WomenCinemakers, Special Edition, Vol.15

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ANASTASIA DIGA STELLA KOULOUVARDI SARAH KUNTZ ALEXA GRANDE ADÉ SALOMÉ ZAQUIA MAHLER SALINAS OLIVIA OROZCO JULIANNE CHAPPLE JULIE MAGNEVILLE CHARLOTTE COLMANT

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Contents 04 Charlotte Colmant

126 Adé Salomé

RESONANCE

SPARKS

24

156

Julie Magneville

Aleza Grande

IN MEMORIUM

Échale Papas

48

186

Julianne Chapple

Sarah Kuntz

70

210

Olivia Orozco

Stella Koulouvardi

Suf(fix) Study No. 6

Indiscernable(s)

Focus on Mexico

The Extraordinary Madness of the Blue-

96

230

Zaquia Mahler Salinas

Anastasia Diga

the loneliest part of here is now

The rosetta mission vol.1


Women Cinemakers meets

Charlotte Colmant Lives and works in Paris, France

My art is visual. Aside my dance training, I have studied french literature with a focus on audiovisual. These disciplines combined brought me strong images I needed to express visually. My first approach to choreography, while studying at the Martha Graham School, was through video. I choreograph a dance piece the way I would edit a video, puzzling fragments of movements, and composing with them. Sound and visual are crucial in my work. I am interested in how they can connect, in time and space. My work is graphic first, I look for simplicity and formality. In that sense, there is no space for emotions, to leave an equal space between movement, sound and space. With the dancers, I look for a neutral state, erasing patterns to be able to capture unconscious emotional reactions. Lines are often present, whether they are explicit or implicit. They represent to me a mark, a limit point we are all exposed to, in society.

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

Hello Charlotte and welcome to : we would like to invite our readers to visit in order to get a wider idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have been a professional dancer in NYC and you have a solid formal training: aside your dance training at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, you nurtured your education with studies of French Literature with a focus on audiovisual. How did these experiences influenced your artistic trajectory? Moreover what did address you to focus an important part of your artistic research on the intersection between choreography and video?

I studied at the Sorbonne University, in parallel of training in a dance school. It was not simple to connect them together, and combining them in life. I felt not belonging to neither of them, because they are two such specific fields. After I graduated from the Sorbonne, I went to New York and trained at the Martha Graham School. It was the first time I was only focusing in dance. I felt a strong desire to choreograph, because dancing itself wasn't filling enough to me. Audio and visual were my major at the Sorbonne. I was spending all my time researching into music, sounds, and video artists. I have always been very visual. I learned piano while observing the movement of the fingers on the piano, from left to right, and from listening to each of their sounds. I have never known how to read a partition, for 10 years of practicing. I would watch a movie, without paying any attention to the script and the story, but only watching the colours of the frame, and paying attention to the soundtrack used for it.



Women Cinemakers In that sense I started to choreograph through video. I was able to construct manually the images I was seeing. At first, I didn't have my own dance vocabulary yet, so I would ask the dancers I worked with to improvise, with not much directions. I just had images, scenery in mind, landscapes I wanted to re create visually. Somehow, editing felt very natural, and I would play with the frames, adding, erasing, moving the images, choreographing my own choreography through buttons, playing with the sounds. I kept this way of choreographing through editing since today, and this is how I choreograph live pieces, like I would edit a video. Dance and movement was a perfect way for me to keep the abstraction of the aesthetic I was looking for. Because dance is a silent language. we have For this special edition of , an extremely interesting dance selected video that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be . viewed at What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into the concept of identity is the way you have provided the results of your artistic research with such refined aesthetic, inviting the viewers to such a multilayered experience: when walking our readers , would you tell us through the genesis of how did you develop the initial idea? Playing with layers, is what I look into research. As my work is not only focused in dance, sound and visual are as important and I try to balance the importance of each one in every work I create. The initial idea was not an idea, but a concept. I had in mind to work on a duet that was not actually a duet, but just two persons, two identities mirroring each other as a same person or the continuation of the other. But everything else was built on




Women Cinemakers the day of the shoot, when the space element was added, that we start to compose with. We were working of different space positions, and compositions of shapes, and Samuel was exploring with the frames and way of filming. New ideas came into place, once we started to explore. Especially the relationships between two bodies, that don’t interact between each other, but keep its oppositions and parallels in the mean time. The mirroring game came into place, and felt right‌ Featuring essential and well-orchestrated choreography, involves the audience in a voyeuristic and heightened visual experience, urging them to challenge their perceptual categories to create personal narratives: what are you hoping will trigger in the spectatorship? In particular, how much important is for you to address the viewer's imagination in order to elaborate personal associations? Abstraction is a way for me to challenge perceptual senses, to develop personal narratives. It is the quality of dealing with ideas rather than events and a freedom from representational qualities in art. I am interested in the empty spaces. In movement, in sound, visually and in the relationship between the bodies. These empty spaces allow the freedom to interpret, to associate with personal stories, each story being different from another. Perhaps it is my way to seek for universality, to not trying to be too specific. I see imagination as a force and a gift we as humans benefit. I like to leave a large place for imagination in art. In that sense, I don’t expect a particular feeling when watching RESONANCE. Feeling only is enough for me, even it is an empty feeling, a confuse feeling, an interrogative feeling. I care for the neutral state, as an artist, and as a spectator.




We have appreciated the way your approach to dance conveys sense of freedom and reflects rigorous approach to the grammar of body language: how do you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of your performative gestures and the need of spontaneity? How much importance does play improvisation in your process? Movements and phrases I create from a spontaneous place, yet they are detailed. I see the relationship between spontaneity and details as my way to be abstract. The intention for the dancer behind approaching and performing the gestures must come from a soft and neutral state, but it is very much yet controlled. There is always an opposition of forces. Ironically, it is finding an intention in their non intentional gestures. But this intention must remain neutral, visually. There is no drama. I don't use improvisation in my process. I let the dancers observe, and copy instantly the gestures. Them I designed an imaginary square where they are given driven directions, but they are still free to make their own decisions, to explore concepts of connection and disconnection, repetitions (of time and space), limitations, presence and absence, contradictions. That way, I am able to develop their intuitivity, on their own and between each other. More than spontaneity, intuition is a better word to describe my intention. Sound and visual are crucial in your practice and we have appreciated the way the sound tapestry by Mika Vainio provides the footage of RESONANCE with such an ethereal and a bit unsettling atmosphere: as an artist particularly concerned in the connection between sound and moving images, how would you consider the role of sound within your practice and how do you see the relationship between sound and movement?

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Women Cinemakers Sound has perhaps the most important place in my practice. My love for sound is equivalent to my love for silence. Some sounds have a silent quality. A sound which can be silent becomes abstract, and capable to open many other sounds, within that sound. Sound and movement connect in their empty spaces, and in their silent qualities. I don't choreograph on a music or for a specific sound, they are separate in my practice and very independent from each other. They connect in their non connection. I choose for sounds that are more abstract, so they can leave space for another layer such as movement. As you have remarked in your artist's statement,

: do you think that RESONANCE could be considered an allegory of human experience in our unstable, everchanging age? Moreover, does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? In general, my artistic research is not explicitly engaged. Limits appears a lot in my practice, their first function being aesthetically pleasant. I like their rigidity, and their infinity. Symbolically, they do represent a limitation, in humanity. I often use the image of a cage, or a box where I placed bodies that are commanded, that are given constraint. They are trapped and free in the same time. Trapped in their lines, placements they cannot escaped, and in the gestures they are given to execute, repeat, either slowly or gradually faster. They are free in timing, in when they want to do it, because they have no counts. It is a kind of metaphor of the society. We are born, and given a vocabulary, an education, a family. We can never really escape from the general media we evolve in. I like to explore the concept of limitations, visually but symbolically. I feel limited in life in general, in my own body as well. Mostly people do.




Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that "it is always only a matter of seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": how do you consider the relation between the abstract feature of the ideas you aim to communicate and the physical act of creating your artworks? I like to leave a large empty space while proceeding at the creation. The physical act comes first with creating layers - a movement, a phrase, a sound, a space, a structure and a time. When those elements are combined, then something, a new idea, new images are formed and this is how I start to compose, and see more. I see the relation between the ideas and the physical act of their representation in how they cannot exist without another. Furthermore, I see the physical act being the first step to create abstract feature and not the other way around. I don’t start to see an image, I build an image once I have elements to compose with. It's no doubt that collaborations as the one that you have established with Samuel Boujnah are today ever growing forces in Contemporary Art 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 this proficient synergy? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between artists from different backgrounds? My work being a collaboration of different arts, it leads me to naturally collaborate with other artists from different fields, as long as we see in the same direction. Collaborations is a dance between techniques. It allows more possibilities, in areas I cannot control. I care for video, and editing, but I don’t know how to film. Working with Samuel, or a videographer allows me to get the quality of images I look, and to compose with them.

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Women Cinemakers The same way, I collaborate with visual artists, on stage pieces or site specific installations. The synergy of combining tools of different artists brings to deeper and more elaborate work. The artists I work with gives me more freedom, more possibilities and visions I can use, that I cannot generate myself, or only conceptually. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something ' ', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this field? I will be honest. In my artistic path, I feel free, as a woman. This is my personal experience as an artist. I don’t work with an “against� feel. I put my energy into my work. I had the school of a woman, Martha Graham, who represents all power of femininity. I evolved in New York, then in Berlin, two progressive cities where woman are more and more influential figures. My experience is not quiet relevant to that battle, because I have never felt discouraged myself. As an individual, and looking into history, I am conscious of how much of a reality it is and was for the longest time. Although, all my artistic inspirations, and mentors were woman from the last century until today. Pina Baush, Martha Graham, Maya Deren, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Sasha Waltz, Anne Imhof. My work is feminine, in general. This is not coming from a statement. It just naturally is. I think that is what people captures instantly. The femininity of the gestures I make, and the femininity of the masculinity is what I only look at, both in art and in life. Being a woman is a growing strength, who won't stop growing until it reaches equality. I wish to go back and discover the art of women who has been forgotten, as a research.


Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Charlotte. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? My work is very much an extension of the very first work I made. In the past few years, there has been some shifts. I still don’t know in which category I am fitting in. Today, I consider myself as a visual artist, as much a choreographer, a dancer and a video artist. In that sense, I mean that I use now dance as a tool to develop my artistic vision, that is not reduced to the world of dance. My use of the video is now incorporated into a more scenic use, as I tend to research into scenography, more than videography. I am interested in objects. I like how still and silent an object can be, and its presence. I like to place them in between bodies, without them interacting, as figures I can manually control, to fix a strong visual image. In that seek of working with objects, I am working currently on a collaboration with two architects. They have designed mirror objects, that have a function of reflection, in their minimalist and industrial aspect. With that scenography, we are looking to build an installation, where we create a visual optic that is not coming through a particular lighting or projection of visuals, but only through these mirror mobile platforms. I am looking closer and closer into simplicity, and minimality every time a bit more. Objects allow me this simplicity. I try to keep the blank canvas from the beginning, only to add a minimum amount of addition, so that it remains white, and pure, and free for personal associations. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

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Women Cinemakers meets

Julie Magneville Lives and works between Paris and New York City Julie Magneville is a french choreographer, performer, contemporary master teacher, yoga instructor, director and wellness writer. She is graduated from « ESDC Rosella Hightower », the « Lyon Conservatory » in Contemporary section as well as « The Ailey School ». She perfectes her knowledges by participating in intensive sessions with choreographers Wim Vandekeybus, Ohad Naharin, Shiro Daimon, David Hayo. She has worked with many choreographers: Donald MacKayle, Matt Mattox, Ralph Paul Haze, Larrio Ekson, Guillaume Bordier, Bruno Agati, Lionel Hun, Wilfride Piollet, Mickael Marso Riviere, Corinne Lanselle. Through Spring Board Montreal Project, she collaborated with Margie Gillis, David Earle, La Compagnie Flak, O Vertigo, Victor Quijadas, Gregory Dolbashian and performed in Crystal Pite’s Expectico for « Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal ». She was a soloist in « Rick Odum’s Dance Company » and performed in the world acclaimed Musical « Tarzan » choreographed by Sergio Di Trujillo She is in high demand as contemporary master teacher and choreographer for prestigious institutions across the world (ESD Rosella Hightower, Academie Internationale de la danse, Studio Harmonic for the professional division, Stage School Zurich, Ganzhou Dance University, Huaqiao Performing Arts University, Peridance Center for the Certificate Program, Terpsichore Switzerland, Attakalari Center Bengalore...etc). She collaborates with artists from different fields such as: The Taiwanese visual/media artistIvan Liu, the French interdisciplinary artist Laurent Barnavon, the canadian Jeremy Bailey, and the director Pierre Nogueras. She is the creator of "The sensitive and Breathing Motion" a therapeutic method for dancers of all styles. She has been choreographer for SYTYCD and So We Dance. She is the Artistic Director and Choreographer of her own company, sponsored by the Paris Opera Star Monique Loudieres. She has been decorated "honored teacher" by Huaqiao University. She has been nominated best choreographer in « MMlives » by Mia Michaels. Her first short-film " IN MEMORIUM " has been awarded " Best Choice Audience" at Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema, « Best Dance Choreography » at Oniros Film Awards ». She is right now creating a solo « The Frame » for the principal Paris Opera Ballet dancer Vincent Chaillet.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier

them to visit https://www.juliemagneville.com and

and Dora S. Tennant

with a couple of questions regarding your

womencinemaker@berlin.com

background. You have a particularly solid formal

Hello Julie and welcome to WomenCinemakers: we would like to introduce you to our readers inviting

training and you graduated from « ESDC Rosella Hightower », the « Lyon Conservatory » in



Contemporary section as well as ÂŤ The Ailey School Âť. How did these experiences influenced your artistic evolution? In particular, as a high demand as contemporary master teacher, how do you consider the impact of training on an artist's creative process? Hello! First of all a huge thank you for giving me another vector to express my thoughts and feelings. I would rather say that these experiences are one part of who I am today. What I have learned the most during this time period of my life, is to build up my inner strength, free my ego, create routine and habit, take care of myself, of my body who is the vehicle to discipline my mind and get access to my spirit and the infinite possibilities that lie in store for me. They have( these experiences) required so much commitment, dedication, involvement that My whole body is filled with it. They have brought me so high in terms of physicality, efficiency and proficiency, that I became unsatisfied, uncompromising, and self criticism. All the people I have worked with told me that I was gifted, because I could pick up and learn everything just by watching. I could have movement qualities, dynamics, intentions right away. IAM born this way, but I have mastered it each day of my life journey. At some point, being talented and working hard , implied that failing was not permitted at all. If you are at the top, you need to remain at the top.

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Women Cinemakers I could no longer handle this situation of self judgement, and I have started in NYC to take yoga classes. My life has changed totally. I have kept on training each day, using different paths, exploring the unknown, embracing uncertainty, discovering a life of wonder, by respecting myself, taking the time to rest when I needed to, accepting that failing could lead to self improvement, and self connection. If I could say one quote it would be « One day at a time ». I have become a life’s observer, paying attention to everything and everyone around me. That’s the reason why I have started to create. There was an urge to scream by the body language, the world’s misery, media’s manipulation, to fight against oversight, to put forward the mutual help, to raise us up by listening to the vibrations of the universe. I strongly believe that we are all unique and born gifted for something. I have found my way, and I have unleashed my craft and my potential by letting go of any expectations, results. « Iam right here, right now », nothing less, nothing more. Training is everything and anything in the creative process. Let me explain what I mean! First there are different trainings to me. The physical one, which requires us consistency, discipline and rigor to make us stretch, get stronger, last longer. The mental one, which visualizes, analyzes, everything we do, think and imagine, in order to make our ideas become real and meaningful.


The spiritual one, which needs silence, emptiness, timeless, fearless and space to bring us a full awareness of who we are, and what we are for? The third trainings combining all together lead you to another level of understanding and the journey into the creative process becomes an infinite discovery. To answer your question properly the impact of training is relevant, and compelling if the three aspects mentioned above are followed each day. Success is about repetition!!! For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected IN MEMORIUM, an extremely interesting dance video project that our readers have already started tog et to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into the theme of human identity is the way the results of your artists research provides the viewers with such an intense visual experience, enhanced by a sapient composition. While walking our readers through the genesis of IN MEMORIUM, would you tell us how did you develope the initial idea? Well... I feed my creativity with pictures, words, movies, sculptures, paintings, exhibitions, readings and meditative process. IN MEMORIUM came in a particular time period of my life. I was touring with my company in China, when we got PARIS’s attacks. We were all far from our country, family and friends. We were stuck in au unfamiliar place and felt powerless and absolutely unprepared for this kind of tragic event.

