs are is really important. Humans are social species, we aren’t born to remain silent, we use our language to talk or express ourselves with actions. Your work includes both references to everyday life's experience and high end digital technologies We are sort of convinced that new media will bridge the apparent dichotomy between art and technology, and we dare to say that Art and Technology are


Women Cinemakers soon going to assimilate each other. What's your point about this? In particular, how is in your opinion technology affecting the consumption of art? Although young people are considered to be more engaged with technological advances, technology is something hot but still not all feel comfortable with. Changes happen with different rhythm in bigger and smaller countries and cities and you understand the difference when you land in a different place and you have automatically “to be programmed” with the way things flow, how people are consuming and the apps they use and keep your individuality at the same time. In terms of consumption of art in galleries, more and more museums, I will give as an example Tate’s website, are digitizing their works and providing information online about them. Not only this is open to a larger number of people who will probably never going to travel in London to see and learn about the museum’s collection, but also the gallery can’t display the whole collection, so this gives an idea about the whole collection. There are also another examples of digital art space which give the possibility to people see the whole insight of a gallery. The pedagogical side of technology is a positive aspect of and it is praised a lot. Despite its positivity, technology can’t replace reality and the feeling of the virtual experience. Technology should be used as supplementary and not in order to replace art but to help acquire more information and trigger the audience to visit museums. Somebody has to keep company to the artworks anyway. Nowadays social media are part of most people’s everyday life. Artists and galleries, in order to become part of the everyday life of their audience, have an active role in social media too. Everyone can communicate their ideas, question things, participate more and help art spaces get improved by communicating directly with them and giving their opinion through questionnaires. Recently, (December 2017), I participated to a Website Focus Group, through an open call, in discussion with some members of staff from Nottingham Contemporary Gallery and it is pretty clear that Galleries trust people’s opinion. There is also a feeling of unity between audience and staff and also the necessity of social media.

Technology affects also the production and consumption. When things used to cost more they were handmade, handled with care and they lasted longer. There was appreciation for the things we had and not replacing them every now and then. Today’s world is a fast train and if we want to catch it we have to run. If art and technology are used in good proportions it is the best deal. Because that affects also the artistic practice. Many techniques and materials in various fields of art change. Conceptuality is pretty much used in many projects, curations and that influences the way we produce an artwork because it affects the materials we choose to use. For example, the artists of constructivism had a committed acceptance of modernity and technological advances and that had affected the materials, the use of abstraction and in the construction of their work. Every period of time brought new beliefs and changes in many fields of life. All that matters is how you interpret your personality through your work and know who you are and what you are doing. As Le Corbusier perfectly said,

Over the years your works have been showcased in a number of occasions, including your recent participation to . One of the hallmarks of your art is the capability to address the viewers to question their own cultural and perceptual parameters. So before leaving this interesting conversation 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? 60+ LEAP SECOND SCREENING project that I participated was in 2015 and it is a global free, distributed work of art and technology. You can find more information here: http://noemata.net/leapsec26/doc/ it took place online with one second lasting films. I am happy to be part of this because festivals


