ANS VOLKERS NATASCHA KUDERLI JESSICA COOKE ASHLEY DICK TOKIO OOHARA DOMINIQUE GREEN PATRICIA VALENCIA CRISTINA AMIRAN RACHEL YURKOVICH ISABEL BONAFE
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WOMENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CINEMA Cinemakers
cINEMAKERS W O M E N
This special edition is dedicated to Cristina Amiran, a talented artist from Rio de Janeiro, who recently passed away: we had the honour to get introduced to her artistic production. Cristina was an art researcher particularly interested into how we relate with the world we inhabit: she was that kind of creative mind convinced that art should be able to thrill or to make you think and and we’ll forever keep in our hearts the results of her artistic journey. We are particularly grateful to Khalil Charif who helped us to draw up her article
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Contents 04 Isabel Bonafe De-cartography
122 Tokio OOHARA Saotome
Jessica Fertonani Cooke
BERLIN layers of movement
Women Cinemakers meets
Isabel Bonafe Lives and works in London, United Kingdom
Orpheus lost his beloved because he looked at her when she was at the limit of Hade. He saw the abyss of the image. It is this dialogue with the image; it is this abyss that caused the birth of de-cartography. My practice addresses the condition of ubiquity and flux of the imagery with which we interact in contemporary life, and how the algorithmic materiality of these images makes us experience the fluidity of time and space. This chaotic archive of fractured images, which seem to be leftovers of things that once were something, shapes -or creates- our memories. All this makes me think about the nature of the image anew and interrogate the experience of looking. De-cartography takes us to the roots of my current practice, so as to understand my interest in shattering the cinematic frame, creating tactile images that explore the boundaries between the image and the object.
An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello Isabel and welcome to WomenCinemakers: we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions regarding your background. After having degreed from the Seville College of the Arts, you moved to London to join the MA of Fine Art program at the prestigious Central Saint Martins: how did these experiences influenced your artistic evolution? In particular, how does your cultural substratum due to the relationship between your Spanish
roots and your current life in the United Kingdom direct the direction of your artistic research? Although I have experienced a cultural impact when I moved to London, there are some aspects of my background that still fuel my practice. I would highlight my way of looking at photography through an academic approach related to painting and drawing, in the sense of the relationship between the artist, the object of representation and the final image. These practices instilled in me the habit of paying attention to things to represent because they require time to build up an image. I was taught to go beyond the surface to reach the essence of things and how to materialise it.
Women Cinemakers The cultural environment of Seville is very influenced by a tradition of th th figurative art personified in acclaimed artists from the 16 and 17 centuries such as Velázquez, Murillo and Martínez Montañés among others. All that influence somehow is still present in my hometown’s appreciation of what art is or should be. Furthermore, I consider that the impact of religious imagery is palpable in every corner of the city, creating an idiosyncrasy with regards to the concept of image. Choosing Ma Fine Arts at CSM as the next step of my career has been absolutely relevant to thrive in my practice and research. I have experienced a cultural shock that has had a positive impact in my artistic practise and in the way I treat the image. It is the support and the environment I needed in order to grow as an artist. For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected Decartography, an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into the evocative power of the photographic images the way it challenges the viewers' perceptual parameters. While walking our readers through the genesis of De-cartography, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? Before taking the reader to the ground of de-cartography, I would like to elucidate that both concepts around which my work revolves, the concept of photography and the concept of image, are increasingly more complex and fluid. Therefore, I don’t pretend to make a statement of what an image or what a photograph is. De-cartography is nested in an intimate and vital relationship with the image, which was born from the necessity to keep alive what disappears. Although photography is more than a series of frozen “snapshots” as J. Zylinska and S. Kember see it, when we are afraid of losing something, we frequently cling to the idea of “truth” that rests on the “indexical nature” of the photography. And that was what happened to me when I faced the emptiness of absence. I chose photography as a defence against oblivion; I gave photography the responsibility to provide me
Women Cinemakers with material vestiges of the past. At one point in my life, I didn’t have access any more to the environment where I grew up. I trusted in the imagery that shaped my life until that moment in order to keep my memories of my home alive. These photographs acted as amber where the subject, as the insect does, became still life. Nevertheless, I couldn’t succeed in obtaining a satisfying adherence of my memories on the photographs. This fact led me to give up photography as an artistic media for a long period of time, and to reject any kind of snapshot or video as a quotidian part of my life. I found myself with nothing more than traces of my memory, neither with any objects nor worthy photographs to take refuge in. I realised that I was losing not only the memories of my home, but also all the memories associated with the objects, the space, and with my interaction with them. Ultimately, I was losing part of my identity. I was interested in preserving the process of oblivion, how my interwoven memories operated in my thoughts, as faithful as possible. I found in writing the most appropriate materialization. The words seemed to work as the perfect vessel; they kept memories but didn’t alter them. Hence, the voice-over was born. The images came one year later, when I rediscovered photography as the best way to complete the work. 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 interstitial points and mutual influences between human interaction with urban environment: how do you consider the role of direct experience as starting point for your artistic
Women Cinemakers research? In particular, how do the details that you capture during daily life fuel your artistic research? With these questions we enter in a rambling space of my practice, in a blend of different skeins difficult to untangle. I will try to pull the most suitable thread. De-cartography was born from a direct and intimate experience. In that period of my life I dialogued with a nature of the image that I couldn’t have reached without living that particular event. After de-cartography other projects came up following the same root; subverting the notion of memory and the act of forgetting. After this phase, my research moved forward, making this personal idea of the nature of the image widespread and contextualising it. Although my current personal experiences fuel my research and are inherent to elements half-hidden in my practice, the deep ground of my research comes from the experienced event that created decartography, which is driving my research into a new stage. Regarding the second question, I am glad you see this characteristic in my work because it is the cradle of my practice. The gesture of the daily life, what I live, what I see and what I feel build up what I do artistically. The closeness to those pure details of my everyday life creates a distance with the rest of the things that surround me, and that is the starting point of all my questions, images and writings. Especially those interactions that imply a tactile experience. I reckon that the immaterial nature of the memories creates that notion, the need of tangibility. But this experience of “touch-ness” spreads out. For instance, the details I capture in the photographs, why something claims my attention instead of something else, derives from this “act of touching” that can only be possible with and inside the image. Although my starting point of creation blossoms in household
Women Cinemakers spaces, sometimes I see sparks in transit spaces, when small interactions take place usually unnoticed, obscured by the crowd. The theme of memory is a crucial aspect of your artistic research and your images and as you have remarked in your artist's statement, you are currently exploring fresh possibilities of narration through still images within cinematographic language: what are the qualities of the images that you include in your works? I start off from the contemplation of objects that surround me. I am interested in the possible memories held in them. These don’t have to be personal things, I cling visually on to objects that act as material beacons to me. This is my starting point of creation, when my dialogue with these objects is based on the inner images that they provoke me. In this treatment of the image and time, Bergson’s durée appears indisputably implicit; this phenomenon of the duration that constructs our daily images, relating anachronistic images to the recognition of what we see. Only in this way, although it seldom happens, Proust’s madeleine is able to awaken what is asleep in the depths of memory. Certain time after having based my practice in writing, I found again my relationship with the image through analogue photography. That time I didn’t expect photography to be a real trace of the past, but being embers of the image. I started to use analogue photography simply because it is a latent image in a sheet of plastic film. And I needed this natural physicality, this objectification of the image. I still develop my own negatives because I require sensing its physicality and feeling the fear of its possible disappearance. That is the closest moment of touching the image. Constantly I am thinking how I can continue to involve myself in photography within this changeable and fluid image-culture, without abandoning my intimate bond with the concept of image. Currently I am exploring open approaches of understanding photography, as a concept and as an object. I am challenging the traditional lineage of photography, its noema and its indexicality, at the same time that I am subverting the
Women Cinemakers notion of digital image, in order to make visible its “liquid” condition. De-cartography seems to reflect German photographer Andreas Gursky's words, when he stated that Art should not be delivering a report on reality, but should be looking at what's behind something: are you particularly interested in structuring your work in order to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations? In particular, How open would you like your works to be understood? Gursky knows how to blur the contours of the image, and create a space where the physical experience of the depicted image weaves together with the image awaken in our personal archive or in our collective memory. To a certain extent, de-cartography pursues this objective. There is a visual incoherence between the images played out by the storyteller and the photographs. It is through this incoherence that the viewers write, with their inner images, the under-text of the images they are seeing. In this film the images created by personal associations play the main roles. The photographs were chosen with the intention to create neutral spaces, “non-places” where everything seems to be dispersed by the wind, and what remains tries to escape and disappear outside the frame of the image. However, there is an element that persists and appears throughout the film: the dry leaf. The dry leaf acts as a beacon to the viewer; it is the starting point of the rest of the images with the help of the voice-over. Regarding the second question, I am aware that my work needs a slow contemplation to be understood, because I do not reveal more than glimmers of what is happening. For instance, in the project I am currently working on, I am repeating the same story over and over again in order to reach, stratum by stratum, its substance. This is an essential part of this new artwork because I believe that we need
A still from
Women Cinemakers time in order to grasp what we are seeing, time to engulf ourselves with the layers of our own vestiges. Canadian artist Jeff Wall once stated that "a picture is something that makes invisible its before and after." As an artist particularly interested in the relationship between photography and cinema, how do you consider the dichotomy between the stillness of the photographic medium and the way cinema encapsulates the notions of time, movement and - in a certain sense - the idea of evolution? Hans Belting reminds us in one of his books that the cinema is the place where we best experience being vessels of images, where we participate in the image itself. The images from the film and the mental images of the spectator flow together within the same course. In a certain way, both kinds of images have the same behaviour: they intertwine with themselves in the ephemerality of time and in the nothingness of immateriality. That is, for me, one of the main characteristics of the moving image. To work with photography doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean to lose this characteristic, to lose this experience with time, but there is an interstice provoked by the nature of its own stillness, which ruptures and questions the fluidity of the cinematographic image. Photography inside the cinematic space destabilises both the paradigm of cinema and the paradigm of photography. I would add that the non-physical perception of the film changes, because although nowadays the photo is no longer anchored to physicality, somehow we are still interpreting it as an object. I wonder how I can treat the image in order to make it dialogues with its different temporal conditions. A word can be an image too. In decartography it is the voice-over that takes the role of the cinematic image and creates the illusion of continuity and narrative flow in and through the photographs. It is the time composed by the words that tries to overcome the inertia of these images; images that behave as or seem to be embers that remain after the conflagration of the image itself. De-cartography seems to walk the viewers to the point of
Women Cinemakers convergence between reality and imagination: art historian Ernst Gombrich once underlined the importance of providing a space for the viewer to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how do you consider the relationship between the real and the imagined playing within your artistic process? VilĂŠm Flusser defined â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;imaginationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; as the ability to abstract surfaces out of space and time and to project them back into space and time. (Flusser, 2007 p.8) Imagination is the condition to decipher images, thus it is also what constitutes the nature of their creation. I allow my gaze to deepen into tangible things, stepping back from reality and coming into a dimension that is created for and by the image. What belongs to the objects is interlaced with what belongs to my gaze. It produces an anachronistic temporal and spatial condition. What I think, feel or see - that is not any more the surface of the tangible - is threaded together with what comes in that moment from the reality, as the sound of the streets, as the voice of someone selling flowers in winter when everything is already withered. And all this, in turn, is mixed with fantasy that comes to dialogue with the reality, sometimes trying to improve it, other times simply moving away from it. It is only when I am capable of connecting this imagery with the tangible world that this imaginary becomes the beginning of a piece of work. Freud told us, the child who plays and creates a world distinguishes this world from the reality. However, the child, sometimes, wants to link this display of the imaginary with the tangible and real world.
Women Cinemakers We have appreciated the originality of your research, so before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in cinema. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from getting behind the camera, however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. Do you think it is harder for women artists to have their projects green lit today? What's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? I can only answer this question according to my experience and my background in the field of contemporary art. Living and studying in London, I consider myself to be in a position where I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t had any major difficulties when carrying out new projects or getting in touch with professionals in the world of art like Ginevra Russo, Keoy Wan Hui or Carla SchĂśffel. I dare say my generation is currently having equal opportunities when starting a career in the arts. I am not familiar with the situation in the film industry in particular. However, despite what statistics show, I reckon that given the current change in the attitude towards the role of women in cinema, there seems to be an increasing awareness that hopefully will lead to actual equality of opportunities. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Isabel. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Having dealt with cinematography, I have started to explore languages and image processing methods very different to those I have been working on to date, especially with the help of new technologies, in order to reincorporate the resulting ideas to cinematic language. With all that in mind, I am afraid I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go any further at explaining these approaches because they are still at an early stage.