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Women Cinemakers My brother who is a military veteran, was close to The Bataclan this night. It was the most stressful, anxious night of my life. When we came back to France, I was different. Seeing people killed all around the world for religious wrong aspirations, economic and political reasons, strategic abuses to sell more petrol, was absolutely devastating. I feel sad, about these situations that will never stop, until we understand that we are just denying our own nature which is to live in accordance with the law of the universe. You attract what you think. Your thoughts become your life’s habits, and when you take action daily you create the world you imagine. By having negative thoughts, bad feelings, judgment towards anything and anyone, by being suspicious, narrow-minded, selfish, we collaborate to make our world insecure, unfair and unpleasant. I do not have TV for years now, and Iam so blessed to take it out of my life. I do my own researches, exchanging point of views with friends, experts in all fields before I start to create. I remain curious and open at anytime. To me open-mindedness and curiosity make room for the imagination to flourish. When you welcome and befriend the unknown, you discover new pathways and possibilities for expanding consciousness. IN MEMORIUM was in my got!! It was a survival instinct, a duty to do this short-film. It must have a meaning behind everything I do. There is no free stuff... IN MEMORIUM is a tribute to all people who are killed during attacks all around the world: moving from an




intimate atmosphere that reflects the inner sphere, your sapient composition addresses the spectatorship to inquire into highly topical issues. 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 sociopolitical system you’re living under". Not to mention that almost everything, ranging from Caravaggio's Inspiration of Saint Matthew to Maurizio Cattelan's The Ninth Hour could be considered political, do you think that IN MEMORIUM could be considered political, in a certain sense? What could be in your opinion the role of Art in order to sensitize the viewers in our media driven contemporary age? IN MEMORIUM could be considered political, it absolutely makes sense. Iam living under a sociopolitical system, we use to call « The Republic », but it’s no longer exist if it has been existed once... Power to the people is an huge utopia, that our monarchs have created to make us believe that we could choose who to elect in order to drive us and guide us. Why one person would be more able to manage things than the others? I fight for equality in my life and in my work. Women are so underestimated, less paid, less considered as men. I strive each day to pursue my goals, with integrity, dignity, and respect. According to me, Art is here to uplift people, to enlighten, to question our place in our contemporary age.

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Art is a necessity, a boundless force to break boundaries, to unite opposites, to merge the known and the unknown, to push the limits of our life’s expectations by opening a large spectrum. Art is meant to be! We have appreciated the way your work is capable of conveying such captivating storytelling, providing the result of your artistic research with consistent cinematographic quality. How did you develope your style in order to achieve such interesting results? In particular, are you interested in creating allegorical artworks that reflect human condition? Interesting question! I have my conductive line, I know where I want to go but my path and my journey veil and show up when I start facing artists, performers, dancers. I observe the way they behave, the way they move, how they react to others, how they place themselves into the research process, how they see life. I love being alone in an empty room before acknowledging with my people. Iam a solitary, independent woman. I definitely need to be free to create. All gestures, movements, intentions, come from a natural instinct. I strongly believe in my intuition, and my inner strength. It takes skill to bring something you’ve imagined into the world.Twyla Tharp said “ it is developed through a blend of learning and reflection that’s both painstaking and rewarding.” Iam pretty agree with her.

I experience things first, I feel it, I test it, I challenge it, I digest it, before asking something to someone. I strive to see things that are not yet visible or manifest. I use my imagination to unlock the gates of unknown mysteries. Iam not afraid of an empty space, I love vacuity. For me everything is raw material, everything feeds into my creativity. It’s important to me to emphasize the role of hands and eyes. We embrace the world with it or not. I am a detail maniac. I seek for authenticity, honesty, heart to heart in order to deliver my message, to touch people. Some of my dancers say that they do not need to see a psychotherapist, when they work with me. I take it as a compliment. My dance, or I would suggest more my body language is defined as versatile, animal, physical and spiritual. What do you think? Regarding my interest in creating allegorical artworks that reflect human conditions, I can confirm that I have already done it twice with: From our failures( in relationship with Van Gogh and the artist’s place in the world), and Hypermedia. I think it’s my calling, my bottom line, what constitutes my identity. IN MEMORIUM reflects a conscious shift regarding the composition of performative gestures: how would you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of a performance and the


need of spontaneity? How much importance does play improvisation in your practice? If you don’t mind I start with the second question. Improvisation is my skeleton, my structure. I use it as a tool to generate flow, groove, body awareness, sharpness, speed, physical and emotional reactions. Improvising doesn’t mean that you are free of tasks. I set what I want before starting to improve. Dancers are pushed to their limits, and I build up my creation on every single one of them. I don’t like clones, I crave for singularity and uniqueness. I love people who say something without moving, just by being there and present with themselves. After this moment of self connection, I draw what I imagine by using the dancer’s body as a canvas. I fill this empty, refreshed, alert, individual with new sensations, perspectives, and space consciousness. I always bring them into a place of discomfort, where they can’t hide anything. If you want the spectator to follow you, and identifies himself/herself to you, you need to unveil what makes you who you are, and not just pretending to be someone. It’s exhausting, hard but so liberating at the end. I consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of a performance and the need of spontaneity as a partnership. One can’t live without the other. It’s an exchange, a dialogue. Sound plays a crucial role in your work and we have highly appreciated the way it provides IN

MEMORIUM with dramatic ambience capable of evoking such an uncanny sensation in the viewers, challenging their perceptual categories: why did you decided to include such persistent rhythmic commentary? And how would you consider the relationship between performative gestures and sound? It comes this way. The sound came after all performative gestures. I created what I call the body ‘s music by developing a rhythmic dance. Then, My composer got all images and start playing on what he saw. It was quite interesting. I rarely count, when I create. I sing, whisper, talk, mark stops, accelerate, give tempo. That’s my trick. He went outside to record sounds, I wanted the music to be so real and powerful. To me, sound is here to sublimate, to support performative gestures. When I create, I do often, two things. First one, I watch my dance piece without using music to check if dancers are the music. Second one, I close my eyes and hear the music. When I am done with both, I put them back together and see if everything appears to be concluding, and homogeneous. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German


Women Cinemakers


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A still from


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Women Cinemakers visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that "it is always only a matter of seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": how do you consider the relation between the abstract feature of the ideas you aim to communicate and the physical act of creating your artworks? Inseparable. They melt into one another, they intertwine. My physical act of creating underlies the abstract feature of my ideas. When I create, I try to find the balance to travel across these two worlds. Your works reflect interaction between the body and the environment, that seem to be linked together to create such a synergy. Especially in your recent video IN MEMORIUM , this quality of your practice seems to create a a gateway into other realities: how do you consider the relationship between perceptual reality and the realm of imagination? Moreover, how much important is for you to trigger the viewer's perceptual parameters in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? create your own reality. I consider this relationship as Magical!! It’s the climax point within you loose all spacial, time landmarks to let the divine dwells in you, nurtures you. Your body, mind and spirit are in perfect alignment. Ho! Absolutely fundamental, one of my footprints. You

It's no doubt that collaborations as the one that ones that you have established during these years with artists from different disciplines, as Ivan Liu, Laurent Barnavon, and the director Pierre Nogueas are today ever growing forces in Contemporary Art 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 this effective synergy? By the way, Peter Tabor once stated that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of different practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between artists from different disciplines? We are nothing without others. Whatever you do in Art, there is always a team work. I always investigate, try to understand how the other artist perceives life and sharpen its skills. I step back first, and pay attention to every single details. By exchanging our different point of views, I refine my craft, I polish it. I think that the communication between Pierre and me for example is relevant because there is no gap, no boundaries, no limits. We mix our knowledges and ideas to make them one. If you can see separate works the creation fails. A collaboration is a set of brains serving the same purpose. It’s an ensemble. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field?

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Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


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A few Words: Challenging, painful, hard, exciting, hilarious, amazing, dazzling, mesmerizing, true, powerful, full of surprises and encounters. Women are like Mother Nature, you can slow them down, but you can’t stop them. I hope more women will face artistic life head one, by producing what they aim for. Iam an optimistic and still believe that we are the future. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Julie. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Thanks to you it was a real pleasure to expose my thoughts. Well, Iam right now creating a 50min solo called « The Frame » for Vincent Chaillet, PARIS Opera Principal Dancer. Iam thrilled and honored to work with this wonderful human being. I feel really blessed and grateful. By the way, we are looking for creative residencies, sponsorship, and producers. So if someone is interested in this huge project feel free to contact me. The scenography is going to be epic and innovative. I would like to collaborate more with museums, create for unusual spaces, choreograph for movies, work with scientists to see how a daily physical and mental commitment can modify our cells and generate a rebirth. I believe that we have the power to change our destiny and take the control of our life. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Julianne Chapple Lives and works in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Motivated by the transformative effect of bodily representation, my work makes use of the figure to explore surreal imagery, objecthood and the unreliable nature of memory. Drawing on varied histories of performed gesture, the edges of the body's mobility are explored and exploited often to the effect of depersonalizing and fragmenting the human form. The relations and images strive to provide alternative propositions for understanding contemporary issues or simply a space for quiet contemplation. This movement practice comes together in works for stage, camera and unconventional spaces, often working collaboratively with my long-time partner Ed Spence. My work has been exhibited at galleries, theatres, as well as dance and film festivals in Canada, Germany, Italy and Ireland. Most recently, I was awarded the 2017 Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award which will go towards the production of my upcoming installation and group performance work 'Suffix'. I am also co-producer and sometimes curator of a Vancouver based experimental performance series titled Shooting Gallery Performance, and sit on the board of directors for CADA-West.

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

Hello Julianne and welcome to WomenCinemakers: we would like invite our readers to visit https://www.juliannechapple.com in order to get

wider idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of questions regarding your background. You have a solid formal training and after having graduated you won several

artists' residence: how did these experiences influence the interdisciplinary nature of your creative process? Morever, how did the years you spent in Europe influence the evolution of the trajectory of your artistic research? I was very lucky to be exposed to many artistic disciplines early in life. I attended a Fine Arts School from grades one to twelve and had the chance there to experiment with many different forms. I studied dance and music intensively through my adolescence and attended a small Vancouver dance program post secondary. I was always making my



own work, even as a kid I would choreograph routines for younger students. In the dance world, there isn’t really training for creators, dance programs are geared towards making you a good performer that can execute other people’s vision. I always knew that I wanted to be in the creation role and had to figure out ways of working on my own. I used to ask choreographers if I could just sit in on their rehearsals to see how they worked, but I mostly became comfortable with the idea of being self-taught. This allowed me to branch out into projects that weren’t entirely dance based. I also met my husband Ed Spence around this time. He is a visual artist and that exposed me to a new range of work and ideas. In 2012, Ed and I travelled to Berlin with no plans, we just wanted a change. We were awarded a two month residency in Italy that summer and we had a goal of starting to work collaboratively in that time. I was also suffering an injury which made me start to expand my practice and work with movement in new ways, including video and photography. The time we spent in Europe was very inspiring. I found the arts scene in Berlin to be very interdisciplinary compared to Vancouver, Canada where I’m from. I was also able to travel to Italy and Ireland for residencies and encounted a lot of diy art organizations and events that made me excited to experiment with new ideas.

For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected , an extremely interesting dance short film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at . What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry int the relationship between the tangible and the virtual is the way it hightlights the interdisciplinary aspect of your approach to choreogrphy: when walking our readers through

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Women Cinemakers


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Women Cinemakers the genesis of Suf(fix) Study No. 6, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? Suffix has been an ongoing project for me for several years. Initially inspired by the rapidly advancing technological landscape and it’s relationship with the human body, Ed and I began by creating sculptures that could interact with performers as semi-wearable objects. Playing off the work of Oskar Schlemmer, Franz West and Marie Chouinard, we first workshopped some of these objects in a residency at the Dance Centre in Vancouver in 2015. I was reading a lot about transhumanism and body augmentation. Coming from a dance background, the idea of drastically altering the body’s abilities is incredibly compelling and threatening. Over the next year, I created a series of studies with one performer and one object, trying to find relationships between the body and sculpture. Playing with the idea of the dancer becoming an object and the object becoming a performer. As the project continued, my research led me to current developments in extreme life extension. It’s something that a lot of these tech billionaires are throwing massive amounts of money into, hoping to literally find the key to eternal life. That is where the inspiration for the mirrored box featured in Suf(fix) Study No. 6 stems from. It’s scale references a coffin on the outside, but the inside gives the illusion of infinity. We have appreciated the way your approach to choreography conveys sense of freedom and reflects rigorous approach to the grammar of body language: how do you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of your performative gestures and the need of spontaneity? How much importance does play improvisation in your process?





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Maxine Chadburn, the performer featured in this work is someone that I have collaborated with extensively. She is an incredibly talented artist with training in various forms of dance and acting. This study is based in structured improvisation, with all of the details of the movement being generated by her. I tend to direct my performers through words and images, allowing the specifics of the movements to come naturally from their bodies. I like to describe the world that I am creating and see how a performer would move through that environment. Maxine and I have worked together on a number of occasions and she is really able to envision the tone that I am after and work within that. Video also allows for even more play than live performance because so much of the choreography takes place in the editing process. This allows for a lot of experimentation and discovery in the room. Featuring ravishing cinematography by your long-time partner Ed Spence, Suf(fix) Study No. 6 is marked out with dreamlike qualities: what were your editing choices in order to achieve such vibrant sensitiveness? And how was the filming experience? This filming process was actually entirely spontaneous. We staged a performance at Franc Gallery in Vancouver in May 2016. I had set up a tripod to document that performance but it ended up being completely blocked by audience members. After everyone had left the gallery I asked Maxine if she would repeat her performance just for the camera, initially with the thought that it would be a static wide shot just to document that work. As she started moving, Ed and I saw so many possibilities for capturing her performance, the process evolved naturally, with him picking up the camera and me

directing the space. I believe the finished film has such an intimate quality because it was just the three of us in the room. It was a very collaborative process with everyone taking the space to play and explore ideas on a whim, and there was some wine drinking involved as well‌ I believe I woke up the next morning and edited the whole thing that day. I wanted to translate the atmosphere that I had experienced in person while it was fresh in my mind. It is magical when a project comes together all at once.

Suf(fix) Study No. 6 has drawn heavily from the specifics of its location: the ambience doesn't play the mere role of background and we have highly appreciated the way you have created such powerful resonance between space and choreographical gestures: how do you consider the relationship between movement and space? This work has an interesting relationship to space because the interior of the mirror box is physically very confined and yet visually vast. Knowing that the work will end with this interior space, the room surrounding the sculpture becomes very important choreographically. We shot at Franc Gallery, which is a beautiful room and allowed for a range of tonal shifts. Ed had just had an exhibition there and his work can be seen hanging on the walls. His photographic work is conceptually very related to this performance, with his images cut up and rearranged into a kind of galaxy of pixels. His pieces gave Max another element to interact with and play off of in her performance. This work is something that has been performed in several different venues and adapts to the space each time. That’s a strength of working within structured improvisation, that there is always room to react to the space in a genuine way.