Women Cinemakers and exhibitions are becoming alive with the participation of the artists. After two years the journey continued with screenings and collaborations of Leap Second Festival with Institut Français du Danemark Oct. 2017, in Brussels in collaboration with Yami-ichi, Sep/Oct 2017, at the Norwegian pavilion at The Inaugural International Autonomous Biennale (OR Cf) @ The Research Pavilion, Venice Sept/Oct 2017 and at 60-60.network @ de-TOUR. Palais van Mieris, Amsterdam, Nov 2017. When I start doing an artwork, what I listen first is myself if I like what I am seeing and doing. Because if I don’t like my work first then it will not have acceptance from others. In terms of filming, creating nice effects that are catchy is something that I have in mind when I think audience’s interest. As part of my textile practice in my MA project, I try to think the use of my pattern that can affect the viewer or a potential customer. Sometimes depending on what people stand for and do, affects what they accept as art what they like and what they understand when they approach artworks. Many people don’t understand the “Black square of Kazimir Malevich” and prefer watching e.g. realism. The thing is not what you see but what you feel and the more art you see the more you learn and create your own opinion. Sometimes I try not to be affected if a work of mine doesn’t have a big acceptance because art is something different for each person, sometimes it’s not only the work but also the place and concept. What it interests me for example in my undergraduate study thesis was through collages of everyday materials such as wrapping, foil, tickets which I placed one on top of the other, was to create conversation with the material and the associations that generate. So the audience can use its imagination by seeing things that are familiar to him and evoke memories. People are seeing many images every day and if you achieve to make them stop in front of your work in a gallery or screening, that is really great. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Theodora. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I am afraid of the time passing wasted or growing older so I always want to fill it with something useful each time I prepare my weekly program. Concerning the creative part I think I will continue filming as I do but I want to start slowly growing the length of my short films, explore editing and come across with new challenges. There are also other projects that I have in mind and probably start developing in the future. I can’t work only with one thing each time because I get bored really easily but I have many ongoing concepts and goals and depending on the period of time or just because of lack of inspiration sometimes I work with some projects more than others. For me keeping distance and revisiting your work is really important element while developing. Usually the ones with deadline are unavoidable not to be given priority. At the moment I have recently created a small experimental short that is focused on the culture of the city I currently live, Nottingham. It is a conversation with our past and how people experience the city they live or visit. It was quite challenging as I didn’t work a lot with abstraction as a start and I wanted to show some particular cultural stations and I focused on the evolution and the changes of the city th century up today e.g. historic buildings and the from the 11 technologic evolution (trams). Not to forget I have a MA project to work on, produce work and challenge myself. That involves also some filming for my project with the aim to unite harmoniously the digital medium with the contrast of drawing in textiles by pushing techniques and experiment. I try to participate and experience in as many things as I can because you never know where the roads in your life may lead you to, but it’s worth following them. For those who are interested, can visit my website and see my latest news and screenings. Thank you for the great conversation we had. It’s been a pleasure answering your questions.

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


Women Cinemakers meets

Ruta Bauzyte - Jarosz Lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania

I was born and raised in Vilnius, Lithuania, Northern Europe. Being surrounded by different cultures throughout my life, I am fluent in five languages. After studies at schoolchildren department at Vilnius J.Vienozinskis Art School (1996-1998), I enrolled in the Vilnius Academy of Arts, where I specialized in painting over four years. I graduated in 2002 (BA in Painting with a Teaching Certification). I work mainly in painting (oil on canvas) as well as in video art. So I am always in between old and new; in between oil, brushes, canvas and digital world. By making videos I make something between poetry and painting/drawing, something between painting/drawing and video, something between old and new, from oil on canvas or drawing on paper to digital moving image, ''telling'' stories by images instead of words, ''writing'' them on a screen instead on paper. I loved drawing since my early childhood. One day then I was about 3 years old, my mother could not find anyone who could take care of me, because for some reason the kindergarten was closed for a while. Therefore she took me to her workplace. She was a lecturer of Social Sciences at Vilnius University then. She gave me colorful pencils and a lot of sheets of paper, thus I could be occupied in drawing during her lecture; soon I ran out of drawing paper, so I asked if I could sit next to her students and draw on a page corner of their notes and I was allowed to. I did not understand the meaning of the students‘ writings and numbers, I did not have reading and counting skills at such an early age, but somehow I noticed that those writings, numbers and my colorful drawings visually looked somehow aesthetically pleasing and somehow they complemented each other and that somehow those writings, numbers and my drawings turned into a whole picture. Therefore, I became an art student at Vilnius Academy of Arts. Since the very first year of studying painting, my dream was to connect painting or drawing with writing, I mean not literally to connect them, like to write something on my paintings or drawings (although sometimes I do that), but to make something in between poetry and visual image. That visual image could play the main role and stand by itself instead of being just a mere illustration or replenishment to a printed text.

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

Rejecting any traditional classification regarding its multifaceted nature, the work Lithuanian

multidisciplinary visual artist Ruta Bauzyte - Jarosz aka (Painter Coded)triggers the viewers' perceptual and cultural parameters, offering a multilayered visual experience. In the body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she walks us through the liminal area in which perceptual reality and the


Women Cinemakers 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 Ruta and welcome to : we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you graduated with a BA in Painting, that you received from the Vilnius Academy of Arts: how did this experience of training influence the evolution of your artistic sensitivity? Moreover, are the any experiences that did partlcularly address your artistic research over the years? Hello

team!