Women Cinemakers meets
Rachel Yurkovich Lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio, USA
In our modern world, there is a struggle to monitor appetites and avoid overindulgence. I am in constant observation of thoughtless choices, noticing that we often do not realize the weight of the impact we have on ourselves and our environment. In response to this, I frame instances of uninhibited consumption and the damaging consequences they often bring. This involves the use of insects and animals as stand-ins for human situations of desire, indulgence and self-destruction. Some may be based on pre-existing phenomenon; such as chickens enjoying the taste of their eggs or praying mantises eating each other after mating. I have been recreating these situations in order to witness them myself, to see how and when they actually happen and document them. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant email@example.com
Brilliantly constructed and elegantly photographed, is an emotionally gripping experimental documentary film shot in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone by American artist and filmmaker Rachel Yurkovich. Using an effective veritĂŠ approach, she demonstrates her strength as a documentary practice, capturing the complexity of the relationship
between humans and environment: we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to Rachel Yurkovich's stimulating and multifaceted artistic production. Hello Rachel and welcome to : before starting to elaborate about your film we would like to invite our readers to visit in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of
questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you hold a BFA in Sculpture and Painting, that you received from the Cleveland Institute of Art: how did this experience influence your evolution as an artist and a filmmaker? People sometimes question whether it was worth it going to a private college that put me in a good amount of debt. I usually say that I don’t regret it because I wouldn’t be making the work I do today if I had gone somewhere else. I attended the Cleveland Institute of Art because my high school art teacher pushed me to attend a private art college. During my time there I was encouraged to experiment with all kinds of materials outside of traditional sculpture and painting. I will always see myself as a sculptor primarily, even if my finished work happens to be in the form of video. I have only taken a few video classes, and learned the rest on my own. My video exploration started with a timelapse. I had started using plants in my sculptures as a life force that I was stunting with a variety of materials from sunblock, to resin-soaked plastic bags. The timelapse I did was of a houseplant’s leaves dying from the sunblock that was applied to them, and a few weeks later erupting new clean leaves. As my curiosity to work with living things increased, we received an assignment to create an abject performance. This lead me to purchasing around 3000 maggots for where I laid still with rotting pig skin
Women Cinemakers over my body, while maggots were dumped on my stomach and crawled wherever they wished (for 10 min). I would record performances like this, and the video lived as the work afterwards. Later on in school I was attempting to document these fruit flies that were drowning in a glass of red wine I left out at the studio. I didn’t have access to a macro lens, so I tried a trick someone told me about and taped a lens backwards onto the camera I was using. It worked! I fell in love with the macro world. This curiosity drove me to document happenings in an aesthetically beautiful way. I realized that I could use this to my advantage and, for example, make the viewer watch fruit flies drowning and not being able to look away and start to feel sorry for them. I found that the more I was engulfed in filming something, I didn’t have to think about how I framed my shot; it would just work out. Moreover, how does your due to your life in the Republic of Macedonia and the Czech Republic direct the trajectory of your artistic research? I believe this cultural background gave me a unique perspective, especially on cultural practices in the United States. At first I was just appalled at the unnecessarily large sizes of things like the cars, the serving sizes of popcorn, and all the overweight issues… Then there’s the air conditioning. I couldn’t go places in the summer time without bringing a sweater with me!
One of the traditions of the United States that influenced my work was the acceptance and expectation of Black Friday shopping. Happening on Thanksgiving Day now, Black Friday pulls people away from spending their time with their families, on a holiday that's about giving thanks for what they have, to buy more things they don't need. This lead me to with a few of my colleagues in a film Walmart in Cleveland, Ohio. For this special edition of we , a stimulating have selected experimental documentary 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 is the way your research eschews any nostalgic or conventional direction, favoring documentary style to provide the viewers with a sensitive yet realist portrait of the situation. When walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us how did you come up with this idea? In my senior year of college, there were a few traveling scholarships available. I wrote a proposal to travel to Chernobyl, Ukraine to film the wildlife that has taken
over since the nuclear disaster in 1986. Chernobyl is a place I had always dreamt of visiting, but hadn’t thought I would ever get the chance to go, until I received one of the traveling scholarships. The subject of this project ties into my previous work which brings to light consequences of people's thoughtless actions. Similar to the Titanic catastrophe, where excess and overconfidence in technology resulted in too few lifeboats being available for passengers, the Chernobyl disaster demonstrates the potential repercussions of humanity’s hubris.
I work very intuitively when it comes to filming. I didn’t have a shot list, or a storyboard. I did, however have a long list of locations to visit in the exclusion zone over a 5 day period and got to see all of them and more. Chernobyl has become a very popular ‘dark tourism’ spot - ten thousand tourists visit it every year. You pretty much have to go through a tourist agency to get in there because you need a guide. From the documentaries I have watched, I get annoyed with the ones that talk meaninglessly to fill the silence, and repeat the same shots. One that I watched about Chernobyl showed a shot of an open window in an abandoned house, and then they narrated something
like “An open window ..”. Of course I do not mind if I learn something from the narration, but for this project I wanted the viewer to focus on the beauty of the decay and overgrowth. I wanted to have a broad range of shots of structures and objects that represented civilization, referencing the human life that was there before. and featuring Shot in the such stimulating enriched with ravishingly is a successful spare cinematography, attempt to evoke emotions through images: what were your aesthetic decisions when shooting? In particular, how did you structure the editing process in order to achieve such brilliant results? It’s a tricky balance between being purely documentary and more aestheticized choices. I’ve always felt the need to be honest to the material I’m using, even if its viewed in a video. I did not alter the environment in the shots I took, as well with the audio - it is all the noise that happened in each area visited. For a short time in my career I looked into becoming a forensic photographer. I read up on the parameters for such photography. In some ways, I approached this project with this mindset as if everything was a crime scene. Don’t touch anything, don’t skew the perspective, don’t add unnecessary affects. I came across a few obviously staged items that I avoided filming - like dolls with gas masks and a birthing chair out in the middle of a field. My editing process was inspired by the film by Nikolaus Geyrhalter which is made up entirely of long
Women Cinemakers wide static shots of abandoned places in the world. I watched it at a time when I was trying to figure out how to structure the project. I had gathered a mixture of static and panning shots, and after viewing Homo Sapiens, decided to use as many static ones as I could. In an interview I read, Geyrhalter gave a brilliant explanation for his static shots, stating if there are no humans then who would move the camera? I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want the viewer to be reminded that there is a person behind the camera. I want them to feel as I did when I was there, in a place totally absent of human life. Directed with sharp eye, your documentary eschews any direct appeal to sentimentality, to imbue the flow of images with unsparing and at the same time realism, and to establish with the viewers: what are you hoping your film will trigger in the audience? Some may describe me as stoic. I think this may cross into my work. has a very clinical feeling in some scenes. I did not want to over dramatize what was there. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not making ruin porn, just selectively showing it as it is. I would hope that viewers are haunted by the shots of disastrous effects caused by human error, and at the same time awed by the force of nature pushing through the abandoned edifices. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like for them to experience the duality of this horribly beautiful place from watching . Deviating from traditional documentaristic style, your filmmaking shows a keen eye for details and we
daresay that the notion of elaborated by French anthropologist Marc AugĂŠ, to highlight the ubiquitous interstitial points and between human interaction with environment: how do you consider the role of for your artistic research? In particular, as an artist particularly interested in , how do the details that you capture during daily life fuel your artistic research? When filming I sometimes see the trees before the forest. You can see a shot of an abandoned hospital room and feel something, but when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re shown a closer look at someoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s deserted belongings, it gets more personal. I especially make an effort to get up close to insects I film, which allows you see their beauty and struggle more intimately. I got a little overwhelmed with the amount of plants erupting from unexpected places. Too many to document. Some details I capture in my daily life can be viewed on my Instagram @rachelyurkovich. I see something like a seagull trying to eat a piece of garbage on the ground in a large parking lot and I film it. I see a house centipede sprinting by, and when I used to squish them, now I try to film them. Of course these are all small snippets on my phone but have the potential to develop into the next idea. seems to reflect German photographer Andreas Gursky's words, when he stated
A still from
Women Cinemakers that : are you particularly interested in structuring your work in order to urge the viewers to elaborate ? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? happened as a result of me spontaneously collecting the dust I was vacuuming up at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. My job at the time involved cleaning the displays and dusting the dinosaurs. There was SO much dust I had never seen so much in my life. I remember being told that dust was just dead skin cells, but that always made me think - then why is there so much dust in places that are abandoned? So I took some pictures with my macro lens as close as I could get, and the result was surprisingly colorful. I like to structure my work in a way that it shows you a new perspective, allowing you to see something in a way that you have not seen it before. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m content if my work succeeds in doing this. People will always project their own associations onto things and that is natural. Reminding us of Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn's inquiry into environmental issues, is a powerful allegory of the consequences of people's thoughtless actions: as a researcher particularly concerned into our impact on ourselves and our environment, what could be in your opinion the role of contemporary artists and filmmakers in our ever changing contemporary age? Do you think that a
Women Cinemakers work of art could help the process of making aware a larger audience about such increasingly urgent matters? I believe that contemporary artists and filmmakers determine their own roles - it just depend what it is they want to achieve through their work and communicate to others. A film I watched recently comes to mind called by Chris Jordan. He uses film in a powerful way to create empathy and guilt in its viewers as we watch beautiful albatross birds getting poisoned by our plastic particles in the ocean. Some feel the calling to promote awareness and change peoples minds on urgent matters such as plastic pollution. Others may want to create objects that are aesthetically pleasing to look at, and make us appreciate their materiality. All valid.
of what we choose to spend our time indulging in, and how deep we let ourselves go. In other projects of mine you see the process of destructive actions, but in you see the aftermath of humans error, and the ability for nature to bounce back. We have been impressed with your stunning approach to documentary, that allows you to capture hidden emotional reactions with a sharp eye and at the same time with thoughtful detachment: what was the most challenging thing about making this film and what did you learn from this experience? Moreover, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value?
Yes, I think a work of art can definitely help spreading awareness to the audience that experiences it. Art can be especially impactful if it has a certain amount of shock factor to it.
In the year leading up to the trip Chernobyl was a big unknown to me. I even had a few nightmares in which I imagined what it would be like there. It was challenging to plan, as this was the most involved film project I have done and I only had 5 days to get the shots I needed.
It can provide a different way of viewing the world. Through my own work I hope people will be exposed to another way of seeing themselves and their actions. I advocate for thought to happen behind decisions that could have negative consequences on one-self or others. To not spend oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life seeking out ways to fulfil desires of the flesh, but to take advantage of the cognitive ability we have as humans and be self-aware
Radiation was also a strange thing to encounter because you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know the levels of it unless you have a geiger counter. When we went to the graveyard it was recommended that we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t spend more than 30 minutes there due to the higher radiation levels. It put a strange timed pressure on me to gather the needed footage.
Women Cinemakers From this project I learned more about taking my time on things, being patient and not rushing shots. Some of my favorite scenes came from times when I was so absorbed in what I was filming that I did not care about the time -like when I found moss growing on a red high-heeled shoe. I learned more about identifying plants and insects. I reached out to some scientists that specialized in these fields and was able to get identification from my footage. I later made illustrations . of much of the flora and fauna captured in I honestly donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know how my work would be very different if I was a man. I would probably have different types of struggles and different things I am drawn to. 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 filmmaker? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? As I do not have a traditional filmmakers background, I have not fully experienced the discouragement that some women may face. In my circle of influence this has not been an issue. Many have encouraged my work and respect it. I want to do uncommon things,
and I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t care what people may think. Different is good. I anticipate it wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be as easy if I decided to work on a feature length film, however. I think that in the future, these issues will not be as prominent, although this is something I have not found myself thinking about very much until lately. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Rachel. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Coming up, this summer of 2018 I will be attending the residency hosted by the Ayatana Research Program in Ottawa, Canada. I am very excited to absorb more hands on knowledge about insects and see how that translates into future projects. I've lately been fascinated how we interact or look down upon critters that scavenge from our garbage, and I want to learn more about them and document their actions. I hope to film the 'low life' critters of Cleveland, Ohio trying to survive in its urban environment. This may include seagulls looking for scraps in large parking lots, pigeons begging for crumbs behind a market, and more. Stay tuned! An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant firstname.lastname@example.org
Women Cinemakers meets
Cristina Amiran Lived in Rio de Janeiro since she was born, 1960-2018
FALL, bodies hold onto a backlight. A moving shadow, just one. Are the waves rising up and falling into themselves? or the sea when tows and leaves a fine film of shining on the shoreline? FALL, an experimental dance film. Unceasing fall when the dance is announced in the shadows, as they go within every framework revealing the tide inside that room. The outside light comes through a large window. It auscultates and the film of the dance inside its glasses goes surrounding the bodies edge. One shadow, a prism through the memory of the sea rises dragging you
An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant email@example.com
Hello Cristina and welcome to WomenCinemakers: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal
training and after having graduated in Visual Communication from EBA School of Fine Arts, UFRJ, in Rio de Janeiro, you completed several courses at the School of Visual Arts of Parque Lage: how did these experiences influenced your your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how
Women Cinemakers does your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your artistic research? Hi, thank you for your interest in my work. I believe everything we do and experience make us grow as a person. Being an artist is a possibility to share that towards our work. As every person, through our perception and sensibility, we seek to respond to our concerns. Artists are restless people, and nonconformists. My artistic research goes in that direction: how we relate with the world we that are in, and how we can understand our place in it. Doing something that may enlarge perception that we are all one, and that we are not alone. We built what we are, everyday. For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected Avenue, a stimulating sort 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 video is
Women Cinemakers the way it provides the viewers with such an intense multilayered visual experience: when walking our readers through the genesis of Avenue, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? The initial idea was to respond to a curator that had invited us to develop a work regarding Rio de Janeiro, for a moving image project. So then, we, Khalil Charif and I, first started with the idea of working on our own neighborhood, Copacabana, that we both live ever since we were born. We had in mind a perspective of developing something unusual of that unique place, but also something that somehow would have a local and global interest. So we focus on thinking on the people, who live there. There are like a million people living there, and looking up to the buildings, we perceived that most of the windows were closed, we did not see anybody, not a person. It was a deep sensation of loneliness. So we started with that feeling, the feeling of loneliness.
Featuring unconventional editing, Avenue has drawn heavily from the specifics of the urban environment of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, and we have highly appreciated the way you have created such insightful resonance between the urban architecture
and human perceptual process: how was your editing process in order to achieve such stimulating results? And how did you select the locations? We have tried to focus on this aspect of
images of buildings sticked to each others and lined up, but with a kind of feeling of emptiness at the same time. Also for this reason we decided to start the images without sound, and in a certain moment, it, the sound, takes the body of the images.
We appreciate the way Avenue achieves the difficult task of developing a bridge with the viewers: how important is the roles of reality and direct experience in your practice? And how does daily life fuel your creative process?
