WomenCinemakers, Special Edition, Vol.19

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w o m e n ORIANE PARAS RIIKA LAURILEHTO ELLEN OLIVER CLARE SCHWEITZER PAVLINA BRACO SHARON MANSUR NOEMIE PHILLIPSON MARIE PONS KATHERINE HELEN FISCHER SIDONIE CAREY-GREEN DANIEL BARKAN ERIN DEVINE

INDEPENDENT

WOMEN’S CINEMA Special Edition


cINEMAKERS W O M E N

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Contents 04 Erin Devine

138 Sharon Mansur

Mnemosyne

Variation on Residue

32

162

Daniel Barkan

Pavlina Braco

Point of Change

Ateh

54

180

Sidonie Carey-Green

Clare Schweitzer

86

208

Katherine Helen Fisher

Ellen Oliver

WARE

Enter Face

CEILING

Dear Brother

110

232

Marie Pons & Noemie Phillipson

Oriane Paras & Riikka Laurilehto

WOODS

With a little help of my friends


Women Cinemakers meets

Erin Devine Lives and works in Washington DC, USA Mnemosyne is the epilogue to Devine's recent trilogy that examined the wives and mistresses of famous painters. Though Mnemosyne's focus is Victorine Meurent, it is named for the Greek goddess of memory, who was also the mother of the nine muses. Often depicted holding the lantern or light of memory, the broken chandelier alludes to moving away from the past, while an obvious homage is made to Meurent with the reference to the iconic painting for which she sat, Luncheon on the Grass. If Mnemosyne marks the relationship between the muse's ability to call memory, Meurent is the ultimate example of the woman reduced to static image, her own biography completely lost. The thread of the narrative belongs to Mnemosyne, Meurent, and the artist simultaneously. Victorine Meurent is likely the most famous nude in the history of Western painting. Although she and Edouard Manet are not known to have been intimate, she appears as the model for nine of his paintings during a pivotal shift in his artistic direction. Born to a working class family in one of the poorest areas of Paris, Meurent was a street musician and fortunate to acquire work modeling for artists when becoming a courtesan would have been the highest station she could have aspired. Since she was not Manet’s mistress, and her position in his paintings went beyond portraiture to a central figure in his new, innovative approach to realist scenes, it is easier to imagine Meurent and Manet as inventive collaborators. The bourgeois Manet was captivated by the independent, street smart eighteen-year-old, and she came to represent the gritty realism of Paris that he was attempting to capture. For thirteen years, Muerent was the model to some of Manet’s greatest works, which are also among the most important turning points in Modern art. But little is known about Meurent after about 1890. There is record of the exhibition of her own paintings in the annual salons, but only one – a small portrait – survives. Although her image is iconic, it is likely that the most famous nude died in poverty. The muse to Manet’s intellect, she did not fall prey to the emotional prettification of a beloved subject; although little is known about her, she was the source for the process of visualizing and celebrating the real over the ideal.

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

Ambitiously constructed and elegantly photographed,

Mnemosyne is a captivating experimental performance film by American artist, critic, curator, and independent scholar Erin Devine. Refusing expected stereotypes, she sapiently walks the viewers to the point of convergence between the past and contemporary social issues,



encouraging cross-pollination of the spectatorship. We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her captivating and multifaceted artistic production. Hello Erin and welcome to : we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you hold a Ph.D. in Art History with a specialization in Contemporary Art, that you received from Indiana University: how did these experiences influence your artistic evolution? Moreover, how would you describe the influence of your cultural substratum on your general vision on art? At IU, there was a strong emphasis on identity studies that permeated many of the programs there, including art history. It’s the first school in the United States to have a degree program in Women’s Studies, and it has a great AfricanAmerican and African Diasporic Studies department. Other than Contemporary Art, I had no idea what I wanted to study while at IU and that was intentional; I wanted to be hit by something while I was there. And eventually it was the amazing performative works by women, transnational artists from predominantly the Middle East region, that struck me. Eventually, I would write a dissertation on Shirin Neshat. I had already experimented with performance before coming to IU and while I was there I took a course in video. But I wouldn’t seriously practice again until after I defended the dissertation. Writing that was just too all consuming. But my studies there brought together these components of performativity, video, and feminist methodologies when I was ready to practice again. It’s particularly performativity and my perspective as a woman that underpins everything I do.

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Women Cinemakers For this special edition of we have selected , the epilogue to your recent trilogy that examined the wives and mistresses of famous painters, that our readers can view at https://youtu.be/kINZLPsyB1g and that is centered on the figure of Victorine Meurent. Best known as the favourite model of Édouard Manet, she was also a painter herself: what did mostly fascinate you of such a prominent figure of French Impressionism? I think that when I was researching this subject, I had thought to look into her life, knowing she had modeled for Manet many times: nine finished works, two of which are so iconic. I was somewhat surprised to discover she’s sort of lost to history; we know virtually nothing about her, and certainly almost nothing from her point of view, which is a condition of many of these women. Every research corner I turned on Meurent just wound up in another dead end. Then, I found a book, by Eunice Lipton, that was precisely about that dead end. Lipton did research on Meurent while she was in France, and eventually this book accounts the frustrations of an art historian realizing that she’ll never capture the life of her subject. Meurent is just lost. And as art historians, we know how this goes: women were not important, therefore, their work was neither collected nor cared for, and they haven’t been written into the field of art history, which was largely dominated by men. The little we do know about her fascinates me. She was a painter, although only one of her paintings survives. She was a resourceful woman born out of poverty, sustaining herself on modeling gigs and street singing. I found it refreshing that it seems there was no affair between Manet and Meurent, that they had a congenial relationship over a number of years




despite their gender and class differences. It seems also that she was gay, or at least bisexual, and lived out her final years sharing a home with a female companion. But mostly I was interested in the longevity of her work with Manet that, in absence of a romantic relationship and in light of her own artistic knowledge, could indicate that they worked more like collaborators than the stereotyped artist-muse trope. It’s that model that I wanted to unhinge, to ask why do we tend toward the centuries old artist-muse relationship, the creative mind and the passive inspiration of that mind? With the lack of evidence, why can’t we as easily conclude, in the space of the many sessions they spent working together and given her knowledge as an artist herself, that the basis of their story was a collaboration? To state she was a “muse,” as we understand and apply that term, is reductive. What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into is the way the results of your artists research provides the viewers with such a multilyered visual experience regarding the historical references, enhanced by sapient composition. While walking our readers , would you tell us through the genesis of how did you develop the initial idea? I think it’s important to understand that my subject is lack of information, a lost biography. What I attempt to do then is fill in the gaps, to glean emotive aspects from the few things we do know about these women and create a narrative that therefore can only be ambiguous. The result is a kind of montage of different scenes culled from biographies, resultant largely of letters and second-hand accounts. With Victorine Meurent, I found the least amount of information, probably

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Women Cinemakers because she was not linked romantically to a male artist. Therefore, I didn’t have the textual material I had with the trilogy, which were all voiced over. Much of the work, then, was a catharsis to the research I had conducted on all of these women, and a kind of frustration to find so little on Meurent. It’s in the process of research that I develop imagery and ideas, and then I will pull together the materials and find locations. Much of the visual imagery I developed for Mnemosyne was intuitive. Sometimes those images only later make sense. For instance, in this piece I always envisioned breaking a chandelier, but I was into production before realizing that I was breaking the lamp of Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, the mother to the muses, who often is portrayed in paintings as holding a light. I wanted to break the tradition that women’s value is only relational to her position to a man, especially in modes of creativity. I started breaking objects associated to my own past relationships. Even the typewriter, which can be perceived symbolically as writing our own stories can be linked to previous relationships I’ve had with writers. I perceived Meurent as the most recognizable nude woman in art because of her role in Manet’s paintings. That image slowly reveals itself through the piece. What viewers encounter in and in is Meurent’s resolute and confident gaze, as shocking as it was at the time. So I wanted to emphasize that this iconic painting of modern art is only revealed through that gaze, looking at the viewer into eternity. Ripping up the painting was spontaneous; following that day’s filming, it seemed the natural thing to do in that moment and in relation to the work. In a way the subject trades the artificiality of the reproduced landscape backdrop, her signification within the history of


Women Cinemakers painting, for the outdoors. Nature is associated with freedom, and it’s there where the subject can write her own story or partake in her own creative act. It becomes necessary to destroy these constructs and conventions in order to do so. The incongruity of wearing a ball gown while smashing things was intentional to representing a kind of pent up rage from this ornamented subject. I think women are conditioned to buy into this idea of the muse, to revel in that role as a marker of identity; there is an incongruity there as well, that in accepting that identity means that we have no identity of our own. So the ball gown, especially wearing it in the woods, sort of points to that absurdity. seems to be a tribute to the issue of women's identity. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, " Not to remark that almost everything, ranging from Gentileschi's to more recently Valie Export's work could be considered political, do you think that could be considered political, in a certain sense? Ultimately, as I planned out these scenes, I began to envision Meurent as an intermediary figure placed somewhere between the cultural history and meaning of the Muse and my personal experience, or any woman’s experience when her own facilities have been dismissed, in whatever way. In its initial conception, I wasn’t thinking of it as a political work. But that viewers are able to see it in that way only exhibits how much women’s identity has been structured by what Orozco would call sociopolitical factors. With ,I would say they are more cultural factors, and how the concept of something as antiquated as the muse in Western culture —




Women Cinemakers for centuries — can sustain itself and remain as some sort of legitimate qualifier of a woman’s identity. Not to mention, from a Marxist standpoint, reducing the creative process to some sort of emotional, sexual inspiration is to delegitimate the real physical and intellectual labor of art making. So those mythologies, rooted as they are in actual Greek mythology, of the male artist emotionally inspired through the sexual passivity of the female, does very little for either women or artists. Artfully expressed through extraordinary camera work, is elegantly composed and we have particularly appreciated the evocative locations, shot with a rare eye for poetic composition: what were your aesthetic decisions when conceiving the visual unity of this stimulating work of art? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? Often I just use a Canon Digital SLR for my video work, and that was the case with the Muse Trilogy. For multiple angle shoots in Mnemosyne, we still used digital SLRs, but for the larger work I had gained access to an Red Epic Film camera. I wanted to graduate to a film camera, and the Red Epic was a logical choice for its color quality. Aesthetic decisions stem from those montage of images that result from research, and how best to light and shoot them within the locations. I think compositionally like a lot of artistturned-filmmakers, there is a sense of symmetry, or compositional awareness, but there was intentionally little else but myself and the objects in each scene. Interiorly, the environments are entirely white or entirely black, a bit claustrophobic in that sense, and the outdoors serves as a contrast. This marks a shift in the evolution of identity, of an


identity repressed or constrained to one that is more open with possibility. The use of off-screen space and stillness creates a sense of suspension that provide your practice of highlighting , providing the result of your artistic research with such a consistent cinemagraphic quality. How did you develop such effective style? In particular, were you interested in creating an capable of reflecting human condition in a wider sense? That’s fair to suggest, for sure. Because I was deconstructing the cultural definition of a muse, I had to return to the root of it as a cultural construct. Allegory itself as a traditional, Western device of visual and literary meaning comes from the Greeks. Being trained as an art historian informs and reinforces my work. It almost comes as second nature, this understanding that in ambiguity, viewers will ponder the hidden meaning, and while arriving at the artist’s intentions we cannot help but infuse our experiences and concerns into that meaning. So it will reflect the individual viewer, and in turn will reflect their larger culture in some way. With Mnemosyne and the rest of the Muse Trilogy, for the viewer to reconsider the role of women in art historically, and how cultural preconceptions affect our most intimate relationships, was definitely a goal for me. But the viewer has to arrive at that themselves, through taking the time to process the work. reflects 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

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Women Cinemakers spontaneity? How much importance does improvisation play in your practice? Balance between decision and chance is important to my practice, and that’s likely conditioned by my experience as a performance artist. So much is planned out, and especially in interactive works there is still no control over the outcome. But that is what I like most about live performance: you don’t know what is going to happen, and it evolves on it’s own. It’s incredibly satisfying to plan a work, and often its end result takes an unexpected turn that is better than what you may have expected. I bring that into video performances, and performance before the camera, which I see as distinctly different activities. Just as with acting, it’s exciting to plan something out but to allow for chance, always keeping in mind the desired effect you want to create. and we have Sound plays a crucial role in highly appreciated the way it provides the flow of images with such an inspiring combination between realism and poetry, challenging the viewers’ perceptual categories: how and how did you selected the soundtrack of would you consider the relationship between performative gestures and sound? The primary sound piece is the song by Death in Vegas. I love their music for its mix of ambient and hard-edged qualities. I wanted to find something that caught that rhythm of how I wanted the work edited — starting out slow, becoming more frenzied, and then a kind of catharsis at the end. I intentionally looked through their body of work for those qualities, and this song so wonderfully fit everything I had been doing. It’s both dreamlike and decisive, with the lilting female voice singing but never saying anything; it was just too perfect.


It’s barely detectable, but at the beginning and end there is . It’s the the refrain of the Mazzy Starr song ultimate shoe gazer romantic anthem, but when you really pay attention to the lyrics you have to question the idea. Fading into another person, or losing yourself in another person, may sound romantic but it’s asking that you abandon your sense of self to another person. Is that a good thing? I think so much of what I was seeking through the entire series was that in the nature of partnership, how much do we give up of ourselves? That kind of romantic love may be ok for people who don’t really know who they are anyway. But in the romantic and creative partnerships of the women I investigated, they’re eventually eclipsed Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes: how do you consider the relation between of the ideas you of creating your aim to communicate and artworks? I think like a lot of women who have engaged in performance, I use my body as a vehicle with which to question representations. The video-performances are quite different in that there is a quasi-narrative structure at play, so the emphasis was less on my physicality or vulnerability as it is in live performance. I often will try to use my body to answer questions, removing the answers from an intellectual discourse and resting it on an emotive or visceral response in the viewer that will then lead to conclusions. In performance, a sequence of repetitive gestures or a durational act may intend to evoke a response that will lead to empathy in the viewer. But in Mnemosyne or the Muse Trilogy, I kept coming back to using my hands in some way, often in close up. That

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Women Cinemakers wasn’t conscious until the third video, but it made sense because I was emphasizing the creative contributions of these women that were ignored.

We daresay that your approach is centered on the ability to urge the viewers to a conscious shift, evolving from a condition of mere spectatorship: do you consider the issue of audience reception? And what do you hope to trigger in the spectatorship? I rely on the viewer to do a lot of their own thinking. Just as a performance can result in something unexpected that is dependent on the viewer response, I leave enough space in the video work for viewers to reach their own conclusions. The subjects of the video are relatively clear, but the meaning is up to the viewer how they want to interpret the lives of these subjects. I think it’s a more rewarding process, because there’s an extra step the viewer has to make to a conclusion that demands more of them intellectually and emotionally. Marina Abramovic once remarked the importance of not just making work but ensuring that it’s seen : how is in your opinion online technopshere affecting by the audience? Do you think that today is easier to speak to a particular niche of viewers or that online technology will allow artist to extend to a broader number of viewers the interest towards a particular theme? I think is far easier to reach a broader audience today, but the question is whether or not it is, as Abramovic suggests, the “right” audience. Once you put the work out there, you have little control over its receivership, and I think context still plays heavily in how a work is interpreted. A mass audience accessing from youtube will not likely give it consideration as a work of art, even if


they are aware of its background. And particularly for performances that are nude, there is not only censorship of different media outlets to consider but how the work will be understood and appropriated. So performance artists have a very different set of problems to consider than most visual artists, and need to be very careful about their material and the context in which they want it to be seen. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something ' ', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? First, I love this term: unconventional artist. That is a huge compliment, thank you. I think women have been on the forefront of interdisciplinary media such as video because for such a long time we have been trying to locate a mode of expression in which to communicate that hasn’t already been conquered by patriarchy. So we already fit quite nicely into the unconventional, into spaces where we are allowed to freely participate, and I think that is true of any minority including artists of color, transnationals, and LGBTQ. We also so often have had to covertly express our stories and experiences, and that often leads to nontraditional or antihegemonic approaches. As an artist, I have always felt that the idea, the topic, the problem, whatever it is I need to address dictates the medium. I’ve always felt too exploratory to align myself with one material or one process, although in the last few years I have become quite committed to performance, to this need to

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Women Cinemakers deeply embed my own body as the principle material of the work. But from there, whatever process I must incorporate, will lead me to something new and challenging. Right now, more women are being given solo exhibitions at major museums. Curators are digging into their collections to recontextualize an artist who was overlooked because they did not fit the conventional modes by which artists have been historicized in the past, largely based on gender. I think that perhaps the current political climate and the #metoo movement has led curators to consider their responsibility in shaping culture, and particularly women curators to recharge their curatorial directives with their own activism. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Erin. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Since I completed

, I have been working mostly on

commissions for live performances. I recently participated in the Venice International Performance Art Week, and my experience there has led me to researching a second muse trilogy that will be live. Right now, I am considering Camille Claudel and Dora Maar as likely subjects, as well as George Dyer, who was Francis Bacon’s lover for several years. I do, however, plan to document those works with a camera like the Red Epic. Muses are my personal exploration, but much of my work will continue to engage site, history, and its alignment to contemporary social issues, particularly those that affect women. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Daniel Barkan Lives Arnhem and works in The Netherlands and Belgium

I was born in Israel, 1990. I have been dancing since early age. I cannot remember myself not dancing- always in motion and movement. I grew up in a desert area and I think the landscape and the nature around made a very huge impact on me, whenever I want to learn something new I can often find an answer in nature. In high school I studied biology and dance. Since then I found interest in the two fields and their connection. As a dancer and artist, I am busy with training my body and crafting my art every single day. In the last few years I am searching new interesting and innovating possibilities to break my physical and mental boundaries as a performer. I was introduced to the Neurofeedback field as my mother started training people with ADHD/ADD and other disabilities with the Neurofeedback tool. The fact that you can train your own brain me very curious to try myself and I indeed trained for several months and directed the short movie to express my personal experience. My interest in dance within film was always there I assume, but only few years ago when I found myself looking for collaborations with video artists I realized how much I can express myself, as a dancer and choreographer, thorough the camera. A year ago, I asked a very talented artist Enrico Meijer (EM productions) to join forces (collective PRIME) and together we create dance movies as well as life performances and installations.