I think it comes from my early childhood experience. One day when I was about 3 years old, my mother could not find anyone who could take care of me, because for some reason the kindergarten was closed for a while. Therefore she took me to her workplace. She was a lecturer of Social Sciences at Vilnius University then. She gave me colorful pencils and a lot of sheets of paper, thus I could be occupied in drawing during her lecture; soon I ran out of drawing paper, so I asked if I could sit next to her students and draw on a page corner of their notes and I was allowed to. I did not understand the meaning of the students’ writings and numbers, I did not have reading and counting skills at such an early age, but somehow I noticed that those writings, numbers and my colorful drawings visually looked somehow aesthetically pleasing and somehow they complement each other and that somehow those writings, numbers and my drawings turned into a whole picture. Therefore, I became an art student at Vilnius Academy of Arts. Since the very first year of studying painting, my dream was to connect painting or drawing with writing, I mean not literally to connect them, like to write something on my paintings or


Women Cinemakers drawings (although sometimes I do that), but to make something in between poetry and visual image. That visual image could play the main role and stand by itself instead of being just a mere illustration or replenishment to a printed text. While studying painting, I spent 4 years at an easel, so perhaps when I’m making my experimental videos I use my paintings on oil on canvas or on my drawings with ink markers on paper. Therefore, taking pictures of my paintings or drawings, uploading their pictures to the experimental videos, I do so that the viewer can see the marks of brushstrokes, feel the rich oil texture, paint drips, streaks of ink markers, see the image drawn from the lines of drawing. So I am always in between of oil, brushes, canvas, paper, ink markers and video making; in other words in between of real life and digital worlds. we have For this special edition of selected , a stimulating experimental video that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that . What has can be viewed at at once captured our attention of your work 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 develope the initial idea? I chose as the main “actors” my and my husband’s boots that we wore during our wedding, as well as our everyday shoes. However, these facts are not known for viewers of the video. I wanted to use high heels and casual women's shoes and festive and everyday men's shoes as a symbol of a man and woman in


Women Cinemakers the broadest sense. The action takes place on a two-story shoe shelf, where every single shoe has dedicated the same space. Technically, I did this by drawing sketches on a paper with a marker, then I photographed these pictures, transferred them to a computer screen, then I made digital manipulations of those pictures, from which I created a lot of stills, and of them I compiled this experimental video. Talking about this video, my aim was to make a video fairytale without an end. Usually fairytales without an end start in the same point and words as they end and vice versa, therefore they can be repeated many times without an end. Equivalently the video drawing starts in the same images as it ends. Thus, I wanted to make a story without an end about dancing shoes, to convey it with black and white moving images instead of black and white printed words, to write it on a screen instead on a leaf of paper. I chose my marker drawings on paper and turned them into digitally manipulated drawings, then made an experimental video of them. As you can see, everything is made of black and white lines. The inspiration came from my early childhood. My father was a doctor of humanities, therefore ever since I can remember our home was always full of books. My father had a habit of reading books very thoroughly, he used to underline texts with pencils. When I was a little girl and couldn’t read yet, I loved to turn over my father‘s books’ pages, to look at those black and white printed words, underlined with pencils; even if I could not grasp the meaning of what was printed then, for me those pages


Women Cinemakers

seemed somehow aesthetically harmonious. Therefore, being an adult, I made connections between drawing, lines, fairytale words and summoned up all these elements into one piece of video art. As you have remarked once, could be considered a fairy tales without an end: 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? I wanted to leave a wide field of viewer's fantasy, allowing every viewer to take advantage of their unique personal experience and grasp the dance of the black and white man’s and woman’s shoes in their own way. Perhaps some viewers will see the elegant black-and-white men's and women's shoe dance in this video, others may see a dramatic tension between "actors' shoes", especially in episodes where the image is turned upside down when shoe dance moves from floor to ceiling when unexpectedly turns black white, and white becomes black, while others may, perhaps, see another, and perhaps even more significant, meaning. But most of all I wanted to make an impression that everything comes from nothing, from the darkness, and everything is gone to nowhere, everything is falling back into darkness. attempts to We daresay that unveil the invisible that pervades our reality but that cannot be detected by our sensorial experience. Do you