Women Cinemakers I believe that the best experience is when you are immersed, reality always surprises us, so if we are attentive to the everyday, the people that surround us and pass through our lives, all this is building something that is very personal, and you work in what moves you, in what gives you this sense of need to do, or even urgency to do. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role differs depending on which part of the world youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in. It depends on the political system youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re living under": as an artist particularly interested in questioning local-global themes, how do you consider the role of artist in our unstable and globalized contemporary age? In particular, does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? I believe in an art that should be able to thrill or make you think, wherever you are, wherever you have come from. Different people from different places, bringing a point of view that remind us that the greater issues are universal. We learn from each other, we learn from what has come before, and from all this that we are dealing in
Women Cinemakers the present, with what we can leave as a contribution to those who will come after us. Life is so brief, and not always fair, many people suffer, and we must do something if we want our existence to be greater, greater than our days, to go beyond us. The greatest happiness is one that goes beyond us. Our moment of technological and scientific revolution is helping to perceive a larger world, culturally and socially, it is a time of greater information, but also of disinformation because many only listen on what they want to listen not necessarily the reality. Our gaze can be unconditioned by art. Our gaze can be transformed by art, because people are sensitive, and this can transform people for good, but it can also awaken not-so-good things because not all people have balance. People are strange, and beautiful because they are also strange. Up close, no one is normal. Normality is a myth. Art and artists are not from the sphere of normality, they are from the atmosphere of the living and intriguing uncertainty of our existence.
Sound plays an important role in your work and we have appreciated the way the music by Maxence Cyrin provides Avenue with such a dramatic atmosphere and as well as the way you have sapiently structured the combination between
images and sound: how do you see the role of sound playing within your artistic practice? Sound is something always a difficult issue. It is not by chance that it is a specificity that
has been crossing our existence. A form of sensory communication that in my view has to be thought very carefully. But you can always take advantage of the imponderable, and the power of chance in artistic creation. In this work Avenue, for example, one of the
people working in the studio with us was listening to this song while editing other things, just for pleasure. And at some point, we realized that everything fell into place, the atmosphere we were looking for became present. And we decided that it would be so.
In our artistic practice, we should try to perceive "chance", and how in sometimes it is working in our favor not by chance. It's no doubt that collaborations as the one that you have established with Khalil Charif are today ever growing forces in Contemporary Art and that the most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project: could you tell us something about the collaborative nature of your work? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between artists from different disciplines? I've always loved working with other people, being with other people, sharing, it's part of my nature. I bring this to my life as an artist, and in fact art and life for me are as one. I learned in my times of singer in the coral group chorus group Garganta Profunda, that it is good to choose well with whom you go to work, of preference with people who are good in the backstage as well, because we will live with
Women Cinemakers them. I can say that I had the great luck to choose well my partners, at least most of them, because they ended up becoming dear friends and very special people for me. Khalil Charif is the artist I have worked with the most, just with him itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been already more than 15 years of coexistence in artistic projects, collaborations, and everythingâ&#x20AC;Ś Well, back to your question, in my work I always try to learn, and I have noticed that people who come from other areas always have a different contribution to the look, which teaches us a lot. We should be open to new experiences, try to free ourselves of conditionings, leave the comfort zone, and dare. Life may surprise us. Over the years your artworks have been internationally showcased in several occasions, including your participation to CARIOCAVIDEO at the Universidade de Coimbra and to LusoVideografia: we have particularly appreciated your ability to create works of art capable of establishing direct relations with the spectatorship, so
we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of medium is used in a particular context? What I seek is to create a work that has layers of understanding, so according to the background of each person that layers may be unveiled. Sometimes the person only sees the forest, others see the trees, but others can reach the leaves... Like layers, so to speak. Each person will notice different things, often even beyond our initial idea, which is wonderful. It is always a surprise, and the desire is that the experience with the work has a reach beyond the work itself. If this happens, it is a sublime moment. 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
Women Cinemakers a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades women are finding their voices in art: as an artist interests in the cinematic arts with feminist theory, how would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? Each day history is being rewritten, and more and more people are investigating and bringing up the contribution of women, in all areas, and society has matured. I believe that with time all this will be overcome, we will see no gender but people. After all is all that matters: we are all people. I prefer to think that the opportunities will exist for those who work hard in what they believe, and that the quality and importance of the work will have its place. It is like in love, it is not a matter of gender, is not it, it is a matter of loving the person because it is
this person and not another, and because it is you and not another. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Cristina. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? My gratitude. I would like to say that I see the artist as a catalyst, a receiver channel and signal decoder, that proposes new meanings to the world's codes. Regarding my research of work at this moment, I am investigating the image field with the connections of consciousness and how they are manifested through the elements and the senses... About the aspects of senses and their transitions; the power of now and how do we deal with some of these mysterious sides of life. As the artist Lygia Clark once said: I take conscience, and I keep on going. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant firstname.lastname@example.org
Women Cinemakers meets
Patricia Valencia Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, USA
Patricia Valencia (born Los Angeles, 1971) is an artist living in Los Angeles, working in films, videos, and installation. She obtained her MFA from Hunter College, New York in 2008, and attended the Skowhegen School of Painting & Sculpture in 2003. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in New York, Los Angeles, Mexico, and Scotland. Her first solo exhibition, Without End, at the Los Angeles Municipal Gallery, was a result of the 2013 Feitelson Arts Fellowship Award. Recent projects include A Universal History of Infamy: Those of this America, LACMA at Charles White Gallery, a part of the Getty Institute's Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, Neighborhood Watch, Woodbury University, Burbank, CA, PĂ&#x2DC;ST, Los Angeles, and Instituto Cervantes, New York, NY. Forthcoming exhibitions are scheduled at the MK Festival Fringe, UK and RegeneraciĂłn: Three Generations of Revolutionary Ideology, opening in Fall 2018 at the Vincent Price Museum of Art, in East Los Angeles, CA.
An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant email@example.com Hello Patricia and welcome to
would like to invite to our readers to visit in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and after your studies at the UCLA School of
Art and Architecture and at the Skowhegen School of Painting and Sculpture, you nurtured your education with an MFA, that you received from Hunter College, New York and as part of your program you had the opportunity to study at the Glasgow School of Art for a semester: how did these experiences inform your current practice? Moreover, how would you describe the influence that your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your artistic research? My education gave me two distinct experiences. Working in UCLA in an environment I was familiar with,
my practice was predominantly based in performance and sculpture and was addressing issues of the female body in relation to post-colonialism and incarceration. When I moved to New York for graduate school I began obscuring the body and focused more on the act of looking out or up. The physical change between the architectures of the west and east coast was striking to me. I was accustomed to having a more horizontal sense of space and light, large vistas and access to the large horizons of the desert. Then I moved to New York where the vertical architecture was oppressive, the vantage point became one of looking out, the landscape became one of the built environment. This experience switched the work from an investigation into the female body’s place in society, to a scrutiny of the architecture and social constructs that contained it. I grew up in Los Angeles as a child of first-generation immigrants from Mexico, and came of age during a very politically volatile period. The first Iraq war had started and there were protests throughout the United States; the Rodney King riots, which erupted after the acquittal of three Los Angeles police officers that had been caught on tape brutally beating an African American man; the California governor Pete Wilson leading an administration to enact strongly antiimmigrant legislature. That was the 90’s, and here we are again with the deaths of young black men in the hands of law enforcement, the second Iraq war done and buried, and now Donald Trump and his plans for a “big, beautiful wall”. When I look at history and see the repeated cycles, it made me angry because nothing has changed. It is what made me want to go back out and examine what is now there, and document a history as it happens, from a specific cultural position.
Women Cinemakers For this special edition of we have selected , a captivting video that our readers can view directly at . What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into with your insightful inquiry into the polarized socio-economic shift of the Los Angeles Downtown regeneration is the way you have provided the results of your research with coherent aesthetics. When walking our readers through the , would you tell us how did you genesis of develop the initial idea? I was working on research for a film to be shown in an exhibition for the following year. When Donald Trump was elected President of the United States in 2017, it rattled me. I was very upset and all I could think was that I could not continue as usual. I stopped work on the project I was developing and a few weeks passed. When I spoke to the curator, I told him that I could not continue to work on the film I had proposed, I needed to do something else. With What remains, I wanted to stop and document Los Angeles, at that particular juncture, to take stock of the current social and political environment. How is it that we find ourselves at this very crucial moment? I wanted to capture the writing on the wall, so to say, the language of civil unrest, the detritus of the city and its inhabitants. I began in downtown Los Angeles, in the business district, the civic centers, monuments and plazas. I wanted to focus my lens on the architecture and on the signs of life around the architecture as a way to show the spiraling downward effects of a dominating capitalist system. As an entry point I decided to start with the natural patches around the city and slowly bring the viewer into the metropolis.
draws heavily from the specifics of the environment of Los Angeles Downtown to trigger a process of resonance with the viewers' perceptual parameters: how to you consider the role of natural realm and its evokative imagery within your artistic research? Nature seems to me to be a place that is potentially pure and self-sufficient. Downtown Los Angeles can be viewed from several places in nature. It rises up among the slopes and hills like a glass fortress. I have always been
drawn to it because it has been constructed rapidly and continues to rise and fall. The business district is this empty monument to capitalism, cold and sterile, but it has human life encroaching upon it. If you look close enough you will see the remains from people trying to survive on the streets. Skid Row is not too far away and because the people that live there have been pushed back, they have started to disperse and adapt and you can see their presence throughout the downtown area. And so I wanted to show this contrast, a back-and-forth from the cold minimalism of the skyscrapers and their
courtyards, to the natural and unruly areas on the periphery. The built environment is in a constant state of battle with nature and this seems most apparent in the way that corporate architecture dominates both the landscape and the human civil experience.
months after the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States: does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? What could be in your opinion the role of artists in our unstable, ever changing society?
Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role differs depending on which part of the world youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in. It depends on the system youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re living under" and as you have remarked in your director's statement, What remains was shot in the
I feel that I am responding more to a political moment than a cultural. I am a woman of color living and working in the era of Trump, in which my personal history as a child of immigrants is attacked on a daily basis. As a citizen and artist I find that it is imperative for
me to somehow document and respond to my current sociopolitical environment. This type of artistic work, in my opinion, is the most pressing responsibility that any artist has, regardless of monetary gain or advancement of career. features essential cinematography: what were your aesthetic decisions when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? I work predominantly in Super-8 film, both color and black & white, which is an entirely different discipline than to shooting with digital video. The process of looking and editing through the camera, even before any processing or final edit is done means that you have to pre-plan your filming in a stricter way. For What Remains I wanted the immediacy and clarity afforded by high definition video. I used a Canon 5D Mark II. I wanted the hyper realism that HD video gives with the ability to blur backgrounds or foregrounds if desired. I framed the footage in the way I work most commonly, through static master shots that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t use panning or zooming techniques. These almost motionless shots seem to me to be like thoughts, a series of seemingly simple images that can give the viewer the time to really absorb that particular moment. They also lend themselves well to the use of subtitled text, in that the viewer is not being caught in a conflict between the moving image and the act of reading and absorbing the written words. addresses the viewers to a wide number of narratives and we daresay it offers an alternative to the linear-temporal approach to the representation of environment: rather than attempting to establish any univocal sense, you seem to urge the viewers to elaborate
Women Cinemakers personal associations would you tell us how much important is for you that the spectatorship rethink the concepts you convey in your pieces, elaborating personal meanings? How open would you like your works to be understood? I usually start with a personal idea or experience and from there translate it out to a broader theme. It’s important for me for the viewer to elaborate personal meaning in my work. I construct the film with that purpose in mind. I’m not offering an authoritative documentary, but rather a collection of glimpses into the daily experience of our shared histories or cohabitations. I find that the static, motionless shots become a canvas for the viewer’s reflexive thought. On top of the framing of the shots the editing is also key. I work by association in the editing process, linking forms or colors or subtle motifs that weren’t apparent to me during the filming process. This cerebral approach is therefore offered to the viewer as a springboard for developing further meanings or personal connotations. Reminding us of the concept of non-lieu elaborated by French anthropologist Marc Augé, your exploration of seems to reflect the relationship between outside world and our inner landscape. Did you aim to create an allegorical film? Moreover, how do you consider the role of metaphors within your practice? I wouldn’t say that I aimed to create allegorical or metaphorical films, but I am interested in ideas surrounding cyclical periods of both external and internal social histories. A lot of my work explores or excavates things that are hidden or were there but that no longer exist. How do we negotiate our own future in a city when the past is consistently forgotten or erased? How do
we designate a collective space for ourselves when the infrastructure we inhabit is so thoroughly controlled by invisible entities or corporations? Highlighting or bringing the viewers attention to a certain period or a series of lost infrastructures or pertinent locations where momentary occurrences have left their shadows, seems to ask the viewer to consider the social constructs that made those environments disappear in the first place. We have appreciated the originality of your works and we have found particularly encouraging your unconventional approach. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think that I am an unconventional artist. I have looked to Maya Deren, Chantal Ackerman, AgnĂ¨s Varda for examples of women who made and are still making very interesting work. Leni Riefenstahl, for all her misguided allegiance, made really well structured propaganda films for the Nazi Party. On a more commercial level there are the current films of Kathryn Bigelow and Jane Campion. I think given the ingrained expectations of women from society in general there will always be a certain element of struggle for female practitioners to be heard, and to gain widespread acceptance and support. Publications such as Women CineMakers are vital for giving a platform to women to
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Women Cinemakers share and learn from each other, but most importantly it is vital for women to continue pushing the boundaries of all fields within the arts. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Patricia. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I am currently finishing a new collaborative video with my husband Emmett Walsh that we are preparing to screen at a fringe festival in the UK. The work links several sites within southern and central California, such as the failed Llano del Rio Socialist colony in the Mojave desert, the WWII JapaneseAmerican internment camp Manzanar, 4000 year-old trees at the Ancient Bristlecone Pines Forest, a collection of naturally formed volcanic rock columns at the edge of Lake Crowley, and locations along the contentious 233-mile long Los Angeles aquaduct. At the end of the summer the Vincent Price Art Museum in Los Angeles will be opening a major exhibition and series of events that focusses on three distinct but interlinked cultural moments in Mexican-American history of the past 100 years. I will be contributing two collaborative performances with female practitioners who I have known and worked with over the past twenty years - the writer Aida Salazar, and the multicultural dancer and producer Jennifer Sanchez - and a new film and video work that I am currently researching about the early anarchist movements in Los Angeles after the turn of the 20th century. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant firstname.lastname@example.org
Women Cinemakers meets
Dominique Green Lives and works between Geneva and Lausanne, Switzerland
Microbiome is a film and installation piece inspired by a cave discovered in Saint George, Switzerland. Photographs, video footage and 3D scannings were collected in and around the area and layered with close ups of sculptures inspired by the location. 3D prints of scans, resin cas - tings of rocks and an artificial cave reproduced in ceramics become not only props in the film but are displayed within the exhibition space. These sculptures serve as alternative landscapes which are closely photographed, filmed, scanned and transformed, both revealing and encap - sulating miniature worlds of their own. Microbiome, encapsulates imagined futuristic micro-organisms as floating colorful structures that have been given life through the combination of artificial, natural and digital materials. Inspired by the biogeochemical process of soil formations, these floating colorful structures blend into one another, diving into a cosmos of shapes and forms. T his body of work uses digital media to ex- plore sculptural forms and physical spaces, examining materiality through various effects and processes, the resulting sculptural objects crystal - lized in a form of geological and temporal stasis. In these hyper-real, environments, material becomes abstracted from its original context to create new virtual realities which become slowly entirely removed from their referents in the physical world.