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

is a captivating dance short film by Israelian artist, dancer and choreographer Daniel Barkan: expressing her

personal experience with the Neurofeedback tool, this work addresses the viewers to such heightened and multilayered experience. Featuring brilliant approach to choreography and unconventional cinematography, is a successful attempt to create a captivating allegory of human condition:


Daniel Barkan (photo by Eric Kellerman)


Uncommon commentary a live performance by Daniel Barkan and Carcom Sheffer.


Women Cinemakers we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to Barkan's multifaceted and stimulating artistic production. Hello Daniel and welcome to : we would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.danielbarkan.com in order to get a wider idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have been been dancing since early age and after having relocated in The Netherlands, you have had the chance to collaborate with many loal artists: how did these experiences influence the evolution of your dance practice? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum dued to your studies of Biology does address your artistic research? Since early age I was very curious to meet people who I can learn from something new about life. For me moving to a new country and collaborating with talented artists means unlimited source of inspiration and ongoing learning process about art and life the people

around me and myself. Collaboration between artists can create magical moments of creation and constant discourse. I believe that by meeting other artists I became more detailed with how and want to communicate in my dance. Where I come from there is a lot of radicality in dance as well as the daily life, so when you dance you do that every cell of your body and heart because you don’t know if you have the chance to do it again tomorrow. For this special edition of we have selected , an extremely interesting dance 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://vimeo.com/225463541. Centered on , this stimulating film has at once impressed us of for the way you have been capable of providing the results of your artistic research with such , inviting the viewers to such a multilayered experience: when walking our readers through the genesis of


, would you tell us what did direct you to explore these themes? As a dancer and curious person, I have always tried to find ways to improve my performativity as well as my creativity as an artist and performer. During my bachelor studies I was busy with crossing physical and mental boundaries. In one of my conversions with my mother I was introduced to Neorufeedback. She is guiding a brain training to improve performance mostly for ADHD/ADD conditions. The computer program (of Neurofeedback) helps the brain improving itself (without any invasive process). I got more interested to try it myself. Almost like a fun challenge, everyone can improve themselves, no? I trained for over a month on a daily base and immediately noticed the change. I am sleeping better and functioning in a more vital way. Excited from the change I wanted to share this wonderful journey with others. I called my old classmate from the studies, Enrico Meijer, and told him about my idea to create a short movie (which will become our first collaboration as PRIME collective). It was very intuitive process with the

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Short film Point Of Change (picture from left to right: Alkis Barbas, Davide andrea calabrese, Gilda federica Cesario, Loris daniel casalino, Keren- Or Ben Shachar) photography: Enrico Meijer


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Point Of Change. photography: Enrico Meijer


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Women Cinemakers dancers and the artistic output is there in order to share my experience as well as raising further questions on the topic. We have appreciated the way your approach to dance conveys sense of freedom and reflects rigorous approach to : how do you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of your performative gestures and ? How much importance does play in your process? Improvisation and spontaneity are probably my two favorite words as a performer and dancer. I do believe in the magic of liberty and these tools are taking place in each of my works. It is important to mention that this magic works only when you frame it and contextualize it. The space between scoring a precise choreography and improvising complete dance piece is very wide‌but I like to find the middle of it. Featuring well orchestrated camera work, has drawn heavily from and we have highly appreciated the way you have



Pure Prime, A live performance by PRIME collective which was established by Daniel Barkan and Enrico Meijer. (picture from left to right: Loris daniel casalino, Keren- Or Ben Shachar , Gilda federica Cesario, Davide andrea calabrese , Alkis Barbas) photography: Enrico Meijer


Women Cinemakers

Point Of Change. photography: Enrico Meijer


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Women Cinemakers created such insightful between environment and dance: how did you select the location and how did it affect the performing and shooting process? The location of the film is a beautiful parking space in the middle of car junction that located in Arnhem, NL. The spot is a space which I have seen every day for 3 years of my way to school. I fell in love with it. When I chose the spot, I could not imagine the final result of the contradiction of the dancers, the green and the cars but eventually it added another dimension to the concept of the film. Featuring essential and well-orchestrated choreography, challenges the viewers' 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? As a choreographer I am always interested to challenge my audience and help them stimulate their own imagination. I am not curious about

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delivering a closed product which leads to no further wonder and discussion. I hope that by watching the film people will have an experience that can differ from one another. Sound and visual are crucial in your practice and we have appreciated the way the sound tapestry by Enrico Meijer provides the with such an footage of 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? Sound and movement are going hand in hand in my opinion and they are lovers who cannot exists without each other. When working on a new film or dance performance the sound is one of the first aspects that enter my image. It drives me to move and sometimes (as for Point Of Change) the movement is creating the sounds. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, in the last few years your have

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Point Of Change. photography: Enrico Meijer


After the Neurofeedback research I started visualizing the neurons and their movement in my brain with small ropes, eventually I translated the idea to the short film Point Of Change.



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Point Of Change. photography: Enrico Meijer


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been searching for . To emphasize the need of establishing a total involvement between the work of art and the spectatorship, Swiss visual artist Pipilotti Rist once remarked that "

Do you think that this statement reflects the directin of your artistic trajectory? Moreover, do you think that has changed these days with created by new media? This is a tricky question as our society is going in a more virtual direction and is more addicted to the perfection of the instant image. But, I think our role as artists stay the same. We are to make hearts closer to each other, make people wonder, feel, think, and do that in whatever media is available for us. It's no doubt that collaborations as the one that you have established with Enrico Meijer are today ever growing forces in Contemporary Art


Behind the scenes of the short film BARKAN (Collaboration between AKATAK, fashion designer Barbara Langendijk and Daniel Barkan).



Women Cinemakers 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? Once we collaborate there are no clear roles, I am not the choreographer and Enrico is not making music or visuals, we overlap each other and the piece leads us to what it needs. It is a very harmonic process of creative minds. Over the last year traveled to different festivals, including Festival moving body, Bulgaria and Fokus film festival , Copenhagen: moreover it won an honorable mention from the 'art of neuroscience' competition in collaboration with the prestigious Scientific American magazine: how much importance has for you the feedback that you receive in the festival circuit? And how do you feel previewing a film before an audience?

As an artist you always need to make sure people are reacting to your work. My work cannot exist without the audience. It is an honor to be presented next to established artists. I think I was never excited as I was when my film was broadcast in front of an audience on a big screen. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Daniel. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Thank you for the invitation. Now I am working on a new film (choreography of Altruism) which will be filmed next month under the umbrella of PRIME collective. The film is a retrospective to the people of the 21st century, trying to tell the story of which kind of people we were. My inspiration was the famous painting of Matisse (DANCE) as a starting point.

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



Women Cinemakers meets

Sidonie Carey-Green Lives and works in the United Kingdom

Sidonie Carey-Green grew up in Maidstone in Kent before moving to Plymouth in 2011 to complete a BA in Dance Theatre, graduating with a First Class Degree and the School Prize for Outstanding Development in Dance Theatre. In 2015 she gained a Master’s degree in Creative Practice with Distinction from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, which gave her the opportunity to focus on film as a key aspect of her artistic practice. Sidonie’s practice lies in the realms of dance, film and creative practice; she specialises in Contemporary dance and has also directed several dance films, including a recent commission by Channel 4’s Random Acts. Sidonie works predominantly within site specific projects and is particularly interested in the disruption of liveness through working with new technologies. She also works as a teacher and practitioner across Kent and Surrey, teaching for performance and technique both in Youth Companies and University contexts. Sidonie is also one half of emerging performance company Outset Dance.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier

to get a wider idea about your artistic

and Dora S. Tennant

production and we would start this interview

womencinemaker@berlin.com

with a couple of questions about your

Hello Sidonie and welcome to : we would like to invite our readers to visit in order

background. You have a solid formal training and hold a BA in Dance Theatre, graduating with a First Class Degree and the School Prize for Outstanding Development in Dance



Theatre. You later nurtured your education with a Master’s degree in Creative Practice with Distinction from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance: how did these experiences influence your artistic research? And what did address you to focus on film as a key aspect of your artistic practice? Plymouth nurtured me in developing an artistic voice, to find my own approach of working and to begin to appreciate my strengths and interests as an artist. They also gave me the practical skills to survive as an artist in the UK, something that a lot of emerging practitioners struggle with. Studying at Laban offered me the freedom to explore film from a choreographic perspective through an elective film based module. I was heavily influenced by Laban tutor, filmmaker Tom Paine. An incredible artist and person, Tom encouraged me to get out and film, and always gave insightful artistic advice. For this special edition of we have selected , a stimulating video project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/217078913. While walking our readers through the genesis of , would

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Women Cinemakers you tell us something about your process? In particular, how do you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of ? How the videos and much importance does play in your process? As with most of my projects, I started with a loose concept in the studio . I first played with the dancers around the idea of an animalistic need for survival. Their responses, to me, became more linked to isolation and striving to find freedom in unknown territory, which is where the concept for the film arose. I developed some ‘scenes’ from their responses to carry out on the shoot and some improv scores linked to my own responses from the site. Interestingly, the time constraints of working with a group who meet only once weekly, led me to be ruthless about cutting and pasting only the elements that I really enjoyed. But it also left less room for the dancers to explore new movement towards the later stages of the project. On the shoot, I had planned a series of shots that were intrinsic in capturing the movement we had created. I also decided to let the dancers respond again to the location while I improvised with some different angles such as the shot from directly underneath, silhouetting the dancers as they improvised with the wind. I always try




to leave room for spontaneity, but am mindful to also capture the things that interest me more strongly from the outset. Improvisation is so incredibly important because it removes personal boundaries to make way for natural expression. Featuring essential cinematographic style with well orchestrated camera work, has drawn heavily from the specifics of its

environment and we have highly appreciated the way you have created such insightful resonance between the environment and the movement of human body: how was your creative and shooting and performative process affected by locations? As an artist I am so interested in and affected by place. As I have said previously, improvisation


played a role within the creation of

, and

developed into a very intimate, often ambiguous

within my practice holistically. It is imperative to

view of the dancers, never fully allowing the

respond to the space during improvisation and

viewer to settle on a movement before the

this is something I allowed the dancers to do on

camera shifts to a different detail of the body.

set, to respond to the site in their own way. I allowed myself this same level of freedom when

I like to visit the location a few times before

shooting the film, improvising with varying

shooting to bring my own interpretation of it

degrees of clarity within the shots. The film

back to the studio for creation. However


interestingly with , time had passed between my initial visit and the shoot, so the location had shifted. Place itself is forever changing and the way I saw it changed, the Spring season invited life into the space, but at the same time an eerie emptiness remained as the buds tried to push through on each apple tree. Sound plays a crucial role in your video and we have appreciated the way the audio commentary of provides the footage with such an ethereal atmosphere and as well as the way you have sapiently structured the combination between the grammar of body language and sound: how do you see the relationship between sound and movement? Creating an atmosphere is something I consider at the very start of the choreographic process. I imagine what the sound might be as I see the first motifs in front of me and work from there to find the right choice to highlight the intentions of the I worked with composer Benjamin piece. For Zucker, who has created scores for some of my previous live productions, as I feel has an inherent understanding of movement. Benjamin’s pieces A still from often have a sense of life within them, a heartbeat or a subtlety that inspires my work.

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I like to deny the audience what they always expect. Although there is correlation between sound and movement, sometimes the movement qualities are more effectively brought to light when the sound is saying something completely different. So, when there is a direct moment of correlation, the audience notices and enjoys it that little bit more. Sometimes these little juicy moments are accidental, which is even better. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, you are particularly interested in : what could be in your opinion in order to heal the rift between human identity and our media driven society? In particular, do you think that a new sensibility could be generated by new media, as online technosphere or interactive artworks? This is an excellent question, and one that I am still attempting to answer within my research. There is scope to suggest that art could act as a return to the visceral, real human experience. We are constantly bombarded with digital aesthetic experiences and sometimes it is good to be reminded of our physical




selves. Art has the ability to do this. Equally, incorporating the digital in artistic works of any medium also becomes a bridge for audiences to identify with art practice, and to reach them on new levels. The real question is – which approach is needed more? My Masters’ thesis looked at how my own practice has been informed by technology and the internet, and I believe that the internet is responsible for the shift in art to a metamodern state. We no longer engage with just one concept, one theme. We flutter between the personal and political, flesh and screen, irony and sincerity, so perhaps we also oscillate between the physical and digital too? could be considered an We daresay that allegory that depicts the conflictual relationship between Do you agree with this interpretation? Moreover, how much important is for you to create a flow of images capable of triggering the spectatorship perceptual substratum in order to address them to elaborate ?

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To a degree, your interpretation is close to my intentions for the work. is an allegory, however the very nature of it means that each meaning depicted is no more or less valid than any other. Personal interpretation is so important. No matter how hard you try to show something, your audience will see something else based on their own experience. Allowing the audience the freedom to interpret allows for debate, for inquiry and also for me to learn something new about what I have created. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that " ": how do you consider the relation between of the ideas you explore and of creating your artworks? Developing my work from concept to finished work on the body is a matter of embodiment. To be able




to feel a concept in your body also makes for a visual experience for the viewer; a series of clues in the form of movements to lead them to an understanding. This is partly why I work with dance – the body is at the core of everything I do. Because film offers a closer, more scrutinous view of the performer than live work, I take my dancers through a process in order to really embody the concepts I have asked them to explore, rather than to ‘act’. I ask them to sit, or lay with the idea I have given them, to try to respond through feeling rather than thought. I ask them to connect these feelings to their breath and eventually to their body. The dancers reconnect with this feeling throughout the piece. Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic once remarked the importance of not just making work but ensuring that it’s seen in the right place by the right people at the right time: how is in your opinion online technopshere affecting the consumption of art by the audience? Do you think that today is easier to a particular niche of viewers or that online technology will allow artist to extend to a

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broader number of viewers the interest towards a particular theme? Inexorably technology is advancing the way in which we reach our audiences, but it is also changing the way that we make work. For performance art in particular, technology has shifted us away from the sense of ephemerality that performance used to offer. Our movement no longer happens in a single moment but it is live streamed, captured, and placed online forever. This changes the way that the audience appreciates the work. I believe that technology is broadening the range of consumers of art. Consider dance and art film as an example. Social media and digital sharing means that art films can be shared not only with those who have a particular interest in the medium, or those visiting a gallery space but also to anyone who stumbles across them as they scroll through their feeds. This has led to a sense of blurring of art and life, high culture and the mainstream. But what does that mean for the creator of the work, should we alter our aesthetic to suit mainstream audiences? I say no. There is a beauty in knowing that your work has the ability to create different responses in different people.