Women Cinemakers

agree with this interpretation? Moreover, how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination within your process? That is why that experimental video starts with a black blank screen that I wanted to present as dark. Then, in the dark, there are white frame lines that define the screen - an imaginary square, as if there were four equal rectangular spaces drawn out of nothing, as if there were four rooms, there are specific objects: a man's boot, a woman's boot, everything turns into dance, black turns white, while white is black, the image is turned upside down and comes back again; and then I leave everything to the viewer's imagination. At the end of the film, everything goes dark again; everything disappears so quickly, dissolves as it appeared: I deliberately did it that the stills swiftly changed each other so that the viewer would not be able to understand whether it was real or imaginary. Another stimulating work that we would like to introduce : this work can to our readers is entitled be viewed at https://vimeo.com/36556633 and it could be categorized as a . It consists of 17 images of symbols and signs -- equivalent to the use of 17 syllables in the Japanese poetry form Haiku. How did you come up with the idea of combining techniques from the field of visual arts with poetry? I got the idea of how to combine visual arts techniques with poetry by coincidence in 2011, when surfing online. I found an open call to one-night annual international juried festival of film, sound and new media 'Lightworks 2011', organised and directed by Grimsby Institute at North East Lincolnshire in the UK.


A still from


Women Cinemakers

Curators of the event asked their students and others to make a video haiku for the festival. For the first time they had a special video category called 'Video Haiku'. As a result, for the first time in my life I set myself a challenge to create a video haiku and thus finally I found how to make connections between painting, poetry and video art and to summon up all these elements into one piece. I took my paintings (oil on canvas) from the series called ' ' in which traffic and safety symbols as well as symbols found in shopping malls were depicted and after photo manipulating these paintings I made 17 stills of them equivalent to 17 syllables of a haiku. I chose traffic and safety symbols along with shopping mall symbols for the haiku because from my point of view they somehow relate to ancient cave paintings. According to some theories, cave paintings were not just merely decorations of living areas, they may have been a way of communication with others. Hence, in my opinion, traffic, safety and shopping center symbols also are a certain way of communication and they can tell a story of the 21st century humans in their visual images, they are like an international visual language of communication that can be understood in a global context. Thus, my goal was to connect painting (oil on canvas), poetry (haiku) and video art; and to make all these elements to play roles of equal importance in one piece; to tell a one day diary story in the international language of images instead of words, to write it on a screen instead on a sheet of paper. (1 min 48 sec) was the first video I have ever made and to my surprise it was selected for the festival. That fact encouraged me to create another video — video drawing . The inspiration for early childhood and as you explained once,

came from your


Women Cinemakers

could be considered a : how do you consider the relationship between direct experience and your creative process? Does daily life fuel your creativity? am fluent in five languages, but I am still looking for that international image language. I choose and use such daily items as shoes or symbols we see everyday in shopping malls, or road signs for my video work, in order to make these common objects and symbols an international image language so that my video poetry would be understood without translation to the viewers of various cultures and continents. I do not even look for such symbols, sometimes I find them on my shoe shelf, sometimes I notice them while walking in the nearest supermarket, sometimes I detect them through the car window on the roadside. I

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 '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, when I was studying at the Vilnius Academy of Arts from 1998 to 2002, at that time, at the Department of Painting, all the lecturers were men. There was not a single female lecturer. When I was an art student, I always had the ideas about my new artworks and the desire and the opportunities to implement it. Howerer, I ceased to trust myself at one and the


Women Cinemakers same time, although I was a good student. I thought that I would not understand the rules of art world in any way, and I will never find my place in it, unless I make certain compromises. I was so disappointed with everything and stopped believing in myself that I even decided not to continue studying art, throwing everything out. However, I was encouraged by the studies of girls who studied with me and continued the Academy. After graduation, only 7 years later, there was a desire to try my artworks to be accepted for exhibitions. For a while I hid under a pseudonym because I thought that it would be so bold to introduce my ideas. After some time I was delighted to exhibit works in my true name. Although my paintings were exhibited in my country, my video works have never been exhibited in my home country. I used to have a lot of new ideas for my video works, but I didn't find any viewer, and I lost my interest of making new videos. But the endless desire to combine painting or drawing with poetry and video art defeated me, so I made video work further. And the unexpected encouragement not to stop creating came from abroad when my experimental videos were accepted into international juried exhibitions in the US, Israel, the UK, etc. Participating in international juried exhibitions, while observing the work of both male and female artists, I realized that both the intelligence of both men and women is the same, and that the professional female artist’s remarks about my work are just as important and valuable to me as professional male artists. And I will not say anything more clever than Jane Campion said, "I do not think that men see things wrong and women are right, just we see things differently". But I would not say the truth if I said that I do not need encouragement.