An interview by Francis L. Quettier
background. You have a solid formal training and
and Dora S. Tennant
after having completed a 4 year photography diploma
at the CEPV in Vevey, Switzerland, you graduated
Hello Dominique and welcome to
from the University of Reading, UK where you
: we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions about your
achieved first class honours after completing a degree in Art & Film: how did these experiences inform your
Women Cinemakers artistic evolution? Could you tell us what are your most important influences and how did they affect your art practice? The photography degree I did at the CEPV in Switzerland was primordially a technical degree. Everything from analog to digital film was covered. I obtained a broad understanding of what a professional photographer should know, however I realised that what interested me in photography wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t so much the commercial aspect of photography but rather the medium itself as a creative tool. This is why I then decided to go to art school. I definitely think that being within a fine art context influenced my practice immensely and shifted my artistic identity from photographer to artist. I believe that the technical side of image making is important to know, however my practice as an artist developed immensely once I understood that having the latest technology and technical skills was not always synonymous with making interesting art. The film side of my degree was limited to theory whilst all the practical development of my work was done in a fine art context. This completely shifted the way I went about making images. My practice became much more broader as I started exploring and merging different techniques and mediums such as film, projection, sculpture, and 3D scanning and printing. What really interested me was exploring different ways of capturing and documenting experiences by collecting digital materials for my films via different technologies.
Women Cinemakers Furthermore, making images from a place of exploration and intuition is generally how I go about making work. I was always drawn to avant-garde experimental filmmaking and particularly the Structural/Materialist movement and their materialistic treatment towards moving images. A lot of my previous work was particularly influenced by artists Jordan Belson and Stan Brakhage and their works Samadhi (1967) and Stellar (1993). Their work resonated strongly with me, imparting a sense of freedom of interpretation through their non-existent narrative structures and, for the time, very unconventional subject matter. These artists completely disassembled the experience of linear time, creating new languages out of shapes, colours and movement that I personally believe has the potential to resonate with you on a somewhat subconscious level. I had already been creating non-figurative videos for quite some time but discovering these artists and their work gave me the confidence to pursue making images instinctively. For this special edition of selected
, a captivating film and installation
piece that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at
What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into the theme of cultural diversity is the way your sapient narrative provides the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience. While walking our
readers through the genesis of
them with close up images of sculptures inspired by the
you tell us what fascinated you about the theme of
location. Each element collected is recycled:
the biogeochemical process of soil formations?
photographs become 3d scans, scans become videos,
is a film and installation piece inspired by a
etc. The sculptures (3D prints made from scans, resin
limestone cave that I discovered in the Jura Mountains
castings of rocks and an artificial cave reproduced in
near Saint-George, Switzerland. I collected photographs,
ceramics) served as alternative landscapes, both
video footage and 3D scans of the site and layered
revealing and encapsulating miniature worlds of their
own. They were not only used as props in the film but
traces to create another parallel version of that site: a
were also displayed in the exhibition space, as inherent
form of hyperreality.
parts of the installation. All of these processes were
imagined futuristic micro-organisms as floating
simultaneously explored, through the experimental use
colourful structures that have been given life through
of digital media tools.
the combination of artificial, natural and digital
These tools allow me to capture a physical experience
materials. I was inspired by the biogeochemical process
of an environment or landscape, transforming these
of soil formations, called pedogenesis, which is both
Women Cinemakers created and affected by the combination of various elements, such as vegetation, micro-organisms, water, climate, the underlying geology, and time. I liked the idea that through a specific interaction over a long period of time of different elements and processes, something new and essential is born. I see similarities between this re-organising process and my work. is a re-organisation process of extracted and reassembled elements resulting in a new world, a new encounter of the cave. reveals exquisite eye for the details and sapient editing style, to walk the viewers into a visionary adventure. We daresay that this video attempts to unveil the invisible that pervades our reality but that cannot be detected by our sensorial experience. Do you agree with this interpretation? Moreover, how do you consider the relationship between virtual reality and the physical world within your process? A few years ago, I came across microphotographs of thin sections of rocks and soil samples that were taken under cross polarized light. What fascinated me in these images was that through using different technologies, we are now able to access additional perspectives on the things around us that are not naturally attainable to the human eye. These incredibly
Women Cinemakers complex and captivating images display a hidden reality that humans cannot experience without the help of technology. I have always found intriguing how humans take their experience as the ultimate truthful representation of the world. I often wonder what the experience of an animal, a vegetal or even a mineral as
would be and what would this look like. In well as in other works, I explore alternative ways of
experiencing the reality of a site, an object, a material, a sound,â&#x20AC;Ś . This is done through technology which enables me to access different perspectives on the studied subject matter. Although some images in my work seem at first glance to be solely digital fabrications, it is important to specify that all of the visual materials represented digitally on the screen stem from collected physical elements that can be traced back to a real experience. In my practice, I use elements of reality which are modified until they morph into a state of hyperreality. I find it interesting to attempt to place my work in between the physical and the imaged: it cannot be categorised as representative of the real but neither can it be identified as purely virtual reality. Marked out with seductive beauty on the visual aspect, one of the qualities of
is the fact
that it engages the viewers' perceptual parameters
Women Cinemakers inviting them to elaborate personal interpretations, addressing them to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. Are you particularly interested in structuring your work in order to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? In a lot of my work, I have purposefully removed all human form, spatial context and linear development as to not draw the viewer to intuitively identify or project themselves with anyone or in any location on screen. In my experience, this leaves room for the audience to be momentarily alone with their personal thoughts and imaginative interpretations. I find interesting the unpredictable effects that experimental film can have on the viewer and how this can tie in with theories on Affect. This kind of interaction demands a personal investment from the viewer as these films ask the audience to observe the images differently from the traditional way of viewing cinema. Therefore, reactions vary depending on each personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sensitivity, as these works can generate passionate to passive reactions, depending on the viewer.
A still from
Women Cinemakers Therefore, just as experimental film offers us the personal statement of an individual, these films also generate individual affective responses. In the case of
, since the
materials have become abstracted from their original state, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interesting for me to hear how others experience the work without having lived the initial encounter of the cave. Furthermore, when viewing the film within the context of the installation, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m always curious to see how the viewer connects the projection with the sculptures around them. Marked with captivating minimalistic quality, the soundtrack provides the footage of
enigmatic and a bit unsettling atmosphere: how do you consider the role of sound within your practice and how did you structure the relationship between sound and moving images? Until quite recently, sound had been an element that I struggled with in my work. Last year, I collaborated with artist Oren Shoesmith who initiated me into this art form and taught me that sound can be manipulated like any other material. I then started collecting sounds and modifying them in the same way that I had been doing with images. Now, I feel that sound plays an important part in my films as it helps to facilitate an encompassing experience. In
a lot of
the sounds were actually made with the ceramic sculpture, by either running my hands on it or tapping the surface. Other sounds were collected on site, like a rattling noise that was
recorded when I lowered the camera into the cave
physical form of a 3D print. All of which could then be
attached to a cord. By doing so, the camera started
photographed, filmed and reused for my videos.
spinning around and rattling along the sidewalls. With
I often pushed the 3D printer to a point where the end
sound, I attempt to achieve the same instability that I
result resembled nothing like the original file on the
create with my images, leaving the audience to make their
computer. I developed my own scanning techniques and
own personal â&#x20AC;&#x153;senseâ&#x20AC;? out of the assemblage of the two.
Your practice is marked out with brilliant combination
that could then be
individually explored and manipulated.
between several techniques including photography,
Through all of these unpredictable and often chaotic
video and sculpture: would you tell us what does
processes, chance allows me to both negate and
address you to such captivating multidisciplinary
undermine the executive control I have over my work. The
approach? What are the properties you are searching
end result, although being under my guidance, has a
for in the materials that enrich your artworks with
strong element of the unpredictable. I was drawn to
incorporate these new materials in my practice so that I
Since I now consider myself more of an artist and not only
could transcend the flatness of photography and video,
a photographer, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t feel constrained to any particular
creating sculptural objects stemming from an original
This shift in my practice occured last year whilst working
Over the years you have exhibited your work in
as a researcher for Artlab with Adam Stead at the
London, Reading, Lausanne, Geneva, Shanghai, Prague
University of Reading. We conducted research on the use
and New York: one of the hallmarks of your approach
of 3D scanning and printing in art and archeology. Our
is the ability to allow the spectators to engage with
work was then exhibited at the Wiltshire Museum in
the authenticity of the moment: in particular, it's
Devizes, UK. This opportunity enabled me to use these
important to remark that for Microbiome you created
tools to develop my own practice: with the scanner, I could
an artificial cave in ceramics which became not only a
gather additional layers of media and, with the printer, I
prop in the film but which was also displayed in the
found ways of translating photographic materials into the
exhibition space: how do you consider the relationship
Women Cinemakers between the idea behind your work and the heightened experience provided by the exhibition space? Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of medium is used in a particular context? is a constantly evolving project. It began as a film piece and subsequently developed into an installation. The audiences experience will vary greatly depending on whether they view the film on a small computer screen, a large projection or within the context of the entire installation. Initially, the project was designed to be experienced solely as a film. As it evolved I began thinking more about the role of the physical â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;propsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; as an integral part of the project. I finally decided to reveal these objects physically, as they had become a crucial component in the work. At this point, the piece transformed itself from film to installation. During the creation of the film, no particular thought was given as to how the audience would experience the work. It was only when I thought about how I was going to deliver the piece that I decided the experience would be enhanced by presenting the audience with an installation that included the props. 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 Cinemakers 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? As a female, I am aware that their are inequalities in the contemporary art scene, as their are in society in general. Fortunately, my immediate experience as an artist has so far not been defined by my gender. There are many more attributes that define who I am and have influence on my art other than my gender: for exemple, my generation, my ethnic background, my education and my entourage are just as important as my sex, and all of which can lead to discrimination. That said, it is impossible to avoid the disparities between genders in society and, unfortunately, I experience this on a daily basis. I strongly believe that the role of females, as with all other underrepresented groups, is increasingly being recognised and valued in western societies at least. The voice of the female artist is now being heard and in the coming years equality with their male counterparts must be recognised. As for being termed an “unconventional artist”, I believe that I live in a time when ‘’uncommon art’’ is accepted as being conventional. Therefore, the issues around female artists often bare little relation to their art form and are solely concerned with their gender.
Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Dominique. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I continue to deepen my multidisciplinary approach to my work. Having recently returned to working with clay, I have begun experimenting in manually replicating the mechanical process of the 3D printer, returning from the digital to the analog. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m also finishing an art residency at Mottattom in Geneva, where Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m working on a collaborative project with Swiss artist, Laurianne Monnier. We have been working on a film and installation piece for the past few months. This new work has a sci-fi aesthetic with a loose narrative structure and humanistic forms, which is quite different from my usual work and the installation will also be at a much larger scale. As part of the project, in October 2018, we will be recording additional material for the film, using the unique landscape of the Rio Tinto river valley in Spain. We expect this collaborative project to be completed by the end of the year ready for an exhibition in Geneva, amongst other venues. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant email@example.com
Women Cinemakers meets
Tokio OOHARA Lives and works in Tokyo (for now) I grew up in Kanagawa Prefecture next to Tokyo. There was a factory, poultry farm, forest and greenery place. I was a nervous girl who likes reading books and climbs trees. I was interested in the stage arts and entered the design department of Tokyo Zokei University. In photography class, I learned the pleasures of cutting away the world from my own perspective. The seminar chose the visual environment design. The reason for choosing is that by designing the monuments and the space I thought that it might be possible to give a clue to notice and create new relationships to those who lived independently of the objects and space. It was attractive to me. On the weekend, the work of the wedding bridal video cameraman I was doing at part-time job was also attractive to me. Face, facial expression of brides and parents and attendees. I decided to photograph the expression of a brilliant bride a lot more beautifully than male cameraman, because of myself as a woman. From a long time ago, I liked taking women more than men. At the same time, I was obsessed with the charm of what I perform on the stage. I liked watching movies since I was a child. And the encounter with the most impressive movie was during the spring vacation of the third grader in the university. Before traveling to France for the first time, I saw many French movies to know that country. Among them, there was a movie by my most beloved director Jacques Rivette. I also felt the charm as a movie, but the most attractive thing is that women are freely present in the movies. At this time, I had not started film making yet, so I thought that I would like to play like them too. After graduation, I began to advance the way I played. In that process, I was concerned that many Japanese actresses in the movies are acting in a man's perspective, compared to the stage actress. In 2001, I wrote a script when I direct my first film with my associate. When the movie was completed, I realized that I wanted to depict the sensitive woman's heart and sorrow. After creating the first middle film and short film, there was a blank for seven years, and we made the first feature film "NAGOSHI ~ Summer purification". With that movie, I got an opportunity to screen in many places in Japan and I got encounters. The grace of that, I took two more short films. Meanwhile, there was a big earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region of Japan, nuclear accident at Fukushima occurred. Every day, the miserable picture of the earthquake that appears on the TV took away the power to live from me. I spent several months with my own helplessness and despair. At such time, by chance, I decided to create a short film at organic rice field. That is "Saotome ~ A young woman rice planter ~". I often visited a rice field to prepare for taking this short film. Touching soil, fellowship with birds and insects gave me the power to live. All that I felt during this time is included in this short movie. Looking back at the movie I made, I think that every movie depicts the living sorrow of a woman. I wanted to make a movie that will help liberate from what women were tying themselves. Now, my will and encounter make me a movie. The theme of the next movie is "Honor killing". With that theme I would like to describe three women in Japan. "Honor killing" is violence and homicide to the women done by people who live in not only the religion and the race but also within a narrow world. Relatives' men will kill them, otherwise they canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t live there. I think that this is unfortunate for men as well. Men in women's unhappy society are not happy. There may not be murder in Japan. However, women are socially killed by rumors. I think that it will be deterrent for many people to know. I am always seeking encounter!