Women Cinemakers In Suf(fix) Study No. 6 you sapiently mix realism of choreographic gestures with surreal qualities of the ambience, and we have appreciated the way such coherent combination addresses your audience to a multilayered experience. Art historial Ernst Gombrich once underlined the importance of providing a space for the viewer to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how much important is for you to trigger the viewer's imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

I am very open to different interpretations of my work. For me, the process is usually very based in research and conceptually thought out, but I am never concerned with the viewer following my reasoning exactly. I believe that the tone and emotion of the work is what will be reliably conveyed and whatever memories or associations come up for an individual is fascinating to me. This film has a bit of a voyeuristic feel that I hope allows viewers to have a personal relationship with what is happening on screen. Maxine Chadburn is able to open herself up to the viewer in a beautiful, vulnerable way. Especially in the last section of the work, she is losing herself in memories, alone with copies of herself, dictating an inner monologue. I imagine this may draw viewers into their own self reflection based in personal memories and contemplation. Sound plays an important role in your film and we have appreciated the way the delicate audio tapestry by the Wolves & the Blood provides the footage of Suf(fix)




Women Cinemakers Study No. 6 with such an ethereal atmosphere: how did you create such captivating soundtrack? And how do you see the relationship between sound and movement? The audio is all off of the album Divisions Between by the Wolves & the Blood. Through rehearsals, I had a long playlist of ambient electronic music that would create the atmosphere for the work. I fell in love with these tracks through the process and the composer kindly allowed use of his work in this project. I generally don’t choreography to specific music. I tend to think of it like a film score even in live performance; that the music is in service to the action and not vice versa. Over the years your choreography, performance, video and installation have been internationally presented in several occasions, including the Edam Dance Series, Dusseldorf's Open Art Film Festival and Latitude 53's Visualeyez Festival of Performance Art, moreover you have received with the 2017 Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award: how much importance has for your the feedback of the festival circuit? Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process? In making new work, I try not to consider the audience initially. It is in the staging that I believe the viewer becomes important. I think about how the work will be viewed. Where with the audience be? How will their bodies be positioned? The state that a viewer is in while they are taking in a work will change how they absorb it. I like to focus on the physical and mental state rather than the specifics of how they will react to the work. I have had the great pleasure of creating work for both theatre and gallery contexts. The expectations of these spaces are very




Women Cinemakers different and it is wonderful to be able to blur the boundaries of dance and performance art by playing with those preconceived ideas. I find Canadian audiences to be exceedingly polite, perhaps to the detriment of the arts communities here, so it can be difficult to truly get a read on audience reception in some instances. This makes it very important to look at your own work with a critical eye and have a community of peers and collaborators that you can trust. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with many female curators and presenters. I think that nearly all of my first exhibitions were facilitated by women and I've found amazing mentors that have helped me along the way. In recent years, I've been involved in presenting and curating emerging performance artists in Vancouver through a small series titles, Shooting Gallery Performance which is run by a group of women. Starting out in my career, I definitely worried that I wasn't seeing a place for the kind of work that I wanted to make and couldn't find female artists whose footsteps I could try to follow in. I am very excited that there seems to be more visibility in recent years for female artists, for interdisciplinary artists and people working unconventional video and performance. Anne Imhof,



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Women Cinemakers Hito Steyerl and Bridget Moser, are some artists that are very inspiring to me and have recieved international recognition for work that moves between theatre, dance, video and performance art.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Julianne. You are currently in creation for your first full length ensemble piece, that will be entitled 'Suffix' and which will be presented at the Dance Centre October of this year: any anticipation about this upcoming project? What do you aim at achieving with this work? The presentation coming up this October 26th & 27th at the Dance Centre in Vancouver, will be the culmination of the Suffix project and incorporate the object/performer studies as well as video, installation and new sculptural work. Ed Spence and I, along with performers Maxine Chadburn, Francesca Frewer and Antonio Somera Jr. will create an immersive performance work that explores the physical and spiritual effects of our rapidly changing technological landscape. I’m very interested in presenting this interdisciplinary work in a dance context to expand the idea of what dance can be. The work will feature objects that act as performers or extensions of the performer’s bodies as well as relics of the performer’s physical forms such as face and dental casts. This performance will be the result of years of research and exploration and I am very excited to present it in it’s completed form. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Olivia Orozco Lives and works in Los Angeles, California, USA

Olivia Mia Orozco’s work explores the relationship between the mind and body both as it concerns itself with the movement of dance and from a philosophical point of view. Her work questions and redefines perspective. She enjoys using the camera lens to aide the audience in seeing new facets of the atmosphere in which the dancer is living that may not otherwise be seen in a proscenium setting. It questions the notions of time and from how many viewpoints time can be measured. As a female artist she explores the defining characteristics of women and is interested in archetypal figures while also questioning the shapings of the modern woman. Her work weaves tales from ancient myths to Hollywood thrillers to create work that both pays homage to classical dance while still maintaining a fresh look of the twenty first century in its interwoven form. Slicing and mingling the old and new, she creates work that aims at authentically presenting her story, thoughts, dreams and ambitions to audiences worldwide via the use of technology and live performance.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com Hello Olivia and welcome to

: we

in Dance and a minor in Philosophy: how did your studies inform your current practice? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum dued to your number of collaborations with other choreographers as John Zullo, Rebeca Hernandez and Svea Schneider influence your current practice?

would 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 BFA

My studies and life come into play when I’m making work regularly. I chose to study Philosophy while majoring in




Women Cinemakers dance to add a layer to my choreography and filmmaking. I was taught from an early age from a high school class called “Art in Society” to learn from Rilke, and to love the questions. It isn’t always about the answer so much as it is about asking new questions. Studying philosophy opened my brain up. Philosophy has helped me think logically while dance lets me think intuitively but from the whole body. I’m now also running an art gallery and rely on my formal training to bring thought provoking artists to the gallery. Both dance, film and philosophy and travel have taught me that gaining and presenting new perspectives is something all audiences are curious in learning about. My past present and future work always depends on collaborations. I use to think I had to be a dancer before I could be a choreographer, or to be an actress before being a filmmaker and director. Knowing about all aspects of production only helps in whatever hat I’m wearing that day. Working with various choreographers helped me understand how their creative process works. Every artist I know works differently. In dance, many creators have a common process of making long phrases of movement and then building different themes and variations to cut up and create solos, duets and trios. Working with Svea was much more musical and story driven. With Rebeca, I was able to gain insight into the performance art world both in Los Angeles and Mexico, which greatly fascinates me. I think dance is headed more towards performance art and visual artist collaborations. Your practice is marked out with such captivating eclecticism and we have really appreciated the way your approach combines a variety of features from different art disciplines, including dance, acting, choreography and filmmaking. 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: in the meanwhile, would you tell us what does address you to such captivating multidisciplinary approach? How do you select an art discipline to inquire into a particular area of your artistic research? I think I often explain myself as an artist the way I also talk about my cultural American background. I’m Mexican, Italian, Lithuanian, Latvian, and Austrian, but at the end of the day I’m American. I started as a dancer with a passion to choreograph, to put dance on camera and the stage and to tell stories and help other artists tell their stories, I’m an artist. From a young age I was always studying dance, acting and film simultaneously, even in middle school and at an arts high school. Dance is something you can do your whole life, my mother still teaches dance, but I always knew I wanted to do other things with my life as well. I can’t help but be fascinated by dance and always try to find ways it can be seen in a new way, whether if that is on camera or in an installation at an art gallery. I’m interested in the multi disciplinary collaborations. I use to want to be an architect and really my whole creative process still goes back to designing space, only sometimes it is on camera and the lens is telling the audience what aspect of the space to see where as in a live show lighting and entrances and exits can bring the viewer to a point of focus. For this special edition of we have selected , an extremely interesting documentary project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory


Women Cinemakers pages of this article and that can be viewed at . Shot during the international contemporary dance forum , in Cholula Mexico, your film features fresh and genuine exploration of the perspectives on Mexican dance culture by the three artists that whose practice you have had the chance to explore: while walking our readers through the genesis of this captivating project, would you tell us what did attract you about this topic and how your background directed your research? I made Focus On Mexico as a test to see if I could direct, produce, and edit a short film, get it into festivals and possibly win an award. It worked. I usually work more collaboratively, but for this one I wanted to see what I was capable of. Documentary filmmaking excites me, because you don’t know what your interviewee will say or how open they will be. Similar to working with improvised dance movement and creating choreography in the editing. Before the trip began, I had a feeling I was going to be visiting a part of Mexico not a lot of people travel to. I had never heard of Performatica before being asked to travel there as a performer. I knew I had to bring my camera. Meeting Jaimie Camarena, was pure luck and timing. He generously allowed Rebeca and I to sit in on one of his rehearsals, gave me permission to film and to interview him. I find that people are eager to tell their stories because there is such a preconceived notion of what Mexico is to Americans. No one thinks of Mexico and modern dance and yet they have more funding for the arts down there than we do in the states, amazing formal training and some of the most up




Women Cinemakers

and coming creative thinkers. I didn’t truly know until I was there either. I learned from studying acting a long time ago to be interested and people will be interested in you. I think when finding a person to interview and while shooting, there has to be something exciting and interesting for me to want to film them and to keep talking to someone. I start out with general questions but each of their responses clues me into knowing how much more I can ask them. Performatica brought together an amazing array of international and Mexican artists who were open to being filmed. I was able to make friends with one woman who was visiting from NYC and teaching ballet to the students and another who had attended UDLAP where the forum took place. They were both very open to being interviewed. I’ve continued filming interviews in Thailand, Lisbon, Vienna, London, Berlin, Paris, Montreal, Tokyo asking dance artists about their artistic lives and researching how their environments affect the work they make both artistically and financially. We have appreciated the way you have provided your documentary with sucha poetic quality, capable of establishing emotional involvement in the viewers: what were your aesthetic decisions when shooting and what did you aim at triggering in the spectatorship? I’m always interested in the flow of a video and showing movement. One shot was in the back of a car, and I really wanted the look of this video to put the audience there in the car, and in the market, and watching the dogs and seeing the colors of Mexico and the dancing. I wanted the audience to


see the details that make a place special to match the ideas the interviewees were talking about. I try to train my eye to see the beauty wherever I am. I wish the camera could even better show how beautiful some of the places I have been. Another interesting work that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled and can be viewed at : what has impressed us of your insightful inquiry into is the way it brings our relationship with our environment to a new level of significance, unveiling the ubiquitous bond between the individual and outside reality. While introducing us to the initial idea of this film, would you tell us how do you consider the relationship between perceptual reality and our inner landscape? I made Temporal in the first year I had moved to NYC. I grew up in California and wasn’t use to seeing the four seasons and decided to shoot during each season to capture the essence each one has and to use a dancer per season to amplify the emotions felt during Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. NYC is a very powerful energetic place that more than any place I have ever been, can throw your energy all over the place. In NYC you have to focus so much on keeping yourself happy and positive because when you walk outside the door the city begins like a video game and doesn’t stop until you decide to jump off the merry- go-round. And part of the NYC energy requires one to go with its flow. The most amazing serendipidous encounters can happen at any moment in NYC and people keep living there because there often are these times where the outter and inner realities align for you. I’m very strongly affected by my surroundings. I think in being in touch with your inner

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Women Cinemakers landscape you can know if where you are is where you should be. I feel much better living in Los Angeles now. Addressing the viewer to contemplate the nature of time, also urges us to challenge our ordinary perceptual categories and seems to move towards a bergsonian concept of time: how do you consider the relationship between perceptual reality and the realm of imagination? Moreover, how much important is for you to invite your audience to elaborate personal associations? I think anyone who is a creator, sees things that aren’t part of any objective reality but can become part of ones own perceptual reality. What goes on in my imagination can be so much more interesting than what is going on in real life or time. As an artist, it’s your job to create something out of nothing. So my base reality has to have room for my imagination and not over power it. When directing someone, I’m interested both in their honesty and how they bring a sense of their past to a character but also in how far their imagination can change them. All performing in dance and acting is an act of living in imagined circumstances and believing them to be a new reality. Imagination is what can save the world and make a better reality for many people. Changing the way we think can change our whole world. Meditation and yoga has personally helped me catch myself when I’m not in a positive mindset and helps me refocus my energy on what is working and what I’m able to change in my life for the better. I think the audience should always be bringing in their personal associations. Art isn’t about being right or wrong, and I’m not always interested even in people understanding my work as much as I care about them feeling something. I want to present





Women Cinemakers

them a human emotion or idea and let them make up their own minds about how it makes them feel or think. features stunning cinematography and we have really appreciated your successful attempt to capture the resonance between gestures and the background: how did you select the locations where shooting and how did your choice of environments affect the development of the initial idea? In this film, because there is no dialogue, the movements and locations had to carry the emotions. Before each shoot I would rehearse with each of the dancers building choreography and always also letting them improvise. We shot during each of the seasons over the course of a year, so the emotions they were feeling based on the seasons were real, and the movement was based on those real feelings as well. Ironically that year in NYC there was barely any snow, so the winter segment came out very differently not having any snow to work with. Regardless, we were going to do most of the dance sequences in a studio to show a dancer trying to work up the motivation to move and create when it’s 5 degrees outside and not too warm inside. Many of the locations were personal favorite spots in NYC. A boy had once taken me on a date in Prospect Park, and I found a great tree to shoot the Spring segment in. People don’t often think of the beach in NYC, but everyone makes their way to Fort Tilden or Far Rockaway in the summer. I like to work intuitively and logically and reasonably. We didn’t have permits and shot the whole film guerilla style, which adds an excitement and spontaneity to the process.

The way you have sapiently combined your exploration of the grammar of body and the audio commentary provides with such an ethereal atmosphere: how do you see the relationship between sound and moving images? The process of working with sound on this project was very different than the way I normally work. As a choreographer, dance can either be very set to a song. Like the music video I choreographed for Mayer Hawthorne, “Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin’ Nothin’” every movement is exactly with the music. When choreographing for a live show, I like there to be freedom in the movement and some sections become very set to the music, but if it’s a solo it’s more exciting for it to change each night. With this project, Jett Cain and I would have meetings with the composer Garret Lang about what type of feelings and emotions we wanted to convey in each segment and he would begin creating. Some rehearsals we had 20 seconds of a rough idea to work with. The movement was then made not to the music. Garret finished the whole track of the film and then in the editing, Jett really re choreographed the dancing to match the movement. Most projects I would say are scored after the edit is complete, but the whole process really was a collaboration and an experiment. Over the recent years many artists, from Martha Wilson to Carolee Schneemann have explored culture’s expectations about what women are supposed to be: as an artist interested in questioning , do you think that contemporary art could be a for a kind of social criticism capable of making aware a large part of the population of the


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condition of women in our globalized, still patriarchal societies? Moreover, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value? I now also run an art gallery in Los Angeles called Radiant Space, and pride myself to work with another female director, and to bring many female artists shows in LA. I don’t know if there are more female artists now, or if history chose to actively ignore women in the arts. Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’ Keefe seem to be the only female artists America has heard of. I will never understand the injustices that have harmed the creativity of women to be seen to the world. I am happy to be living now in 2018 with more freedom than any female in my family history has ever had, so I do know change is possible. Being a woman is so special, and only women artists can really tell that story. There always seems to be a deeper sense of emotion and vulnerability in the work I see females making, even if they themselves are tough and rebellious because they have to be. You have to be big, bad and bold for people to pay attention to your work these days. As if being more masculine is how a female artist gets seen. Personally, I only want to make work I’m interested in, whether it’s soft and subtle or loud and ugly. I think art can change the world and heal the world. Society has never understood artists and even less so female artists. At least once a week I’m either asked about or criticized for not being married and having children already. I’m sorry, I was busy producing nine fine art shows this year and dating my art. If more women continue to live their lives for themselves and not for societal norms,

there will be change. If more female directors tell narratives of women, the world will see women differently. I love men, and know many great men who love helping female artists succeed. We need more good people everywhere for the change to happen. I love Frances McDormand for demanding the inclusion rider as she received her Oscar. It’s a very exciting time to be alive, scary but exciting. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that "it is always only a matter of seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": as a multidisciplinary artist deeply involved in dance, how do you consider the relation between the abstract feature of the concepts you explore in your artistic research and the physical aspect of your practice? That’s a tricky question. Even when I’m not dancing, I’m dancing. Not a single day goes by that I don’t use my body and dance on my own or express myself through talking with my hands. I am very capable of getting lost in my head, and use my body to bring me back to the present. Dance itself is already very abstract, which makes it difficult to use it as a medium to tell a precise story. In college, I created a piece based on and at that time felt it very important to tell an exact story that the audience would understand. Temporal, isn’t that project. It’s more important to me that the audience has a visceral reaction when witnessing art. I think we get too focused in American culture about being




Women Cinemakers right, understanding art isn’t that. I want to know what my work reminded someone else of, to add to the conversation or how it made them feel. In essence, I think even the physical practice is abstract. When many movers train in the same disciplines we learn a language that only trained dancers really understand, to the normal eye it almost always still seems to be only something that mesmerizes them. They love how graceful and fluid you are, but they don’t understand the work as much as another dancer might. I don’t enjoy the act of pantomime and feel that’s a sort of way of cheating. I do think dance, good acting and good filmmaking can tell a story through movement and want to further investigate that process. Over the years your works have been showcased in several " was screened at the Colombia Gorge occasions: " International Film Festival and in the International Dancefilmfestival in Brussels, Belgium and “ ” won most thought provoking at the Colombia Gorge International Film Festival in 2016 and has been screened in the UK as well as across the US. How much importance has for your the feedback of the festival circuit? Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process? I think it’s exciting for a film to be made, finished and in a festival. It marks the process complete. It’s nerve wracking to share the work in front of your colleagues but a crucial step in the creative process. If you don’t feel confident to show the work, then maybe it isn’t done. I like to do things that scare me as much as I don’t like to. I never thought I would be doing a Q & A at the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival, but it was a positive and scary experience, hopefully to prepare me for much bigger moments to come. The feedback is important, when it comes from people who are honest. Too early in the process, the feedback can ruin a






Women Cinemakers project and too late in the process it can also ruin a film or anything. Honesty is essential and working with people whose taste you trust. I think someday being able to get into the bigger festivals could greatly help my work to be seen, but I won’t let it be a defining reason to make or not make work. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Olivia. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I have several projects I’m still in the pre planning phases for. My life took a bit of a detour to run an art gallery, but it is helping my eye and artistry and ability to collaborate with others in a way I never saw possible. The next short film I want to shoot this year is focused on over sexualization of women that is killing their true essence. It will be a sort of period piece that crosses many decades showing the heroine throughout the eras. My other project is to continue my documentary about dancers around the world. I’m still deciding if it will be many small shorts or a longer documentary. I’m working on interviews shot in Montreal, London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Thailand, Japan, Mexico and Portugal. I owe it to the amazing artists who sat down to talk to me, to share their stories. I was recently in Tokyo and also would like to make a 24 hour sort of Before Sunrise type of travel love story shot out there. I see myself continuing to work on music videos and dance films but would like to create feature films. I don’t know what the future stores, but do know I always want to be traveling, meeting amazing people, inspiring other artists and sharing all the untold stories. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Zaquia Mahler Salinas Lives and works in San Diego, California, USA

"the loneliest part of here is now" is a dance film which explores the dichotomic nature of desire for human connection and an endless struggle with self. It is a biomythographical assortment of abstracted memories embodied by a collection of women - connected yet alone. Through a synthesizing of our own lived histories to the greater collective memory, and a deconstruction of the collective memory to manifest story as individuals, "the loneliest part of here is now" is a magical reinvention and retelling of the self through connectivity with others.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier

Hello Zaquia and welcome to

and Dora S. Tennant

we would like to invite our reader to visit

womencinemaker@berlin.com

http://www.zaquiasalinas.com in order to get a

is a captivating film by choreographer and filmmaker Zaquia Mahler Salinas: inquiring into the dichotomic nature of desire for human connection and an endless struggle with self, this stimulating work accomplishes the difficult task of providing the viewers with such a multilayered exploration of the notion of memory, to unveil the elusive bond between personal experience and universal imagery. Featuring elegant cinematography and sapient composition, Salinas' work speaks of the elusive bond between inner world and external reality: we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her captivating and multifaceted artistic production.