Women Cinemakers It's cool if more and more interdisciplinary women artists who work in unconventional way artwork are exposed on time. If the viewers are given the opportunity to discover them while they are still alive and creative, then they are encouraged in their time, and then they want to create more, go ahead, not stop. Deep inside sometimes I am still a student of the Academy, I do not believe in my strength and want to leave the world of art because of the rules that exist in it, which are difficult to comprehend, but every time my works are accepted into exhibitions, I re-assert myself and develop it further. As far as video work is concerned, I am doing everything for an idea, from the endless desire to combine painting or drawing with poetry and video art and present it to the audience. Over the years your artworks have been internationally showcased in several occasions including your participation to the 4th International Juried Exhibition of Video and Digital Media Installation at The Art Gallery at the College’s Branchburg Campus and to "121&1" international juried short silent film exhibition, Gate 3 Gallery, Haifa. 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 component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of artistic language is used in a particular context? I noticed that people are learning to become more aware of and receive the message they send. The pace of life of people is getting faster, so my video works are getting shorter and faster. Therefore, my last video work, , is fast changing, shimmering, flashing and takes just a minute. So how long it takes to read one part of


Women Cinemakers the poem? Although my paintings are colorful, I prefer to use monochromatic colors or black and white color palettes in video works. And as I mentioned earlier, looking for characters that are taken from everyday life and understood by viewers from different cultures and continents, I have been looking for a long time for male and female characters. I realized that women's shoes and men's shoes would be most suitable for my audience. And so that my day-to-day diary would be understandable for the international audience, I decided to "write" it on the screen using international symbols such as road signs, supermarket signs and symbols such as taxi, emergency exit symbol or the universally recognized symbols for male and female toilet signs or business logos, etc. In a nutshell, I'm looking to convey ideas in my video works in an international image language. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Ruta. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Well, you and this interview gave me a lot of encouragement, so I plan to re-create a video of a series of portraits: a series that I made in charcoal or ink on paper many years ago. If I succeed in moving those drawings to the screen and they will relive in the digital world, the "actors" become the faces of people, perhaps again, to create video poetry, this time from portraits. So again, I will take pictures of my drawings, dig them into a digital space, do their digital manipulation, and again put them from the stills, put them in place, until I understand that they are looking at the whole as a whole, and this can be considered as a completed piece of experimental video. Well, I'd still like to combine this upcoming video work with art sound or just to find a soundtrack for it.


Women Cinemakers meets

Chen Wang Lives and works in Rochester, New York, USA

Through a variety of elements including video and installation, I portray a satirical imaginary space based on our present-day society. The universe that I like to express is both utopia and dystopia. The protagonist of my video is always alive and performing. I express my personal mythology by creating different personas and construct a new environment that re-defines my identity. The costumes give me opportunities to seek and alter myself into different roles in my visual creations. The abstract figure and natural forms within the video create a fantasy space that reflect multiple realities. I use bright colors and optimistic aesthetics to challenge the boundaries of the physical body. Constructed biomorphic forms entangle and pulsate speaking about gender, politics and sexuality. The process of my practice is a direct metaphor for the content of the work. Layering drawings and performances together allows me to construct an ever-evolving image. In my work, the video is not specifically driven by liner story telling; open up multiple possibilities for meaning and allow the audience to have more space to construct their own stories and insert their own desires into the scene. I invite audience to add another layer that transforms and changes the space. The video creates illusion of figures and spaces for viewer to engage.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier

multidisciplinary artist Chen Wang: her

and Dora S. Tennant

unconventional approach is marked out with

womencinemaker@berlin.com

captivating use experimental form languages

Utopia Process is a stimulating experimental

and intense color charts, to offer an

film by New York based filmmaker, and

emotionally charged visual experience,


inviting the viewers to unveil the ubiquitous beauty hidden into the details of our everyday life's experience: we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to Wang's multifaceted artistic production. Hello Chen and welcome to WomenCinemakers: we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions regarding your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does the relationship between your cultural background due to your Chinese roots and your current life in the United States direct the trajectory of your artistic research? I think my evolution as an artist is about the process of learning, thinking and making. Every idea starts from the simplest form. Even as a simple sketch, it leads to another. I grew up in a small city in China and came to the U.S. to study in 2010. I became aware of the huge differences between western and eastern cultures. At first, I was very interested in comparing the many aspects of these cultural differences. However, after several years of living in the states, I’ve become more interested in trying to discover common ground in people living in different societies. I seem to learn more about myself in that process. I think no matter where