It's no doubt that interdisciplinary collaborations as the one that you have established with 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. How would of your art you consider practice? Collaboration is, in my opinion, the only way to work that will challenge the artist, to allow them to find something new and exciting to present. As both a choreographer and a filmmaker I enjoy collaborating with other dancers in the studio. From a personal perspective I am able to draw out their most interesting movements, and they often surprise and challenge my perceptions to find new realms of artistic practice. I strive to collaborate in an open way, especially with practices I am not familiar with, for example music or set design, to maintain a level of equality between practitioners. Not every collaboration is smooth, successful or energizing, but the ones that are become the ones we must hold on to as artists. Although, even the least

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successful collaborations have taught me something about myself and my practice. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Sidonie. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I believe that my work is continually evolving, even after it has been made , in the way it is perceived. I am continuing to work and to collaborate, learning from the people I share my practice with. I am about to enter into another project with the Cascade Adult Collective to further explore the concept of

that I have developed into the Lagom Series

with the dancers. We previously created a live work around this concept, and will be returning to the studio to discover more of what this exciting concept has to offer. The film will be completed by August 2018, so please keep an eye on my website! An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Katherine Helen Fisher Lives and works in between Los Angeles and Brookyln, USA

Katherine Helen Fisher is a filmmaker, director, producer, choreographer and performer whose work explores the intersectionality between dance and new media. She is co-founder of Safety Third Productions, a media company focused on movement-based digital content. Katherine has movement directed music videos for Radiohead and Rufus Wainwright. In 2017 her film, CEILING, won the award for Best Dance Short Under Five Minutes at the San Francisco Dance Film Festival. Her work for the stage and screen has been presented by Joe’s Pub, Radio City Music Hall, Judson Church, Danspace Project, Art Basel Switzerland, The Smithsonian National Museum of American History, The Palm Springs Art Museum, The Lincoln Center Dance Films Association, ADF, The San Francisco Dance Film Festival, LACMA, Standard Vision and the 2016 Microsoft Global Exchange Conference. She developed a participatory performance garment, Le Monstre, which won a Jury Prize for Best Paper at The 21st International Symposium on Wearable Computers. Katherine is currently a member of The Lucinda Childs Dance Company, with whom she has danced since 2008. She has also worked with Mark Morris, MOMIX, ODC San Francisco, Johannes Wieland, Sara Pearson/Patrik Widrig, Janis Brenner, Jennifer Muller and Ann Carlson among others. She was an ensemble member of the 2012 tour of the Philip Glass opera Einstein On The Beach directed by Robert Wilson. Katherine is committed to supporting the work of women creatives and is interested in championing fair wages and working conditions within the fields of dance and film. She holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier

readers to visit http://katherinehelenfisher.com in

and Dora S. Tennant

order to get a wider idea about your artistic

womencinemaker@berlin.com

production and we would start this interview with

Hello Katherine and welcome to

a couple of questions about your background. Are

: we would like to invite our

there any experiences that did particularly address




Women Cinemakers the directory of your artistic research? Moreover, what did address you to focus a part of your artistic research on the intersection between choreography and video? I’ve been fortunate to have enjoyed a long career as a professional dancer touring the world with some of contemporary American dance’s most notable companies. For the past ten years I’ve danced with postmodern choreographer Lucinda Childs whose compositions are known for their pedestrian vocabulary paired with complex spatial patterns. Childs came to prominence in 1970’s New York, when performance and visual artists were engaged in a golden age of avant garde collaboration. Childs collaborated with seminal artists of the time such as as LeWitt, Warhol, Glass, Adams and Wilson. Their oeuvre was dubbed as minimalism. The work, often durational, sought to strip away traditional constructs such as narrative, employing techniques emphasizing formalism. Repetition and task-based compositional techniques figured heavily in the methodologies of these artists. Their legacy has had a strong influence in the development of my current work. Most often I am looking towards action-based forms as a vehicle to mine movement for meaning rather than traditional narrative or gestural choreographic structures. Film is a hugely collaborative process and I really enjoy the challenges and rewards that come with working with other artists especially those who

may not be fluent in the language of contemporary dance. I feel that in foregoing narrative structure in lieu of an imagistic and physically driven conversation we put ourselves in touch with the more intrinsic and sacred potential of artmaking. I began crafting dance films in my early thirties, as my body began to show the inevitable signs of wear and tear after a lifetime of rigorous training and performing. At first, I sought to distill my experience of dancing through film to document my devotion in a way that would survive—as digital chronicle—my dancing body. The beautiful medium of dance is such a fleeting and impervious mistress! A dancer typically spends twenty years training, then is met with a ruthlessly competitive field in which she is frequently underpaid and “matures” by the time she is 30 years old. For my first dance film, Finite & Infinite Games, I was afforded the luxury of sitting with a professional editor in post production. I found the editing process just as dynamic and exciting as the process of crafting movement phrases for dancers in the studio. In the edit we were able to amplify the dynamism of the choreography by directing the eye of the viewer. Autonomy in terms of mode of production is another thing I have grown to appreciate about filmmaking. I control the final product rather than having to rely on financing in order to produce.


Women Cinemakers In 2014, I founded Safety Third Productions, a movement-based new media production company, in partnership with my husband, creative technologist Shimmy Boyle. We are pretty much self-taught in the art of filmmaking. I find it really exhilarating that in our tech-forward age, tutorials exist which democratize learning in a way we have never experienced as a culture. For this special edition of we have selected , an extremely interesting dance 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://vimeo.com/192860832. When walking our , would you readers through the genesis of tell us how did you develop the initial idea? Women in America are frequently socialized to feel ashamed of their bodies and not encouraged to embrace wisdom in age. CEILING is an attempt to acknowledge and celebrate the strength and beauty of my own age and experience. The motif is the leap as a love letter to the amazing things the human body can be and do at all stages throughout life. As I transition from a career as a professional dancer on the stage into being a director and producer I am constantly reevaluating my worth professionally. I made CEILING as a cinematic essay redefining the value system by which we, as female-identified creators, assert ourselves.




Women Cinemakers A technical element that figures considerably into the genesis of this piece is high-speed photography. We shot CEILING on the Phantom camera which shoots at an astounding 1500 frames per second. High speed cameras were initially developed for scientific, military, aerospace and automotive research to better evaluate crash testing, lab analyses and the like. Hyper slo motion functions as a device in this piece allowing a mesmerizingly operatic glimpse into the physical laws which govern the dancer. An imagistic influence behind CEILING is the work of Eadweard Muybridge, who investigated if all of a horse’s feet left the ground during a gallop. In 1878, he found out that they did as he pioneered a technique which used multiple cameras to capture motion in stopmotion photographs. There’s something transfixing about seeing motion deconstructed in frozen moments. It has the effect of revealing the infinite physical wonder alive in the subject. In CEILING the images are not still but rather imperceptibly moving. I wanted the film to embody a durational element—drawing out the idea of a dancer’s leap over a more sustained period—allowing the the audience and subject to go on a journey together in the surreal experience of this illusory action. My choices here were centered around capturing both the beauty as well as the effort of the jump. In one of my favorite takes you can actually see the skin on my face drag downward, distorted and mask-like, at the




Women Cinemakers beginning of the jump. As the shot unfolds, that image of effort and ugly vulnerability gives way to a really revelatory shot that could be characterized as more acceptably beautiful. When I was first editing the film and showing it to my collaborators, they suggested I omit these ugly moments but I felt strongly that these were some of the most compelling of the piece. So much of dance training is about constructing an illusion of effortless perfection. The dancer is supposed to be this ephemeral being that embodies grace and beauty and balance. I like to also see the effort and striving that is the underlying truth of the medium. Without this gritty determination of dedication and pain, the flight in dance is impossible. 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? Much of my choreographic work is highly structured, only occasionally incorporating moments of improvisation. The approach to movement design I employed in CEILING, by contrast, was much more extemporaneous. We used a mini trampoline, which you can see in the last take of the film, to allow me to hang in the air bit longer for each jump.



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Women Cinemakers We played a bit with props on set. I had a vision of a skirt made of shoes which we created. We also experimented with breaking mirrors and shooting my leap through the mirror as it broke. I love that final image where the mirror breaks and the trampoline is revealed. Especially in dance, which is a fleetingly attainable art form, the dancer must be willing to risk their self-image and ego in order to fly. Walking the spectatorship to the point of convergence between reality and imagination, has drawn heavily from the specifics of its environment and we have highly appreciated the way you have created such insightful resonance between space and movement: how did you select the location and how did it affect your performative and shooting process? Larkin Donley, the incredible cinematographer we worked with on CEILING, is a Los Angeles-based, Emmy award-winning cinematographer. His team scouted the location in the Angeles Forest, an incredible wildlife area within the city limits of Los Angeles. Co-director of Govind Rae had a clear vision for the the piece, which reads as supremely magical with these epic blue-hour mountain-scapes hovering in the near distance. Both Larkin and Govind are native Californians and experienced outdoorsmen, whereas I grew up in Baltimore and moved to New York City at seventeen to pursue a career in dance. In my city life I


Women Cinemakers rarely had a meaningful experience with nature. The experiences I’ve had creating out in the massive, gorgeous landscape of Southern California have been some of the most rewarding of my life! I’m drawn to the sense of solitude you can access in these jewellike spaces. You can wander out and arrive at that perfect vast feeling of being completely lost. There’s a little bit of old school Wild West magic to be had on shoots like these with a small crew on a shoestring budget for the love of image-making. Everyone has to devise solutions on the spot. It’s like panning for gold! The weather—cold, at times raining—when we shot, brought a sense of focused determination to my performance. I do believe that ordeal can offer a ritualistic, embodied emotional state for a performer. The striving and determination you see in the film is really there in the form of earnestly uncomfortable cold, jumping in thickets, and inhaling smoke from smoke grenades. Featuring essential and well-orchestrated involves the audience choreography, into such an 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?

I’m a proponent of the idea that existing semiotics and linguistics are sometimes insufficient when it comes to the artistic realm. This is why I enjoy working with images above words, abstraction over narrative. It’s an incredibly satisfying experience to create a work over which the viewer can project their own interpretation based on their unique experiences. I hope that my audience on this piece will come away sensing a deep reservoir of emotion and an earnest sincerity in its creation and be able to relate to the desire to be seen and decoded. I’m drawn to an approach to dance that treats the body more as the source of an infinite variety of movements than as the purveyor of plot or drama. 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 oscillate between making work in which I’m featured and work that I direct from behind the camera. Oftentimes I think appearing in the work can muddy the water editorially—butting up against a desire to be portrayed favorably. On the other hand, I’m an




Women Cinemakers enormous fan of artists like Cindy Sherman, Francesca Woodman, and Frida Kalhado, as well as Tisha Brown, Marina Ambromovic, and Yvonne Rainer who used their own images to manipulate themes of identity. The choice to personally fulfill a role in the presentation of one’s artwork can yield a very sincere conversation about perception and control. Sometimes I try to subvert this impulse to satisfy the ego as a way of shirking off the struggle to conform to a facade of desirability.

piece. I first heard Nico Muhly’s track Etude 1A during a sound check of the Philip Glass Opera in which I was dancing. I had wandered onto the stage—left empty by the crew on break—and I heard this incredible track the sound engineer was playing and I began improvising to the piece. I love the way the track blends acoustic and electronic voices. I like working with composers exploring the genre referred to as “new music” because the work often aims to resist complacency.

Sound and visual are crucial in your practice and we have appreciated the way the music by Nico with Muhly provides the footage of such an ethereal and a bit enigmatic atmosphere: how would you consider the role of sound within your practice and how do you see the relationship between sound and movement?

It's important to remark that you are the cofounder of Safety Third Productions, a media company focused on movement-based digital content. Technology can be used to create innovative works, but innovation means not only to create works that haven't been before, but especially to recontextualize what already exists: as an artist particularly interested in the point of convergence between dance and new media, do you think that the role of the artist has changed these days with the new global communications and the new sensibility created by new media? In particular, how is in your opinion technology affecting the consumption of art by a larger number of viewers?

Music is essential to my practice and as such I’m constantly engaged in the act of discovering new music. It is usually a piece of music that provides the initial inspiration that makes me want to create a

At this moment Instagram and the digital image is queen! I’ve come to view the current digital landscape as a vast open space everyone is seeking to monetize. It’s really exciting to be a part of the

In CEILING I’m using my body as a site for exploring ideas around transformation. Addressing issues I’m facing as a performer and as a woman—not young and not old—straddling this societal middle ground and striving to define my own worth within in this transitory space. I truly believe that our vulnerability to ourselves and one another is our strength!


Women Cinemakers frontier of new media. We are defining it as we explore. It’s funny because people frequently ask me for what audience or platform we are making these dance films. I think of these pieces as a contemporary version of a Fabergé Egg, which is to say: very carefully constructed, frequently expensive decorations. We make them to remind ourselves and our peers that it’s possible to pursue beauty and wholeness even within the context of the astounding instability of the world around us. 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? As a lady director, I’m particularly interested in taking up a new kind of space within industries that have historically marginalized women’s voices in the past. As an admitted generalization, male artists tend towards idealized depictions of the female body—a viewpoint which is essentially an act of biological censorship. This disparity is perpetuated when there is




Women Cinemakers a lack of opportunity for women in positions of power directorially. It is frequently men who are supported financially and culturally to make dances and film, as well as chosen to be in roles of power as presenters, curators and funders. There are a widely disproportionate number of male choreographers and directors in the current legitimized canon, narrowly representing the bodies and ideas of the women who populate and sustain the field. The current #metoo movement has provided a watershed moment in our culture. It addresses a system of repression and inequality that has been too shameful to openly debate for much of our history. Feminist artist and author Suzanne Santoro, part of the Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s writes, “We can no longer see ourselves as if we live in a dream, or as an imitation of something that just does not reflect the reality of our lives.� The sentiment of this quote is as pertinent today as it was in the 1970's. We are seeing world leaders elected into the highest offices who blatantly disregard the human rights of women. It’s time for real change in the power structure and I do hope that art and media-making can serve to promulgate equality for all people. I hope the work that's being done in media to shed light on the disparity in


Women Cinemakers opportunity for women and POC can make a meaningful impact for our generation and those to come. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Katherine. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I’m very thankful to continue doing this work and very much appreciate Women Cine Makers for providing a thoughtful platform to discuss and share! This coming July I'll give my final performances in Available Light with The Lucinda Childs Dance Company at Lincoln Center after ten years with this cohort. I hope that making more time for my directing practice will lead to further collaborations and productions with my peers across platforms. At some point, in order to emulate these great artists I admire, one must muster the courage to step out from the cast of their shadow. Safety Third just finished production on an aerial dance film, VORTICES, which we shot in Palm Desert with ten dancers. We’re excited to find channels to share that work, which is another challenge: actually getting eyes on the films. We’re also investigating volumetric filmmaking and AR and VR this coming season, as well as

experimenting with the creation of interactive immersive environments. Dance and new media as a genre has the great potential to expand the audience of contemporary dance, especially as screens increasingly become the manner by which we interface with the world around us. We love the idea of pushing the emerging medium of dance on camera to include interactivity. We’re very excited to experiment with new modalities that will give the audience deeper understanding of the form by allowing them to be truly emerged in it. Ultimately, I’m striving to create a sense of authenticity in an act of solidarity to the viewer, urging them to have the courage to create their own work. When I see the work of other artists, it encourages me to envision a world where it’s possible to intentionally direct the trajectory of one’s life. It has a meaningful impact on my mental state that I seek to emulate in my own work. Art-making as wordless motivational speech, if you will. In this way, I’m embracing the idea that existing semiotics and linguistics are insufficient. There is something sacred and infinite which lies in the language of the body. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com



Women Cinemakers meets

Marie Pons Noemie Phillipson is the result of the collaboration between dancer Marie Pons and filmmaker Noemie Phillipson: inquiring into the resonance between natural environment and human body, this captivating dance film to initiate the audience into heightened experience capable of encouraging a cross-pollination of the spectatorship. We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to Pons' and Phillipson's stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

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

on editing and post-production. How did these experiences of training influence your evolution as artists and creatives? Moreover, how does the difference between your cultural substratums address your artistic research?

Hello Marie and Noemie and welcome to : before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to ask you a couple of questions about your backgrounds. After having literature, english and history of arts, Marie nurtured her education in Dance at the Lille University, while Noemie has studied film with a particular focus

Marie : I think that what got me interested in dance in cinema in the first place is the attention paid to movement. While studying dance it had a great impact when I realised how everything is connected to moving bodies; politics, arts, nature it all connects to this in a way. Coming from a history of arts and literature


Women Cinemakers



Women Cinemakers background the path to dance came as a natural one. I practiced a lot and needed to confront my experience to a field of theoretical research in order to keep exploring. It is what I truly love about both art forms, that while working with dance or on a film it is pure vitality, mobility, movement, life itself. And I think Noemie and I have a very similar yet complementary vision. Noemie : I very much agree, if anything, dance and film both share this common specificity, movement. In studying film and in particular editing, the eye develops some kind of attention for movement within a defined space. Furthermore, I was taught to implement a cut with the knowledge of where the eye of the spectator is in the frame, thus pursuing a fluid movement throughout the cut or in contrary, disturbing it to create a schism. This of course comes even more in focus once you take away a few pillars of classic film-making, like dialogues, defined characters, a classical narrative structure‌ The prospect of making a dance film was for me a wonderful experimental laboratory to concentrate on this, movement as the essence of the storytelling. For this special edition of we have selected , an extremely interesting a short experimental dance 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 artistic research is the way you have provided the visual results of your analysis with such visual consistence and coherent aesthetics. While walking our readers through


the genesis of , would you tell us what how did you develop the initial idea? Marie : Initially it all came from listening to a song by Bon Iver, called . Noemie : I actually remember the exact moment we made the decision to make this dance film. Marie and I were walking out of the Theatre Garonne in Toulouse after seeing a dance play and I must have said my usual line « every time I see live dance it makes me want to dance more », Marie jumped and said she had discovered a new track that I absolutely had to listen to right now and got her headphones out, all the while telling me about the vision she had had. Marie : While listening to the track I imagined what would be the images that could work with this soundtrack and started depicting bodies dancing in a forest, in a slowmotion way, at dawn or in a particular light. I told Noemie about this vision and she told me « okay, let’s make a dance film out of this ». Noemie : And that was that, I also got hooked and there was no way we weren’t going to do something with this energy. So once we had put the intent out around us, it pretty much all fell into place, Marie had the dance world at hand and me the film production side. The creative process was quite simple really. Being two, and especially having been so close forever was a big part of the creative development, we were bouncing of each other. We sat down to the music and cut it up into section, thought it up

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Women Cinemakers in a space and time way and together made the creative decisions that felt right within those lines. We felt very much that we needed to work in creating contrasts on several levels. Nature / urban landscape on the one hand, and more contrast within that nature space : trees aligned in a very unnatural way. Group unity / individuality is another one : a group of dancers in the woods, moving as one flow, one breath, became very instinctively one sequence shot taken from a camera that moves with the dancers. And following the idea of contrast, this flowy rhythm had to be broken by the jolt of the fast paced urban space, cut up in short static shots, as if following the isolated dancer into his more personnal interior space. Marie : When we sat down to think it all out, we already had the dancers and their different personalities in mind. They are all friends of ours from university. Most of them are professional dancers or actors now. Noemie : One important point that took us time to test before we found the confidence to decide was the transitions. We knew these were going to be crucial points to take the viewer with us from one space to an other, they had to be seamless and surprising. When the solos where being worked on, I came along with the camera and moved around, the first position and the last one was a great way of directing the camera in unisson with the dancer, and these creative transition ideas came I think naturally, ideas that were then tested in rehearsals before becoming set camera movements. It's no doubt that interdisciplinary collaborations as the




one that you have established over the years are today ever growing forces in Contemporary Art and that the most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields meet and collaborate on a project: could you tell us something about the collaborative nature of your work? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between artists from different disciplines? Marie : Noemie and me grew up together, we know each other since we are 1 year old. It is amazing to be able to work with someone you have known your whole life and came at a rejoice about our complementarity. time where I really got into the dance field and Noemie was already working as a film editor so the project really came from our desires. We thought the film through together and then I took in charge the work with the dancers, working on finding the right rhythm and movements with them while Noemie took care of the cinematography, working closely with Nicolas Godtschalck, the director of photography and steadicam operator. He had a choreography of his own to perform while shooting the sequences in the nature. Noemie : It really did fall into place quite naturally, and is a product of now I think of it it actually feels like where we were both standing at that time, professionally and creatively. The main impulse being that we really wanted to do another project together and making our worlds come together was very exciting. I think we worked in total balance, there was never a moment where the dance was imposing anything on the filmmaking and vice-versa. As we developed the whole concept together,

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Women Cinemakers it felt like both arts, the dancing and filmmaking had their own part to play, and actually in playing together. Concretely, this meant that I’d watch the rehearsals, and at some point I’d pick up the camera and start filming. I was looking for frames, angles, all the different ways a certain movement could be framed. Marie and I would watch this back and pin down some key-frames that we both found great and tried to guide the dancers and the cinematography towards capturing that during the shooting. Elegantly composed, features stunning landscape cinematography and keen eye to details: each shot seems to be carefully orchestrated to work within the overall structure. What were your aesthetic decisions when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? Noemie : Once Marie and I had defined the flow that each part was going to have, I went to DoP Nicolas Godtschalck who understood our intent perfectly well. The one shot steadicam sequences had to feel as natural as possible, as if the viewer was there in the woods with the dancers, so a 50mm lens was used on the light DSLR camera that the production lent us. DSLRs are a simple low-cost and light solution for a tinny budget shoot, and given the right lenses, allows to create a lovely feel, so we played with this. The production offered to rent a HF focus pulling system so as to remotely work the focus whilst the steady-cam was moving, this was a real perk because instead of having a flat picture we could create a sense of depth, and so define a certain direction for the eye of the viewer.