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wider idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of questions regarding your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as a creative? How does your cultural substratum direct the areas of interest of your artistic journey? I come to this conversation through the lens of a dancer and dance maker. I’ve been a dancer all my life and have always been called to the arts as a platform for expression. Ever since I can remember I



choreographed, made collages, wrote poetry, made movies‌ I was always making something. From a very young age, I battled with intense anger, sorrow, insecurity, instability and a feeling that I lacked place. Art in all of it’s forms came to the rescue time and time again as a way to work with my dark places rather than suppress my experiences. Now, I use my creative practices to tell stories that help me make sense of the world around me and my place in it. I make art to connect myself to others in the belief that more connection will bring about more compassion in us as people. Being a woman, a Chicana/Palestinian, an American, a social activist, a believer in magic- all of these layers of me come up in the way I experience the world and therefore the explorations I undertake in my art-making‌ especially dance. As a corporeal art that cannot be removed from the physicality of our human forms, dance is this phenomenal place where all of our intersectional experiences can be performed, confronted, shared, and expressed. For this special edition of we have selected , an extremely interesting video that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at . What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into the concept of the self through connectivity with others is the way your artistic research provides the viewers with such an intense visual experience,

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Women Cinemakers enhanced by a sapient cinematography. While walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? was born out of an interest in “rewriting” personal history as a transformational, radical act of empowerment. It began as an abstracted narrative written in poetry and prose, transformed into still images, and then movement, and then a film. I wanted to draw parallels between the literary genre of biomythography and the storytelling of the dancing body on film. The film is a mashup collage of language and movement based on my story, (re)told through a lens of memory and magic with an emphasis on connecting my personal experiences with universal themes. With that intention of connectivity, my “stories” (which are more like loose memories and guttural feelings) are embodied by other women whom have infused the work with their own intimate stories. We explored and experienced the interconnectedness of human suffering through a series of solos, woven together. Archetypal myths of beginnings, remembering and forgetting, and endings created the framework through which these women intersect. As previously stated, the work was inspired by an exploration of biomythography and intersectional storytelling, but also magical realism, an interest in mashup art, the writings of performance artist d’bi.young anitafrika, the work of Pipilotti Rist, Leos Carax, Jean-Luc Godard, a




long list of mixed media visual artists, and most of all a desire to make art that is transformational. We have been impressed with the way you have combined elements from environment with ambience capable of speaking about imagination and memory. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, you dream movement, story-boarding pictures in your head before conceptualizing them in space: how do you consider the relationship between perceptual reality and the realm of imagination? Moreover, how much important is for you to trigger the viewer's perceptual parameters in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? I don’t think of myself as a particularly imaginative person. I feel like instead of imagination, I explore the vast expanse of perception(s) and unfixed reality. This practice of sitting with a memory or an experience and reevaluating my perception, has for me been a powerful tool for reclaiming my life. All of how we see and experience the world is dictated by our lived experiences, and to go back in and shift the lens to make meaning outside of myself is part of my work as an artist. Performance artist d’bi.young anitafrika writes about her own process: “storytelling allows me to repeatedly remove myself from scenarios that may compromise my ability to be empowered. self-determination is essential in identity, self-esteem, and community building. we are all responsible for telling our own stories and creating the means by which to tell them. we create. we live. we dialogue. we change ourselves and our families and our lovers and our friends.”

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Women Cinemakers Distilling a memory, experience, feeling, or history to a core universal truth both amplifies it’s personal meaning for the performer or artist, and makes it viscerally accessible to the viewer and imbues the art with transformational energy. This beautiful thing about art that uses the moving body as the main medium, is that this premise of kinesthetic empathy is inherent- therefore the perceptual parameters are built into the art, and then in this case, amplified by the medium of film and all it has to offer as a tool for shifting perspectives. I feel that in making dance film, I have a unique opportunity to “make� the dance 4 times: 1) in the choreographing of the actual movement in collaboration with the dancers 2) in the choreographing of the dance into the space in which it will be filmed 3) in the choreographing of the videography 4) in the choreographing of the editing In this way, I get to really dial in what I want the audience to see, and how I want them to see it. This is the gift that dance film offers in terms of storytelling and perception. We have deeply appreciated the way you unveil the ubiquitous connection between our own lived histories and the collective memory, encouraging the viewers to create personal narratives out of your work: could you comment this stimulating aspect of your practice? Moreover, how do you consider the relationship between everyday life's experience and your creative process? Does it fuel your artistic research?


As a dance-maker, I believe that a collaborative process allows for an exceptional opportunity to enhance the meaning of the work. As an artist, I want the art to mean something real not just to me but to the artists who are embodying it, and therefore ask them to infuse the work with their own stories, movement research, experiences and meanings. I find that when we are all invested in the story that is being told from this multi-layered intention in the movement, it reaches the audience in a different way. I love that while each of us holds a unique lifetime of experiences, we can find ourselves deeply moved by empathetic responses to the experiences of others. In the spirit of further connecting and relating to others, I try to extend that opportunity to make meaning through a relationship to the viewer. The intention behind is to explore the possibilities of feeling that empathy and interconnectedness with others through experiences of aloneness. The stories of fulfill my desire to explore narrative that is simultaneously personal and universal not just because the stories are archetypal, but because of our communal undertaking to tell them with the specificity of our own memory. When we can bridge the gap between our own everyday experiences, the monumental moments of shift and change in our lives, and the art that we make, it somehow opens up a a special place where life and art feel particularly inseparable. Sound plays an important role in and we have highly appreciated the synergy between the combination between spoken words, the sound of the ambience by Geminelle Rollins

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Women Cinemakers and the footage. How did you structured the relationship between sound and the flow of image to achieve such consistent unity? Creating sound for movement is a distinct challenge; to build sound that reflects the movement in timing, quality and energy, to reflect the story the body is telling, the sounds of the space‌ suggesting tone, mood, intention and relationship in an abstracted narrative adds yet another layer of challenge to the work- to hint at narrative and overarching theme while leaving enough space for the viewer to add their own layer of interpretation. I knew that sound would play a pivotal role in the power of the film. Geminelle Rollins is a phenomenal sound artist who brought her own layer of story into the project. Geminelle and I wanted to incorporate all of the core elements of each story into the sound score and we knew from the beginning that the film would need some audible motifs and themes to thread the individual stories together. We knew that we wanted to include the text I had written that is the foundation of the work as spoken text, diegetic and non-diegetic sounds, breath, and vocals but not lyrics. The specifics of each sound score developed from there through long conversations, many drafts of both sound and film editing, and Geminelle’s personal explorations into the seed concepts that spurred the creation of the choreography for each section. Each instrument, ambient sound, rhythm, line of text, silence, etc. all developed out of the conceptual elements of the work as well as the filmed movement and the choreography of the editing. Just as each of the movement artists played a role in




the collective creating of the work, so did Geminelle as she created the sensitive and poetic sound score. features elegantly structured composition: what were your when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? Again, coming from a dance background, part of what makes the film medium so interesting is the ability to play with scale and distance in a way typically unavailable in the theater. To explore how the specificity of the frame impacts the viewers experience of the movement and dynamics of the image is my favorite part about composing the shot. As this work was intended to be the retelling of my personal story, it was important to me that I be the main videographer. The possibility to showcase a slightly voyeuristic perspective- the sense of being in the space, watching the story unfold through a specific gaze, as though you were me standing in that space holding that camera. I wanted it to feel homemade, a little collaged. I was curious, how can I use this container of the camera lens to layer in another experience of aloneness in connection to others? How can we be watching, both in this seeming proximity to the soloist, yet removed from them? How do we create intimacy and separateness through the lens? Your video features stimulating capable of providing the viewers with such captivating and we have highly appreciated your stunning landscape cinematography: how did you selected the

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Women Cinemakers locations? In particular, do you think that the theme of landscape could be of human condition? It was important to me that the locations reflect both the outer and inner landscape of memory. Some of the scenes are indoors while others take place in outdoor spaces. Each location was selected to reflect a specific element of the story being told; from whimsical and visually cluttered to expansive and desolate, framing the movement story in a space that could hold the intention and energy of the narrative while also evoking a little bit of that magic I was after became paramount. Being that I also intended to practice artistic curiosity throughout the process, I took certain signs as reassurance that each location was meant to be: a costume color that just happened to be reflected in the color palate of the environment, an energetic quality to the space, or a reflection of the choreographic movement in the movement of the landscape. The visual container for the dance (the mise en scène) is such a fun element to play with in dance film that isn’t necessarily available in more traditional dance environments and I love to take advantage of that as a tool for storytelling. To emphasize the need of a bound between creative process and direct experience, British artist Chris Ofili once stated that " ". How would you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of a performance and the need of spontaneity? How much importance does play in your creative process?




I always strive to find a balance between planning and spontaneity/improvisation. Dance teaches us a lot about this balance- we are always working on it as physical performing artists. As a process-based artist I am interested in the spirit of magic and honoring the artistic process. I embrace the possibilities that come with allowing the details of the art to unfold and manifest in their own time while using structure as a container in which those details can surface. My process is as much about magic and fate as it is about decision-making, strategy, or procedure. I alway have a production timeline, rehearsal schedule, and clear communication with my team of artists. My concepts are usually pretty formed by the time I actually “get to work” on a project, but the exact form or content is to be determined in the process of making the work. My storyboards are loose, usually outlining general conceptual information about movers, space, time, energy, colors, qualities, but nothing detailed… maybe one or two moments as landmarks per section. I don’t create detailed shot lists or even know exactly what I want the end product to look like post-editing. The specifics get filled in as the work is created through attending to bits of inspiration and gut feelings as they surface, listening to the energy and collective intelligence of my collaborative team, being willing to work and re-work aspects of the piece, and not being afraid to leave some elements unknown. I find that this balance between structure and “improvisation” is where I do my best work. Many artists express the ideas that they explore

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Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


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Women Cinemakers through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that "it is always only a matter of seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": how do you consider the relation between the abstract nature of the ideas you explore and the physical act of creating your artworks? Dance work speaks to this concept directly. As humans, living this life in a body, we are inextricable from our form in terms of how we experience the world. The specific form we each take (our skin color, gender, physique, age, illnesses, health, hair type, etc.) profoundly inform the way we see the world and are seen in it. In this way, all art that we make (and how we view art), regardless of genre or medium, is a reflection of that fleshly experience. Working in the medium of dance, I take visceral experiences, re-conceptualize them through physical research and exploration, and then present it in physical form. The physical act the art I make, and by sharing that dance in film format, it becomes physical in a different sense. has already been shared in the Bay Area at the and in San Diego at the : how much importance has for your the feedback of the festival circuit? Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process? Honestly, I am just interested in making my art with the hope that it resonates in some way with the people who see it. I enjoy receiving feedback as it helps me to understand what viewers are taking away from the work- I love to know what people see and feel, and what comes up for them as they relate to it‌ but


in the grand scheme of things, I am just making what seems the most honest and real to me and my collaborators at the time. Not everyone will love it, it will not always be “good” to all people, it won’t be selected for every venue, but I do believe it will be shared where and with whom it is meant to be shared. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Zaquia. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I am just landing back at home after 10 weeks of dancerelated travel in Peru and Mexico where some live performance elements were created and performed for . Currently, I are working on a presentation of here at home in San Diego, California which will include the film as well as the live dance and installation elements as the final iteration of the work. I am excited to put all of the layers of this work together and see it “finished” in a new way. I have a couple of ideas incubating right now for a new project, but it is still in it’s infancy. Keep your eyes on my website for blogs and more dance film and live performance projects in the future. I am excited to keep exploring and making! Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my work with you all- it truly is an honor.

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

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Women Cinemakers meets

Adé Salomé Lives and works in between Paris, Brussels and Lyon

Nowadays the private sphere has lost its contours. Private lives are “shared”, staged, fabricated and monetized. They become public images whose flood can suffocate us. Their meaning and authenticity are often lost. Faced with this excess, I wanted to return to simple individual stories, where episodes of life would be told in a purged, minimalist manner. I also wanted to investigate how intimacy can reveal itself and speak to the spectator. To extract the essence of these stories, I chose to tell them through corporal expression rather than through words and narration. A story is more than a plot or a sequence of events: it is also a blend of thoughts and emotions. These have their own existence - they are what remains when the story is over - and I believe that body expression can isolate and transcribe thoughts and emotions in a unique manner. I grew up with dance, and it keeps a prominent place in my life and in the way I want to express myself artistically. As a filmmaker, I wanted to use the camera not only to capture and crystallize these corporal expressions, but also to involve and to challenge the viewer. SPARKS started from an experiment. I wanted to make a bouquet of portraits by asking each participant to deliver a personal story, a fundamental moment that changed their life. Together, we choreographed these stories and put them in motion. SPARKS is an ongoing series. It enriches my other projects, including narrative fiction. Last year I directed three short films and I am currently working on my first feature film. I also direct music videos. Sparks allows me to experiment in total freedom and to explore my artistic voice. An interview by Francis L. Quettier

couple of questions regarding your background. Are

and Dora S. Tennant

there any experiences that informed your current

womencinemaker@berlin.com

practice most particularly? Moreover, does your

Hello Adé and welcome to WomenCinemakers. We would like to introduce you to our readers with a

cultural background inform the way you relate to art making in general?