interview

Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


interview

Women Cinemakers we are from, we are connected in many different ways. You are a versatile artist and your practice is marked out with such stimulating multidisciplinary feature, that allows you to range from video, hand-made costume, and drawings, to animation, performance: would you tell us what does address you to such captivating multidisciplinary approach? How do you select a medium and a technique in order to explore a particular theme? I had a huge interest in performance during my undergraduate studies, even though I came from a traditional drawing/painting background. Later, I went to a photography program for my master’s degree and was enormously influenced by so many different technologies like software, printers and equipment. I have to say that those experiences opened my mind to thinking about other possibilities in art. I tend to seek out and research the best media and learn the necessary techniques that fit the theme of the work in progress. For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected Utopia Process, an extremely interesting experimental film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be


Women Cinemakers

viewed at https://vimeo.com/256351642.

walking our readers through the genesis of

Drawing the viewers through an imaginary

Utopia Process, would you tell us how did you

utopian space, your video escapes from

develop the initial idea?

traditional narrative form to pursue a sensorial

Utopia Process is a further development work

richness rare in contemporary video art: when

from my earlier piece The Rabbit Hole. The Rabbit


Women Cinemakers

Hole is a multimedia installation, which combines

Rabbit Hole, Utopia Process has a similar visual

drawing, performance, animation, and sculpture

and emotional connection with viewers. My

to celebrate gender as a performative expression

intention is to create a world in which a collision

of sexual identification as neutral and fluid. By

of subjects and space occurs. It is about creating

adopting the similar process of making The

an experience of looking within the space and


dealing with the complexity of our relationship to it. Utopia Process seems to reflect German photographer Andreas Gursky's words, when he stated that Art should not be delivering a report on reality, but should be looking at what's behind something: are you particularly interested in structuring your work in order to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? The title, Utopia Process, refers to a utopia that is not stable or established. The video is not specifically driven by linear storytelling, which opens up multiple possibilities for meaning and allows viewers to construct their own stories and insert their own desires. Since the idea of utopia is a very subjective thing, I invite viewers to add another layer that transforms and changes the space. The interaction between video and audience makes the work continuously evolve – viewers become part of the Utopia Process. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, Utopia is also pointing towards to a dystopian vision of current society: Mexican

interview

Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


interview

Women Cinemakers

artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "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": does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? Moreover, how do you consider the role of artist in our unstable, everchanging contemporary age? My research and practice has evolved by transitioning between two different cultures. As a result, I’m drawn to clashes and remixes of culture, identity, sexuality, gender, and performance through the notions of time and space. I think a lot of artists have had to develop a more global sensibility as a result of our contemporary age, but we all have to approach it from our personal experience. We have highly appreciated the way Utopia Process challenges the audience's perceptual parameters to explore the struggle between reality and dreamlike dimension, your film provides the viewers them with a unique multilayered visual experience: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination within your process?


Women Cinemakers

I think imagination and reality are codependent. Everything is coming from my daily life. I tend to create an overwhelming fantasy world by putting multiple moveable layers together that become unstoppable and continue their transformation as

a way of thinking about the possibilities of a future world. It is about creating a world in which a collision of reality and imagination occurs. Marked with captivating minimalistic


Women Cinemakers

quality, the soundtrack provides the video of Utopia Process with such ethereal and a bit enigmatic atmosphere: how do you consider the relationship between sound and moving images?