Women Cinemakers

Also working with contrast here, the natural flow and easiness of the forest was to be somehow opposed to a more uncomfortable/unnatural shots in the city, by breaking or reducing the space and time in which the dancers were moving. We used long and short focal lenses in those spaces, also off-putting the level on some shots. The main intent being to create an easy and confortable space and break it up by projecting the viewer into slightly more challenging rhythms and perspectives. has drawn heavily from the specifics of natural environment and we have highly appreciated the way you have created such insightful resonance between space and movement: how did you select the location and how did it affect your shooting and performing process? Noemie : The track we were working with for the film shoot is called , this definitely directed our first thoughts about locations. The actual woods we shot in are located in the South of France, between the houses where Marie and I grew up. I have always been fascinated by those plantations, it illustrates man’s control over nature, and I see in it a slightly crazy paradoxe in the idea of planting such straight trees in such a geometrically square way. I was very glad to finally find an excuse to explore that space with a camera. Marie : The city shots are in Toulouse, where we both lived at the time. I remember we had the idea of choosing a very urban landscape to contrast with the quietness of the woods. We chose the locations in the city according to the personality of the three soloists. We wanted a kind of

wasteland for Eva’s solo because she has this very raw and powerful energy and an open-space seemed like a fit for her. We liked the spot under the bridge by the Garonne river and we also had the idea pretty much at the beginning of the writing to shoot on a rooftop once again to be in the heart of a city. The dancers composed and rehearsed their solos in a studio and they pretty much discovered their locations during the shooting. We liked this idea that each environment would bring a different energy, colour and tonality to each sequences and we wanted this different palette. We have appreciated the balanced combination between analytical approach to gestures and sense of spontaneity in your work: British artist Chris Ofili once stated that . How would you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of a body of work and the need of spontaneity? How much importance does play improvisation in your process? Marie : In dance, improvisation can be a precious tool. It was also a very beautiful thing to witness the steadicam operator always adapting to what the dancers offered, it was really like a , a collaboration on both sides of the camera. Noemie : On this dance film, improvisation was somehow the starting point in the rehearsals of the actual choreography. For the group sequence shot in the woods, Marie worked with the dancers in creating material by letting them improvise. Then as said previously we set


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some key-moments, somehow to synch the camera and the dance. What happened in between those moments was I think we could say ‘directed improvisation’. The solos, if I remember well, also sprouted from improvised material, before being set in the rehearsal space. When filming the solos in their location, there was much less improvisation as we had a shot list. For me, improvisation is a big part of filmmaking. As a personal choice but also simply as a reality of the process, I mean you can write and plan and rehears as much as possible, but you never really know what might happen once you start filming. And over the years I’ve come to realize this is one of filmmaking great strengths. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative process. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once remarked that "it is always only a matter of seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": how would you consider the relation between the abstract of the ideas you explore and of producing your artworks? Marie : I think this link between ideas and actions is really at the core of the way I want to work with dance. When I did a Master’s degree in dance at the university of Lille in France the approach and philosophy of the department was exactly that: our thoughts had to be put into movement. It was constant back and forth between writing, dancing, moving, thinking and I felt very close to this way of practicing, researching and creating with art in one momentum. Since then my relationship with dance

moves forward thanks to these connections between theory and practice. That’s also why I got into dance writing I think, as a prolongation between a moving practice and alive reflexion about dance. Noemie : This is actually something I’ve never really considered and realize, I can maybe only answer since I have myself started dancing, and that is, since we produced . The question resonates more with my personal experience of dance and how it complements my ongoing work as film editor. The editing process is choosing, defining movement, it also has moments of pure stiffness, when neither you nor the director can see beyond the screens and problems and structural disagreements. In those moments I find the best way is simply to step back, to try and shift the gaze, free some space in order to breath creatively again. For this, I have found find the regular practise of dance an amazing tool for apprehending the editing process as a whole, but of course particularly in those stuck moments, to gain a different perspective. On several occasions, I have stepped out of an editing room with the director to try and think laterally. We don’t actually start dancing! but in trying to get back to the essence, a minimal skeleton like a purified version of a storyline, we create a new language which looses the cinema-specificity of it. Physically experimenting the abstract nature of dance, has definitely become a inherent part of my work as an editor, as I will sometimes move away from the computer, listen to music and let myself move to it. If anything it actually reconnects you with yourself so as to go back to the film a little more centred and with a fresh perspective.




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Sound plays an important role in and we have highly appreciated the combination between the created by the sound tapestry by David Authié and the flow of images: how do you see the relationship between sound and movement? Marie : Actually we first built the whole rhythm of the film very specifically to Bon Iver’s music. We enquired about buying the rights to use the soundtrack in the film but it was way too expensive for a very low budget film. We decided to keep the structure given by the music but we decided to call upon a music composer to create an original piece for the film. The music is thus very much linked to the movement and finally the original soundtrack finished off the film. We are really happy all in all to have worked with David on this, even though it all came from an obstacle which is often the case in the course of a creation. Noemie : Yes, we gave David the final cut of the film and very little direction, wanting him to have as much freedom as possible. David did a first track, then I spent just a day with him in the studio to finalise the music that he composed, we didn’t change the edit in any way. It was for me quite a surprising process as usually I’d expect the musician to compose something then the edit to adapt to that. One of the hallmarks of your practices is the ability to with the viewers, who urged establish to from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature . Do you consider the issue of audience


Women Cinemakers reception? And what do you hope in the spectatorship?

will trigger

Noemie : As soon as you turn a camera onto the world, whichever world, you are defining a way of seeing. In the first stages of the making, I think we assimilate this to our own gaze, what we as film makers want to see. This then became « what do I want to show the people who will be watching this at some point down the line? ». In the making , there are two aspect to this. First the form, where of we were specifically interested in exploring our own visions, through the interaction of dance and camera work. We considered the audience especially when thinking of the transitions between the different spaces. The second aspect is the content, the story of a united group dancing in unisson, opposed to the singled out solos, this was for us a way of expressing a maybe somewhat political vision of our contemporary world. Marie : Yes, and thinking of it now that the film is finished, I guess we went through a process of working with dramaturgy similar to when a choreographer is working on a stage piece. Working on how to build a rhythm, when to increase the energy, how to work with the presence of different performers, how to work with time and space… I think we were resolving the same questions that when you create a piece that is to be seen by a live audience at some point. Maybe this is a particularity about making dance films, to really work with the tools given by both art forms. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Marie and Noemie. Finally, would you like to

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tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Marie : Now I work as a dance journalist and critic. I write for several publications and also accompany as a writer several dance projects to document them in theaters, museums, alternatives spaces… I also kept the relationship with cinema as I’m working as a producer on a dance film project called . Alongside two film makers called Bertrand Guerry and Thibaut Ras we film dancers improvising in different cities in Europe with no music, in one sequence-shot for each has episode. It has been great to see that working on lead to these unexpected opportunities. It’s funny to observe this project in perspective with , we talked earlier about the importance of improvisation and the series embraces this principle. Noemie : Since making I have explored the dance world a little more and a few years ago I was invited by Kings College London to document the creative process involved in the making of a dance performance. This became a short documentary film called I’m developing a few more projects of my own, mostly politically engaged documentary stories. But I am most of the time a film editor, having crossed over into the world of feature films. As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently working alongside director Heinrich Sabl on an animation film and it is also interesting to see how my experience in working with movement has enabled my editing carrier to unfold in this way. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Sharon Mansur an interview in collaboration with Brian Harris As a contemporary dance and visual artist, my ongoing interests span experimental and often collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches. My current creative practice and research embodies what is seen as well as what is invisible to the eye but palpable, the complex and mutable nature of identity, multiplicity of self, and the dynamic relationship between deeply felt inner landscapes and outer realms. I make art because that is the essential way in which I grapple with inherent mysteries and ambiguities in life. My creative practice is also informed by invaluable collaborative relationships with other artists and creative folks. I offer audiences immersive art experiences and invite them to fully activate the environment with me. I am passionate about resilient and evolving ways to share and support art within my community.

Sharon Mansur is an American contemporary dance and visual artist, experimentalist, educator, curator, mover and shaker. Sharon’s creative practice and research integrates improvisational techniques, somatic practices, and interdisciplinary collaborative approaches. She has a keen interest in site responsive art, weaving the visual and visceral, body and space, internal and external landscapes. Her performance/installation projects, site-specific events and dance films have been presented throughout the United States and abroad. During spring 2018 she taught and performed at the International Dance Day Festival Lebanon (IDDFL) at the Lebanese American University in Byblos. Sharon is committed to dance and somatics as a transformational and healing catalyst for individuals and communities.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier

like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions

and Dora S. Tennant

regarding your background. You have a solid formal training

womencinemaker@berlin.com

and after having earned your B.A. in English and Dance from

Hello Sharon and welcome to

: we would

Connecticut College, you nurtured your education with an




Women Cinemakers M.F.A. in Dance, that you received from George Mason University: moreover, you are also a C.M.A. Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst via the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, C.M.T. Certified Massage Therapist, and Reiki Level III Master Practitioner. How did these experience influence of your evolution as an artist? I am an embodied maker through and through. Kinetic action has been my primary expression and connection with the world, starting at a young age. And my identity as an artist stems from this kinesthetic sense of being. Movement expression is the root of my identity as a dance artist. The heart of the other roles I embody as a director, choreographer, collaborator, and educator. My gradual evolution into a dance artist, stemmed first and foremost from being a human being in love with motion. My body is full of childhood memories and patterns from being in motion: running, tree climbing, nature wandering, swimming, ice skating, and volleyball, as well as dance. Because I was so energetic and movement oriented, and they loved the arts, my parents started me at age seven in Creative Movement at a local dance studio run by Mary Tolland in Natick, MA. This evolved into immersion into Ballet, Tap, and Jazz, and eventually I fell in love with Modern Dance while in high school. Majoring in Dance at Connecticut College brought me under the mentorship of master dance educator and somatic practitioner Martha Myers, who inspired her students to consider dancing over an entire lifetime. And find the gem of inspiration everywhere, in everyone. She also introduced integrated Somatics studies, with powerful and intuitive body/mind connections and concepts still guiding me today. Dance artist/educators Mark Dendy and David Dorfman, and Jaclyn Villamil also sparked creativity and experimentation. And expanded as well as subverted my notions of performance virtuosity during these formative years. My English double major fed my interest in the connections between nonverbal and verbal languaging of both internal and external experiences. A continuing theme throughout my career…

My senior English capstone project integrated both majors with doing a written analysis examining dance as a metaphor in poetry. Which then set the stage for regular references and use of creative writing as a springboard in my art making practices, as well as the regular archiving of projects via creative journal/notebooks, the equivalent of a dramaturgical/dance-aturgical record. Immersion in the Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis certificate program, which was the Somatics training of many of my Connecticut College professors, was truly transformational and deepened my well of choices and possibilities as an artist and human being. MFA Dance studies at George Mason University honed my performative improvisational practices, marking another rich creative growth period. Keith Thompson, Jim Lepore, Dan Joyce and Susan Shields all supported and pushed my technical and artistic depths, balancing continued Somatics studies with Karen Studd. And Reiki Energy studies as well as Massage Therapy allows me to access multiple body systems and delve further in to that deep knowing and mystery of our bodies. We are constantly shifting and evolving into and out of being-ness, knowing and unknowingness. All of this, and at the same time, perhaps the spaces that I haven’t explored yet, have and continue to influence me as an artist. Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to your multicultural roots direct the trajectory of your artistic research? Speaking of language, I love that term you use: “substratum.” Oxford Dictionary~ Origin: Mid 17th century, modern Latin, neuter past participle (used as a noun) of Latin substernere, from sub‘below’ + sternere ‘strew’. Definitions: 1. An underlying layer or substance, in particular a layer of rock or soil beneath the surface of the ground. 2. A foundation or basis of something. My Mediterranean infused cultural heritage, with both Lebanese and Italian roots, has been quite a strong artistic thread over the years, particularly the Middle Eastern aspect. Since 2000 I’ve been


Women Cinemakers researching my father’s family origins in Lebanon, including: learning more about my paternal grandparents’ immigration to Lowell, MA, interviewing family members, and absorbing historical, cultural and artistic aspects about Lebanon and the Middle East. Two performance/installation projects have evolved from this thread: Off White (2003-2006), and the current "Dreaming Under a Cedar Tree" (2017-present). This initial interest in my personal cultural identity has also expanded to include curiosity about other aspects of identity including a suite of projects in addition: (Un)Identified, looking at internal and external perceptions and interpretations of identity; semblance and (re)semblance, a pair of works embodying notions of feminine identity; Depth of Perception, commissioned by David Dorfman and performed with African-American dance artist Boris Willis; and here/there, a series of live and dance film vignettes examining the essence of identity in terms of presence and absence. The US presidential election in fall 2016 sparked my Arab-American cultural identity questions more to the forefront again, but identity and its mutability and complexity is a core thread that continually runs through my sense of self and artistic practices. While walking our readers through the genesis of "variation on residue", would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? This project started out as a live improvisationally based solo titled "residue", premiering in fall 2012 at the University of Maryland where I was a dance professor at the time. I became very curious about the mutable nature of memory and the passage of time, what we recall as well as forget. During initial research, I came across the term ‘pentimento,’ which is essentially an underlying trace image in a painting that has been covered over reflecting an artist’s evolving process. And the concept of ‘momento mori’ and mortality became particularly poignant to me, as my Aunt Julie, my father’s older sister and his last living sibling, died around this time. Another intriguing concept I came across was ‘engram’ a theoretical way that memory traces might be stored in the brain. I worked with all of these layers as I developed an improvisational score and gathered objects for the




Women Cinemakers visual environment: a large roll of tracing paper, multiple pairs of shoes, and feathers to create a fragile and transient state as well as a meditative space. Performing this solo during the 2012-2013 season at UMD as well as Mobius experimental gallery/performance space in Cambridge, MA; Shepherdstown On Site Dance Festival, WV; and the SUPERNOVA Performance Art Festival, VA, helped me hone the emotional tones and movement lexicon as the solo grew into itself. Coming full circle, after "variation on residue" was created, I was able to share the film and accompanying visual elements at the University of Maryland in 2014. With the assistance of MultiMedia designer/professor Jared Mezzocchi and his students, we created a multi-layered site- situated installation throughout the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center lobby spaces and the Dance Theatre, with live music by Alexa Cantalupo. "residue" (2012) excerpt: https://vimeo.com/81071279 Creation/performance/visual environment by Sharon Mansur Costume by Aryna Petrashenko, with Sharon Mansur, Sound by Curt Seiss Lighting by Paul D. Jackson Full version: https://vimeo.com/63010804 What were your aesthetic decisions when shooting? Brian: Probably the most important aesthetic decision, as far as the cinematography was concerned, was making sure we captured a certain quality of natural light within the environment—our stage—to help set the tone of the performance. While I wanted something painterly, and had some ideas mapped out in advance, how I framed each scene was decided on the spot, based on how Sharon decided she would present the material at that moment, and what would best accentuate that material given the constantly changing lighting conditions which fortunately worked in our favor. Sharon: It was important for us to capture the visual elements from the live performance in situ within the beautiful natural environment. And to allow the improvised movement score