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Thank you for having me! I think that just like every artist, my own practice is based on life experiences and on the way I was introduced to art. I grew up in a family that was very fond of art. My grandfather loved photography, my grandmother loved opera and my mother is a painter. I was taken to great museums such as the Louvre and the MusĂŠe d'Orsay at a very young age and enrolled in classical dance when I was 3 years old. Dance classes were actually meant to help me coordinate my movements, because as a child I was already a dreamer and I would fall over all the time! But as it turned out, classical dance came to play a fundamental role in my life. It taught me to look for beauty and purity. I grew up with it and it is still essential for me today. Dance also led me to acting, which I started as a teenager. For me it was a natural extension of dance, of interpretation. My work today is more or less a conscious blend of the techniques I learned over the years in my dance and acting classes. Furthermore, while attending these classes I started to feel the desire to direct actors. In particular, after having attended the drama class of an American teacher whose technique really inspired me - it was a physical technique that gave me the missing link between dance and theatre. On top of that, I developed a fascination for cinema. I can remember when it all started: it was with Sofia Coppola's Virgin Suicides, which I watched at the age of 17. It was a real

shock, and its effect has never left me. Since then I’ve always wanted to hold a camera. When looking back, all these steps naturally followed one another. Yet it took me years to take the leap and to dedicate myself to creating my own art. It is only after I turned 30 that I freed myself from all sorts of constraints and that I decided to pursue my artistic desires. To me there is something noble and sacred in art, because it speaks to us on a level that exceeds us. For me, creating is claiming a little piece of this magic. It's wonderful and it's a chance. For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected SPARKS, a captivating series that our readers can view directly at www.adesalome.com. What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into the collision between the outside world and the inner sphere is the way your research addresses the viewer to such multilayered and emotionally charged visual experience. When walking our readers through the genesis of SPARKS, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? Did you conceive the video as a whole project? The starting point of Sparks is a desire to tell personal, intimate stories. In everyday life, we are overwhelmed by fabricated images of the people around us. Creating your own personal brand and publicizing your private life and emotions are now accepted and can even be


Women Cinemakers

lucrative. I find it quite suffocating and lacking in authenticity. So I felt the need to tell personal stories in a more authentic manner, or at least to break up the way personal stories are commonly put on display. I wanted to tell episodes of life in a purged, minimalistic format, and to talk about what these really mean for the person who lived them. I am fascinated by how a single moment or life experience can totally change a journey, an identity. And I like how a pure, simple gesture can express this and tell us a lot about a person. In short, I wanted to create a bouquet of intimate stories while preserving their authenticity and modesty. A contrast with what social media feed us with every day. So I started an experiment. I asked the actors and dancers who participated in the project to come with a personal story: a pivotal moment or experience that fundamentally changed their lives and defined the persons they are today. What I asked from them was profoundly intimate, so it was really important for me to create an environment of trust that allowed each of them to feel comfortable and to be genuine. With some participants, we choreographed these stories. We created a corporal language specific to each of them. We worked on the moves and gestures together and I filmed them in a studio, on a black background. There was no music at this stage, I directed them with my voice. I acted like their own

inner voice, accompanying them through the story. The narrative itself slowly disappeared behind these movements, which themselves disappeared behind the emotion. With other participants we went through a different process. I asked them to create an internal monologue based on their story. Then I took them to unexpected locations: the cabin of a big wheel, a crowded touristic place or the roof of an abandoned car park. I filmed them while they recited their monologue internally. This time the body was barely moving, the inner self was challenged by the environment. The outside world was there, disturbing and colliding with the intimacy of the character. And still what strikes me when watching these SPARKS episodes is that the inner world of the character always seems to take over the circumstances of the surrounding environment. It is only when I realised that both processes actually led to the same kind of raw emotion that I decided to bring them together in a single series. SPARKS is about how our inner and outer worlds collide and interact, how our physicality projects itself onto our environment to express who we are. From a visual point of view, is elegantly composed and we have particularly appreciated the way your sapient use of close ups allows you to capture emotionally charged moments. What were





your aesthetic decisions when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? The first aesthetic decision is often the placement of the actor. I like to explore and play with this decision: embedding the character's body in its environment, playing with lines, perspectives and all other possibilities offered by the architecture or the

surrounding environment. In SPARKS episode 2 "Beware the fury of the patient man", the actor is very imposing physically and I played a lot with his colossal stature. At one point I placed him in front of a bridge and a play of perspective gives the impression that people are coming out of his mouth. This choice was purely aesthetic and playful at first, but it turned out to be highly symbolic as well since this episode deals with


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Then it's mainly about finding the right distance from the actor. For SPARKS I opted to film with minimal equipment - an Iphone, a tripod and a stabilizer. For outdoor episodes I added an anamorphic lens to give the image a widescreen, cinematographic feel. The advantage of a smartphone is that the actor forgets it very quickly and that the director has a greater proximity with the actor. For a series like SPARKS which seeks to reveal the character’s inner world, I consider it the most appropriate tool, the least imposing. A smartphone can also film a character in busy public places with great discretion, which is important for the series. Another advantage is that I do not depend on a team or on a schedule. I can do things as I want and take my time. Filming with smartphones is actually becoming increasingly popular, including with renowned film directors!

isolation and loneliness. I also make decisions on the postures and choreography of movements, be it dance or not. I am quite demanding on the execution of the gestures. It's a whole series of small decisions that make a difference in the end. On a production like SPARKS we can afford to take the time to get it right.

We have deeply appreciated the way Metamorphosis, the first chapter of SPARKS, explores the grammar of body language to create a kind of involvement that touches the viewers' emotional sphere, to speak of pain and happiness. How important is it to you to trigger the audience's perceptual parameters through emotional, nonverbal language, in order to communicate to their subconscious? Besides, are you inviting the viewers to elaborate personal interpretations?




Women Cinemakers

I have always been fascinated by the power of nonverbal language. A single gesture can say much more than a thousand words. In fact our gestures constantly reflect our inner world. The SPARKS series is all about this connection between body and mind. In the initial stage, when creating a choreography and during rehearsals, I do not take the viewer into

consideration. My only concern is to help the actor create a body language that speaks the truth and expresses genuine emotion. I then focus on capturing this the best I can. Later on when editing, I am interested in creating a piece that, as you said, speaks to the mind and the subconscious. The initial, personal story of the


character has disappeared behind the corporal language and the emotion. I voluntarily do not give any clue about that story so the viewers have to make sense of what they see on their own. And they do so by projecting their own experiences and understanding of the human condition. In the end, the actor or dancer is only the receptacle of the spectators’ interpretations and subconscious.

I find this mirror effect very interesting. Two persons will see different things in the same episode. Metamorphosis communicates a sense of freedom regarding the choreographic aspect of movement, and at the same time it reflects a conscious shift regarding its visual unity. How would you consider the relationship between the necessity of




scheduling the details of a performance and the need of spontaneity? How much importance does play improvisation in your practice?

turned into freedom, because Thao did not have to think about the execution of the movements any more. She could focus on her feelings, her emotions.

Preparation and spontaneity are both essential to me, since my objective is not only to create pleasing aesthetics but also to offer a true moment of life. Metamorphosis is a choreographed piece of work. With dancer Thao Nguyen we carefully crafted each movement to tell her story. But at the time of filming, the constraint of pre-established movements quickly

In general I interact a lot with the dancers while I film them. I talk to them, I encourage them to go further, I provoke them. This reintroduces spontaneity because we are actually more in a dialogue than in the strict performance of a choreography. At the very end of the filming of Metamorphosis and to embody the return of joy and happiness, I asked Thao to let go


completely, even if that meant no longer respecting the choreography. And I loved what happened because I was surprised. In summary, I love to use improvisation but only after a solid preparation!

the character. In particular, do you think that the juxtaposition between the multitude and the individual could be considered also a metaphor of human condition?

“Beware the fury of the patient man” features gorgeous combinations between refined landscape cinematography and a keen eye for detail. We have been particularly impressed with the way you combined the idea of urban landscape, the stories of the people who inhabit it and the inner struggle of

Absolutely. The feeling of loneliness has nothing to do with the number of people around you or their kindness toward you. You can feel deeply alone in the midst of a crowd. A deep inner evil can eat you up like the protagonist of “Beware the fury of the patient man”, even when you have enjoyable social


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interactions or when you find yourself in an appealing place. It is a feature of the human being to be alone in the face of the pains and difficulties of life. We have been impressed with the rigorous geometry of Dive and we can recognize an allegorical quality in the third chapter of SPARKS. How do you consider the relation between the abstract nature of the ideas you explore and the physical act of creating your artworks? In SPARKS, the concrete is always my starting point. The concrete is the story that is told through the gesture, the body and that calls the emotion. From this raw material captured during the shooting, abstract ideas emerge. I welcome them and work with them at the time of editing. The editing offers many possibilities and allows this addition of a more conceptual dimension. Abstract ideas eventually complete the body and emotional performance of the actor. I see this process a bit like painting in layers. In Dive, I do use geometry, in particular parallelism and multiplication. Parallelism because the man and the woman never appear together. And multiplication of the man’s image as the tension rises. As for the woman, she is dual and she ends up succumbing and disappearing. I like the fact that everyone can interpret these effects as they see fit. I have already

heard many different interpretations of this episode. The fourth episode, entitled “Innersphere”, seems to respond to German photographer Andreas Gursky when he stated that Art should not be delivering a report on reality, but should be looking at what's behind. The episode’s essential yet effective cinematographic style provides your statics with such emotional intensity and at the same time a genuine view on the intimate sphere of the character. We dare say that you aimed at inviting the viewers to recognize their inner landscape in the performance of Nahid Mahou. What were you aiming to provoke in the viewers? And what do you hope the spectators to take away from your Innersphere? “Innersphere” was one of these experiments in which I put several ingredients in front of my camera with an idea in mind but with little control over the result. Nahid had prepared an internal monologue, and I had decided to surprise her by filming her in a big wheel. It was all about creating a sort of magic of the moment that would reveal her inner self, and capturing it. I really like what came out of it. In this film there is no action, and at the same time a lot is happening. With this episode I would like the viewers to identify with such a suspended moment. I would like them to remember a moment in their lives where they took a


Women Cinemakers

break and where things and thoughts scrolled in their heads and in their hearts. With the world moving around them. I see this episode as an ode to these types of moments. “Innersphere” is a moment of retreat like we perhaps experienced more frequently before the era of hyper-connectivity and mobile phones. The minimalistic and rythmic soundtrack created by French musician Elle K provides SPARKS with an aethereal and at the same time penetrating atmosphere, which enriches the footage with an emotionally powerful sound tapestry. How do you see the relationship between sound and moving images playing within your work? What I really like about Elle K's soundtrack for SPARKS is that it preserves the emotional and interpretive freedom of the viewers. It does not force any feeling on you and yet it has a real power, a real presence. It creates a space of openness and availability, which allows you to think and feel. Besides, the singularity of her music is quite compatible with the strangeness that sometimes emanates from SPARKS episodes. So it’s an excellent match of sound and moving images. I just think she is extremely talented! It's important to mention that you have also

founded LibArty, an artistic laboratory in France, where you mix all forms of art ― including DJs, body painted dancers, lights technicians, poetry reading ― to create immersive experiences for audiences. Especially in our everchanging contemporary art scene, it's no doubt that the most exciting things happen when creative minds from different art


disciplines meet and collaborate on a project. Could you tell us something about the collaborative nature of LibArty? Can you explain how a work of art demonstrates communication between artists from different disciplines? I founded LibArty with three very creative women

artists two years ago and we’ve organized events in France, Belgium and the US. More than art, we want to offer an experience. This collaboration is very exciting and we are constantly brainstorming. When we decide to work on a new event we first choose a theme. Our latest themes include the city, the body, curiosities... We then compose a team of artists from


different disciplines: painting, video, photography, dance, poetry, live performances, etc. Artists then start creating on the basis of a dialogue with the others. It is an enriching exercise for an artist because it combines freedom and constraints imposed by the group. The artists are led to explore ways that they would not have necessarily explored without this

collaboration. The latest event was on the body. I started by filming actors with atypical bodies. The photographer, who runs a project called Elles City Tour, used them as models too and our musician composed from these images. On the evening of the event, their bodies were painted by painter Christine S. as part of a live


Women Cinemakers

preparation, with sound and light installations and participatory workshops. A sample of our work can be viewed online (https://vimeo.com/album/5112130 and on LibArty’s facebook page). We have appreciated the originality of your approach to video and we have found particularly encouraging the results of your artistic research. 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?

performance. The models then danced to the music composed for them. There was also a tattoo artist, other painters, photographers, musicians and a poet. The works of the various artists responded to one another and, I think, created a unique experience. We have other very exciting projects under

I am flattered by this label of unconventional artist! In my eyes we should all cultivate originality and boldness. My experience is that people often tend to discourage you, not always voluntarily, but out of skepticism and due to an ambient pessimism. As soon as you start being a little unconventional people feel unsettled. They do not hesitate to project their own fears and limitations on you. In general, I believe that people are scared by audacity and freedom. In fact, everyone would like to pursue their dreams and inspiration, but very few dare to do it. It requires self-confidence, and a commitment to resist the pessimism of others and their judgment, to keep going. Because people have an opinion about everything, what you do, how you do it, why you do it. Although things are changing, I believe that men are less easily subject to this


Women Cinemakers

judgment, that they are more trusted. It took me a long time to become a film director so now I intend to follow my desires, without necessarily abiding by the rules. I find Picasso’s famous quote quite inspiring: "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist." I really think that experimenting is the first job of an artist. I am optimistic about the future of women in the art world in general. Recent scandals in the cinema industry have raised awareness around the world and in all sectors. Women feel less lonely and more legitimate in dealing with sexism. A real revolution is under way, things are moving. Now, I’m not sure how long it will take to reach true equal opportunity. But what is certain is that we must use this momentum to break down the doors that still resist us. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, AdÊ. Finally, would you like to tell our readers about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? First of all I intend to continue exploring abstract and conceptual art through my SPARKS series. LibArty is also developing very well, with more projects coming up. We are working on a new exhibition that will go even further in the immersive experience and should be quite spectacular for the public!




Women Cinemakers

But most importantly, I also want to direct fiction films in the coming years. I will shoot a short film this year and I am writing my first feature film. These films will touch on typically feminine subjects. We definitely need more of these stories. Follow AdĂŠ SalomĂŠ: www.adesalome.com Instagram: ade_salome_films contact : adeline_salome@hotmail.com LibArty http://www.libarty.org Facebook : LibArty Elle K Facebook : elleKofficiel Instagram: Elle k_ Elles City tour Facebook : ellescitytour Instagram: ellescitytour http://www.ellescitytour.com/fr/

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


Women Cinemakers meets

Alexa Grande Lives and works in in Hamburg and Seville

Echale Papas is a video installation showing the absurdity of constrained movement and the struggle for freedom. At the video a figure lying on the ground appears, dam unable to move, trying to dance a tientos choreography by tangos. It is a metaphor for the oppression that flamenco undergoes when it gets empty of the feeling. In its globalization, flamenco has become one more standard product, to trade with. This reduces, for example, the grace of impersonal dance choreographies that are learned worldwide with more or less success. Echale Papas, is yelled to remind the importance of getting the best out of yourself. The potato, as a principal food, is the cornerstone of traditional Spanish cuisine, and an important source of energy. This Jaleo is used in flamenco to cheer on and empower the artist. The potato, as a symbol of the earth and of love in our culture, brings us back to memories of the family united around the dinner table or in a „fiesta flamenco", echándole papas.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier

have a solid formal training and after having earned

and Dora S. Tennant

your BA from Hochschule für Bildende Künste, you

womencinemaker@berlin.com

nurtured your education with a MFA of Painting, that you received from the prestigious Universidad

Hello Alexa and welcome to : we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions regarding your background. You

Complutense de Madrid: how did this experience influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, does your cultural background dued to your Spanish



roots inform the way you relate yourself to art making in general? I grew up in a village in Murcia, by the Mediterranean Sea. At the age of 17 I moved to live alone in Madrid which was a great change for me... At University I learned to handle a wide range of techniques: drawing, painting, photography, design, sculpture, history, aesthetics... they were a way to show you how big the world could be. At the time I studied, I could take my first 3 years, what would be the current grade, at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and after that, I could benefit from 2 years grand in the Hochschule fĂźr Bildende Kunst to finish my carreer, which would be a current Master. When I was 20 years old, I went to study in Hamburg on a little thought impulse. When I got there I suffered a shock in many ways. The HfBK was a silent and almost empty place, like a temple. The doors were closed, people worked on their own and that was new to me. Professors gave lessons once a week and I had keys of my own studio to work there at any time of day or night. At the Hfbk I learned to listen to myself, to take myself seriously and to work without limits from others. That was an important learning for me. I was not really very aware of being Spanish until I arrived in Germany. Beyond the cliche, I think my job is in a constant search between visceral, emotional wildness versus rationality and order. The tension of those two forces is the eternal conflict,