I had no experience of making sound, so it became one of the biggest challenges for me. There was a specific sound in my mind while I was creating the video, so I tried to recreate it using the tools I had. After I finished the video, I


organized the sound and added it to the piece. I think it helps integrate the sensory experience and allows for something more than just the visual, without becoming too cinematic. Your experimental practice deviates from traditional videomaking to question the unbalanced relationship between everyday life's experience and the digital realm, reminding us of Sondra Perry's approach. Especially in relation to your editing decision, how do modern digital technologies affect your creative process? Modern digital technologies help me accomplish many of my ideas. Otherwise, they might only exist as drawings or live performances. Even now, I’m still learning new technologies to better express some of my ideas. For me, it can do something that traditional methods that cannot do. 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

interview

Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers consider the issue of audience reception? And what do you hope to trigger in the spectatorship? I want the audience to enter a space and feel lost, or maybe overwhelmed at first, but then become hyperconscious of the details. It starts by a viewer shifting their focus around, then narrowing in on specific elements. It gives the viewer an opportunity to construct their own stories and insert their desires. The audience reception then has a chance to evolve and change with the work. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Chen. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? My current work in progress, Animal World, is a timebased installation. I’m interested in exploring narratives that relate to my life experience with gender, identity and sexuality. In addition, I am interested in exploring an immersive reality platform that viewers can experience as part of the final exhibition. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Bonnie Lee Lives and works in Los Angeles, USA

Bonnie draws in a whimsical, quirky, and playful style. Her drawings communicate stories that are full of life, experiences, and insight. They are delightful and funny in a evocative yet simple way. Though the drawings are simple on the surface, they have many layers underneath, like an onion. People are often sucked into her stories, because they are human experiences that everyone can relate to. They have a sense of depth and an element of selfsurveillance."

An interview by Francis L. Quettier

school, I have met some of the most incredible teachers of my life.

and Dora S. Tennant

Hello Bonnie and welcome to WomenCinemakers: to start this interview, we would ask you a couple of question about your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as a filmmaker? Could you tell us your biggest influence and how did they affect your work?

My earlier influences were fine artists and performance artists like James Luna, Rirkrit Riravanija, and Christine Hill. Their integration of art and life is seamless to me. More recently, I’m inspired by William Kentridge charcoal videos and Marie-Margaux (Margo) Tsakiri-Scanatovits from the Moth Collective in London. Kentridge talked about the violent events that took place around him in African; Margo’s personal project about her mother through a series of blind contour drawing is impactful to me.

Yes, I was a fine artist prior to being a primary teacher for over 10 years. Having been a teacher for so long made me a better student. Four years ago, I decided to take a break from teaching to go back to school. These past three years in art

For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected , a captivating short animation video that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and

womencinemaker@berlin.com


that can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/224884069. This video is a metaphor for a true story about two women who were switched at birth and didn't find out until 40 years later: would you tell us what did attracted you of this story and how did you develop your video? I learned about this story from National Public Radio show called This American Life. I was attracted to this story, because I tried to put myself in the women’s shoes. I couldn’t help but to think: What if it was me being switched. How much of life is predetermined and how much of it is how we make of the life that we are given. I love doing things handmade. I feel that it is more direct and straight from the heart. While I love the handmade, I’m constantly learning new things to make my message clearer and succinct. The first draft was very choppy. I relied solely on stop motion. After consulting with my mentor, I made some necessary adjustments: My favorite change is switching out the hay with remnants of an egg carton. Thank so much for my mentor Ko Maruyama for his support and guidance. Whave appreciated the way your approach challenges the viewers' perceptual parameters, reminding us of Jan Švankmajer's approach: how do you consider the relationship between perceptual reality and the realm of imagination? Thank you for your reference to Jan Švankmajer work. I love his clay animation very much. His work is whimsical and surprising at the same time. I believe that perceptual reality and the realm of imagination are two sides of the same coin. For me, I often stumble upon the world of imagination by chance and at the most unusual moments. Ideas and stories come to me at random and unexpected times like when I’m

interview

Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


interview

Women Cinemakers taking a shower or washing dishes. When I perceive the world through my senses, it often triggers a world of imagination that cannot be planned, just experienced. Since I never know when creativity would strike, I make a point to be open to new experiences everyday. Try everything! Because what I experience on a daily basis may lead to something imagined or greater. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, though the drawings are simple on the surface, your stories have many layers underneath, like an onion: how much important is for you to trigger the viewer's perceptual parameters in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? I believe that weaknesses binds people together. In the real world, we all want to “look good” and to “be the best” whatever that means. But if we are all perfect, which we aren’t, then we don’t have anything in common; we would miss the opportunity to connect and share with each other. By admitting to my shortcomings and how my life is not as it seems, it is hoped that other people would open up and find that it is okay to be yourself. We daresay that could be considered an effective allegory of human experience: how does everyday life life experience fuel your creative process to address your choices regarding the stories you tell in your videos? In particular, do you think that there are any central ideas that connect all of your work as an artist? My life is an open book. I started out making lots of autobiographical work. It was a way of how I make sense of the world. Sometimes a way to talk about difficult things is through humor. One thing that connects all of my work as an artist is that