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Women Cinemakers aspects from the live performance, be able to be re-situated and reimagined in this outdoor setting….responsive in the moment I was creating and as Brian was making choices to frame and capture the scenes. Our history together, his experience taking and seeing contemporary dance for years including my performances live, made this give-and-take adaptive approach possible. We also had done a studio study of "variation on residue" together in preparation for this filming, rehearsing with the relationship between the camera, body in motion and objects. And in particular focusing on details and closeups, as that has been a keen interest of mine in both live and screendance projects and Brian appreciates as well. This rehearsal rapport served us extremely well during the filming. See: variations on "residue": https://vimeo.com/62726661 In the editing process, Brian made initial choices that then I responded to. Through a series of drafts and notes we honed in on the pacing and length of various sequences, and the overall flow of the film, adding sound, credits, and ending still images to linger in the viewer’s imagination. In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens and how was the filming experience? Brian: With no budget, and limited resources at the time—but wanting cinematic quality—I decided to take somewhat of a risk and used the Magic Lantern RAW firmware hack, added to my Canon 7D, which I used along with a couple of L series Canon lenses. It worked out fine, but with a narrow window when the light was just right, we lost some time having to constantly download the RAW data files to a laptop. In addition, we used a compact HD quality Sony RX100 attached to a Glidecam rig for the running through the field sequence at the end. How do you consider the relationship between the necessity of planning the details of your performative gestures and the need of spontaneity? How much importance does play improvisation in your process? Thank you! I’d say improvisation is the vital heartbeat within my

process, and everything else stems from this aspect. Improvisation feels to me like giving my thoughts space to move freely within my being, trace along my skin and mix with the surrounding air. My relationship with the accumulated familiarity of choreography and the spontaneity of improvisation is bit of a mystery to me, but so vital! Both are important to me, and I value both approaches in my artistic practice. I often consider them along the same continuum, with choreography being tightly structured improvisation, and improvisation as spontaneous choreography! Then of course there’s the relationship between conscious, sub-conscious and unconscious mind, and consciousness at the cellular level, which informs choices and relationships on a very deep level. With the overall "residue" project, as with many of my other projects, the movement language accumulated each time I entered its improvisational environment. Certain motifs or sub-scores emerged and evolved, other aspects only revealed themselves once. I tend to go through a process of forgetting material and then that content suddenly re-emerges only during the moment of performance. For examples in the "variation on residue" film, the opening rotation sequence with the red purse was totally improvised in the moment. Versus carrying and dropping the pile of shoes vignette was a scene that I had inhabited in previous versions, adapted to that particular environment. I had worked with the tracing paper roll previously, but attaching it between trees and working behind it, while also wrapping it around a tree to later tear off, were both new and first time actions inspired by that environment and my body and the material within it. How much important is for you to trigger the viewer's imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? Extremely important. You are speaking to the heart of my artistic practice, what guides my aesthetic, structural and emotional choices in the creation and performative processes. For me, the work really resides as a unique fingerprint within each individual’s perceptions and visceral experience. I experience and excavate, cultivate and


Women Cinemakers caretake the work, and then I offer it to each witness to absorb and synthesize as each is able to. How did you select the location and how did it affect your shooting process? Brian: We shot on the private land of friends who generously let us shoot there, uninterrupted, over a weekend. I had visited there on several occasions in the past and was always struck by its somewhat unaffected mix of lovely fields and wooded areas, spanning over several acres. We didn’t have to worry about the typical challenges when shooting on location, such as having to shoot around unwanted aspects of the environment, or having people wander onto the set. We essentially had an open playground in which things could unfold in a natural and uninhibited way. Sharon: Brian approached me after he saw my "residue" live performance and said he could see the solo performed in settings other than a stage, including outdoors in a natural environment. As I situated the solo in a variety of site-specific spaces over the next year, including a gallery, in a small town retail storefront, and a busy street corner, I became intrigued with what a natural setting would evoke. He took me to a friend’s property in Maryland for a visit and I fell in love with the magical fairylike environment of their beautiful land. I also felt an intuitive creative connection with the land’s “body” and my body. As we scouted out locations and potential scenes there, I was easily able to select visual elements from residue that felt resonant. And sensory connections there in the moment guided me instinctively during the shoot, which Brian then so brilliantly witnessed with his camera eye. How do you see the relationship between sound and movement? Brian: I think it’s important in a work of this nature—-where the movement could be seen as evocative, but relies on the individual experience—that the sound score not overstate its presence. It is in itself a gesture, a sign, that something is happening, but shouldn’t dictate its meaning.






Women Cinemakers Sharon: I agree with Brian. For me too, the sound score is another layer of atmosphere, weaving in with nature, the body in motion, the objects, the paper costume, and the camera eye. Altogether they create a space and a frame to meditate on whatever is evoked in the viewer, from internal meditations and/or external glimpses. The original live performance of "residue", had a different sound score, created by Maryland based musician/composer/collaborator Curt Seiss, which seemed very specific to that version. I initially met Maryland based musician Alexa Cantalupo while she was an undergraduate Music major at the University of Maryland, and she took my Dance Improvisation class. Alexa improvised a lovely, sensitive score with guidance from Brian, which was then integrated with the footage during his editing process. Could you tell us something about the collaborative nature of your improvisational performances and site-specific events? Dance is such a naturally collaborative art form. And I have been so fortunate to meet and connect with several long-time collaborators as well as find synergy with new collaborators from dance, visual art, poetry, architecture, lighting, sound and/or video, depending on the project. I love drawing collaborators into my research process, asking them to contribute visual images, words, and personal associations. Also invite them to mix in questions they’re individually exploring in their own practice, and/or look to challenge themselves in a new way within our process together. Working with Brian Harris is a perfect example of the collaborative nature of my improvisational performance and site-specific events with "variation on residue". He invested in the artistic themes and emotional core of the work, offered his own responses with particular personal filmic interests in environment, light, and detail. And then we came together during the shoot and utilized our skills and curiosities to play off one another. To be flexible and responsive to the various evolving elements during the process.To create something together that we could not create separately. That’s the magic spark of collaboration that infuses much of my work.

Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between artists from different disciplines? To me, each creative project is a record, of the communication that emerges organically among everyone involved, from all disciplines. A type of shared language evolves over time via direct conversations among us as well as non-verbal ‘discussions’ via creative elements. I first instigate possible vocabulary via kinetic movement, visual images, and then others observe, react, respond and contribute via sound, lighting, costume, video motifs, and their own questions, personal history, and research. Then collectively we develop the world of the work which commingles these layers of discussion, of adding and morphing ideas and associations, erasing, overlaying, simultaneous thoughts, with room for silence, listening and gaps. And then the audience witnesses fully activate this communication, via their own history and experiences, disciplines and identities. 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? When I was a baby, my parents would sometimes need to drive me around the block in the family car to help me fall asleep! Even today, when I need to process I go for a long walk, letting my thoughts move through my body and mind. Letting ideas form and un-form in motion, my sensory awareness sifts through the layers to find nuggets of clarity. This relationship between ideas and the physical act of creation….is a beautifully organic process that I’ve always experienced. It’s innate and so natural for me to work within. Those two aspects you/we distinguish actually feel to me like one and the same as I work artistically. Ideas, for me, are worked through and thoughts move most clearly when I am in motion. Physicalizing is how I think most deeply, in the most complex, integrated and true ways.


Women Cinemakers How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? Hmm…I often am, both art and life, what I eventually have termed an ‘inadvertent rebel.' Partly based on my cultural heritage blend, and also how I visually present to others. Partly just my general offbeat sense of making my way through the world, which feels very natural to me. Not consciously trying to be a non-conformist, but simply not often accepting general norms or belief systems that many apparently do! And that’s fine. Embracing who I am has allowed great freedom as far as making my own way though the world, personally and artistically. I feel fortunate to generally have a sense of endless possibilities regarding who I could be as an artist and how and what I can create. I’ve always managed to find a creative home base to work within, and a circle of support with women at the core, starting in my hometown at the local dance studio, university and somatics trainings, studio/theatres in Washington, DC and Brooklyn, NY where I was also on staff, and currently the wellness center/yoga studio in Minnesota that has essentially adopted me as their resident dance artist. And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? Women artists have been and always will be my continued inspiration and motivation as a creative maker. There are also vital social change actions occurring worldwide currently, and strong and clear female voices resonating in many arenas, including the arts. For me, early contemporary dance pioneers such as Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham still inspire and guide me. As well as more recent innovative artists such as Pina Bausch, Bebe Miller, Elizabeth Streb, Eiko, Trisha Brown, Sara Michelson, Meg Stuart, Nora Chipaumire, Annie-B Parson, Crystal Pite, Olive Bieringa, and many more…. And in film, I look to dance artist and experimental filmmaker Maya Deren as a forerunner still relevant today. A Study for






Women Cinemakers Choreography for Camera with dancer/choreographer Tally Beatty (1945) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhMlA8hKzz4 Also interdisciplinary artist Meredith Monk’s dance films: Ellis Island (1981) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS9wOlkSzQk and Book of Days (1988) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHC6hCRkP6Y And there are many women contemporary dance film artists I admire, such as Marta Renzi, Victoria Marks, and Noemie LaFrance. They all demonstrate such rich visual imagery, potent themes and sensitivity to the human body. I believe the future of women in film is bright, indeed. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? I’m so grateful to be in the midst of a very rich creative period, with a tremendous amount of support from various communities. Currently I’m making a new dance film, “…in the space between” with support from the Minnesota State Arts Board, in collaboration with BodyCartography: Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad as videographers, to premiere in Minnesota during fall 2018. My Middle Eastern flavored “Dreaming Under a Cedar Tree” evening-length immersive solo event will be re-imagined and presented again in Minnesota, in the midst of an Arab/Arab-American artists series that I’m curating throughout the 2018-19 season. And I recently received the news that I was selected to be a McKnight Foundation Dance Fellow, which will allow me invaluable time to develop new directions, as well as deepen my current artistic practice in the coming year. How do you see your work evolving? Ah, that’s a wonderful question, and I look forward to finding out… Thank you so much for this opportunity, and your insightful questions. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com Photos: Stan Barouh Film Stills: Brian Harris


Women Cinemakers meets

Pavlina Braco As I move through life and look back to reflect, I never find clear, sharp memories of events. Only small glimpses of beauty that possibly made me into who I am. And I approach my work in the same way, by analysing characters and telling their stories without providing a sensation of time as a linear experience. Instead, the focus is shifted to meaningful moments that were vital in shaping the subject. In the words of writer Milorad Pavić: “Man was not created to only look forward.”. In my most recent and ongoing work, video art pieces inspired by the book Dictionary of the Khazars, I explore the boundaries between dreams and reality, future and past, life and death by having different images mirror one another. The concept of a mirror is especially important in „Ateh“, since duality is a vital component of the story. The odd number of images is derived from the fact that one mirror is faster than the other. Even though all my pieces are based on some kind of plot, and study certain characters, the pattern in which they are pieced together leaves space for the viewer to engage and interpret the story for himself without ready-made deductions, which is valid, since all life events can also be experienced in multiple ways. In a way, the piece itself becomes a mirror of the viewers thoughts.

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

Hello Pavlina and welcome to WomenCinemakers: we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple

of questions regarding your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as an artist and a videomaker? Moreover, how does your cultural background direct the trajectory of your artistic research? I am a video artist based in Tuzla, Bosnia and



Women Cinemakers Herzegovina. When I was a teenager I followed certain movie directors work religiously, but I didn’t want to write or direct movies, or do anything related to that myself . I first realised that I like being behind a camera when I was required to film and edit a dance competition. The whole process was so interesting and fun for me, and even though I didn’t know exactly then and there what that might turn in to, it was certainly the beginning of something exciting. After a long while I realized that video art was the right form of expression for me. My cultural background sure did influence the themes that occur in my videos. Symbols of Vlach magic, influence of ex-Yugoslavian writers, tradition and so on are reoccurring themes. The Balkans have a really rich culture and lore so it is impossible not to be inspired by it. After all, it is a part of me that I learned to value so why not incorporate it into my work. For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected Ateh, an extremely interesting experimental dual channel video that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into the concept of duality is the way it offers to the viewers a heightened and multilayered visual experience, to create unparalleled vision of past and future. When walking our readers through the genesis of Ateh, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? Sandra Nadarevic (the model who plays Ateh) and I were flirting with the idea of doing something together. It occured to me that she was the perfect pick for this character that I was enamoured with for a long time, she fit right into the story. Her slightly androgynous features and unconventional




Women Cinemakers beauty stood out to me and went along with ambiguity of Ateh and also the story of Khazar faces. Basically, the initial idea appeared when I accidentally found the right person. Later on I realized that my own ideas of story telling or perception of time go hand in hand with the writters. The novel it was based on is not something you read from one cover to another, you would be well off by beginning in the middle as well. I don’t know if this was the thing that influenced my style and philosophy in general prior to this project without me realizing it. It could be. Nevertheless, at the moment I made this connection I knew for a fact that this is something I wanted to do. Inspired by Milorad Pavic’s novel “Dictionary of the Khazars”, your film explores the character of princess Ateh: how did you research about this figure and how much importance has for you to make a personal film, about a theme that you know a lot about? I read the novel Dictionary of the Khazars a while ago and it really inspired me because it had all of the elements that are important to me as a creator. Compelling philosophy, nonchronological story telling and ambiguity are only some of the themes present, especially in the story that I chose. To give you some background, Khazars were ancient nomadic people who vanished quite some time ago. There are only few preserved artefacts that shine light on their culture, history and tradition. Several remaining written sources hold quite different testimonies, so it is very difficult to evaluate their relevancy. They appear in history as a powerful nation in the 7th century. Even though Princess Ateh takes up only a couple of pages in the book, she has a major role in the Khazar religious polemic. I marked those pages long ago without knowing what I may need them for. Since this is a




fictional character that only appears so much throughout the novel, there was not a lot of research to be done about the character itself. It mainly required finding out and analysing how her story reflects on aspects of my own life and personality, and how to incorporate all these elements that I wanted to incorporate. I of course avoided the religious aspects of the novel because it was not the only viewpoint to approach this story from, and I wasn’t too interested in doing that. That being said, making a film or an art piece that covers a subject that’s close to me is immensely important, I am not a fan of making things that I don’t fully understand just for the sake of making them. Besides, a viewer can always feel when something is not genuine. Elegantly shot, Ateh features gorgeous landscape cinematography and a keen eye for details, capable of orchestrating realism with intimate visionary quality: what were your aesthetic decisions when shooting? In particular, how did you structure your editing process in order to achieve such brilliant results? An important part of the composition was not only aesthetic quality but also the ability of it to convey a meaning. Making the color and surroundings serve the story and setting a tone was of course essential as well. I also tried to avoid some sort of spoon-fed symbolism so that it wouldn’t become this one thing that could only be understood from one perspective. The video is divided in two sets of images mirroring one another, and the purpose of this is exploring the connections and the line between themes and opposite worlds that collide here. The concept of a mirror is

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Women Cinemakers especially important in „Ateh“ since duality is a vital component of the story. I had these things in mind prior to editing and knew what dynamic I wanted to achieve so the editing process was not much of a science. In order to stress some of the ideas, one part has a much darker and gloomier atmosphere while the other one is more light and vibrant, so that is one thing I paid attention to the most in color grading. Deviating from traditional filmmaking, we daresay that your artistic research subverts the notion of non lieu elaborated by French anthropologist Marc Augé, to highlight the ubiquitous instertitial points and mutual influences between human interaction with environment. In this sense, Ateh draws heavily from the specifics of environments and we have highly appreciated the way you have created such powerful resonance between the location and the atmosphere that floats around the story: how did you select the locations and how did they influence your shooting process? The definition of a non-place is usually subjective. What could be a place of residence or employment for some people, and thus a part of their identity, might be a non-place to me. To some extent I agree, when looking at certain frames you wouldn’t think “there’s some random woman making her way through the woods”. There’s more to it, even if you’re not a part of, or familiar with that world. It was clear from the beginning that filming couldn’t be done indoors given the nomadic nature of Khazars. I wanted to highlight nature as a part of her and create the feeling that these places could exist at any point in time. Besides that, the surroundings should awake appropriate aesthetic feelings and emotions that I pictured were relevant to


Women Cinemakers

the story. If an author is excited or moved by a landscape

sensitiveness: how do you consider the relationship

or any location, it definitely influences the shooting

between tradition and contemporariness? Do you think

process, and it shows in the final product. So those were

that there's a conflictual relation or is there a synergy

the criteria. Location scouting did not last long, we really

between this apparently opposite aspects?

got lucky. When I saw the place, new ideas arose immediately.

There is synergy, without a doubt. Tradition is rooted deep inside the past, but in some aspects it deals with issues

We have particularly appreciated the way your Ateh

that will always be relevant. Some contemporary artists

intertwines elements from folklore and contemporary

beautifully incorporate traditional elements and themes


into their work, and I have come to find that people are very drawn to this form of expression. In my opinion, the reason behind this is that the tradition is a significant part of a persons identity and abandoning it completely can’t be satisfying. As a society we must move forward, but we should sometimes acknowledge that the recent is not the only thing of importance. We can see that in numerous exhibitions nowadays, when we talk about traditional art. Sometimes (not always) even the aesthetics in

contemporary are lacking, the idea is the only thing that counts. The contemporary deals with the new modernized issues and ideas in an innovative form, but often abandons the search for meaning of existence and identity. I personally love to see an aesthetic that can integrate both contemporary and traditional aspects, it is something that I strive to do every now and then. In this piece it was more than appropriate to do so.