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Women Cinemakers and the solution is the balance that I sometimes get. But I could not tell if it has to do with being Spanish or not. Sometimes I feel closer to people whose roots are far from where they live no matter where they are from. Do you think that there is any central idea that connects all of your work as an artist? Yes, probably, although I move forward in my work feeling that every time I start from scratch. I enjoy the feeling of facing new challenges. However when I look backwards on my previous works I can see some basic questions which are constantly present, like the idea of limits. Since I was a little girl I was obsessed with the idea of not knowing where the amusement parks ended. I suppose having an anarchist father will have had something to do with it, but I think the artist's job is to look for truths and to question them. Another of the central ideas in my work are the invisible structures which are understood as the natural order of things, which are taken for granted. Those structures that silently dictat and shape reality. I wonder why this is so and not otherwise? To what extent does my position affect my perception? For this special edition of we have selected an extremely interesting video installation that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at . What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into the absurdity of constrained movement and


the struggle for freedom is the way your work provides the viewers combined with such a captivating visual experience.While walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us how did you develope the initial idea? The day I discovered flamenco, my heart skiped a beat, as if "cante" (flamenco singing ) squeezed my inside and since then it has been part of my breathing. From then on I just wanted to find the plastic language equivalent to what I felt with the music. I wanted to know what flamenco was beyond the cliche of flamenco. After months of listening to old flamenco songs, I began to dance, but I felt there was a force that anchored me to the ground. When I heard bulerías at night, I was so nervous that I could not sleep. I often felt spasms as if I was about to dance. One night I had a dream in which I was showing a portraits series of people lying on the ground that were photographed from above. They looked a little weird. Someone was asking me in the dream about the meaning of the work and my answer was: "that is the horizontal line, the answer to the 3rd century". That was an enigmatic dream that led me to be obsessed by horizontality. "Échale papas" is the result of all this, among other things. We have deeply appreciated the way you structured as a powerful metaphor for the oppression that flamenco undergoes when it gets empty of the feeling: do you think that this could be an allegory

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Women Cinemakers for human condition? And how much importance has the creation of metaphors in your creative process? It could be said that there is a certain laziness when it comes to creating new possibilities in general, because it is easier to accept the given rules, than to assume the risk of creating new ones. The reflection and expression are often in the background and everything accepted goes through the filter of the current structure. In this sense, "Échale papas" deals somehow with this problem. The force of gravity acting on the dance is an example of invisible structure, that is, an absurd impediment that conditions reality. Metaphors and in general rhetorical figures of language help me to think, and this is reflected in my work where play on words and irony are frequent. As you have remarked once, , is yelled to remind the importance of getting the best out of yourself: do you hope that the viewers will take this message from your work? "Echale Papas"(Ad potatoes on it!) it's a shouting, this is what people cheer you up when you are dancing, so you can ad tasty substance into what you're doing, so you can do it from your heart. I showed this video in the Museo del Baile Flamenco in Seville projected over 100 kg potatoes. It is the shouting that changes everything, it gives meaning to art, it is a way to activate the message. As it happens in art, the work needs to be watched and understood to be activated.




The same happens in flamenco, the shouting gives meaning to it. It is a feedback or a way of care. In this case, the title is an important part of the work. I know the difficulties of the Spanish language, but my intention with it is that the viewers get to understand the message or at least it resound with them". We have deeply appreciated your insightful exploration of the grammar of human body to create a kind of involvement with that touches not only the viewers' emotional sphere, but also and especially their intellectual one. Many artists express the ideas that they explore by using their own bodies: how do you consider the relation between the abstract nature of the themes that you explore and the physical act of creating your artworks? "Echale Papas" is my first approach to the use of the body as an artistic expression. From this work, I have been interlacing the visual arts with the performing arts. The use of one's own body as a means to carry out the work makes everything more personal, but it is still a challenge. Regarding the materialization of abstract ideas I understand that the result can be changing, ambivalent or even imperfect, but it is necessary, if only to observe it and to improve it. There are people much more abstract than me, however I need to concretize my ideas and on the other hand I understand my work as a way of thinking. British visual artist Chris Ofili once stated that "creativity has to do with improvisation, to what is happening around you". How would you consider the

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Women Cinemakers relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of a work of art and the need of spontaneity? How much importance does improvisation play in your process? It takes a long time to start the material process of a piece of work since I make the first mental sketches. Next steps like the schematization, appear in an intuitive and fluid way which I enjoy. The perfection of the forms does not obsess me so much because I accept the impossibility of this from the beginning. Every step takes me to the next one. I am motivated by the feeling that everything is possible. The place where I am, the people around me, the conversations, the light, the colors, even the clothes that I am wearing, are determining factors in my creative process. We would like to introduce our reader to TRANSPARENT, an extremely interesting body of works that feature stunning vibrancy of thoughtful nuances, are capable of creating tension and dynamics. How did you come about settling on your color palette? And how much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develope a painting’s texture? Colors are the most delicate issue for me, not really in themselves, but in relation to each other. Fauvism, Kandinsky´s color theory or Rothko´s abstract expressionism, are referents of color in my work. But the truth is that I constantly find influences that I pick up in photographs or in my memories, that form my large file.




I've been living in Hamburg for 10 years, but I've only spent one full winter there, the first one. It was then when I understood that the lack of sunlight was not good for me. In winter the colors are covered with a gray patina and there is no contrast between light and shadow. Since then, every winter I've gone to different places looking for the sunlight. I especially remember my stay in Maracaibo, Venezuela, in the neighborhood of Santa Lucía where I was participating in the festival organized by Clemencia Labín . One year later I went to Mexico City, I stayed in Coyoacán, and I could collaborate with Blanca Rodriguez Mandujano and Olivia Förster in the "Faro de Oriente". Thanks to the friendship with Jesús Pulpón I discovered Seville where I spent my last winters. From those stayings I took new sensations of color, in addition to many other transformative experiences. My first painting teacher had already observed that I would not be a chiaroscuro painter, that I would be a color painter, because of the ability I had to handle the palette. The important thing for me is not the colors themselves, but the dialogue that is created between them, how they relate to each other. Transparente is a series of paintings on glass windscreens that revolves around the idea of traveling as a way to go beyond borders. The oil and the acrylic painting are mixed in these pictures playing with the transparencies of the material and the support. There are scratches, filled up pieces and oil with water solutions that produce very organic textures.

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Women Cinemakers The basis of all this are the glass cracks themselves, which are the structure on which I rely to start each painting. From this work it came the idea of developing DOXA with a flamenco dancer, Yamuna Henriques and a guitarist, Gilberto Torres. It was a performance proposal that reflects on the logical differences between power and authority. The windscreen are broken, while she dances on it, which I found interesting because the dance produced a drawing on the glass surface. http://www.alexagrande.com/proyectos/doxa-performance We appreciate the ambivalent quality of your artworks and we daresay that this way you excite the observers to „finish“ the work of art by themselves, motivating their imagination. 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 convey in your pieces, elaborating personal meanings? I prefer subtlety, enigmatic or ambiguity, although it has a less effective understanding. It is something that I value on an artwork. I prefer when it can provide you space enough to think and to complete the message. If the meaning is too closed it takes the risk of dying by asphyxia. When I was a child I used to have a little notebook and colored pencils with me. I remember a game that I enjoyed playing on long car trips. I would hang the pencil on the paper and let the vibrations of the car do the rest. If it was at night, I couldn´t see the drawing until the next day. As soon as I woke up I used to




run to the little notebook and there I studied the doodle from which incredible drawings would arise and I only had to find and remark them. So in a certain way I like leaving enough air on my artwork so people (including myself) can find new possibilities and consider them as their own. You are an established artist and over your works have been showcased in several occasions, including your recent participation to “In the black Box�, Forum Box Gallery, Helsinki, curated by Franziska Opel. 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: what's your view on the future of women in th everchanging contemporary art scene? Fortunately, I was brought up on equal opportunities and I never felt any discrimination for being a woman. Since I was 20 I have been dedicated to art and I have had many experiences that consolidate my work. Helsinki was a good example from this because I could share this encounter with good artists and good friends. Regarding women in art, I feel that I am surrounded by great women artists whom I admire and who strengthen me as they grow professionally. They are artist such as Veronika Gabel, Franziska Opel, Ida Lennartson, Julia Esterlich, Helena Wittmann, Monika Michalko, Julia Calvo, Antje Flotho, Julia Frankenberg ... I like to think that artist friendship network is strengthening as we grow personally.

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Women Cinemakers Being connected while we go on approaching issues is very important to fight back the individualism that the current system is pushing us to. I do not believe distance between gender is positive, I think that together we do better. Fortunately, thanks to the effort of so many people, we can now say that the gender gap in equal rights and duties is disappearing and I hope that positive discrimination will be unnecessary in the near future. I believe that in the future development of art, the role of women will be fundamental. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Alexa. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I have many ideas that I would like to carry out. I keep working alone in my workshop and whenever I can, I also work with other dance and music artists . One of my coming projects is about the idea of how geographical accidents form the landscape as a result of a clash of forces. It will be a performance and we will do it in Sevilla on May 2018. It´s a privilege that "Échale papas" had been selected for the WomenCinemakers Festival 2018, and it has been a pleasure for me to answer this interesting and thorough interview which has made me re-think the art process of my work. Thank you very much.

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


Women Cinemakers meets

Sarah Kuntz Lives and works in Rennes, France

Indiscernable(s) is a short film depicting an entirely danced, inner journey. Music and bodies, dance and cinema : a new world has opened. Follow the journey of a Female through her own derealization of the world. The meeting with other individuals, who look a lot like her, will be the trigger of the loss of her identity. Bodies are blending. Bodies are fusing. Bodies are losing all their attributes. The sourrounding area is no longer a benchmark. And then, there is no thing discernable.

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

Indiscernable(s) is a short film depicting an entirely danced, inner journey by Sarah Kuntz: inquiring into the grammar of body, she initiates her audience into highteneed experience into coherent fusion between dance and cinema. Featuring elegant cinematography and sapient performance composition, Indiscernable(s) is a moving work capable of encouraging cross-pollination of the spectatorship. We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her captivating and multifaceted artistic production.

Hello Sarah 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 artistic evolution? In particular, how do you consider the impact of training on an artist's creative process? Hello, and thank you very much for your interest in my work. Trainings I could follow allowed me to have some experiences. That's why I would say that the training had a big impact on my personal construction and as an artist. I followed two different formations, in parallel. I learned the practice of dance, mainly in the Conservatory. This training started very


Sarah Kuntz photo by Julie Saint-Georges


Indiscernable(s) photo by Emilie Guilland


Women Cinemakers young. Classical dance first of all, allowed me to acquire technical bases. Then I devoted myself to contemporary dance, which enormously extend my apprehension of dance, in a broad way. In addition to dance, I studied cinema at the University. Cinema is another art that has always attracted and fascinated me, without I knowing exactly why. After a license degree, I continued in Master. At this point, I had to choose a topic for master dissertation. The subject came to me as a matter of course, and that's how I started a two-year reflection on the dance film. The theoretical reflections I had while writing this memoir brought me a lot. I reflected on the links that dance can maintain with the cinema, that the cinematographic technique could bring to the dance, but also to the representation of the body for example. I was also interested in the notions of time, space, and perceptions of the viewer. Of course, a very large part of these reflections are found in Indiscernable(s), my first film. Considering a lot of theoretical thinking before going to practice was essential and decisive. I took inspiration from these reflections for writing this film. It is necessary to extract what is important in training, to keep in mind for example this artistic aspect which I knew that I wanted to serve me. For me, the formations that I followed were decisive for my artistic construction. They brought me a culture, knowledge. I think they have a great influence on how things are viewed. But you have to keep an open mind, take what you need to take in training, and feeding yourself next to that too... On the cinema side, my training remained

quite theoretical, I had to go look for the practicality by myself. I managed to mix my two formations to go to something else, which corresponded to what I wanted to explore artistically. Training is also what we can learn by ourselves. by trying things, by making projects... The experiences as a spectator have also influenced and nourished me, and the films I worked on for writing my memoir inspired me a lot, such as Pas de deux by Norman McLaren, Ora by Philippe Baylaucq, or Coda by Denis Poulin and Martine Epoque. For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected IN Indiscernable(s), an extremely interesting short film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into the grammar of body languageis the way the results of your artists research provides the viewers with such an intense visual experience, enhanced by a sapient composition. While walking our readers through the genesis of Indiscernable(s), would you tell us how did you develope the initial idea? What is important to me is the idea that in dance film, the association of dance and cinema must question some perceptions of the viewer. With that in mind, I developed in parallel a theme that interested me, which is the loss of identity. It is a subject that approaches a theme of society. It may be a loss of identity to other people, the idea that we erase what makes our identity, our personality, to blend into the


Women Cinemakers mass. This is a fairly broad subject, which I did not want to deal with in a sociological or political way. Reflecting on this subject and doing some research, I discovered the psychological phenomena of depersonalization and derealization. Depersonalization results in a feeling of strangeness from oneself and one's own body, while derealization is a feeling of strangeness from one's environment. These two phenomena intrigued me and interested me, and I told myself that the construction of my film could go through them. They are in a way lived by a female character, which we discover at the beginning of the film. Depersonalization opens questions about the representation of her own body. She have the impression of acquiring an external point of view on her body. These questions about the representation of the body continue with the appearance of three other characters who have a similar appearance to her. This allow to work on the idea of loss of identity, with an anonymity that is installed between these characters. The derealization as for it, is translated by the creation of this strange and particular universe, which is distinguished from the real world. This opens up new questions: is it a world created by her own thought in which she sees herself from an external point of view ? Or is it a modified real world perception? Has the viewer adopted her own point of view ? These psychological phenomena allowed me not to deal with the theme of loss of identity in a way that was too frontal, but rather metaphorically. The way of dealing with the theme of the film was decisive for the search for renewal of some perceptions of the viewer in


Indiscernable(s), photo by Emilie Guilland


Indiscernable(s), photo by Emilie Guilland


Women Cinemakers particular. It is also from here that the choreographic and cinematographic writing could be approached. Indiscernable(s) reflects a conscious shift regarding the composition of performative gestures: how would you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of a performance and the need of spontaneity? How much importance does play improvisation in your practice? I attach great importance to the spontaneity of the movement. But what we seek as a result will influence and determine the way we work. In the first choreographic research that I do alone, in the first stage of writing movements, I go through improvisation, and I let my body look for things, in a way. The movements are not codified strictly speaking, and are therefore personal movements. I think that in the process of writing choreography, there is a mix between a certain awareness of creation, and spontaneity. The film was already written, with the different sequences, the feelings to be translated at such a moment. I improvised thinking about what I wanted to develop at that moment. Then I did some sort of analysis of the movements I had just done, and from that flowed the writing. Keep in mind the point of view of the future viewer through the film. The choreographic writing work for a film is very particular, and has nothing to do with choreographic work for a stage show. It requires indeed another rigor, another work, and is also very different in its preparation, and during its 'execution'. In the case of


Women Cinemakers Indiscernable(s), to best serve the theme, it was necessary to erase as much as possible the differences between the bodies, and thus between the movements danced by the four dancers. We spent time with the dancers on detailed work of each movement. For most of the overall movement sequences, it was very important that they do exactly the same movements at the same time, and that they be as accurate as possible. This is also imposed by the cinematographic technique: it was imperative that they perform each time the same movements in the same energy, the same time and together, so that it is the most possible connection between the different plans, sections, and points of view. But for me, this precision work must not erase the spontaneity of the movement. It is, I think, possible to keep a certain spontaneity, a sincerity in every movement even if it is very prepared. This is one of the challenges of the dancer's interpretation work. It is even more difficult I think in the case of a film such as this one to keep the sincerity of the movement for the dancers. During the filming, it took for the dancers to adapt to the rhythm that the latter asked for. It is something that is quite difficult. They had for each plan, dance a small part of choreography of a few seconds, then have to stop in the movement, to start again... The challenge is to succeed immediately live the movement, even if it's just for a taken a few seconds, and that it is five times that one starts again, while keeping the spontaneity of the movement. The dancer must adapt to what the film technique requires,

he puts the movement at his service, trying each time to keep its authenticity. I would say that it is necessary to know how to find a balance, between careful preparation of the movements, while keeping a certain spontaneity. That is to say, to live fully each movement and not to do them mechanically. We have appreciated the way your work is capable of conveying such captivating storytelling, providing the result of your artistic research with consistent cinematographic quality. How did you develope your style in order to achieve such interesting results? In particular, are you interested in creating allegorical artworks that reflect human condition? I like the fact that behind the works, we can find something, a theme, ideas... I find interesting when the aesthetics of a work is related to a purpose it serves. Artworks are important means of expression. I also attach importance to the allegoric, and the metaphorical treatment of ideas, because it can, among other things, leave a freedom of interpretation to the viewer, and not confront him too much in front of ideologies accurate. The metaphorical treatment of ideas can allow the viewer to question himself. There is more interest than giving all the keys of reading from the outset, to impose a specific vision of things. Indeed, it seems that I have an interest for subjects related to the sociological, we can say, and to human.