I want to show the transience of life and the fragility of human nature. The very first video that I ever made was “Cookie for Dummies.� It was a spoof on all the dummy books out there for every topic under the sun. In this video, I made cookies one at a time, using ingredients like a package of sugar, a little bit of butter, etc. It was a long and difficult way to do something, in rebellion to taking the easy way out. I want to encourage people not take shortcuts, because there is value in doing things the long way.

Another interesting work that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled Onions & Boyfriends Make Me Cry and can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/217930935: would you tell us something about the genesis of this stimulating work? For a period of time, I was obsessed with onions. I ate onions, I drew on onions, and I researched about onions. Legend has it that people used to write the names of their love interest on onions. If it rots, then it means that love is not meant to be. Onions also made me cry when I chop them. I thought back to all the time I cried and they happened to be when I was heartbroken. I decided to make a body of work about


that experience. Having been a teacher for over ten years, my natural inclination is to draw and explain things on the whiteboard. I have always been inspired to tell stories through moving pictures. I couldn’t have done it all by myself. I thank my mentors, Jason Holley and Lisa Wagner for their support and inspiration. We like the way you created entire scenarios out of psychologically charged moments: what are you hoping Onions & Boyfriends Make Me Cry will trigger in the audience?

When I was younger, I had a chance to meet the performance artist James Luna. He is a Native American who makes art pieces and performances about his life as a human being; all the struggles that come with it. He challenged me to make art from a place where it was not easy to talk about, things I struggled with, and where it was painful. I took his advice to heart. I find that when I am honest and share a piece of my life, it opens up doors for other people to tell and share their own stories. In the final analysis, I hope that people will find strength knowing that the


struggles we face today, ultimately make us better tomorrow. We have particularly appreciated the performative aspect of your artistic practice and we have impressed with the way it allows you to walk the viewer through the development of the work of art. In particular, we like the way 8 Dates with Los Angeles provides your audience with such a multilayered visual experience: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination playing within your artistic practice? To me, reality and imagination are two entities that are intertwined together. I have lived in Los Angeles for 30 years of my life. I am proud to share this home with so many vibrant and eccentric personalities. 8 Dates with LA encompass my favorite places in this city. Each one is realized through somebody’s dream or lifework. The medium of chalk is an important element in the performance, because of the transient nature of the medium: It is here today but gone tomorrow, just like life; just like all the people and places described in the 8 dates. What they accomplished made a loud impact in their community. In brief, film allows me to take the viewer through a journey in a manner I cannot in other ways. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in the contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades women are finding their voices in art: 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? Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved watching films. I can recall only a handful of movies that were directed by women. Anyhow, just as there are moments in film that are timeless, there are also moments in life when time seemed to be at a standstill.

interview

Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


interview

Women Cinemakers

I remember driving around town in Los Angeles: There were times when everything was absolutely beautiful and I commented to my boyfriend at the time about how perfect that moment really was. His reply resonated with me: He said, “beautiful moments are everywhere.” The stories I choose to tell are only from my perspective and my set of circumstances, but stories are actually everywhere, waiting to be told by somebody. We just have to look! More and more, I see the importance of collaboration. I believe that WomenCinemakers sets the stage for the future: By uniting all of us filmmakers through a common purpose, you are generating a valuable dialogue that cannot happen otherwise. So thank you for giving us a place to grow and support one another. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Bonnie. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Lately, my work has been evolving to be a teaching artist. In my spare time, I teach visual art at a charter school in Downtown Los Angeles. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, art is not prioritize in regular public education. I think there are season of life as an artist and filmmaker as well. I’m taking a pause from my own storytelling to help others to tell their stories, namely kids. I’m quite excited about that. Their work is a constant inspiration to me. This summer, I’ll be working on a temporary chalk mural in Pasadena, California. You can see my work on a day-to-day basis through Instagram @bonbonleeeee or at bonbonleeeee.com An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

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WomenCinemakers, Special Edition  

WomenCinemakers, Special Edition  

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