An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant firstname.lastname@example.org
Saotome is a stimulating short film by Tokyo
based filmmaker Tokio Oohara: offering an emotionally charged allegory of human condition in our unstable, everchanging contemporary age, her film is marked out with
Women Cinemakers essential and at the same time moving narrative. One of the most compelling aspect of Oohara's filmmaking style is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of bringing to life to such a coherent combination between naturalistic and sentimental narrative: we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her captivating and multifaceted artistic production. : Hello Tokio and welcome to to start this interview we would ask you a couple of question about your background. You have a solid formal training and you attended the design department of the Tokyo Zokei University: how did this experience direct the trajectory of your artistic research? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to your love for French cinema influence your practice as a filmmaker? Tokio Nice to meet you, I am Tokio Oohara. First I would like to thank WomenCinemakers who gave me this kind of opportunity and you who are reading this interview. As you know, movies can not be made with just one person. And the movie will not be established without audiences. So, I'd like to talk to you. Tokyo Zokei Univercity I learned was a university in the mountains of Tokyo. The wonderful thing about this university is that, if I wish, I was able to receive classes such as dyeing and textiles in addition to designs, photographs and images. So, I learned
Women Cinemakers various perspectives of things. Also, what is "beauty" for me? I think I learned about it. About French movies. I love French movies. But for me, the most important is Jeacque Rivette. From his movie, I learned two things. One is that women exist as women themselves in the movies. Another thing is to be modest about the subjects to be shown. I think that "modesty" has a variety of meanings, but respect for the subject. For this special edition of we have selected , an interesting short film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at . What has at once captured our attention of your sapient narrative is the way it provides the viewers with such an intense visual experience. While walking our readers through the genesis of , could you tell us what did attract you to this particular story? Tokio As you know, in 2011 the Tohoku region of Japan had a big earthquake and tsunami damage. In addition, in Fukushima Prefecture an accident at a nuclear power plant occurred. In the stricken areas, the damage of the tsunami still remains remarkable. And the damage of nuclear accident is not converging now.
Women Cinemakers When I created this "Saotome", I expressed my sense of helplessness and hopelessness, the distrust of the Japanese government and the press. I think that some of the people in Fukushima who saw this movie have a bruised person. However, some Fukushima-born people said "Thank you" to me. They told me "Thank you for shooting," "Thank you for remembering Fukushima." And I heard. In Fukushima, little girls say "We may not be able to marry in the future." For a long time, I could not go to the stricken areas. However, for the first time in 2016, I went to Iwaki-city in Fukushima. That place is 50 km away from the nuclear power plant. The city center was crowded. No one is wearing a mask.The woman who met with me refused to answer my interview. But she told me, "We are guinea pigs (experimental animals)". That word shocked me. After that, I went to Fukushima several times. I also went to a place about 10 Km from the nuclear power plant. Every time I go, I feel these things are not over yet. And I think that I will go to Fukushima from now on. is Refusing expected stereotypes, marked out with essential cinematography and we have really appreciated your clear and
effective approach to narrative: what were your
"NAGOSHI" in 2010, I used this, I thought that the
aesthetic decisions when shooting? In particular,
image quality was sufficient. The location was a
what was your choice about camera and lens?
difficult place to move and it was important that it was easy to use. The lens used a video camera lens.
Tokio The shooting camera used Panasonic AG DVX100. Even when I shot the feature movie
We like the way you created entire scenarious
out of : in this film you leave the floor to your characters, finding effective ways to between their epiphanic journey and the viewers' emotional sphere. What are you hoping will trigger in
the spectatorship? Tokio I hope nothing. I hope the audience will figure it out by itself.
We daresay that could be considered an effective allegory of human experience: how
Women Cinemakers does your everyday life's experience fuel your creative process to address your choices regarding the stories you tell in your films? Tokio Yes. Daily life always good. I meet people and share many emotions, from good Daily life, from bad Daily life. It is true emotion. They create my movies. Featuring veritĂŠ style, escapes the boundaries of traditional narrative, to inquire into an ever shifting internal struggle: would you tell how did you develop the script and the structure of your film? Tokio I only wrote a script for lovers' scenes. I shot the rice planting scene with improvisation. Because I received opinions from members of rice fields "We want to enjoy rice plants and don't want to be controlled". But I was worried about whether it could be a movie. For that reason, I asked one staff to join the rice planting together with the actor. Between the actors he entered and planted the rice until the end, but I believe it produced a good effect.
Featuring well orchestrated camera work, has drawn heavily from the specifics of the environment of the rice field where you shot it and we have highly appreciated the way you have created such insightful resonance between the environment and the story that
A still from
you told through your images: how did you select the location and how did it affect your shooting process? Tokio I decided to take a movie in rice field because there was a chance encounter. Because there was an encounter with an artist. He left the city and was painting while doing fields of organic pesticide. After nuclear accident, I was very nervous about food safety and rain. Rain containing radioactivity went down to Tokyo where I live and nearby. Water and food are both necessary for human beings to live. There are both in the rice field. Soon, I decided to create a movie linking radiation accident and rice planting. Before shooting, I went to get to know the rice fields well. That affected both the story and the shooting. I touched the soil and insects by plowing solid soil and digging the way through the water. The experiences that regained the power to live by that are projected to the characters in the movie. And, while doing farm work, I was able to check the position for shooting. You have also tapped into the theme of " ": Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role differs depending on which part of the world youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in". As a filmmaker interested in the creation of
Women Cinemakers , how do you consider the relationship between your artistic research and our cultural moment? Do the issues of our unstable contemporary age affect your creative process? Tokio I value the thought based on my experience very much. Among them, I will create a movie based on my strong empathy. Some of the experiences include stories heard from people and information he knew on the Internet. I hurt my heart and sympathize with the difficult lives of women. Now, many women can go to where they like? Can she see what she wants to see? Can she say that she likes things she like? I think men who live there are unhappy as women are an unhappy society. Is that my selfish thought? We have been particularly fascinated with the intimate storytelling of : your inquiry into the inner spheres of your characters seems to be very analytical, yet your film strives to be full of emotion: what was your preparation with actors in terms of rehearsal? In particular, do you like spontaneity or do you prefer to meticolously schedule every details of your shooting process? Tokio Fortunately, "NAGOSHI" was able to have much rehearsal time before shooting. It was like the stage practice, the actors moved freely. From that movement, I was able to get hints of camera work. I gave some acts to the movement of the actor. And I
also left the authority to move them freely. Therefore, I replaced it with Long Shot. I talked a lot about the feelings of the role before the filming with the actor and assistant director. "NAGOSHI" gave the theme color and elements (water, fire, wind, earth etc.) to the characters, and also decided on discussions and costumes about it. We decided the color of each scene. Since the heroine 's feelings were also the feelings of the movie, I handled her emotions politely. She plays a heroine even at "Saotome", but she is an intelligent actress. What I always think is that something created from the head of only one person is not fun. I hope to incorporate the opinions of actors and staff and make it richer. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in cinema. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from getting behind the camera, however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. What's your view on the future of women in cinema? Tokio In Japan, there are many excellent female directors. However, it can not be said that many female directors are active in Japan. What is the
situation in other countries? Suppose there was a child who only saw the image of a woman expressed by a man. Is the woman that the child imagines not biased? I would like to change that. In a good movie, neither female director nor male director may be there. However, I hope that it will become a more rich environment where women director movies can be seen a little more. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Tokio. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Tokio My movie experience has just started. I need many encounters and learning. My next movie theme is "Honor killing". I would like to express three women in Japan. Also, I am a member of "Independent Cinema Guild Japan". I hope to cooperate with the members to help make the relationship between the movie and this world better. Thank you for reading my interview! An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant email@example.com
Women Cinemakers meets
Ashley Dick Lives and works in Glasgow, United Kingdom
"Finding it difficult to create films without a budget or crew, I challenged myself to create a film entirely on my own, and I came up with 'Alone'. At first the story was very lose, but as the journey progressed it became more symbolic of many ventures humans face. I planated shots to evoke thoughts and feelings, but they are more representative of challenges, incidents and trauma than they are literal. It was difficult to make the film, but liberating: I was limited in what I could do with my camera, as I had to be on screen as well as operating it, but I could shoot anywhere and anytime I wanted without the constraints of managing a team. I used some effects to make certain shots look handheld, and on the last shot of the film I am both on screen and tilting the camera upward - which took around a day to edit together. I learned a lot about my limitations but also broke through my comfort zone. When I screened it to my peers I told no one about the origins of the film, and asked everyone what they thought it was about. Some thought it was about a woman abused, some thought she had lost a baby, some thought she was an alien or time-traveller, some thought she was in a post-apocalyptic future. The most interesting response was that it was about the history of woman. I have found that your own experience shapes your interpretation of the film, and I hope it makes people think and discuss this." An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant firstname.lastname@example.org
Captivating and refined in its balanced and effective storytelling, is a stimulating film by Ashley
Dick: marked out with carefully orchestrated photography, this film addresses the viewers to inquire into their perceptual and cultural parameters , to create a personal narration out of the stunning images. This captivating film offers an emotionally charged visual experience, inviting the
Women Cinemakers viewers to unveil the ubiquitous beauty hidden into the details of our everyday life experience: we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to Dick's captivating and multifaceted artistic production. Hello Ashley and welcome to
skillset that could bring a story, a voice or a concept to an audience and I decided to let go of making safe, voiceless films. we
For this special edition of :
to start this interview we would like to invite our readers to visit www.ashonfilm.co.uk in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production. In the meanwhile, we would ask you a couple of question about your background. Are there any
, a captivating film that our
readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at http://www.ashonfilm.co.uk/alone . What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into the epiphanic nature of the details of reality is the way your sapient narrative
experiences that did particularly influence your
provides the viewers with with such an intense
evolution as a filmmaker?
visual experience. While walking our readers
I always wanted to make films. From the age of 12 I showed up to my friends’ houses with a video camera. With digital becoming mainstream by the time I was a teenager filmmaking became really accessible and when I started to study film it made the dream much
through the genesis of
, would you tell how
did you develope the script of your film? In particular, do you like spontaneity or do you prefer to meticolously schedule every details of your shooting process?
more possible. I made some average shorts when in
The idea to craft a film as a solo project came first, so
education and after I left I worked in TV for a couple of
when thinking about what story I could tell and what I
years. But I didn’t make films with purpose or
could achieve artistically, it made sense to create a
importance until I left the mundane media jobs and
story that portrayed an individual experience, and at
went freelance. At that time I started to identify the
the same time evoke emotions of the viewer’s own
double standards and barriers and that befall me as a
experiences. My script was very short due to there
woman in film. I met other female artists who were
being no dialogue but it was overflowing with
challenging these injustices and I realised I had a
description and detail of what could be seen and the
feelings I wanted to convey in my scenes. I always start by broadly writing the story I want to tell, and then I refine the script based on what is possible. Alone is set entirely outdoors, so delivering the scenes in my head depended entirely on whether the locations existed and were accessible. A lot of scenes changed to work with the locations available to me. I do like to meticulously plan, but I also enjoy problem solving, which allows for spontaneity. This is why I love film-making and what makes film-making art. Elegantly composed,
landscape cinematography and each shot is 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? Because Alone was a solo project there was only one character, so the story did not have dialogue to move it along. I relied entirely on action, mise-en-scene and aesthetics. I chose my locations carefully to make sure they anchored the feelings I wanted to portray and I strategically used props to plant ideas about the story. When the character walks along the beach having left the cave there are some suggestive items strewn in the sand. The comb, tampon and book are there to supply your
Women Cinemakers subconscious with ideas of the character’s frame of mind and also reflect on what is perceived to shape a woman’s identity. I shot in the spring which brought some harsh, rugged leftover visuals from winter, with hints of a fresh start. Because of the nature of the project, I kept a very compact and light kit. I used a Canon 60D for all principle photography except the mountain shots, which were shot on an Iphone, due to freezing temperatures that could damage the camera. The camera did take quite a lot of damage. At the beach it was so windy that the wind pushed the camera and tripod over twice. I lost a lens cap there. That was the first instance where I felt a crew would have been helpful. But because the camera and other equipment were low budget, it meant I wasn’t scared to take risks in harsh environments. In this film you leave the floor to your character, finding a simple still effective way to walk the viewers to develope a bridge between her own inner sphere and her epiphanic journey: how did you develope your character? In particular, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value? I wanted the character to be relatable and cathartic in a very broad way. We are all born, influenced in our
upbringing and eventually discover ourselves. We all experience difficulties and struggle to come to terms with them. We all discover something that affects us or have an awakening to an aspect of our lives and it will never be the same again. I wanted this to resonate with whoever viewed the film. But I think it would particularly resonate strongly with female viewers because of the insight women build as they experience the world. Informing my choices for the character was my experience of a long-term abusive romantic relationship as a teenager, my experience of sexism throughout my career, my shared female experience of constant judgement and disrespect and my experience of discovering that Feminism is a positive movement, contrary to popular belief throughout my whole life. If Alone were an allegory it would fit any one of these circumstances. And you would find many women would be able to recall one of these experiences of their own. has drawn heavily from the specifics of its environment: how was your creative and shooting process affected by locations? It was effected hugely as the location plays a huge part in the story, moving from the primitive, womb-like cave, through to an overwhelming, bustling, modern city. Finding locations to fit the script was difficult at times, but having lived in the Scottish countryside, then a town then a city, I had gathered locations in my mind that I always wanted to
Women Cinemakers capture in film. Caves are harder to come by than I initially thought. They are a part of most landscapes in Scotland, especially along the coast, however they are not accessible by car and they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t appear on digital maps or sat-navs. I had to read up on where in Scotland there were known caves, calculate which would be the safest to work in and easiest to access, and follow directions from cave-spotters who have shared their explorations online. When I did eventually find the cave it was embedded in quicksand and layers of seaweed, so I had difficulty maneuvering the location and getting the exact shots I wanted. shows the details of reality that hide beauty and simplicity: we have appreciated the way you show the ephemeral nature of human perception that raises a question on the role of the viewers' viewpoint, inviting us to going beyond the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to unveil such unexpected sides of reality, urging the viewers to elaborate personal interpretations? Definitely. When I screened alone to my peers after completion I asked everyone what they thought it was about and I had such a variety of responses that I believe strongly portrays the viewerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own mindset and life experience. Some interpretations were that the character was an alien, that the world was post-apocalyptic, that she
Women Cinemakers had lost a baby, that she had been abused, that it was a
feeling. When I think of Deren’s work I think about how
representation of the history of women, and that it was
powerful the disturbing aspects are against the
about mental health. It was very interesting to learn
how individual people had connected with the film. Lots of artworks will strike a certain person with a feeling unique to them, tapping into their life in a way others don’t understand. Just because film has
You can watch Meshes of the Afternoon with the original soundtrack here: https://www.cda.pl/video/86993936
narrative doesn’t mean it cannot be interpreted in the
We daresay that your film could be considered an
same way as say a painting.