Indiscernable(s), photo by Emilie Guilland


Indiscernable(s), photo by Emilie Guilland


Women Cinemakers There is much to be said about human relations, the psychology, and all that it can entail. These are subjects that can affect everyone. For the choice of the subject, I let myself be carried by a theme that was important to me, that I wanted to develop. The development of the 'style' of the film was linked to the chosen theme, of course. In dance film we can notice the use of the signification, developing especially through the meaning, which can appear in the images. This sense is readable through the choreographed movements for example, but also by the relationship that the bodies can maintain between them in the choreography. The dance is thought in direct relation with the cinematography. The different points of view chosen on moving bodies for example, are decisive in what they will mean next. The framing is also reflected in connection with the intention given by the movements. I wanted to translate a loss of benchmarks in relation to the bodies, to accentuate the feeling of not knowing who is who. It is also for that, that I chose points of view on the bodies succeeding from different sides in particular. This is something that once again makes it possible to move the dance film away from a stage show, because with the film, we can choose all the possible points of view on the bodies, and thus question the perceptions of the spectator. Costumes and makeup also serve the meaning given to the film. While at the very beginning, the female character is in a rather 'realistic' appearance, the change of costumes, of light, and the particular makeup, translate a change of universe, a passage in a new environment. This


Women Cinemakers is also supported by the back travelling shot from her eye, gradually making space appear around her. The use of black light also makes it possible to bring out the bodies and to give them this particular appearance. It is therefore all these different elements, which, together with the music, also contribute to creating the 'style' of the film, and its singularity. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that "it is always only a matter of seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": how do you consider the relation between the abstract feature of the ideas you aim to communicate and the physical act of creating your artworks? With dance, the body is necessarily involved. As I am at the origin of the choreography, it is through my body that the movements were created. After having developed the theme of the film, the choreography was written. The writing of choreography is in fact a passage from abstract ideas to physical and bodily sensations. I thought the film beforehand in precise sequences, so that it presents itself then under a certain continuity. At the stage of writing, I already knew what types of movements I wanted to show, with what energy. Then, the transition to writing the choreography is a leap into the concrete. Research goes through the mind in connection with the body. I

know what intentions I want to give at such a moment, I know what I want to tell. At this point, I trust my body to find concretely how to translate these intentions, these ideas. It must be kept in mind that it is in particular through the body, associated with the cinematography, that will make the viewer see the ideas, and the meaning that emerges from the film. The body is a medium of expression of a huge proportion. The conception of the choreography is thus a primordial step, which is one of the major stakes of the film. The transmission of the movements is then another physical step in the creation. They are transmitted, again through my body, to the bodies of the dancers. They learned these movements not only cerebrally, but also physically, corporally. The choreography must be understood by the dancers, not only technically, but they must also understand the meaning, to know what intentions they must give to the movements. This is very important for the interpretation, because that is what will help to make emotions readable by the viewer. Sound plays a crucial role in your work and we have highly appreciated the way it provides Indiscernable(s) with such an effective ambience capable of challenging the viewers' perceptual categories: how would you consider the relationship between performative gestures and sound?


Indiscernable(s), photo by Emilie Guilland


A still from Indiscernable(s), photo by Emilie Guilland


Women Cinemakers For me, music has a primordial place, and supports the construction of the film. It is also a bearer of meaning, and participates completely in creating the universe. In addition, it is also in very close connection with the danced movements. That is why with the composer, Julien Reynaud, we worked closely together. He grasped what type of universe I wanted to create, and the place I wanted to give to the music within the film. We worked in a rather unconventional way, since we created parallel choreography and music. I wanted the music to be in harmony with the movements, but also the energy released by the bodies. So we inspired each other. The music also participates to build the film, to define the different sequences. It allows to create a continuity throughout the film, making the link between the different shots. It participates to discern in a unified way the editing. It renders otherwise the movements danced, and what the bodies say. In a way, it helps to support the meaning of the film, the words it develops, and what the bodies express. Without the music, the choreography, and the whole movie, would not have the same impact. It accompanies the viewer in what he can feel or perceive, and inscribes the film in a particular dimension. The musical intentions actually serve the choreographic intentions. Your inquiry into the theme of derealization of the world seems to create a a gateway into other realities: how do you consider the relationship

between perceptual reality and the realm of imagination? Moreover, how much important is for you to trigger the viewer's perceptual parameters in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? I consider that the creation of a film allows the creation of full-fledged universes, which are not related to reality. In a movie, anything is possible. This is an opportunity to try to elude some laws of the real, to create a specific environment, which can precisely allow the viewer to question some of his perceptions that he may have in the real world. In the case of dance film, it is a way to detach the dance from a scenic environment for example, and to bring it into other worlds. There, bodies can no longer be subject to the same laws, the viewer is no longer confronted with the frontality of the scene... Some cinematographic techniques can make it possible to play with the perceptions of the spectator. With Indiscernable(s), I had the desire to create a universe no longer related directly to reality. The only connection with reality is with bodies: they roll away from a real representation with their appearance, but can be identified by everyone as bodies. With the case of contemporary dance, the movements we perceive do not necessarily have a common referent. These movements that appear in the film have no codified meaning. Everyone will see different things, depending on their own sensitivity, which may be


Women Cinemakers dependent on their own experiences. The cinema creates meaning in the images that it presents. In the case of the dance film, there is no speech. We therefore face the importance of triggering perceptual parameters, and passing ideas through less explicit elements, such as choreography for example. We are therefore on the border between the abstract and the concrete. This type of film opens up a vast field of imagination. This can be likened to abstract art in painting, for example, where colors and shapes can trigger different emotions, different from one spectator to another. This allows an opening of the imagination without precise guide and defines. With Indiscernable(s), I had feedback from viewers who had not read the synopsis and who did not know what the film could tell before looking at it, and who saw some very personal things about it, not necessarily related to what I had imagined when I wrote the film. I find this very interesting, because it is possible, by revealing elements belonging to the suggestion, to open the imagination to larger dimensions, and thus possibly to bring the perceptions of the viewer even perhaps more far than I thought, because the imaginary is individualized, according to the spectators. 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? Do you think that today is easier to speak to a particular niche of viewers


Indiscernable(s), photo by Emilie Guilland


Indiscernable(s), photo by Emilie Guilland


Women Cinemakers

or that online technology will allow artist to extend to a broader number of viewers the interest towards a particular theme? Indeed, I think that digitization in general, and the development of various online visualization tools, as well as content sharing, broadens the potential for publicizing a work for example. The development of all this leads to having to think quite differently the diffusion of a work, but also the communication around it to make it known. Indeed, the more a large number of people are familiar with the work, heard about it, the more the work itself will be known and will be seen. A film lives when it is seen, and for that, it must be broadcast. The digital era and the internet are a major asset for that. Internet, through social networks for example, allows all of a sudden to show a film to the world. This gives the opportunity to reach a wider audience, without geographical limitation. I think the ease of internet can also allow to discover movies to people who would not necessarily have the idea to be interested. The only negative point, I would say, is that we can not control how people will watch our film, and we know that some people may watch it on a mobile phone, with poor quality for example. Beside that, we must always defend the existence of film festivals, which allow us to see films that we could not necessarily find, particularly short films, and usually in a movie theater. Again the advantage of the internet is that


Women Cinemakers the applications for these festivals are now simplified. In a few clicks, you can submit your film to a festival on another continent. The Internet presents a real wealth of content. This is so huge that you can get lost, and you have to know 'sort', since everything is not interesting. I myself had the opportunity to see a number of dance movies through the internet, which I could not have seen. This is another way of thinking about diffusion. We plan to put on-line Indiscernable(s) soon, after more than a year of submissions to festivals. We wanted to give them priority broadcast, and then we will be able to reach a wider audience by putting the film on the internet. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? Indeed, it seems that women are gradually trying to find a place and to assert their creative ideas in this area. In my opinion, in the case of our Western civilization anyway, it may be interesting to link the

issue of women in the art to women in society, more broadly. If women affirm their positions and ideas in social life, in politics or in positions of responsibility, this will be reflected in the artistic domain as well. I do not necessarily like to see the place of the woman in systematic opposition with that of the man. I think that women and men have different sensibilities, particular worldviews, which do not necessarily conflict but can complement each other. It is also for this reason that women have every reason to occupy a place as important as that of men, and that their creations, their ideas, what they have to express, must be considered with so much importance. My personal experience is not yet very long, but it seems that the difficulties increase with the ambition of the project. We must redouble our efforts to be taken seriously and win the trust of our team. More specifically in this genre at the crossroads between dance and cinema, women have all the reasons, the sensitivity required to assert themselves. We also see a significant number of women who embark on the making of dance films. I think I am optimistic about the future. Things are moving, even if it takes time. Women have every reason to assert themselves, to embark on artistic projects. Their particular sensitivity deserves to be highlighted. They have things to say and express through art. It is also up to men to become aware of it and to consider their female colleagues with interest. They have a lot to offer!


Indiscernable(s), photo by Emilie Guilland


Indiscernable(s), photo by Emilie Guilland


Women Cinemakers

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Sarah. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I am particularly interested in new techniques and technologies, related to the audiovisual field, and what they can bring associated with dance. I am currently in post-production of a new dance film, called A place in space. This film has the particularity of being shot in 360°. Many of the reflections initiated in Indiscernable(s) are reflected in this new project. I question again, in another way, the questioning of perceptions of the spectator. I also defend the creation of a universe in its own right, without any direct link to reality. This is why the film takes place in a completely white dome. This scenery helps to challenge the spectator's spatial perceptions. The interest in 360° film technology is the feeling of immersion in this universe that the spectator will be able to feel, but also an immersion in the center of the choreography, which will lead to perceiving the dance again differently. This technology leads to new questions about the entire process of creating the film, but also invites you to think about writing the choreography in another way. The subject of this new film still has a link with questions related to the sociological, which can approach in a certain way the themes developed in Indiscernable(s). A place in space deals with social

conformism, relationships that individuals can maintain with each other, and ways in which they can influence each other. It's a movie with twelve dancers. I am currently immersed in the finalization of the creation of this film, and the preparation of its broadcasts. I do not know exactly what my future projects will be. I would like to pursue the exploration of the use of particular techniques, which can help to renew questions about perception, but also to understand newly the choreography, the dance, the dancing body. It's possible to explore things that are impossible to perceive in the real world through cinematographic techniques, and I think there is a lot to explore. I would like to finish by saying that the team around me is very important to concretize these projects. For exemple, Robin Gwenolé, my assistant director, helps me a lot in the preparation and team management. Sandy Den Hartog, dancer in Indiscernable(s) has become my choreographer assistant in this last project, and Julien Reynaud composes the music again. The nice thing with these creations, is that a team of people with specific skills is being created. this is what allows us to consider more and more ambitious projects ! An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Stella Koulouvardi Lives and works in Athens, Greece

Stella was born in Athens ,Greece ,in a very artistic family background.She has studied Psychology in Panteion University of Athens and started dancing at the age of 17. She is a Street Dance Artist participating in many International Festivals and Competitions and has represented her country 4 times at Street Fighters World Tour Italy 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 with Funky Habits (Winners of Greece preliminaries), as well as in BOTY International Germany 2013 and 2016 with Waveomatics.She has also a lot of discriminations in many local contests,has performed in theatre and festivals,teaches Popping for many years,and the last years is creating her newest works in dance filming and cinematography. She started studying Pantodance and Mimodrame but she found her expression in Street Dance and especially Popping.An art form that gave her the inspiration of creating short films with robotic body language and symbolic gestures in front of the camera. Stella created the first Popping videos in her country that entered Athens Video Dance Project Festival in 2015 and 2016,including the Extraordinary Madness of the blue-haired that was screened in the first year presented category ''Moving Forward''. The extraordinary madness of the blue-haired is nominated for the jury and audience award in the categories of Solo Film and Film Short in Swindon Film Festival 2018 , UK. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

The Extraordinary Madness of the Blue-haired is a captivating experimental dance film by performer and filmmaker Stella Koulouvardi: inquiring into the ubiquitous relationship between the real and the imagined, she initiates her audience into highteneed experience. Featuring elegant cinematography and sapient performance gestures,

Koulouvardi's walks on the thin line between of comic and drama, encouraging a cross-pollination of the spectatorship. We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her captivating and multifaceted artistic production. Hello Stella and welcome to WomenCinemakers: we would like to invite our readers to visit https://vimeo. com/user40548430 in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production. In the meanwhile we would ask you a couple of questions regarding your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence



your evolution as an artist? In particular, what did address you to focus your practice on street dance art? First of all, it is a great pleasure to be part of this year's Women Cinemakers edition as a filmaker and dance performer. I feel really excited about the idea of supporting women artists all around the world. Everything started when I watched my first cinema movie at the age of 3. It was Disney's movie ''Beauty and the Beast'' and as I remember myself in the years later, I was really thrilled about the magic of Picture, Sound, Performance, Story, Illustration, Music, all resulting in a screening experience. After that, visiting the Cinema became a very common hobby of mine and was a way of getting out of reality. At the same time, in my dancing career there was a time when I wanted to express feelings and stories through the movement and I knew that common way of dancing wouldn't give me that opportunity. Trying to combine my childhood cinema experiences with movement, i discovered Pantodance, a way of storytelling through movement gestures that applied to any music, in other words ''Mimodrame''. My french teacher Maite Ottavy guided me for almost 4 years in Performance, Miming, Drama and Technique introducing me to a postmodernic way of expressing body language. These years where the most significant of bridging the gap between Dance and Storytelling. The next big step was meeting my mentor ''Mike Senior'' who introduced me to the world of Street Dance and especially ''Popping'', a dance style that comes from ''Miming'' in the early years. Soon, i was in a dance company called ''Funky Habits'' that represented Greece in Street Fighters World Finals in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015, combining all the street dance styles in one theatre show. Funky Habits where the first to initiate the idea of Street Dance Theatre in Greece, creating a story through street dance styles only. The most interesting work of this company was ''Addams Family'' in Street Dance Theatre 2013. So, the idea of creating a short movie in terms of Miming and Popping captured me and it was Athens Video Dance Project International Film Festival that gave me the first opportunity, starting with my film ''Freeze'' in 2015//Co-Directed by Vladimir Poliakov and the

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Women Cinemakers Documentary ''The girls are here'' also in 2015//Directed by Natalie Koutsougera, an anthropologist research concerning female performativity in the male-dominated Hip-hop Culture. For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected The Extraordinary Madness of the Blue-haired, an extremely interesting dance video project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of its insightful combination between comic sense and drama is the way it unveils the elusive bond between the real and the imagined, to provide the viewers with such an intense visual experience, enhanced by a sapient composition. While walking our readers through the genesis of The Extraordinary Madness of the Blue-haired, would you tell us how did you develope the initial idea? The initial idea of the Extraordinary Madness was just a thought of a body moving in a strange but interesting way in a really imaginary music. My first goal was to create a fairy-tale where a doll/puppet wakes up and starts moving in an uncommon way in a sound that was non-compatible with the dance style I wanted to use. So, I wanted to create a diversion, a strange feeling, a bipolar situation with the way of Dancing and the Music. The title of the film came up thanks to my Google Search ''how to find extraordinary music'' in my first attempts to find the appropriate sound in order to develop this initial idea. After that, the music just told me how the story would unveil starting with the girl/doll that wakes up and interferes into a moving madness. Of course, there was something missing from the project as in Miming the dancer is trying to show to the audience with his/her body something that does not exist visually. It was that time that an idea came up and I thought of completing this visual experience by introducing the magic Ball as an attempt of a visual storytelling in a Cinema Dance Performance rather than just a cinematographed dance show. In The Extraordinary Madness of the Blue-haired the ball represents inner madness and pure originality. How much importance play symbols and metaphors in your artistic practice?