We have appreciated the way Ateh walks the viewers to a journey towards the point of convergence of reality and dreamlike dimension: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination playing within your creative process? Dreams are said to be the reflection of what we worry about when we’re awake, others would say a reflection of the subconscious. Some are even claiming they have a prophetic value. Either way, they are certainly triggered by our day-today life and in that sense, the relationship between these two is clear. Most people experienced moments when they could not separate them clearly, myself included, and that is the feeling I wanted to provide, the uncertainty. I draw a lot of my inspiration from my dreams. At times I tried to force ideas into existence and it would simply not work, but weirdly, things would resolve while I am asleep. Austrian-British historian E. Gombrich, writing in Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation, talked about the importance of providing a space for the viewer to project onto, so that they can participate in the illusion: how much important is for you to trigger the viewer's perceptual parameters in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? It is very important. Even though my work is based on some kind of plot and studies certain characters, I structure it in a way that leaves space for the viewer to engage and find his own interpretation of the story, without ready-made deductions and pointers from the author (me). And that is valid, since all life events can also be experienced in multiple ways. Instead of providing time as a linear experience, I focus

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Women Cinemakers on details and glimpses that may be important to the character in question. When the story is not chronologically told we tend to think and piece together our own plot, and that is the goal. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in the contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades women are finding their voices in art: how would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? Yes, for a period of time in the past women were discouraged from plenty of things, but that is not the case anymore, at least not where I’m from. So the future of women in the contemporary art scene is the same one as for men. I don’t imagine my experience being different than any other, obstacles are always there but that is something everyone has to deal with. People were eager to help me out when help was needed, maybe even more so because there is not a lot of us in this field. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Thank you for giving me this platform to talk about my work. For now I have two projects going on, but it is still a bit early to talk about that. In the future I believe my work will become less digital. Playing around with film and VHS is something I am really interested in and it might find it’s way in my future projects.


Women Cinemakers meets

Clare Schweitzer Lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area, USA

Clare is a practitioner and researcher of screendance and is continuously reexamining both her own practice and the practices of the field at large. She received a B.A. in Dance and Mathematics cum laude with high honors and an M.A in Contemporary Dance performance from the London Contemporary Dance School, focusing her dissertation research on contextual examinations of screendance festivals. In her creative work, Clare is interested in exploring universal predicaments through intimate and often humorous frames. Her films have been screened internationally at festivals such as the Perth Screendance Awards, Muestra Movimiento Audiovisual in Guadalajara, and danรงa em foco and she has presented research at the Light Moves Symposium of Screendance. In addition to her work as a freelance dance and video artist in the San Francisco Bay Area, she currently works as a Development Associate at the San Francisco Dance Film Festival, serving on its selection committee for its 2018 edition.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com Enter Face is a captivating short dance short film by dancer, choreographer and filmmaker Clare Schweitzer: her film is the product of research into the histories and constructions of the body as it goes further into an age where people willingly submit their lives to a network of screens. Creating a brilliant allegory of human condition in our media driven age, it aims to explore new conceptions of lived reality and altered means of communication that result. We are particularly pleased to

introduce our readers to this stimulating work of art and to Schweitzer's artistic production. Hello Clare and welcome to : we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions regarding your background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned you B.A. in Dance and Mathematics cum laude with high honors, you nurtured your education with an M.A in Contemporary Dance performance, that you received from the prestigious London Contemporary Dance School: how did these experience influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, does your cultural background direct the trajectory of your artistic research?



Women Cinemakers Thank you so much for the introduction and for presenting Enter Face, I’m very excited for this film to be a part of WomenCinemakers. I grew up in California in the the San Jose area right in the heart of Silicon Valley. I enjoyed growing up there (can’t beat California sun and food) but describing the area is always a challenge, not only in that people typically associate the area as a metropolitan area of San Francisco but also in that it was hard to tell people what it cultural presence was. I was watching by Jacques Tati recently and to me, Tati’s ultra-modern hyper commodified office world describes the Silicon Valley perfectly; a place dominated by technology and a hyper commodified existence built up around it (some towns in the area practically define themselves by which technology companies are based there). It was in the San Jose area where I began my dance training in Classical Ballet and trained pre-professionally through high school. I received my B.A. from Mount Holyoke, an all women’s liberal arts college. A liberal arts degree centers on students learning as much about as many different subjects as possible and many end up focusing on two or more subjects as a part of their studies. Through this, one can apply practices and concepts from one area of study to another, illuminating many new insights in the process.That’s not to mention that I attended to at a women’s college, which was an empowering educational experience. Without pressures of adhering to fender norms, I felt like I had the agency to I double majored in Dance and Mathematics and became fascinated at the way two seemingly opposing fields with differing methods of practice could have so much in common. I choreographed a thesis project based on the work of MC Escher and used video projection in the performance to better communicate ideas I was trying to convey. Through this, I became interested in the use of film and technology in dance performance and started to research and experiment more with it. Following my graduation from my BA, I moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area for two years and took a workshop offered through




Women Cinemakers the San Francisco Dance Film Festival. I became further interested in the process of making screen dance (a brief aside, I will use the term screen dance for the work I create), volunteered for the festival and eventually served on their screening committee, which opened me up to the world of dance filmmaking. It also opened my eyes to the ways that we view dance film and how the way a dance film work is programmed and screened can affect the way it is received. I then moved to London to begin my Masters degree which was the first time, apart from workshops and summer programs, that I experienced a conservatory environment. In contrast to my liberal arts background, I was immersed in the world of dance to a degree I had not been before. But I felt like I was pushing back against conservatory mentalities, lacking little interaction or interrelation with other fields and very focused on cultivating the dance industry as was. However, I did gain some valuable experiences through my training. I was very privileged to be a part of a student company and had the opportunity to tour through Europe and the UK, taking and teaching workshops in everywhere from large cities to smaller rural hamlet. I was impressed to see that, no matter how small the town or how remote the area, there was a rigor of practice and an appreciation for the arts that I had not experienced in the US. Another valuable part of my masters and the most consequential was a screen dance course which covered both practical and theoretical elements of screen dance. I found that I felt the most comfortable and created more honest work behind the camera, using the possibilities of the frame to tell stories that I was not able to tell in live performance. I also delved into theories and critique about screen dance, specifically critique about festival practice. Connecting with my experiences working for a screen dance festival, I aimed to learn as much as I could about screen dance in Europe. My dissertation focused on research of the cultural production of screen dance through festival presentation and as a part of my research, I attended many festivals and listened to many different perspectives on the form.





Women Cinemakers Through my experience in London, I learned two very important things about myself: I do not like working in studios and I do not work well in groups. Fortunately, screendance assured me that I could find a way of working where I didn’t have to do either. I spent a year and a half in London and a few months afterward traveling Europe, finding myself in Berlin at a residency at Lake Studios in Friederichshagen. was created during this residency and it’s not only a product of research I was engaged with there, but also a part of reflection on my time in Europe and an opportunity to hone my practice and see how it had evolved. For this special edition of we have selected , an extremely interesting dance video that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once impressed us of your insightful inquiry into new conceptions of lived reality is the way you have provided the results of your artistic research with such captivating aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? I developed the initial idea through moments of frustration in my graduate coursework. While the physically oriented work was fascinating and scintillating, I felt that the intentions of the work I was perfuming were laced with notions of rejecting the effect of technology in favor of direct interpersonal interaction. There is absolutely value in this approach and I am not decrying it in the slightest, but I felt that ideas regarding the effect of technology on the body and the mind and the ways we move and interact in the technological age were not being addressed subjectively in research we were participating in. I began thinking about ways that people interact on online forums and platforms; while some see them as a cesspool of humanity, others use it as a way to develop self worth, purpose and a community they can relate to. Some may say that participating in online forums and platforms are poor substitutes for finding one in one’s immediate

surroundings, but this participation can assuage those who may feel lost in their immediate surroundings. Through this consideration of online interaction, I also became interested in the ways people construct their worlds on social media and gaming platforms and realized that, with so many different platforms and areas to express oneself in the virtual world, would there be a point where a person would have to reckon with completely different versions of themselves? Moreover, would there be physically implications in the present as a result of of a conflict of identity? Prior to the project, I research ideas related to the extension of bodies through networks, described by thinkers such as Sita Popat as a new type of schizophrenia. Poppet and others suggest that virtual technologies and online environments offer concrete engagement with fractured identities and propose that we are not fixed single selves, but hybrid beings who seek our true selves through the projection of alternate identities. I wanted to explore this idea of a fractured self in a non-virtual world and play with the absurdity that could result. I also found myself incorporating classical ideas of screen dance to this process as well. Maya Deren is considered a godmother of sorts to the screen dance form, not only in the work that she made (Meshes of the Afternoon was a significant influence for this film) but the substantial amount of writing she did about it. Deren wrote about the process of constructing and seeing self on film and how the self on film is depersonalized in some form. She suggests that depersonalization enlarges the individual, not decay it. This made consider the way someone might see themselves on screen, specifically in a social media environment where they are essentially writing their story as they see fit and feel the pressures to make it as convincing a story as possible. 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


Women Cinemakers of your performative gestures and How much importance does play process?

? in your

Improvisation is central to my process, it’s very important to me that dancers bring their own experiences and movement vocabulary to whatever project I am working on. However, while I allow for freedom in the improvisational and gestural content, I set very I set very strict limits both compositionally and formally. Compositionally, I will meticulously construct the first frame of any improvisation with regard to light and symmetry, trying to start with as clear of an idea as possible. To explore the concept of multi identities, I utilized longer improvisations where I fixed the camera and has the dancer move within the frame. I am very conscious of composing the frame with regard to color, symmetry and depth, not only for aesthetic purposes but also for the ability of the dancer to engage with the contents of the frame. Any improvisational score I use to direct the dancer’s movements has a set beginning, middle and end. For example, one score I employed with this film was to have the dancer start moving the hands, transition that movement into the body and finish on the floor. Within this structure, a dancer has trailheads for where the trajectory of movement needs to go, but can move and explore as much as she can between them. The less direction or limit someone is presented with, ironically enough, the fewer ideas emerge. To me, the worst thing as a dancer is to come up with something on the spot with no direction. With limits and direction, I can work within them to make discoveries. That being said I’m very hands off when it comes to directing, I want the dancer to live in this onscreen world with its strange parameters and I have been fortunate to work with dancers who not only have strong senses of presence and movement, but also have agency when it comes to the material they do. I was very fortunate to have Johanna Merceron as the dancer in this work, She is an intelligent, versatile mover who is able to

adapt to direction and location. I have found that dancers are more than willing to dance in unconventional locations, but can be at a loss for material when they do. Johanna was able to be present with and committed to her movement quality, even in the more challenging of circumstances such as a crowded train station or a busy park. It’s important to me at the very beginning of any process that I demystify the camera generating movement. It can be intimidating for a dancer to work with the camera as they are focused on the product of what it is capturing. I want the dancer to treat the camera as a partner in the dancer, not just an object or recording or surveillance, and break the hierarchy of the camera as the strongest figure in the room. I vary my use of the camera in my score, I even tried a few scores where I hid with the camera, so Johanna would move without knowing where I was. I do film with a shot list for coverage and take several ideas for scores when I go to location, but most of what I generate is a spontaneous response to that location. I’m less worried about shot to shot continuity for the edit as I am generating a sense of energy that will be cohesive in the edit. I remember hearing a talk from renown screendance filmmaker Simon Fildes who sorted directors into three categories: there are planters (those who meticulously plan out every moment in the film), hunter gatherers (those who aggressively pursue the best shot) and there are fishers (those who wait for something interesting to happen in the frame). I want the dancer to live within the structure I create, letting them move in and, importantly, out of the frame. The editing process is where I find the true choreography of the project itself, the rhythm and manipulation of time as well as any manipulation of image necessary. Featuring refined and well-orchestrated choreography involves the audience into heightened visual experience: what were your aesthetic decisions when conceiving this stimulating work? In particular, were you




Women Cinemakers

interested in providing your performance with an that reflect human condition? Due to budgetary restrictions, I filmed on a DSLR. I enjoyed working with it an relished irony of creating a film about the technological age with such a simple device. Doing so helped challenged me to be clear and deliberate with my ideas, especially since I filmed handheld for most of the process. Like the limits I set for my dancers, I find that I create material that I’m interested in in circumstances where things don’t always go to plan. I was very conscious of using a sound score to place this audience into this world. Like their putting on noise canceling headphones. Try to replicate the experience of being in front of a screen, the sound score is a morse code score with background noise taken out. There is one point in the film where the background noise is suddenly placed in and is intended to be a jarring effect, like when someone rips out an ear bud. Takes you back to reality for a moment. As I was focused on multiplicity of identities, I wanted to represent that in several ways. One way was the replication of a body onscreen. One way I did this was the use of long takes. By fixing the camera and having a dancer move within the frame, I have the opportunity to edit many moments of the same movement sequence into the same frame at the same time. A dancer’s state of mind and physicality changes during longer improvisations and when you see five different points in time represented in the same frame, you see the dancer in five completely different states. With regard to reflecting the human condition of the present age, I wanted to focus on building movement from the hands. I am very fascinated with hands in my work, given their expressiveness and utility. Regarding this project, I was interested in the hidden power hands hand in the technological age. Through keyboards, touch screens, and other devices there are so many ways one can wield power with the swipe of a finger. I wanted to create a metaphor of using hands to build your virtual self and, as I mentioned earlier, many of the improvisational scores I employed started from the hands.


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As you have remarked in your artist's statement, you are interested in : we have been highly fascinated with the way your work involves the viewers to such multilayered experience and we daresay that you seem to urge your spectatorship to challenge their perceptual categories to create : how much important is for you to trigger the viewer's imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? It is very important for me that an audience’s imagination be triggered when watching my films. The films I most want to see are the ones that make me feel a part of them and I want the audience to have an experience where they can see a part of themselves reflected in the film. With regard to universality, I am always conscious that every audience member has a different experience and don’t want to prescribe specificities. I offer my films as a chance to experience another world, engage with a figure in that world, invite the audience in and have whatever feeling they have resonate. My goal with this particular film was to create an objective frame through which to consider technogenesis and fragmented identity. There are some who view these phenomena positively and some who do not, I want there to be a place for both ends of the spectrum and anywhere in between when viewing this film. I have views on very specific concepts that I hope come through in the film buts as far as the way the film is seen and interpreted, I want that experience to be as open as possible. I would like someone viewing the film to interpret the film however they see fit with relation to their experience. I am also curious if a viewer sees or interprets something in the film that I did not consider while making it and what the resulting experience is. Which leads me to a brief aside to one of the frustrating aspects of being a short filmmaker. The tricky thing about festival submission



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Women Cinemakers of films is that you don’t get to choose how it is going to be seen, especially when it comes to short films. The current festival model for dance film typically requires many films programmed into one screening which, while audience members can see the film, they may not be able to reflection and digest it before the next three minute idea is screened in front of them. Apart from laurels, filmmakers tend not to receive anything as a result of films being screened. I try to make a point to contact filmmakers if I have thoughts or opinions about their films and if I am on a panel at a festival, I always try to encourage the audience to contact filmmakers in some way. Short filmmaking can be a lonely art and many times, filmmakers cannot travel to see their films. Audience comments are welcome, not only to give a sense of company to the filmmaker but also to provide them with valuable feedback that is not always easy to find. has drawn heavily from and we have highly appreciated the way you have created such powerful urban and environmental elements and choreographical gestures. How do you consider the relationship between environment and your creative process? Environment can be a stimulus for my creativity or can completely crush it. As I mentioned earlier, I have never found solace in studio environments as there is a history through my dance education with them that makes me question myself and my creative choices. I am drawn to locations that have a history and provide a place where a dancer can play with it and navigate it’s challenges. I wanted to use a variety of environments in this film to reflect the fact that anyone can access the virtual world regardless of where they are in the present world. I ranged between quieter and more personal environments (Johanna’s room) to louder chaotic ones and wanted to convey a similar sense of digital isolation in each. Berlin as a city as much to offer, both in it’s natural and metropolitan areas. It is also a city that cannot help but display its




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history, the scene with Johanna on the stone structure was created in a park with a crater from a WW2 era bomb. It is also a city that is confronting it’s identity at the present time; one who’s technology scene is strong yet has such an artistic core. With regard to gestures and the environment, I aimed to start with the hands. Hands feature prominently in my work, perhaps due to their expressively and utility. They also play a key role in the technological age, you can build a shield with a keyboard and make or break someone’s day with the swipe of a finger. I was hearing stories of iPad raised children swiping their fingers on TV’s because they thought they could control what was happening on screen. Many improvisations that Johanna and I did with the camera started with the hands and moved them throughout the body. I wanted to create a bit of an absurdist scene with them as well, someone so fascinated with movement of the hands even in the most crowded and inconvenient of places. Again, I must reiterate that I was very lucky to have a dancer who was adaptable and committed to her performance, no matter the location. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that " ": how do you consider the relation between the abstract feature of the ideas you aim to communicate and the physical act of creating your artworks? I delve into quite a bit of theory and research before every project I do and write down ideas that resonate with me. I found myself reviewing research and philosophy centered around technogenesis and multiidentities and wanted to understand as many perspectives on the subject as I could and contextualize my own experience in the process. From there, I brainstorm potential situations where these ideas can manifest and develop scores for both dancer and camera that can help realize them. I use a small camera and, with exception of longer improvisations with fixed cameras, I film moving with the camera. My decisions with the




Women Cinemakers camera are determined by what I see in the frame, but this triggers physical response where I determine where the camera goes. This process is a direct way to physicalize the concepts that I explore as the process of seeing inevitably contributes to my physical feeling and vice versa. It’s funny to compare film moving as a cinematographer versus moving as a dancer; seeing myself as a dancer is a document how I move and seeing film I shot is a document of how I see. Both reveal so much about decision making in many different ways. This physicalized response helps generate a conversation with the dancers I work with. I share some ideas and thoughts of my previous research with dancers I work with and glean their own experiences with the concept at hand as well. Behind the camera, I actively try to create a moving dialogue with my dancer. I am aware of hierarchies surrounding dance and video and I am conscious of having the dancer treat the camera as if it were a partner, and not be objectified by it or treat it as something to dance for. Direct interaction with the dancer Physical act, I am usually moving with the dancer. I want the camera to be a dancer in the work. Direct connection to both abstract features and physical acts. What the camera shows is a response to what I’m seeing the movement. 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 ', however in the last decades there something ' 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 principles of screen dance were developed and promoted by women such as Maya Deren and Shirley Clarke who broke norms of cinema to incorporate movement and choreographic conventions in their filmmaker. Women have always had a


Women Cinemakers strong presence in screen dance and the field as a whole challenges traditionally patriarchal norms of filmmaking in order to communicate a kinetic and or somatic experience when watching the work. However, there are still trends in screendance, particularly American screen dance, of male directors who lean toward fetishizing female bodies within the frame. There are conscious efforts to challenge what we see as norms in the field (read Cara Hagan’s excellent article “Visual Politics in American Dance Film” in the International Journal of Screendance, available for free at screendancejournal.org). I sincerely hope to see the field opened up to social groups that have been historically marginalized and I think that screendance will be richer for it. In my upbringing and my college experience , I always saw women in positions of authority so it has never been unusual to me that women take the initiative to produce something uncommon. Going to women’s college, we prided ourselves on being uncommon women challenging social norms in whatever field we were studying. I still face challenges asserting an unconventional film practice and find that I constantly have to push back against technofestishist notions of filmmaking which are accepted as norms in the commercial film world. However, I feel that the stories I tell do not need the shiniest camera to tell it. Paraphrasing Maya Deren, “Cameras don’t make films, filmmakers make films.” I also must say, especially coming from a background in dance where producing a show can be costly, screen dance is a massively liberating field from a distribution/logistics angle: I don’t have to pay for studio or theater space. I can submit my work to many festivals online (thanks FilmFreeway) and can share my work with a global audience through online platforms. Over the years your films have been screened internationally at , festivals such as the , and and you have presented research at the . One of the hallmarks of your approach is the ability to allow the spectators to engage with , so we would like to pose a question about the nature of




Women Cinemakers the relationship of your art with your audience: do you consider ? And what do you hope to in the spectatorship? I absolutely consider audience reception in my work and specifically, consider the possible ways my work will be seen by an audience. I work for a dance film festival and we are constantly thinking about ways people can be seen. There are many ways short films can be and are viewed, they can be screened in a theater, shown on loop in and installation, played online, you name it. A viewer of the film is going to watch it with a different intention and have a different experience every time. Some of these methods do not require full attention. The film can be screened in a theater, shown in an installation loop, plated on a personal device. Each method of viewing comes with a different intention and the audience is going to have a different experience with the film depending n how they see it. I am conscious of contextualizing the film wherever it may seen, I try to attend screenings whenever possible. I hope to trigger an active spectatorship so someone can be present with the film as they are watching and relate their own experiences to it. For that reason, I prefer installation or online screenings so someone can watch the film multiple times and. Like a dance performance, I want the film to trigger different experiences for spectators upon repeated viewing and I don’t want to impose any particular experience for a viewer. It is somewhat paradoxical because I ultimately control what is in the frame and how each from is placed together, but my primary goal is to have an audience take from the film that is entirely theirs. Something that I think festivals can do better, and what Women Cinemakers is doing brilliantly right now, is to provide an area for discussion and reflection of the films. I recently saw a performance comprising of the works of six choreographers. Following each work there was a five minute pause for audience members to write feedback for the work based on questions

posed by each choreographer. To me this encouraged active spectatorship and provoked critical thought about each piece and its intention. Something like that for dance film would be helpful not only to reflect on the work being created and seen, but also to build communities based on discussion of this work. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Clare. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I am currently developing two films and reediting one. The two new films are centered around ongoing research into the ways communities and locales can influence and be influenced by screendance. The first is a film I will create in residency at Experimental Film Virginia at Cape Charles in July 2018. The residency specializes in movement based film and consciously involves people and places of the surrounding community in the production process. I am also researching a film based on experiences of growing up and living in San Jose that examines it’s identity as a producer, first of apricots(fruit) then of Apples (computers) and how cities and communities have but up around it. I am hoping to engage the technology community in the making of this film and hopefully generate interest more interest in the arts in the South Bay Area. I am also in the process of revising and reediting old footage of mine into a film. I recently took stock of footage I have taken over the years, mostly of female dancers, and wanted to reedit and reframe it. With regard to my practice, I would like to evolve my work to installation type settings and experiment with ways it can be seen outside of traditional cinema settings. I am also interested in the possibilities of creating work for Virtual Reality and immersive media as well as the possibilities of an audience’s reception to that work.


Women Cinemakers meets

Ellen Oliver "Dear Brother" is a short dance film that explores themes of life, death, and memory in relationships. "Dear Brother" was filmed at Bearnstow, ME, and later combined with audio excerpts of original poetry by Tika Lifton-Herman. Created by Ellen Oliver and inspired by Tika Lifton-Herman's original poem 'Dear Brother'

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

Inspired by Tika Lifton-Herman's poetry, Dear Brother is a captivating short dance film by dancer, choreographer, painter and filmmaker Ellen Oliver: inquiring into the themes of life, death, and memory in relationships, she initiates her audience into a heightened experience capable of encouraging a cross-pollination of the spectatorship. Featuring elegant cinematography and sapient composition, Oliver's work speaks of the elusive bond between the abstract nature of the ideas she explores and the physicality of the gestures featured in her works. We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her captivating and multifaceted artistic production.

Hello Ellen and welcome to : we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions regarding your background. You have a solid formal training through your dance studies in high school at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and you nurtured your education with a BA, that you received from the Hampshire College and the Five College Dance Department: how did these experiences inform your current practice? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum direct your artistic research? Thank you WomenCinemakers for inviting me. I began studying ballet when I was a kid, and I choreographed my first informal dance when I was 10 years old. It was a dramatic solo about a young girl who lost a penny, and it was set to Beethoven’s “Rage Over a Lot Penny.” I think


Ellen Oliver in the Studio of Colectivo Artı́stico Trance in Havana, Cuba


that penny sparked my interest in using props in my future choreographies. I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, and I continued studying dance intensely at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts when I was 14. I majored in ballet until I was 16 and then changed my major to modern dance. Modern dance gave me more movement vocabulary and allowed me to carve my own path for choreography and performance. My choreography projects excited me the most in high school because they were very collaborative and they told a story. After high school, I received my B.A. at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. Hampshire College is based in self-directed learning and interdisciplinary approaches, which enabled me to independently create work and experiment with new approaches to choreography. During this time, I studied mostly contemporary dance while taking classes in dance history and Latin American social movements. Hampshire College taught me how to look at my work critically and understand the importance of art and social change. Altogether my high school and college training was important to my art because I learned about the immense world of dance and the endless ways in which dance can manifest. I think dance is a spectrum in which everything exists. There is room for everything, and everyone shares something different. This informs my practice because it helps me understand that I can never stop learning from dance. My art informs me about my own identity, habits, and history. I am continually learning that sometimes the art isn’t about the art itself, but about the context from which it was created. Your practice is marked out with such captivating eclecticism and we have really appreciated the way your artistic research combines movement, film, and painting through your choreography and performance, with such

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Women Cinemakers . Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we invite our readers to visit in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production: In the meantime, would you tell us what inspires you to such a captivating multidisciplinary approach? In particular, what are between such different practices? I am interested in many things, and I am constantly taking up new hobbies. I try and stay open to new ideas and perspectives, and therefore my work often has many different sources of inspiration. I keep journals and notate moments and happenings that catch my attention. Often when I start a new project, I look to see patterns in the journal. My journal practices allow me to check-in with my thought processes and understand the world as an ever-changing place. My journal is how I learn about the interactions between things. It also allows me to question my habits and fears. My art is also a form of notation. To me, it is an extension of my notebooks because it reveals the way I witness the world and its relations. My multidisciplinary approach acts like the different entries in my journal. It’s all pieces of the same puzzle, and each medium holds its own importance to the project. Multidisciplinary work allows me to view my concepts and work from a wider perspective. This allows me to dive deeper into the creative process. Art forms can feed each other, and there is so much to learn by going beyond what you define to be your preferred medium. I don’t think that there is ever a clear distinction between art forms. By allowing myself to work in multiple mediums, I open new doors and dismantle unnecessary confines in my art. I like to think of my art as worlds that I enter, sharing visual, sensory, audial, and performative elements.




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For this special edition of we have selected , an extremely interesting short dance film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article, and can be viewed at . What immediately captured our attention in your insightful inquiry into the dichotomy between life and death is the way it provides the viewers with such an intense and multilayered experience. While walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? Dear Brother does not follow a linear narrative. It works through images that accumulate as the viewer experiences the result of multiple mediums merging together. My goal is not for the viewer to understand a story with a beginning and ending, but rather I aim for the viewer to experience a dream-like logic where the film’s setting doesn’t have a beginning and end. It is a glimpse inside of a world filled with fleeting moments that reflect the lingering impermanence of relationships and experience. The film weaves through fleeting images of animal skulls, snake skins, bird nests, and tiny tea cups to create a web of fragile artifacts relating to the moving body and spoken text. The fragility of the artifacts reflects the way we hold memories, and our ability to shed embodied social expectations. The dance duet tunnels through layers of metaphors to create both a bittersweet farewell and a rebirth. The film’s timing and framing allow the viewer to consider themes of life, death, decay, gender, and memory in layers. My goal is for the viewer to take away something new each time they watch the film. I was attracted to the poetry


Pants becoming kites with Dayita Nereyeth (photo by Richa Bhavanam)



because it frames the images and dancing with a personal tone. Tika’s voice brings a rawness to the film that allows the viewer to experience a glimpse into a personal narrative. The poem uses images and metaphors that provide both context and mystery so that there is room for the viewer to bring their own experience. This space for mystery is important in all of my work because it makes room for wonder and growth. It allows the meaning of the film to change depending on the witness’s experience. I developed the initial idea after finding objects that captured my interest. First I found a dozen tiny teacups, and then a wedding dress, animal skulls, and snake skin. I wanted to find a way to relate these objects. There was a quote by Hélène Cixous that inspired Tika’s poetry earlier that year“We must kill the false woman who is preventing the live one from breathing.” Between the objects, quote, and Tika’s poetry, I felt the groundwork to make a short film. My role was somewhat of a chef- combing all the ingredients to see what it produces. was inspired by Tika Lifton-Herman's poem, and it was filmed during your second Young Artist in Residency at Bearnstow, ME. What motivated you to express the sensations you received from the poem through dance? In particular, how would you consider the nature of the between movement and spoken words? The location of the film is Bearnstow, a summer artist residency that was founded in 1946 by Ruth Grauert and Frances Reid. History is deeply felt at Bearnstow, and its history is reserved through its original buildings and values.

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Ellen Oliver (photo by Jim Coleman)


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This sense of past and present resonated with me, and further inspired me to continue this film project. There is an old barn at Bearnstow that I would visit daily to feed horses. The barn’s attic was spooky, and there were many cobwebs and abandoned bird’s nests. This attic became the primary location of the film, and I filled it with props to evoke the film’s haunting atmosphere. Bearnstow is also protected by 72 acres of wilderness, and it rests at the edge of Parker Pond. The mixture between the natural environment and history of the buildings at Bearnstow was relevant to my interests for the film, which included the interaction between past, present, artifacts, and the moving body. The dancers did not hear the audio track until the footage was edited. I usually directed Mario and Angela with improvisation scores and tasks. While I had particular movement ideas, I also left space for the dancers to find their own movement. The space and objects with which we were filming influenced the dancers movement. There is a fragility to the props and setting- the teacups were made of thin glass, the birds and snake skin were easily breakable, even the windows in the barn were old and delicate. These qualities added a layer of tenderness and care to the dancer’s movement, which worked to the films advantage because it added a haunting and ephemeral quality. The poem speaks of a “brother who was never born,” which inspired me to create a transient relationship between the two dancers. When the dancers touch, it is gentle and subtle. Often there is a window separating them. I played with the distance between the movers to highlight the brother who is both close and far to the poem’s narrator.

Your approach seems to be particularly analytical, yet strives to be full of emotion and addresses the viewers to establish direct relations with the themes you explore. 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 play in your process? does I love working with improvisation when I film. I think the best moments are the spontaneous moments. Being open to ideas allows me to listen to the footage and the space. It helps me loosen the grip on my project, and it opens doors for new and better ideas. I also find joy in editing, particularly in editing these moments of improvisation during the filming. It makes me feel like an archeologist, deciphering the footage and looking for clues to new meanings. At the same time, I also leave an element of improvisation to the editing. Sometimes I randomly cut and paste footage to see how it emerges. This process is similar to my mixed media painting practice. I enjoy surprising myself with the material. features stunning cinematography and from a visual point, we have been fascinated with your clear and effective approach to the grammar of the body: what were your when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens?


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I think of the camera as an additional moving body in the dance. In this way, the film is really a dance between three bodies. I hold the camera close to my body and move with it, allowing the lens to be an extension of posture and to capture the natural rhythms of breath. I also think of the lens as a narrow window into a scene. I use close shots and quick edits so that the viewer is peering into a new world. I also think close shots create a visceral sensation, which compliments the dancer’s movement and invites the viewer to embody their experience. We have appreciated the way you combined the intimacy of indoor scenes with elements from natural environment: could you talk about this effective decision? In particular, how did you select the ? locations for I would say instead of selecting the location for the film was a result of the location. I found many objects that intrigued me during my Young Artist Residency at Bearnstow, Maine. The snake skins, animal skulls, and bird’s nests were hidden gems at Bearnstow that reflected the immense natural history of the place. The history at Bearnstow resonated in me and influenced my creative work. There is something special about creating new work with emerging artists in a place that is rooted in tradition and preservation. The decisions for the film were all interconnected and resulted from listening to my current and past environments. This play between new and old creates a sense of self-discovery and reflection at Bearnstow, which reminded me of the voice in Tika’s poem that states, “This woman has to die in order for me

to become the woman I will be. Slowly I am becoming her, the woman I will be.” I am interested in the interaction between identity and social expectations, and the rocky journey to find one’s personal voice and desires. We live in a world that tries to tell us how to act, feel, and perceive, and this is dangerous. It is a process of actively listening and learning to know ourselves. features dancers Mario Hernández and Angela Cole and it's important to mention that you are also the co-founder of and . How do you consider the collaborative nature of these projects? In particular, can you explain how a work of art demonstrates communication between several creative minds? The terms of collaboration depend on the group and project. For instance, ProviDANCE Project and 3 Spice Dance with Angela Cole and Molly Hess are Providence and Boston-based collaboratives that create a platform for us to create new work together as close friends. We each bring something new to the table, and the combination of our interests and personalities is what makes the collaborations exciting. I enjoy working collaboratively because it gets me out of my own head, and it helps me find new concepts and perspectives. Collaboration also encourages us to be humble and listen to each other. It’s about both holding on to your ideas and letting them go for the sake of the project. Collaborative projects not only create new communal approaches to art making, but they also produce art that reflects the atmosphere and community in which it was made. The work that I make in


Angela Cole and Ellen Oliver in ProviDANCE Project (photo by Victoria Awkwards)


A still from


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ProviDANCE Project and 3 Spice Dance is meaningful because it is a record of our friendship and creative play. We like the way inquires about the relationship between space, objects and human body: as an artist whose practice is deeply concerned with the physical, dimension, how do you consider ? Moreover, how important is it for you to trigger the viewer's perceptual parameters in order to address ? I think imagination is key in my work. I aim to keep an element of play in the work so that the viewers use their own imagination and creativity to engage with it. I try and create a world in the work- both in my creative process and onstage. In my creative process, I work with journaling, painting, film, dance and collage to immerse myself in the world of my project. Onstage and onscreen I bring new life and meaning to props. Not only do the props shape the space, but also they add characters and personalities to the stage and dancers. In ,a long-distance performance collaboration with Dayita Nereyeth in Bangalore, India, we experimented with balloons to frame the space. The balloons brought an element of surrealism but the also acted as participants on the stage. is about finding inspiration in the ordinary, particularly in the daily commute to work. It is about our daily moments spent in public transit. For me, the balloons acted as the strangers we pass in public. While we don’t share our personal selves in public, we share space and time. We are reserved in public transit even though we silently experience our independent thoughts and explores how these public moments can be both emotions. isolating and inspiring. The balloons both trigger imagination and a common, shared experience for the audience. 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 "


Women Cinemakers

": as a dance artist, how do you consider the relation between of the ideas you aim to communicate and of creating your artworks? For me the dance always comes hand-in-hand with the idea. I have difficulty starting solely from concepts because I think concepts come from experiences, which are as physical as they are conceptual. I try to begin with a combination of movement, journaling, and collaging so that the movement and concept emerge together. For me, this is more personal and tangible than starting with an abstract idea. I want my work to be felt, not understood, and I think a lot of the concepts are not fully realized in words, but in movement. Creating this way adds more layers and depth to my work. It allows me to create work that requires the audience to step out of their analytical mind, and listen to my creative voice through a new lens. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something ', however in the last decades there are signs that ' something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? I think it is important that I stay true to my work. If I am interested in something that catches my attention, I am going to stick with it even if it discouraged because self-expression is vital. I would hope that all artists are unconventional because art is as unique as each individual. I learn so much from my process and my art, and I




Women Cinemakers

honestly need it in order to know myself. My art is a reflection of how my mind and perceptions function, and I invite my viewers to witness my art as a conversation between us. It is important that viewers really listen to women’s interdisciplinary artwork because we learn from the things we don’t understand. This is how change happens. Women, especially women of color and the LGBTQ community, are underrepresented in the world of art and film. I think this dynamic is slowly changing because women are working hard to share their stories in a world that often doesn’t listen. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Ellen. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? for inviting me. I am continuing Thank you to make interdisciplinary work, and I want to further explore live performance and dancefilm. This will manifest in my collaboration with Dayita Nereyeth, as we hope to create an evening-length work based on our project Pants Becoming Kites. We are continuing to work in long-distance collaborations between Bangalore, India and Providence, US. We are interested in moments of transit and how mundane moments in our daily commute to work can become sites of inspiration. This project opens many pathways between dance, performance, film, and location. I would also like to start my own dancefilm performance company. I would produce performance installations that intertwine my passions for multidisciplinary and collaborative work. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Oriane Paras & Riikka Laurilehto Live and work in Denmark & Finland

“Ideas are meant to be exchanged.” K. Georgelou, E. Protoppa, D. Theodoridou, We are Oriane Paras and Riikka Laurilehto, two contemporary dance artists working together as a duo in order to take a leap of faith into the realm of filmmaking. Our journey as cinematographers started as a project of professional amateurism: we want to use our knowledge in dance and choreography to enter a domain where we are not yet experts in, where our excitement is not yet diminished by professionalism, where we play, learn and even fail with lightness. Our motto is to “work with what you’ve got”, and this principle of sustainability and recycling applies to all of the aspects of our production from ideas to hardware. A deep friendship forms the fundament of our work. Nourishing a sustainable relationship between us and inside the whole working group of a piece is in the core of our process, and maintaining an inspiring and safe working environment is everything to us. We strive for total transparency in communication and try to facilitate a situation where it is possible for everybody involved to feel ownership of the project in order to dare to put themselves in a vulnerable situation of trying out something new together. In our process authorship is distributed collectively: there is no readymade script. The only theme is to be whatever you want to be, and shine. The whole working group is the subject of the work, and the scenes portray their personal and shared dreams and desires. This way the material will have special importance for all the individuals in the group: everything matters, and this is exciting for us to show and share.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com Shot with a brilliant mix of elegance and simplicity, is a captivating collage of desires, ideas and borrowed songs gathered from and performed by its participants, and curated together by Oriane Paras and Riikka Laurilehto: inquiring into the resonance between urban environment and human body, this stimulating experimental film to initiate the audience into heightened experience capable of encouraging a cross-pollination of the spectatorship.