effective allegory of human experience: how does
features effective editing and use of temps mort has reminded us of Anne-Marie Miéville's
everylife experience fuel your creative process to address your choices as a creative?
work: could you tell us your biggest influence and
I think it could too. You are always taught to write what
how did they affect your work?
you know, and obviously stories are written about
A strong influence on Alone was Maya Deren, and her short Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) in particular. Whenever I watch it it scares, unsettles and inspires me
other worlds, but it is the treatment of our shared experiences that separates compelling stories from flat ones.
at the same time. I think she effectively captured how
Good films are not saying ‘Oh wow look at this
irregular and disorienting dreams are. The fine line
futuristic thing’ they are saying ‘look how this person is
between enchanting to watch but uncomfortable to
dealing with a common personal issue whilst this
experience is almost a depiction of the female
futuristic thing is happening.’ One of the best examples
existence. Everything from the sound design to the
of this is the Black Mirror episode ‘The Entire History of
jumping cuts and uneasy imagery makes you feel a
You’ (2011). The show often does not ask if we should
range of emotions and interpret what is before you.
be furthering technology, it asks if we are emotionally
With Alone part of me wondered if I was being too
equipped to deal with future technology. I allow this
graphic in places but I realised that if I didn’t portray
idea of focussing on what we know as humans, in an
the uncomfortable it wouldn’t evoke nearly as much
unfamiliar surrounding into all of my film projects.
A still from
Women Cinemakers Rich with symbolic references,
managing a cast and crew, however at times I couldn’t
scenarios out of psychologically charged moments:
be ambitious enough with my shots or had great
what are you hoping
difficulty getting footage. The camera fell repeatedly
will trigger in the
audience? Moreover, how open would you like
at the beach, I was very concerned about it being
your film to be to be understood?
stolen and it was difficult to focus. Although no one else was involved in crafting the film
When I watch a film that speaks to me I will think
I discussed it a lot with others and I found it useful just
about it for days after. I replay parts in my head,
to relay what I was doing and hear my thoughts out
thinking about the aspects that have captivated me. I
loud. There was a waterfall location that I lost due to
would like for anyone to watch Alone and think ‘this
objection from a nearby resident and when I told my
film is about me’ and keep thinking about it and
friends about it they told me about another, bigger
discussing it beyond its presence. When someone asks
me what it is about I tell them that a woman wakes up
I also toyed with different endings and gaged people’s
in a cave, alone, and that I made it alone. To imply
reactions when I told them my options. I fully intend
anything further would influence their reading of it
to make another solo short film, and have an idea
too much. Viewer’s interpretations say more about
surrounding a conflicted painter. This time however, I
them than about the film. If someone doesn’t get it
have better equipment and the insight from making
then they are watching too literally.
Alone. I enjoyed being able to take my time with it, problem solving and getting out of my comfort zone.
It's important to remark that
without the constraints of managing a team: this
Before leaving this conversation we want to catch
was a challenging experience, but at the same time
this occasion to ask you to express your view on
a great occasion to work with freedom: what did
the future of women in cinema. For more than half
you learn from this unique experience? Are you
a century women have been discouraged from
going to shot another film this way?
getting behind the camera, however in the last decades there are signs that something is
It was liberating to be able to grab my camera and
changing. What's your view on the future of
film anywhere anytime without the constraints of
women in cinema?
I feel we have come a long way and there is still a long way to go. Only 4.2% of the directors of the most popular films from 2006-2017 were women* and the struggle is harder for women of colour, LGBT women and disabled women. There are still many barriers that stop women from participating behind the scenes and we all have a responsibility to break them. When I was young and naive I used to think the road was going to be clear, and there just hadnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been that many women before me who wanted to direct, and they werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t nominated because there just werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t any good films by female directors this year. I truly experienced how ignorance is bliss. When we all realise and acknowledge that the imbalance exists we can move on with making the world a fairer place. There needs to be ways to encourage women in film, to make sure their voices are heard, their projects are funded, and their work is merited. Women need to support women and people need to support people. I have worked in jobs where I have been asked to dress more sexy, I was asked in an interview if my boyfriend will let me travel and I have been mistaken for a man on my CV and unpleasantly surprised the interviewers when I showed up sans penis. There is hope, as more women are nominated for prestigious awards behind the camera, and we are seeing a diverse range of film from women coming forward. I recently read about how finally women are allowed to make bad films in the way that men are. We are about to move past the stage where every film made by a woman is a referendum on whether women are good or bad at film-making, but we need to be
Women Cinemakers careful that this progression is not a fashion that will go out in a few years. *Info from https://womeninfilm.org/ Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Ashley. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Since creating Alone I have finished a feature length documentary called ‘Adventures on a New Path’ which looks at communities all over Scotland who are empowering themselves by taking back their land, and another short called ‘Abandoned’ which I created with a small team. Both have started showing in festivals this year. A strong theme in all of my work is location as a character or storytelling device, especially the outdoors, and empowerment of people. I plan to keep the theme strong with upcoming shorts ‘The Zone’, a thriller, and ‘Craft’ my future solo project. I can see another feature on the horizon, this time fiction, and I would like to keep the element of personal interpretation here and implement it in new ways. I would like for the Scottish film scene to develop more, providing more platforms for films to be seen and voices to be heard. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant email@example.com
Women Cinemakers meets
Jessica Fertonani Cooke Lives and works in between Sao Paulo, Brazil and Arizona, USA
Re-space is a video piece portraying the body, nature and abstraction into 19th century germanic existentialism crisis of Body and Nature. The piece alludes to this as sickness and moves into integrating these concepts into ritualistic perception as to transcend the industrialisation of the Body.
An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant firstname.lastname@example.org
Re-Space is a captivating experimental video by Brazilian/US multidisciplinary artist Jessica Fertonani Cooke: walking the viewers through a multilayered inquiry into the notion of landscape and our relationship between our surroundings, this stimulating video challenges the viewers' perceptual and cultural parameters, to encourage cross-pollination of the spectatorship. One of the most interesting aspects of Fertonani Cooke's work is the way it urges the spectatorship to explore the relationship between our perceptual process and the outside world and we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production. Hello Jessica 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 graduated in Fine Arts from the Art University of Berlin (UdK) under the mentorship of set designer and painter Mark Lammert, you nurtured your education with a Master Degree, that yu received from the prestigious San Francisco Art Institute: how did these experiences influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, does your cultural background direct the trajectory of your artistic research? These different cultural backgrounds influenced my artistic research completely; I learned very fundamentally different approaches to Art. Being in those countries allowed me to experience their cultures from within, which deepened my research on colonialism and the decolonial movement, one of my main focus at the moment. It gave the possibility to observe from direct experience the nuances of European postcolonialism towards the Americas and the colonialist dynamic between North and South America. (I will explain this better later on) When I began my process as an artist, I wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t thinking politically, this is some much more present now after having
studied in the Bay Area. I read so many critical theory texts and most of the formal education there revolved around these ideas, such as Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, Griselda Pollock, José Luis Falconi as opposed to my Education in Berlin and Switzerland. In Europe the educational system focused almost solely on stimulating my artistic production (time and space to make work) and in terms of theory we focused on comprehending the legacy and responsibility of leading Art History into the future. We read at that time a lot of philosophy like Hegel’s aesthetics theories, Agamben, Foucault and Barthes Death of the Author for instance. Both were essential at the time, it seemed to be precisely what I needed to help me grow. However, I do lean more towards the European approach because they give students a lot of freedom and that taught me a certain toughness, resilience and self- criticality in finding what you need to create a body of work. My mentor, Mark Lammert, was a strong believer that Art isn’t something you teach, the conversations I had with him were tools to help me reflect, which extended great lengths beyond the work itself. This is something of the greatest value to me because it prepared me much more to real Life as opposed to the bubble of the academic structure. This I found in the Bay Area but as I said before both were essential and seemed to be exactly what I needed at the time. Before I had more clarity on issues on colonialism my focus was on people’s body language and observing the differences between countries. Although now I realize that the danger here is formulating generalized ideas, it was also essential as a starting point because it led me to think of bodies as a collective. I kept the question: what makes a body stiffer or looser, what creates mannerisms and behaviors? Of course It isn’t only culture that defines this; there are a series of variables that build a body from individual desire to Family, Religion, State conditioning, from past lives (something I have full conviction of) to historical charges impregnated in the bodies DNA passed on by their ancestors, the mothers condition at the moment of birth, the positions of the stars at the moment of birth, a million things... It is an extremely complex system. All of this is necessary to comprehend one single body, how then, can one comprehend a collective body without simplifying it? This issue univocally connects to politics because the State (as does religion) is
Women Cinemakers one of the biggest agents of repression upon the body. Its attempt to simplify individual choices to form a collective uniformity shapes the borders these bodies must move around. Obviously this influences the construction of a person and of their collective. My mix bloodedness comes from being half Brazilian of Italian and Indigenous descent from my mother’s side and United States of American of French and English descent from my father’s side (the first missionary family in Hawaii). My body is a perfect symbol of this cultural melting pot defined by immigration caused by wars, crisis, imperialism and hopes for a better future. Essentially the story of humanity, right? I have in my blood the binary colonizer and colonized but my intention is to transcend this black and white binary and move into realizing what is my complex-self. Only because I lived and traveled in such fundamentally different countries could I have such visceral comprehension of myself because I could realize where I stood. It goes without saying that I learned a lot in the educational systems of São Paulo, Berlin, Switzerland and San Francisco, but honestly, I learned mostly by analyzing the differences between the bureaucracy, structural policies, financial structures and laws of these places. Only when you are a resident subjected to these laws can you comprehend what kind of territory you are in. To myself personally I held this comparison from seeing the external gaze of being Latin subjugated upon me (because of my brown hair and eyes and my accent). I was seen as an underprivileged immigrant. That most definitely wasn’t the case; whereas in Brazil I am seen as European descent privileged elite, which also isn’t the case. However, both ARE the case, but as I said before, this binary is limiting and there are more complexities to what my body consists of. Comprehending these issues of complexities in identity and identity of the collective in relationship to its territory is a systematic view integral to my work practice. You are a versatile artist and your pratice is marked out with such stimulating multidisciplinary feature, that allows you to range from performance to video and installation: before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we would invite to our readers to in order to get a synoptic visit idea about your artistic production: would you tell us what does address you to such captivating multidisciplinary approach? How do you select a medium in order to explore a particular theme?
Medium specificity is something I honestly don’t think about when I begin working. I guess that since I feel more integrated with performance art and the ‘Life is Art’ ideals from Fluxus movement and Neo-Concretism from Brazil. I focus primarily on the urges of my body while dealing with an idea and as I elaborate it further I realize that it functions better like this or like... but while I shape the piece I always keep in mind how the viewers might experience it on their own body. Am I translating the total complexity of what I am trying to express? How can my work challenge pre- conditionings and blockages in others body? So first I start with my own and orientate myself this way. Slowly I come to one realization here and there and suddenly what I thought would be a painting ended up as a sound piece or what I thought was a performance actually was a performance and a video work and so on. I like this idea, especially if I have never worked with one of the mediums the piece requires because I get a chance to learn new skills! To answer your question more concisely my priorities are my questions and I do what I can to expose the viewer to this. The elaboration of the question chooses the medium, not me. I want to channel these questions through the medium necessary. I believe that holding on to a medium is limiting to Art. Medium specificity has exhausted itself already, so the medium you use must make 100% of sense to use it for the message you are sending and not the other way around. I think that the preciosity of holding on to mediums is repressive and contrary to the body’s intuition. For this special edition of we have selected , an extremely interesting experimental video that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at . What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into the relationship between our perceptual process and the outside world is the way you have provided the results of your artistic research with such essential aesthetics. While walking our readers , would you tell us how did you through the genesis of develop the initial idea? When I finished Re-space I was in my last year the Art University in Berlin (UdK) and had come back from living part time in Switzerland. During this period I was researching mountains. What kind of impact did a mountain
Women Cinemakers have upon the body? What happened to the body once it dislocated itself to travel on a mountain? And the most important question was at the time, where does the mountain begin and where does it end? Can there be such a limit? These questions were very much tied to the contemplation of nature and landscape issues of the existentialist paintings and philosophy of 19th Century Europe. So in this way I saw this video much more as a painting in terms of compositions than actually a video. The Genesis of this piece was taking into account the contemplative nature of existentialism and questioning what is the external gaze upon nature? My attempt was to integrate it to the body and sense how we actually are the very same thing we contemplate. When I say contemplate I refer to it from the existentialist perspective. features gorgeous landscape cinematography and elegantly structured composition: what were your when shooting? In particular, how did you structure the editing process in order to achieve such brilliant results on the narrative aspect? The piece is a sequence of still images of nature, colors coming in and out of scenes (black, white and blue) and close up takes of body parts in and out of soil. The scenes follow sonic intervals between Wagner’s Träume from Tristan und Isolde, a drumbeat and silence. All stills reveal subtle movement either wind or a leaf falling, light movements, color transitions and so on. The stillness (part of the painting composition I wanted to convey) is a tool I used to create a quite atmosphere where the viewers could sense their own presence while watching it. In a world of high speed and poor quality in personal and collective contact I wanted to create a context to slow us down. A very important aspect of my work is the sense of ritual, where rhythm of the sound and image can create presence in the viewer’s body. The slowing down of time challenges our idea of a day-to-day mindset and can therefore expand it. This expansion of time creates the sense of a sacred space and a hyper focus on the issues being discussed. The issue I wish to discuss here is the complexities of us as integral to Nature and us removed from Nature and removed from our own bodies. The sickness we have gathered because of this distance and the desire to just plainly exist.