Symbols are a way of communicating your story to the audience and really important of producing the feelings to the spectators so they can understand them in their own way. I believe that the intention of the artist is to talk about something, to stand for something or make the audience feel something. The use of symbols and metaphors are the tools of the artists to create the communication between the audience. I believe in general and plain symbols, so that someone understands in his/her own way the artist's project. Your work communicates sense of freedom and at the same time reflects a conscious shift regarding performative gestures: how would you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of a performance and the need of spontaneity? How much importance does play improvisation in your practice? I usually say that freedom is a result of a systemic daily personal work. You cannot achieve freedom in Art if you do not respect the rules of the tools you are given. Technique is a way to the ending result, performance is another. Sometimes, i feel blessed that there are so many details, tools, techniques, ways of achieving what the artist has in mind. The difficult part is to create spontaneously while having in mind those details. Usually, when it comes to creation, I just visualize the result, listen to the music and start improvising. When I find something interesting of these improvisations, i write them down and then use them in a scheduled way of choreographed story. In fact, I use spontaneity as the first tool of building my choreographies but I never let it interrupt the unfolding of my story or change an idea that I had in mind from the start. Street Dance Art gave me that tool, that's why I believe it makes most kinds of artistic projects more approachable and expreriencial to the audience.

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Women Cinemakers




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Women Cinemakers We have appreciated the way your street dance art practice is capable of conveying such captivating storytelling, providing the result of your artistic research with consistent cinematographic quality. How did you develope your style in order to achieve such interesting results? In particular, are you interested in creating allegorical pieces that reflect human condition? The Popping style is really broad and there are many co-styles that go under the ''Popping umbrella'', for example Robot, Animation, Boogaloo, Strutting, Puppet, Tutting, Waving and many more. So, a popper has to study a lot of performance vocabulary, combine them, mix with other dance styles, try to improvise and interpret the music in every way possible. My experience in Battle competition made me study these styles further and become better and better. On my journey to improve myself at the art of Battle and Freestyling, I travelled in Europe, took classes from many respected teachers and started practising with them. For many years, I improvised in music, doing Popping style moves and making my body a visual interpretation of the music. The amazing result came when I started practicing in different music with no basic rhythme. That gave me the freedom to create stories through Popping dance as a result of my years freestyle practise. It's an on-going process that you don't know where it will take you but I really enjoy it. It was the basic ''ingredient'' for making the Extraordinary Madness of the Blue-haired. Furthemore, when you start creating a story it is obvious that you want to tell something important. I always wanted to give the audience the sense of intense feeling, the emotional engagement with the piece and the performer. This situation becomes stronger when an artist creates allegorical pieces so the audience percieve the meaning in their own unique way. I also believe that this is the success of a story. In the extraordinary madness the girl interferes with a magic ball that makes her go crazy. This interaction is sometimes funny or sometimes annoying, so we understand that the girl's try to balance between the human and non-human state, the magic ball, and the destruction of it are all allegorical but the magic lies in the interpretation of the


spectator. Creating allegorical pieces is what most inspire me as an artist and this last video dance project gave me the inspiration to work on more deep human concernings in my next ones. We daresay that in The Extraordinary Madness of the Blue-haired sound is equally important as images and we have highly appreciated the incessant rhythm suggest such an uncanny sensation in the viewers, challenging their perceptual categories: why did you decided to include such persistent rhythmic commentary? And how would you consider the relationship between performative gestures and sound? I was always in love with the idea of the body being the visual instrument of the music. A body that moves only by the orders of the music and makes the audience ''see the music with their own eyes''. This was the initial idea of this short movie, to present a story with Popping dancing gestures into an ''extraordinary'' sound that nobody could imagine the connection between them. This is what provokes this uncanny feeling to the audience and this was exactly what I wanted to present. This uncomfortable feeling of mixing two or more different things together, Miming in rhythme, comic sense in drama, rhythmic commentary in stiff robotic movement is actually coming from the opposition of the persistent rhythme and the kind of body language I chose to include in this video. Popping dance is about interpreting the music with your body. The more interesting the music is, the more intense is the feeling of someone experiencing the story you want to present. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that "it is always only a matter of seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": how do you consider the relation between the abstract feature of the ideas you aim to communicate and the physical act of creating your artworks?

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Women Cinemakers




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Women Cinemakers The communication between the ideas and the psysical act of the body is always a challenge for the dancer. This is the reason why people move and dance in different ways. Personal experiences and idiomatic concerns are the initial reason to make a body move in a certain way. So, the body language is usually determined by these personal experiences. In other words, the psysical act is another type of language regarding to what the mind and soul want to express. Therefore, the ideas and the abstract feature of a story comes naturally to physical act when the artist is prepared to work in concepts. I work in concepts when I want to create dancing moves that mean something. The kind of music I choose for every concept is the key to unlock the appropriate ''body sets''. In that way, there is a magical synergy between the initial idea, the story, the physical act and the music. Starting from the abstract idea/concept/situation, I choose the music that reflects that feeling and then I start creating the body language that explains the story I want to communicate, sometimes more specifically and sometimes in a more symbolic way. Your works reflect interaction between the body and the environment, that seem to be linked together to create such a synergy. Especially in your recent video Lost in Time, this quality of your practice seems to create a a gateway into other realities: how do you consider the relationship between perceptual reality and the realm of imagination? Moreover, how much important is for you to trigger the viewer's perceptual parameters in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? Yes, there is really an obvious interaction between the body and the environment that creates this feeling of getting into ''another reality''. Especially, the film ''Lost in Time'', directed by Antonis Skaramagkas, was filmed in the ruins of ancient Athens using the technique of Slow Motion in 4k analysis throughout the whole performance. I believe the creation of this ''gateway'' is the purpose of the artist, to make the spectator feel the magic, experience a world of imagination, and face


the world or their personal contradictions in an optimistic and imaginary way. Of course, I do not forget my chilhood influences that always remind me of telling a fairytale in every film I create. There is also a very intimate relationship between the perception of reality and the imaginative. This relationship lies in simple realistic symbols which are used to create a metaphore. These symbols are also the tools that trigger viewer's perceptual parametres in order to get in touch with their personal experiences. In my opinion, the more you can aim in a simple realistic situation the more possible is to find the symbol and if that symbol is really common, then you can have a ''common feeling'' and a real understanding of the story's content. For example, in the Extraordinary Madness of the bluehaired, the ball is a very realistic symbol. It is an object that every spectator can use it to recover personal experiences. I decided to give a magical ability to that symbol in order to achieve the transition to the realm of imagination. Of course, the uncommon way of dancing adds a peculiar aesthetic in this kind of imaginary film. So, I tend to use common symbols, obvious techniques, my way of moving in order to create the ''magical feeling'', the sense of ''pure'' and ''real'' that only the creative combination of movement and music can give, particularly in cinematography. In your city your are the only woman engaged in such captivating combination between Street Art and Cinematography, with the stimulating results that we have had the chance to get to know. 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? This is true, Athens is now a very big multicultural centre but the most artists, directors, dancers still don't want to work out of the boundaries. Classical and Contemporary Art make up the 90 per cent of most

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Women Cinemakers



A still from


interview

Women Cinemakers performances and artistic works. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that but most artists of that field are usually dicouraged to present something innovative due to the system involved in this particular area. My dream was always to present Street dance Art in a different, artistic, meaningful way that would capture the audience with the same quality as other type of usual artistic forms. Furthemore, this is also a way of getting more people to get in touch with street culture and its growing possibilities. I have been discouraged and rejected for many years just because of little ''popularity'' that many of my works would have receive in the greek audience or because of the ''fear'' that something new is coming that would be unconvenient to other producers. As a dancer, being a female Popper, was always a difficult situation to deal with, not only because of the greek patriarchical family ethics, but also of doing something quite different that is not accustomed to the anticipated ''girly artistic expression ''. Fortunately, my family wasn't stick to that philosophies, so being the only woman doing something unconventional in Art empowered me to fulfill that vision of mine. A great motivation was Athens Video Dance Project Festival that screened three of my works in the past years, including the Extraordinary Madness of the blue-haired, the first greek films of Street Dance Art in a country festival. This was really important as every year I see more street dance movies produced by greek artists that compete in this festival. So, I believe strongly in that ''what others see in you as weakness, this is your power. Use it and extraordinary things can happen''. Of course, this film was a ''woman conspiracy'' as I cannot forget to mention my dear friend cinematographer Persefoni Disseaki, who helped me so much in the technical part of the film, put life into this magic ball, believed in this film so much and basically was responsible for the technical editing of this film. Street dance styles are emerging in a rapid way because people need an artistic evolution, people need to feel and enjoy the art. I believe that these situations mentioned above


will continue to exist but if women keep creating works that touch people's heart, I thing that amazing things are going to happen in the artistic dancing/experimental/cinematography field. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Stella. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Thank you very much for this creative discussion and I really want to congratulate Independent Women Cinemakers for this insightfull, artistic and evolutionary work you've been doing all these years of this Festival. Always there is the next big goal I set for every of my works. . the next work is going to be something really different from the Extraordinary Madness as I don't want any of them to be similar with each other. Every work must be unique and create a different feeling. My next goal is to make it to the nominations of the audience award in Athens Video Dance Project 2019 with an entirely new film project along with my castmate Persefoni Disseaki. One more thing is that Extraordinary Madness of the blue-haired is nominated at Swindon Film Festival 2018 for the categories of Film Short, Solo Film and the audience award. We will know the results in the next few days! So, I look forward to be always motivated, creative and become better in every level concerning this kind of art. I hope I can create more complexed and high produced films as my experience is enriched throughout years. Finally my dream is to see more ''uncommon'' filmakers /artists doing what they love and present their work in a respectful way to the artists' community believing that all artists no matter the gender or their specialty can unite under one common umbrella. Art. Thank you Women Cinemakers for this opportunity.

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

interview

Women Cinemakers



Women Cinemakers meets

Anastasia Diga Lives and works in Veria, Greece

Having spent ten years of experimentation concerning physical I’ve always had the feeling that I was in need of a different element in order to show off the line and the detail of body movement that human eye is difficult to spot on stage. All my concerns have pushed me to occupy with video dance and since 2014 I have found a new language of expression for me. Videos don’t have a simple structure of cinematographical choreography. Dance follows and body constitutes the means of expression. The way that I approach my work looks more like a moving portrait through it I make kinesiological experimentations under an unconscious sense of humour. Rhythm is really important. It is either slow or quick like breath. There is a game among rhythm, dance and body in an unusual way. Plenty of times images look to be absurd but I mostly use the absurd with an ample meaning, looking for the beauty through it. Every time I do really try to escape more and more from the stereotyped of dance and present the simplicity of movement. There is a text written by the famous scientist Kristian Birkeland concerning the “gab” which describes perfect the charming of simplicity that I’ve been looking for the last 3 years. “It seems to be a natural consequence of our points of view to assume that the whole of space is filled with electrons and flying electric ions of all kinds. We have assumed that each stellar system in evolutions throws off electric corpuscles into space. It does not seem unreasonable therefore to think that the greater part of the material masses in the universe is found, not in the solar systems or nebulae, but in “empty” space.” An interview by Francis L. Quettier

unconventional and brilliant choreography,

and Dora S. Tennant

this stimulating work is a successful attempt

womencinemaker@berlin.com

to create a brilliant allegory of human

The rosetta mission vol.1 is a captivating dance

condition capable of drawing the viewers to a

short film by Anastasia Diga: featuring

heightened and multilayered experience. We




Women Cinemakers are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to this stimulating work of art and to Diga's artistic production. Hello Anastasia 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 inform your current practice? Moreover, does your cultural background inform the way you relate yourself to art making in general? I have studied dance and am a professional dancer and choreographer for the last few years. I have performed in many dance performances, I have formed my own dance company and have been involved in physical quite a lot. For a long period of time I did not really know and I could not give a name to what I wanted to do with dancing and art in general. I felt that I could not express the way I perceive movement exactly. So at the same point I realized that what I "see" and how I perceive things is expressed perfectly through a frame. Through video I discovered a new means of expression for me. On the other hand I personally am not satisfied only by filming videos in the form of filmed choreographies, since I avoid putting myself

through the procedure of showing something specific. I like to experiment with movement, I want there to be a subconsious sense of humour. For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected The rosetta mission vol.1, an extremely interesting dance short video that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at https://youtu.be/xtnHG1OSP4Y. While walking our readers through the genesis of The rosetta mission vol.1, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? That year I had obtained an obsession with outer space. Any space mission would interest me. A totally personal obsession which had nothing to do with my profession. When, one day, I read about the Rosetta mission, I was quite moved. I remember reading and noting down the exact phrase: "The hunt of the Rosetta at comet 67p/Churyumov–Gerasimenko has been completed and the space device is now getting ready to drop the curtain to its mission by committing a slow motion suicide for the sake of science." A great number of emotions emerged, many of which I could not and still am unable to


Women Cinemakers

analyze myself and give a certain meaning to. To my mind the Rosetta space device is a female. She is a superheroine with a mission that ended with selfsacrifice. That is how I decided to choreograph 3 video-chapters: entrance - exploration - shatter. In the delineation of the video I mention that I was inspired by "untitled L" a work of art by Vasilis Paspalis. The specific portrait lead me to how to shoot the first chapter, how to build the image. The bust of a girl is floating, leaning gently and with a sense of lyricism to the ceiling. As if she had been traveling for years alone, only to end up in the corner of the room and stay there forever. We have appreciated the way your approach to dance conveys sense of freedom and reflects rigorous approach to the grammar of body language: how do you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of your performative gestures and the need of spontaneity? How much importance does play improvisation in your process? Improvisation is basic and essential. Before I start choreographing I need to know how much space I have, the dimensions. Where and how I step, the body in relevance to the space. I study the linearity, the curvature, how I feel when I am there, what kind of emotions it brings out in me. This procedure is as






Women Cinemakers

big a challenge as nourishment to me. I become a receiver, I capture the information and transform it into creation. The only thing I have in mind is what sort of feeling I want to put into the movement. I try to be spontaneous. Of course I have spent numerous hours in a dance room studying kinesiology step by step, but I have understood that this does not work for me and does not appeal to me anymore. I need to be with my team, studying movement through video camera. All the details and illusions that are created. We interact and have found our own personal way. Sound plays an important role in your video and we have appreciated the way the music by Andreas Lemis provides The rosetta mission vol.1 with such an ethereal atmosphere and as well as the way you have sapiently structured the combination between performance gestures and sound: how do you see the relationship between sound and movement? The music by Andreas Lemis seems as if it is not of this world, expressing a combination of space sounds. The whole video depicts the orbit of the position of two or more items at a distance from one another. As Rossetta approaches her longlasting target she enters and conquers the other


Women Cinemakers

part as the music decomposes in small pieces through this landing on and in the other. The sound and the gestures permeate the space alongside while crossing themselves. We have been highly fascinated with the way The rosetta mission vol.1 involve the viewers to such multilayered experience and we daresay that you seem to urge your spectatorship to challenge their perceptual categories to create personal narratives: how much important is for you to trigger the viewer's imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? The audience is not one-dimensional and not everyone uses the same codes. The fact that I like to play with perspective and frame has a personal interest, because I do not want to create something boring. I want to create something that I will like and I trust my instinct. My first concern is not the temperament of the viewer. Of course it is an important fact but it is not an end in itself. Featuring essential and well-orchestrated choreography The rosetta mission vol.1 involves the audience in a dreamlike and heightened visual experience: what were your




Women Cinemakers

aesthetic decisions when conceiving this stimulating work? In particular, were you interested in providing your performance with an allegorical quality that reflect human condition? When I was working on the Rosetta Mission vol 1 I really had no such things in mind, but I believe that all artwork has that kind of power. What we have accomplished, is to have created a video that captures the eye. I wanted to have an outcome that would appeal to me first of all. Something that when seeing it would allow me to dream.

the same way a piece of paper can. The body has its own truth and is the main and basic means I use to "communicate". Of course I am a dancer and that explains why, through physical, I have learnt to perform and communicate my artwork in that way. The rhythm of breathing, the way the fingertips unfold, the elasticity and curvature of the neck , the angle that is created at the joint of the elbow... every single thing is physical without a doubt. And yet all these put together have the ability to create the most absurd picture.

Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that "it is always only a matter of seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": how do you consider the relation between the abstract feature of the ideas you aim to communicate and the physical act of creating your artworks?

Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field?

The body is another raw material. To me, the body is a fantasy place, it can be transformed in

Art is not and must not be defined by sex, gender or race. Art is a great means of


Women Cinemakers

expression which can help people become better. It is true that for many years it had been a male-dominated area, but women have played and always will play a great part in the development of the arts. Personally, being a woman never stopped me from doing things. On the contrary, I believe that it has helped me and I like feeling female when performing as well. I do not delude myself, I know there is still a long way to go, but for women being a part of the contemporary art scene in further years is a one-way road, since modern women have formed their independence, express themselves and feel equal. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? At this period of time I am working on editing the Rosetta mission vol 2 and sometime during the summer I will start shooting the vol 3. I am glad that my woks have been acknowledged and all this has a way of taking me to places on its own.

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