We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to Paras' and Laurilehto's stimulating and multifaceted artistic production. Hello Riikka and Oriane and welcome to : before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to ask you a couple of questions about your backgrounds. You have a solid formal training and was realized as a graduation project from the program Dance & Choreography at the Danish School of Performing Arts. How did this experiences influence your evolution as artists and creatives? Moreover, how does


Photo by Palle Schultz


Women Cinemakers your cultural substratums direct the trajectory of your artistic research? Hello, and thank you so much for inviting us! We are thrilled to be a part of this special edition of WomenCinemakers. The base of our artistic research are the methods and techniques from contemporary dance and choreography. While asking the basic questions of what, why and how, the body is always in the center of our work: as a subject, a receptor, an instrument or an archive. We trust our dancing and sensing bodies, our experiences and our choreographic strategies to learn, understand and develop knowledge. In choreography, as we have been presented to it throughout our studies, borrowing and taking methods from other disciplines, such as fine arts, architecture and film, are valid and important ways of developing tools for choreographic composition. As a result, we feel that borrowing, recycling, translating and reformulating material is the way something possibly new and relevant can emerge in an artwork. As it was cleverly phrased in the title of our second year piece by Rebecca Hilton: “Everything has already been done, but not by us!�, and therefore it is important to keep on doing, to be able to create relevant art for the here and now. The Danish National School of Performing Arts went through some major structural and administrational changes during our education there, which meant that most of the staff at the Dance & Choreography department changed and the curriculum was constantly taking new forms. This circumstance made our class group the only continuity during the four years of education and we created a strong culture of caretaking and sharing knowledge, peer feedback and work opportunities with each other. Also, collective and flat hierarchy processes were largely presented and highly appreciated through the teaching at The Danish National School of Performing Arts, which we feel has greatly affected the way we want to build a working group and our creative process. A functioning and meaningful collaboration has always been in the core of our




Women Cinemakers educational working process, and we were repeatedly encouraged to get inspired by our colleagues and what triggered us in our surroundings. For this special edition of we have , an extremely selected interesting a short experimental dance 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 concepts of vulnerability and togetherness is the way you have provided the visual results of your analysis with such visual consistence and coherent aesthetics. While walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us what how did you develop the initial idea? As you mentioned before, was realized as our BA graduation project to mark the end of an important time period in our lives. Therefore, we wanted to do a project that would cherish the friendship we had built during our education with each other and our classmates, and to create a documentation that would be both an art work and a memory from the time we spent at The Danish National School of Performing Arts and Copenhagen. The graduation project was also a great chance to try out something unfamiliar and risky in order to expand our toolbox as artists and creators while still having the safe structure of the university to support us. Apart from friendship, many common interest brought us together to realize our project: we were both interested in experimenting with film, we both love musicals,we enjoy a fragmented narrative and want to work in a highly collaborative group setting. Also, we experience a common frustration with the contemporary art field, which can at times be quite excluding and elitistic because of its highly theoretical and philosophical discourse. We wanted to find a way to mix the relatability of pop culture and the entertaining aspect of musical performance with the concepts of contemporary performance art in order to find a




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more accessible format for our work. This is one more reason why we chose to create a film instead of a live performance, that is always tied to a specific physical location and time. To begin, we started researching and gathering ideas from different musical films, to find out what are the elements that make a musical intriguing. We went through some classics, such as

and films featuring and were also very inspired by some more

recent takes on musicals, like

that had just come out

while we were starting our research We focused on what kind of dramaturgy, rhythm, ambiance, and aesthetics they suggested

and combined them with our preference of conceptualization and composition. We agreed that the journey of the process and our learning would be more important then the final result of the project. It was also clear from the beginning that we did not want to have a readymade script to impose on performers and collaborators, but to create a meaningful narrative together with the working group, that consisted of our classmates and friends. is the result of a collective effort and it's no doubt that interdisciplinary collaborations as the one that you have established over the


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years are today ever growing forces in Contemporary Art and that the most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields meet and collaborate on a project: could you tell us something about the collaborative nature of your work? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between artists from different disciplines? Collaboration and friendship form the base of our project: they are the subject and means of the work, as the title of the film also suggests. This short film would not exist without our dear friends. Since the beginning of the process it was clear that we would need plenty of help: we didn’t know how to film or edit, we had

borrowed equipment from our university, we didn’t have a script - we only had a wish to make a musical film featuring our amazing colleagues in the beautiful scenery of the city of Copenhagen. We had an open call amongst our school mates and friends to come and contribute with a wish or idea for a scene in our movie. Our focus was on gathering scenes, where performers would try out something they were passionate but unsure about, or to come out with a skill that had not yet made it to the stage. Then we had some meetings with the whole working group to share our ideas and find out if interests could be combined. The clips where Zola Mennenöh and Ingrid-Marie Thorlacius are spraying juice from between their teeth are one


Women Cinemakers example of shared extraordinary skill that was discovered during these meetings. The performers in the film are dance artists, actors and musicians, who were co-writers and -directors in the scenes they were involved in. The overall production, filming and editing of the film was done by us, Riikka and Oriane: we tried to do as many parts of the film production as we could ourselves, and Youtube tutorials were our trusted guide throughout the whole process. For helping with the practicalities we had Palle Schultz as a filming and editing consultant and Rafael CaĂąete Fernandez assisting with recording and taking care of mixing the final sound for the film. With all of our collaborators the tension between professionalism and amateurism was always present: our consultants were self-taught artists, the dancers would sing more then dance, the lead singer for our credits is actually a veterinarian by profession, et cetera. As a final remark to this question we would like to tell that the version of our film that is presented here is a second take of the original cut, which was 43 minutes long and featured all the performers that were initially included in the process. For the newer version we wanted to have a stronger focus on our female performers and shorten the length in order to have wider possibilities for presenting the film. One of our first compositional ideas was to create the scenes as movable fragments with individual storylines, so that the material could later be reshuffled and organised into many different versions. Nevertheless, it was extremely hard to make the second edit, since it was such a central part in the creation of the original dramaturgy to keep in all of the scenes that were shot. Elegantly composed, features stunning cinematography and keen eye to details: each shot seems to be carefully orchestrated to work within the overall structure. What were your aesthetic decisions when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? Our interest in film lies in having more control over directing and




Women Cinemakers framing the gaze of the spectator in comparison to live performance. We mostly use a static frame, which also resembles the frame of a theater stage, but is more specific and allows for more surprising entrances and exits. We like to play with close ups and wider landscapes to create contrasts, and we cut quickly from one scenery to another to play with distances and time in a fragmented and non-linear way. Aesthetically we wanted to embrace our amateurness, and let our excitement and DIY-mentality show in the final product. Our motto was to “work with what you’ve got”, which meant that we would use the equipment we could borrow from school and used our own clothes and as costumes. For most scenes in the film we only used natural light, and we filmed outside in public places and at our own homes. Colours and patterns are a crucial element of all of the scenes, a good example being the credits, where everything is colorcoded with a minty blue. The choice of camera was completely dictated by the availability of cameras at the technical department of our university, and we also filmed some shorter scenes with an iPhone 4 - in short, we were quite open for trying out any equipment, as long as the material was recorded. has drawn heavily from the specifics of the everyday urban spaces of Copenhagen and we have highly appreciated the way you have created such insightful between space and movement: how did you select the location and how did it affect your shooting and performing process? The choice of the shooting locations was also collaborative: each of the performers chose a location that had special importance for them or worked well for the material they wanted to perform during their scene. A general wish from our side was to have human-constructed environments, since a certain amount of artificiality or constructed reality was a principle we picked to be a part of our project’s toolkit from musical aesthetics. We wanted to include places that are dear to us, for example the abandoned building where we have our last duet is right next to an apartment where we used to live together for two years. Many of the places are also close to The Danish National School for Performing Arts, like the garage where the duo POWDER performs and the view of the sunset over the Opera house. We also


Women Cinemakers chose some locations because of their colour, like the minty house and the orange wall. We have appreciated the balanced combination between analytical approach to gestures and sense of spontaneity in your work: British artist Chris Ofili once stated that "creativity's to do with improvisation - what's happening around you". How would you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of a body of work and the need of spontaneity? How much importance does play improvisation in your process? As contemporary dance artists we have been educated with a strong focus on improvisational skills, and this shows especially in our movement work. In addition, because of the way in which we work with a collective content creation, improvisation, constant reformulation, spontaneity and even chance played a big role in our process. Very concretely, the material performed was in the scenes in always a mixture of preset material and improvisation. The singing is mainly rehearsed, whereas much of the movement material is improvised with the help of preset instructions or scores. On the practical side, we had to be able to change out plans in a very quick tempo. Our schedule for working was very tight, and the fact that we were all new to a film production made the journey even more uncertain. Also inconvenient weather would sometimes change our plans, since we were mostly filming outside. So all in all we would make many decisions on the go within a very short time with a quite restricted set of equipment.

sound composed to one whole. We also follow the rhythm of the music in the transitions between the scenes.

Sound plays an important role in and we have highly appreciated the combination between music and the flow of images: how do you see the relationship between sound and movement?

What fascinates us in musical performance is the equality between different types of expressions, meaning that dance, singing and acting have an equally important role in carrying the storyline forwards. Ofcourse, we define musical performance quite broadly in our work to almost any performance that combines singing and dancing in a narrative way.

Our film is a musical, so the movement and music are married together: the act of a performer consists of both movement and

In addition we were fascinated with the fact that in musicals performance and song are a part of everyday life and can


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happen anywhere at any time. This is why we chose to keep

ideas you explore and the physical act of producing your

the sounds of the city and surroundings so present on the

artworks?

soundtrack, to blur the cut between the spectacle and the every-day environment.

As dancers and human beings we don’t think it is possible to really separate the ideas from the physicality. By moving we

Many artists express the ideas that they explore through

gain information, and knowledge is a constant dialogue

representations of the body and by using their own bodies

between the body and the mind.

in their creative process. German visual artist Gerhard

A physical act will make an idea concrete, and sometimes a

Richter once remarked that "it is always only a matter of

quite abstract movement can help formulate a concrete idea.

seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": how would you

As contemporary dancers our movement practice happens in,

consider the relation between the abstract nature of the

out and between abstract and symbolic or representative


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Women Cinemakers movement, which leaves plenty of room for speculation for the spectator. So when we start a process, we already engage our bodies, let them guide us from the beginning and search for the relationships of the body with the abstract concepts of the work. Filmmaking is also a very physical process, that contains the movement of the production machinery, the movement of the performers and the movement of the camera. We had our physical practice greatly in mind during our work process, and would have wanted to spend even more time with only focusing on the physicality of the camera work or performance material, than we had time for in the end. For the act of filming we have been inspired by the practice of “the female gaze”, a term coined by feminist director Jill Soloway as a reaction to the much discussed “male gaze” in the arts. When filming with a female gaze, it is important that the performer feels comfortable and empowered, and that the bodies of the recording crew are regarded as a part of the recording tools: it matters how the camera person holds and moves the camera, what they are feeling and how they are looking at what they are capturing on film. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something ' ', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? Eventhough it is still harder for a female artist to be unconventional or even just an artist without the focus on her gender, we feel that during the time we have been active on the

scene there has been a strong representation and acknowledgment of female creators. We have had the privilege to develop our artistry in supportive and safe environments, where the strength of being female or feminine has been greatly recognized. Moreover, we have an intersectional feminist basis in our work, and we try to shifts our focus beyond the binary gender division of men and women into a larger discussion of gender and sexuality, and also a larger scale of power division, oppression and relationality, eg between different ethnicities, classes or even species. Nevertheless, what women and the female point of view can bring to the art field is a shift of focus from individualism and singular authorship towards collectivity and shared or scattered authorship. To rethink our ways of working and living is crucial for survival in the future and maintaining sustainable ethics for any action in a world where our natural and human resources are getting scarcer and scarcer and the western individualistic culture is making us sick, lonely and exhausted. Female artists can play an important role in promoting values like sharing, caretaking, patience for listening and also help in creating safe spaces for a diversity of identity groups. With this persistence on collective decision making, we see women as key players in making interdisciplinary communication better and collaborations richer working well together is all about taking the time to stay in a constant dialogue about how things should be done and how everyone is doing. Alongside a strong culture for collaboration and sharing knowledge, we see that valuing the personal and bodily experience is a feature especially connected to female artists, and there is a strong culture of autobiographical work amongst women in the arts, that is inspiring and important to us. Raising the value of embodied and experiential knowledge to the same level as the value of rational intellect is necessary in order to better understand the complexity of the world we are living in,


Women Cinemakers and this is connected to the fact that women and the female experience are taken more and more seriously in the general culture. We see that the development is towards a wider understanding of what type of knowledge and communication is valued and listened to, and feel that the role of women in the future of arts will be very influential, and the influence of women in our society in general will grow greater than it is at the moment. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Riikka and Oriane. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? At the moment we are not working on anything new together, but we are trying to find venues and festivals to present to a wider audience. It is possible that we would go back to the original film material to create more edit versions of the short film, or even present the clips in an installation or exhibition setting: we like to have our common raw material archive open for new interpretations. We are hoping to settle a time in the near future to continue our collaboration on filmmaking or live performance work, or both. Below we elaborate on our individual work paths at the moment. Oriane: I’m currently performing my own solo piece . It’s a performance that explores the topics of eroticism and sensuality, with the aim to create a safe and intimate space where the bodies that are present are free to feel, sense and react to sensoriality and pleasure. I keep working with the ideas of vulnerability, desire, female gaze and challenging the relationship between the audience and the performer. I’m also intrigued by how a performance could leave a mark, physical or abstract, to the audience. In the future I am planning to collaborate with artists and performers from different fields in Europe and Latin America, for example Mexico and Uruguay, where I already have been in residencies. Beyond the collaboration between art fields and interdisciplinarity, exchange between cultures and societies also influence my artistic work and




Women Cinemakers research greatly. At the moment I am mainly focusing on the art work and community in Copenhagen, where I am still based. I want to work with and show what matters for me, such as individuals, collaboration, influences, bodies. In the art work, exchanging ideas, visions and thoughts will always nourish the concept, and bring you in an unexpected direction: the unknown is the most exciting thing for me. Riikka: I am continuing my studies with a MA in Dance Performance at Uniarts in Helsinki, Finland. Currently my focus is on developing my individual skills as a performer and creating live performances. Still, I have a tendency to include audiovisual material as part of the processes I am involved in, either with projections as a scenographic element or as a tool for reflection, feedbacking and documentation. Having more focus and time on filmmaking remains as a long term dream and goal in my work. Along side my studies I am involved in performing and working with some collectives: , that is currently touring with the piece , and a longer residency project based on locality and site specific performance called , that regurlarly performs the piece in Finland and Sweden. For any process my main working questions are how to be together and how to create sustainable relationships and connections. My interest is turning more and more from only human creatures towards other species and also ecological and environmental questions. I am mostly concerned with structures and how power is distributed on different scales, varying from a societal scale to a singular working progress, or even how different structures affect how we organize our own everyday lives. I think, that in a production of a piece, the structures created around the production sculpt and directly affect the aesthetics and outcomes of the project - therefore questioning and formulating the ways in which we work should be the main focus of any kind of production. This is why love, caretaking and sustainability are the core values I carry with me to any project I take part in. Also, I am not into working alone, and always strive for being a part of a collective, since life is better with a little help from ones friends.

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


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