could be considered an allegorical report of the blurry boundaries between the body and its territory, and we have particularly appreciated the way it reminds us a bergsonian idea of time, reflecting that , providing the viewers with a unique multilayered visual experience: how much importance do play in your artistic practice? Allegory is indeed essential to my work; all images and symbols in ReSpace were carefully chosen. The bergsonian time you mentioned isn’t so much in the symbols and allegory’s itself but it is embedded in the structure of the video. I wish not to mechanize the intellect and equate a message but instead to allow the Élan Vital flow through image and viewer and allow one’s intuition ignited. This expands time, and is what Bergson used to measure intuitive duration (A persons perception of time is different to when they utilize their intuition or their intellect, and therefore each aspect of perception has a different duration). In Re-Space my attempt was to think of territory as allegorical spaces in our inner perception. These places aren’t precisely defined because they are abstract in nature and they permeate each other. They carry within them the past, present and future, as you said, but the idea is not to locate time, but to feel your body move across it, like a tunnel. The viewer’s body is the presence necessary to complete the piece because it only works if the viewer experiences the tunneling through these inner spaces. The video is just a tool. That is why I named it Re-Space. challenges We have been highly fascinated with the way and we daresay that it seems to urge your spectatorship to challenge their perceptual categories to elaborate : how important is for you to trigger the viewer's imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? How open would you like your work to be understood? As I made clear in the last question, the viewer’s imagination and intuition is of the upmost importance to the piece. I like to be as generous as I can while sharing my beliefs but the actual images and symbolic nature are something that I can’t discuss too much. A big part of my process is through intuitive orientation and I don’t think I can speak about this
A still from
Women Cinemakers because I don’t understand it completely. I believe that the power here is to accept that you can’t fully understand it and to trust the processes this might bring. It is strange but it works so well for me… honestly it is a huge liberation because suddenly something makes sense, even though I am not exactly sure why. It might sound a little hippie what I am saying, but it is something very profound to learn to let go of intellectual control and I believe that this is an essential part to Art. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes, as you did in the stimulating , that can be viewed at . German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that " ": how do you consider the relation between the ideas you explore and of creating your artworks?
The physical Act is a tool for the abstract to express itself. There are issues with physical formalisms that must be addressed like the quality if the image and sound, special equipment, planning etc. These are all technicalities that if not taken into account seriously will not reach the precise translation of the image. The work that carries unnecessary ‘noise’ disrupts the viewers reading of the piece. This is why technicalities and structures are as important as the idea, if not more. It is through the physical construction that you can access profoundly the layers of these abstract places and ideas. Without the physical process perhaps we wouldn’t even be able to recognize the extension of this idea. In Territorial Burden the physicality appears opposite to the way it does in Re-Space. In Re-Space I constructed an audio-visual device for the Body of the viewer, in Territorial Burden it is through my body literally that the viewer can confront themselves with an idea. Me peeing on the floor continuously of a white cube confronts the viewer to their abject relationship to bodily fluids and the sterilized status quo of contemporary architecture. Here I talk about space in terms of our necessity to occupy space, because firstly without space we cannot exist. But occupying space, although inherent to the human condition, is
always a geo-political issue because of our construction of nations, societal insertion, relationships, etc. All of this is embedded in one single physical act. A part of your artistic research is centered on the idea that the Body lives in a system, which can transform its paradoxes once in profound relationship with all its positions. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once remarked that " ": as an artist particularly concerned with the ‘diasporian’ body of the America’s, what could be in your opinion in our post-truth contemporary age? In particular, does your artistic research respond to ? Yes! 100 %. I am inspired and moved by a cultural movement regarding the geo- politics of the mix-bloodedness and of the insertion of a complex mode of consciousness. This is a discussion about the over dominate structure of the scientific/logical ancient Greek mind which built the Western hemisphere. Furthermore, the hierarchical economic structure based on cheap work force, war, debt and crisis, which has dominated this planet. This model is based on glorifying materialist consumption and the rational intellect. I am interested in discussing the oppression upon body, specifically the America’s body (an entire part of the world built solely on genocide) and how the mix bloodedness of the present America’s can possibly cure this historic/spiritual/psychic scar. This cure can only occur if we are given the chance to ACT OUT our mix bloodedness as opposed to continue being governed by one single vision that imposes the colonizer/colonized polarity. The vision here is to act out the complexity of our being. I still fall prey to this binary (which I try hard to overcome), so I don’t have a trick on how to do this or anything like that… My attempt is to discuss this and as I said on the question above, to work with it physically to shape out an abstract idea. I am not completely sure what it means to exist in a non-binary mix blooded nation, but I wish to be part of this movement and bring to the publics consciousness that it is very much needed.
Women Cinemakers The role of Art is in this; to build a consciousness the world is in deep necessity of, like a medicine. I would like to take this opportunity to recommend Gloria Anzaldua’s book Borderlands/ La Fronteira if you are interested in understanding more about this movement. Over the years you have participated to lots of international exhibitions, including participations to ACT Festival in Luzern and Zürich, Switzerland, Transborder in Pro Arts, Oakland, USA, and in the 55 project, Miami and in Nars Foundation, Brooklyn: one of the hallmarks of your practice is the ability to establish direct involvement with the viewers, who urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So we would like to ask you a question about the nature of the relationship with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception? And what do you hope to trigger in the spectatorship? I hope to trigger in the audience access to new inner spaces and hope that this can challenge them to face their own self-complexity. I wish to instigate the loss of linear logical mindset. An essential part of my work is concerned with the space the audience will receive the piece in. If conditions and context are not taken into account I cannot lead this possible confrontation. I absolutely don’t want to ‘trap’ people into something, so I always make the space open to allow ‘a way out’. I don’t want to force anyone through an experience they are not interested in or not comfortable with. You can never truly predict the audience’s reaction or behavior, but you can create some structures that help the audience move around the piece and I always keep this in mind. To be honest each work requires specific approaches, sometimes it has nothing to do with putting the audience through an experience, but allowing them to reflect upon an image with the sterile distance of the white cube. Although I always try to think of ways around this, sometimes the work requires the white cube in order to function. But Re-Space, for instance, is an experiential piece that could be shown either in a screen room or in an outdoor screen space with chairs. Chairs are definitely important for this piece because I wish the public to stop their physical movement while watching.
Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Jessica. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? It is my please to be part of this interview, I am always glad to share my work and would like to make clear my gratitude for this opportunity. At the moment my practice is shifting to a much more direct sense of geo-political engagement. So far I have created images symbolic of the issues I wish to discuss but I want to make the gap shorter or almost invisible between the issue itself and the piece. For this reason I wish to be actively inserted in regions where the issues being discussed are presently acted out and create long term projects around it. It might sound a bit like social practice, although I think it is an unfortunate term because it makes it sound like charity or puts someone in a victim position… To me it is more like an intervention in these spaces, documented, lived in, lived through and based on integration and transformation. Closer to the ideas of ‘Life as Art’ from performance art movements during the 60’s/70’s. I will spend the next 2 years on and off in a performative/installational piece called Saguaro in the Sonora desert. This region is between Northern Mexico and Arizona. This borderland region is home to the natural biome of the saguaro cactus. I will travel (slowly, allowing the space and the people to transform me and my ideas on the project) around the perimeters of this biome emphasizing this other type of border. As I travel I will create a sonic archive utilizing the saguaro as an antenna and vibrational measurer of the space. I will record these sounds (through antennas and contact mics) as they permeate all embedded utilization of territory throughout the region, such as, military use, property construction, sanctuaries, narco-traffic distribution, cemeteries, reservations, border patrol, communities, and ecological exploitation. If you wish to accompany the project you can subscribe to my newsletter at email@example.com, with the subject as newsletter. Once again, thank you very much readers and WomenCinemakers Team.
An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant firstname.lastname@example.org
Women Cinemakers meets
Natascha Küderli Lives and works in Munich, Germany As a trained ceramicist and architect, l am and have always been inspired by shapes and their changes, structures and materials, as much as for light and space. At the same time, I have concerned myself for many years with cities, their soul and their spiritual atmosphere. In Amsterdam from 1997 to 1999, I grappled with the soul of architecture because I wanted to know why certain buildings arouse emotions such as fascination and pleasure, but also unease or even fear, within me. I was absorbed by the essence in architecture: What is it that moves us humans and what makes certain rooms, buildings and cities so unique? Most of all what is actually the soul? While searching for the definition of the soul in religion, psychology and philosophy, I came to the conclusion that the soul consists of mind, will and emotion. This led me to the realisation that while architecture per se (steel, concrete, brick, wood, ...) does not have a soul, the person who builds, or built, the edifice in question does. The architect and the building owner/client have a soul, and this is reflected in the buildings. In the same way, every visitor to and observer of a building or a city has a soul and, consequently, perceives the building and the space in his or her own way – and for me, this is how the perception takes shape with art, too. I think that with cities, this functions in a slightly different way. While looking for answers to the question of why there are different strengths and weaknesses in cities that cannot always be resolved by architectural alterations and interventions, a thought occurred to me: “If the soul of a human being can be healed, why not the soul of city?” For cities were founded, built and expanded by people and are inhabited by people. In this way, I compare a city’s soul with that of a person. The same applies for the body and spirit, in other words the spiritual atmosphere of a city. You’ll find more about this in my book - The Soul of a City -. In my art, I deal with themes such as movement, structure, levels and layers in natural surroundings and in cities. I do this because nature, the cities and the spiritual atmosphere, just like our body, our soul and our spirit, are multilayered. At these levels and between these layers there is movement in the form of change, deformation and transport. Movement tells, supplies, changes, moves, invigorates, dances. Irrespective of whether or not I am now going to grapple with the movement levels in a city like Berlin or with the soul of a city like Amsterdam, I feel that these two elements are associated with one another. The soul of a city is laid out “in historical levels”, the transport of a city in “physical levels”. In the process, the transport strikes me not as going into the depths of the soul, but as invigorating and supplying the entire body of a city. If the traffic fails to function, in a manner comparable to veins and arteries, a city can die just like a body. The soul behaves in a similar way. If a person’s soul is sick or injured, the whole person is affected and this has an impact on his or her surroundings. This is the case with cities, too.
Women Cinemakers An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant email@example.com
BERLIN layers of movement is a captivating experimental film by Munich based interdisciplinary artist Natasha Küderli': through a realistic and cliché-free narration, she eschews dialogue to instead give a symphonic voice to urban landscape, highlighting the resonance between the soul of the city and our everyday life's experience. One of the most captivating quality of Küderli's artistic research is the way it involves the viewers into a resonant dialectic with the environment, to snatch the soul and the spirit of a city that exist in their architecturally grown body: we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to Küderli's captivating and multifaceted artistic production. Hello Natascha and welcome to WomenCinemakers: we would invite our readers to visit http://www.nataschakuederli.com in order to get a wider idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid training as a ceramist and after your studies at the College of Higher Education in Erfurt, you nurtured your education with a MA
of Architecture, that you received from the Berlage Institute: how did these experiences address your artistic research? I never thought I would become an artist one day, but obviously it was always in me. Pottery and architecture both have artistic elements. Most famous architects create buildings like sculptures and have a very philosophical attempt behind their design. Moreover, could you tell us your biggest influences and how did they influence your trajectory as an experimental filmmaker? First of all, I would say God! When she, Holy Spirit, whispered into my ears: “If the soul of a human being can be healed, why not the soul of a city?” I went on a new journey. I started to see cities like persons, with their strength and flaws in their character, just like people. That on the other hand made me look at cities as if they have a body. Traffic represents the veins and the arteries. In order to make a movie about it, I had to find a way how to show this beauty and motion, as well as a good portion of enthusiasm, for this complex and very exciting system. It was the desire to show the world, what I see, through this film. I did not concern myself, if I make a documentary or an experimental film, I simply, together with my team (Editor: Corina Dietz-Heyne and my Music
composer Christian Heyne) tried to tell a story. Only later I realized that my movie is in the direction of experimental. For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected BERLIN layers of movement, a stimulating experimental 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 exploration of the issue communication between individuals and their relationship with the outsideworld is the way your unconventional narrative provides the viewers with with such a multilayered visual experience. While walking our readers through the genesis BERLIN layers of movement, could you tell us how did you come up with this stimulating film? After a boat trip, perceiving a city from a different level, which was already fascinating, I stood on a bridge, looking down on trains, subways and boats, I thought: “The world has to see this!” A little bit naïve, as if no one has ever seen this kind of traffic… It was pure enthusiasm for this dynamic and beautiful flow of traffic. And luckily it stayed with me for 12 years, till my movie finally found a distributor. Featuring refined realism, BERLIN layers of movement is edited with effective verité style, capable of pulling the spectators into a resonant
Glasbrücke mit Füßen
Glasbrücke mit Füßen
Women Cinemakers dialectic with urban environment: what were your aesthetic decisions when shooting? I gave my cinematographer, Oliver Tataru, all the freedom to do what He felt was right. I just told him where I want to go and in which direction. Although there was one moment, when I tried to tell Him exactly how I wanted it to be done, when He said: “Am I the cameraman or you?” In fact, he shot some wonderful sequences I did not think of, which I finally discovered one year later… as we shot summer 2011 and started editing autumn 2012. In particular, how did you structure your editing process in order to achieve such brilliant results? We decided first to show the city via the great Ringbahn out of the S-Bahn and then from north to south by boat and car and east to west via U-Bahn. And the Airport as well as sights with a lot of pedestrians. Most of all it was about locations, places and spaces, we took into perspective and tried to focus on different ways and levels on which you can perceive them. And by adding my photo-collages we could enhance this process. Especially, the theme layers, as my collages are made of and through layers as well as the traffic layers, we decided to create also layers of motion in the movie, which are not there in reality. That on the other hand was the reason, why I am in the movie, which was absolutely not my first intention. But my editor said.”
Stahlbrücke mit Alex+S‐Bahn
Women Cinemakers You are the one who takes the viewer by the hand and shows them the city through your eyes. How did you select the specific locations and how did they affect your shooting process? It took me a period of six years going back and forth to Berlin, in order to find the right locations, where the different traffic layers are represented in obvious and beautiful ways. The only thing that effected my process, where those locations, where we did not get a shooting permission. But we had enough material, so that was no problem. Far from considering the city as a mere background, your artistic research is centered on the contemplation of urban environment as an organic realm, to highlight the ubiquitous instertitial points and mutual influences between the city and human life: how do you consider the role of direct experience as starting point for your artistic research? I sometimes feel the spiritual atmosphere of an area or a place. I can sense if good or bad things have happened there. Therefor I feel sometimes the joy or the pain in and of a city. And that brought me to the thought of, how to heal the soul of a city. In particular, how do the details that you
Women Cinemakers capture during daily life fuel your artistic research? I think love, passion, compassion and beauty fuel my artistic research. No matter if I find it in nature, people or in cities. If I find a theme that interests me, I grapple with it until I am satisfied with what I found. Despite the absence of dialogues, your film feature such an ambitiously structured exploration of our perceptual process: BERLIN layers of movement provides the spectatorship with an emotionally charged immersive experience. We daresay that your approach subverts the notion of non lieu elaborated by French anthropologist Marc AugĂŠ, to encapsulate the inner soul of a city: how do you consider the relationship between the historical levels of a city and their physical ones? The historical levels are the emotional ones - the soul of the city - and the physical levels are the structural and architectural ones - the body of a city.
Although eschewing traditional dialogue structure, sound plays a crucial role in your film and the minimalistic soundtrack enriches the footage with a penetrating atmosphere and emotionally powerful sound tapestry. How do you see the relationship between sound and moving images playing within your work? The music is very, very important. The sound carries the image, it gets alongside. It gives excitement or relaxation. It feeds the moment, it enhances the moving image. Your exploration of the layers of significance related to urban space is open to a multitude of interpretations and we have highly appreciated the way BERLIN layers of movement provides the ordinary with such expressionist quality: are you particularly interested in structuring your work in order to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations? Structure is a very important part in my art and in my life. I need structure. But I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t use structure in order to achieve something for, or with, the viewer. I simply like I it and need it. I like physical, visual and emotional structure.
Women Cinemakers How much importance do metaphors play in your artistic research and how open would you like your works to be understood? I hope we enter into a time for more openness to difference. Different opinions, different thoughts, views and beliefs. I have never talked much about my faith. This is the first time, that I mention it, because it is the source of my strength, my inspiration and my life. But I am not religious. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like legalism. I am in a relationship with love. He is love and perfect love casts out all fear. Over the years your works have been international shown in several exhibitions and you also received the Best Director of a Short Documentary award from the Int. Filmmaker Festival Berlin: how much importance has for you the feedback that you receive in the festival circuit? I remember, when I got my first laurel of â&#x20AC;&#x153;official selectionâ&#x20AC;? in Berlin, I was very excited. Now years later I won four prices. Who would ever have thought this would be possible with an art movie of 45 minutes. For me those festivals and laurels were a wonderful appreciation for my work. Most of my friends and family were not too excited about my movie. I did get positive feedback but it was on a modest level. But then to be honored by the film industry/festivals, who
Women Cinemakers see so many movies every year, was and still is a wonderful feedback of appreciation. You/they are the professionals and if you/they honor my work then obviously it must be good. But you also must understand, it is a film about Berlin and the prophet in his own nation is seldomly heard. And how do you feel previewing a film before an audience? I get nervous. We have appreciated both the of your artistic research, so before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in cinema. For more than half a century, women have been discouraged from getting behind the camera, however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. Do you think it is harder for women artists to have their projects green lit today? Not from the point of quality. If it is a good movie it will take its positive journey. But business or money wise, I can imagine that it still might take some time for women to step into those positions who make certain decisions and hand out the contracts. It still is a very male dominated industry and men often have a strong
ego and sell themselves differently than women do. In spite of this I think it is vital that we keep our elegance and beauty and donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t turn bitter or negative. We are different and that is good. It is time to live it. What's your view on the future of women in cinema? There is a wonderful future, as new things are coming to the surface, which women can and will touch on in a unique way. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Natascha. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? I am right now starting with my new project: Munich â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The soul of a city How do you see your work evolving? It is quite challenging, to try, to bring the soul (mind, will and emotions) which is invisible, into a visual translation and that for a whole city. At times it is quite overwhelming, exhausting and difficult. But I have to trust, that I will be able. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant firstname.lastname@example.org
Women Cinemakers meets
Ans Volkers Lives and works in Leiden, the Netherlands
I am an independent Dutch video artist. In 2003 I completed my studies at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. For my graduation exhibition I was awarded with the Encouragement Prize 2003. Since 2007 I travel to Berlin twice a year to film there. Berlin is a city that inspires me beyond measure. I like to wander through the streets of this city and travel to different districts. Sometimes I meet a special moment along the way, that I then capture on film and edit into a video work of art.
An interview by Francis L. Quettier
you graduated from Royal Academy of Art in
and Dora S. Tennant
The Hague: how did these experiences address
your artistic research? Moreover, how does your direct the trajectory of
Hello Ans and welcome to
your artistic research?
we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions regarding your
First of all, thank you for introducing me to your
background. You have a solid formal training and
Even though I wanted to be an artist at a young age, I went to art school when I was 34 years old. I thought I wanted to be a painter. When I made my first video, I realized that this is the medium in which I can capture something that fascinates me. As can be seen in my first video work of art: ' I almost fell into the sky ' (1999). From that moment on I started to experiment with video and I realized that the medium itself fascinates me. It still does that to this day. For example, how something I film enters the frame and leaves it again. Like in my video art work ' Round the corner ' (2012). You can see various buildings on the corner of a street. The way each building enters the frame looks like a rising sun. Not that I had figured this out in advance, but it was the result of how I had filmed these buildings and edited the footage. If there's something I've learned in art school, it is watching my work in progress with an open mind. That this is more important than the goal I want to achieve. I could sometimes be so focused on the idea I wanted to materialize, that I didn't see what was happening underneath my hands. For this special edition of we have selected , a stimulating experimental film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of
this article that can be viewed at . Would you walk our readers through the genesis of ? In particular, does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment?
Sometimes I come upon a certain place that makes me stand still and watch. It is not a conscious choice, but an intuitive one. So actually, I do not know exactly why I choose to film at a certain place. When I look back the footage, then I can see if I can do something with it or not.
I love to travel and to wander through Berlin.
In 2011 I filmed at different railway stations in Berlin.
Then, this footage remained unused for 7 years.
sit on another platform, also on a built-in bench. At
Until I read about it in my own log and I decided to
the time I started filming a train stopped before me
review the footage. It was then that I realized I
on the platform. But as the train rides off I see the
could do something with it.
bench on the other platform in front of me. I was
It brought me back to the moment I was there. The
aware that I could be seen by the other people on
station was renovated at that time. You see that the
that platform. And in the reflection of the windows
bench on the platform is built-in until the middle. I
of the train, I saw what they could see. At the same
Women Cinemakers time you see the people on the opposite platform, between the wagons of the passing train. The video is edited in a mirror symmetrical way; the beginning is the end, and vice versa. has drawn heavily from : how did you select the location and what does fascinate you of Berlin? I don't know how I've chosen the location, intuitively probably. Mind you, ' Weerspiegeling ' was created from the location and not the other way around. I mean, first I found the location and filmed there, and during the editing process ' Weerspiegeling ' emerged. So there was no idea in advance. In 2006 I fell in love with Berlin. It's like romantic love, it's a mystery, I cannot explain. Actually, I don't want to know, because then I break the mystery. One day I thought that the video works of art I create can be a way to understand that mystery better. But it might also be the very reason why I go back to Berlin year after year to create video works of art. So it's only right that Berlin remains a mysterious city to me. What I can say is, I see the city of Berlin as a living being. The houses and the buildings have absorbed a lot of experiences through the years. Some streets
are filled with memories and sometimes I try to capture that atmosphere on video. But usually there is something about a particular location, which I can't explain. That intrigues me so, that I try to capture it on video. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, you are fascinated by : are you particularly interested in structuring your work in order to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations? I mean it literally, that you can look at something from different points of view. This is a fascination I have had for a long time. When I sit in a train for example, I imagine I am at a certain spot in the (urban) landscape looking at the train. Like in the video work of art ' When moments meet ' (2003 - 2008). Actually, I do that often, imagining how the environment looks like from the point of view I am looking at. I just love that kind of imagination. When I film, from one and then from the other point of view, and I combine those images, I myself disappear from the scene. What remains are the two different points of view. As you can see in ' Wanneer momenten samenvallen ' (2010). Except for ' Weerspiegeling '. I have filmed from one point of view, but due to the reflection you can see, at
the same time, a different view, in which I am also visible. This is not intended, but a starting point. It is up to the audience to have their own associations. I think I just let the public watch how I look at the world. I like making a video diptych. With that I can show two different points of view separately, and at the same time. As in the video art work ' Stil_leven ' (2013) where you see the front of a church and at the same time you can see what's going on at the back of the Church. In 2002 I created my first video diptych, I was still in art school. It has the title ' (...) ' and this video work of art was part of my final exam exhibition. For that I was awarded with the Encouragement Prize 2003. is a silent film: could you tell us something about this decision? Did you aim to capture the essential quality of the images? I am first of all a visual artist. Sometimes sound adds something to the video images and expands the imagination. Sometimes you are just distracted by the sound and then I remove it, so you can focus on the video images. The trajectory of your artistic research reveals your interest in
, in order to create such a proficient synergy between the liveness of performance art and the chance of condensing and enhancing such expressive potential, through the medium of video: the relationship between performance practice and video as a medium? Since the time I was in art school, I have had a heightened interest in exploring the boundaries of art. Together with a group of young art students, I have researched different borderlines. For example, the boundary between art and science. At one point, we wondered: can art emerge in the world around us, without the hand of an artist? Can something that is not intended as art, yet be art? I think it can but I don't know what it takes. At least, not exactly. Sometimes I see something in the public environment that looks as if it is staged; a play in reality. Like in my video work of art ' City observations ' (2011). It is extraordinary in all its details; A man and a woman sticking advertising posters to the wall of the tunnel of a S-bahn station. He wears the pants and she wears the vest. Gradually you see how much they are attuned to each other, while in the foreground trains and people pass by. It's almost like performance art, but this is not intended to be art.
A still from
Women Cinemakers I'm on my way when I see this happen. I decide to sit down on a bench on the platform, choose the frame and start filming. I move my camera along with the event. The only thing that I do with the footage is cut at the beginning, somewhere in the middle and at the end. I'll give it a title. Is this art? Maybe. What I do know is that it is worth to be seen and I like to draw attention to something that for most people remains unseen. Like in my last created video art work ' Five scooters, a shopping cart and a bicycle ' (2018). It looked as though someone had put down these objects especially in this way. The only thing I had to do was capture this on film. Actually it's something more than that, I have chosen for a certain way of filming and lifted it from reality, so that it has become a work of art in its own right. Deviating from traditional filmmaking, we daresay that your artistic research the elaborated by French notion of anthropologist Marc AugĂŠ, to highlinght the elusive instertitial points of convergence and between human interaction with environment. What are you hoping will trigger in the audience? That is an interesting question. I think Marc AugĂŠ and I share the same fascination for, as he calls
them, Not Places. During my final exam year at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague I filmed a shopping street. There's something melancholic about a place where many people come together, but not really meet each other. Over the years I see that I have often filmed on railway stations. I have actually never really wondered why. But now you show me Marc AugĂŠ's ' non lieu ', that could be an answer. How much importance does play in your practice? And how does fuel your creative process? In 2007 I went to Berlin to film there. This definitely had a reason: I wanted to work from my intuition and not from a conceived idea. To do this, I first had to let go of something and be confident I would find it in the reality around me. Somehow I knew that this was the way to do it. It's very important for me, not to search for something, but to try and find it. I can explain this: When I am in Berlin, I stay in the apartment of friends, they are also artists. In that apartment is a cabinet with drawing materials. One day I was looking for a pencil sharpener and I searched in the cabinet. I could not find one and stopped searching.
Women Cinemakers I realized that I had formed a picture in my head of how the sharpener looks like: small and made of metal. And then it occurred to me, there are different types of pencil sharpeners. When I returned to the cabinet, I saw the sharpener immediately. So if I observe the world around me open-minded, I am able to create art that I didn't figure out in advance. That gives me an enormous freedom. Berlin has become my muse. I know it will happen again and again, that I come across something that will eventually develop into a video work of art. Over the years your work has been showcased in several occasions and one of the hallmarks of your practice is the ability to establish with the viewers, who urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So we would like to pose a question about . Do you consider the issue of audience reception? And what do you hope to trigger in the spectatorship? I am an independent video artist. I love to create something that intrigues me. During the creative process, I am not concerned with the possible reaction of the public. I think it is important that the video work of art has been given its own reality, which is slightly different from the reality that I have filmed. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts,
Women Cinemakers Ans. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? The word says it all: Evolving is a natural process. I'll let it happen and I'll see it. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant email@example.com
Links to other video works of art to which I refer in the interview: ' I almost fell into the sky ' ' Round the corner ' ' Wanneer momenten samenvallen ' a 10 seconds video clip of ' When moments meet '. ' Stil_leven ' ' (â&#x20AC;Ś) ' ' City observations ' ' Five scooters, a shopping cart and a bicycle '
Website Ans Volkers: