Not Random Art - Page 42

I don't have any technical training. I have a very poor and very simple technique, and I work alone when I make videos. I use very few tools and poor tools. A sort of minimalism in the technic, even if I have a computer, a HD camera... I make simple shot (most of the time fixed), few editing.

It goes a little with the idea to take things as it happened. Serendipity is important in my work, I would like it to be one of its mainspring. I like to be surprised by my actions, things that appear, which appear to me, the links which arrive. The unplanned. Most of the time I start with an image, a very simple idea and it leads me somewhere. What interests me is the first time, which is funny when you think that I also work for the theater which is really the place of repetition, of making things again and again. The links are often coming afterall. As for I wash my hands of it which only came from the desire to shoot a grenade, for its beauty, its material, its organicity. And then things take on meaning and thus more density. By a series of chances and accidents too.

I like to keep the first version of things, and not to do more tests and then keep the best. What is important is what happened, with his defects and accidents, its gaps. I like this sentence “carries your stains on the outside of your clothing”. Sometimes I use rules: for Actions series which includes the vehemence video, that was to reverse the images, which produces an effect of strangeness and it is in a way an attempt of reversibility of things, or may be just the introduction of a dissonance, a doubt, my own doubt. Also, reversal certainly has to do with the issue of memory.

For the R or the statues series, which deals with a family genealogy from the death of my grandfather, the rule came while making it: to build images from a soundtrack and to use only still images (some collected on the internet).

How do you see the relationship between emotional and intellectual perception of your work? In particular, how much do you consider the immersive nature of the viewing experience?

What interests me in life is reality. The reality of an actor and of the theater stage, the real of an event, object, situation. Being there, the research of the present. Even if I never succeed. Maybe that's why I began by wanting to be an actress, this art of presence.

My first video was the first reading of Raymond Federman “The voice on the closet”, under the eye of the camera until I lost my own voice. I needed to say it in order to be able to read it. Basically what I was filming was my own discovery of the text. But also the violence of this text without any punctuation, telling the locking up of the author in a closet as a child to escape a nazi raid.

There is a little dialog in the movie “Alphaville” from Jean-Luc Godard,

- How is the truth?

- This is between appearing and disappearing

I realize that I didn't really answer the question by saying that...

Multidisciplinarity seems to be a crucial aspect of your approach and it`s remarkable the way you are capable of creating such effective symbiosis between elements from different techniques, manipulating language and recontextualizing images and concepts. While crossing the borders of different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

I have always worked with several mediums, from my first theater show. It is not really a choice but a kind of evidence for me. That is like cooking, using lots of different elements / ingredients. Not to mix would be like cooking with one single ingredient. I draw, make photo, video, installation, theater-performances, and often mix them. Maybe it is because I am trained in anything, I have no specialization, so I'm really good in anything, that does not mean I am good for nothing... I tinker, I'm interested in the do-it-yourself. Most of the time when I have an idea, the medium comes at the same time. And each time it is a different one. I don't choose it because I think it will be better for my idea. It is not strategic but much more intuitive. I was very happy to take time drawing these last year, because of the particular relation to time I have doing that. All the series Either the well was very deep, was like a long dive inside our own inner well. But I discovered it little by little, while I was making it.

Before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

have no specialization, so I'm really good in anything, that does not mean I am good for nothing... I tinker, I'm interested in the do-it-yourself. Most of the time when I have an idea, the medium comes at the same time. And each time it is a different one. I don't choose it because I

a human being in dynamically changing, unstable times? In particular, does your cultural substratum/identity form your aesthetics?

all started at the Academy of Fine Arts in Trondheim, Norway, in the mid 90's and with my research in Video Art and the History of Video Art. During that period, I experimented with the cameras available at the time, such as Hi8, Super-8, and DV. I learned how to edit using Avid and produced numerous small experimental art films. Conceptually, I was inspired by video artists such as Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, and Bruce Naumann amongst many others. I used effects and experimental sound in my films. It was a very exciting time for my development, and I explored all kinds of filmic work, from 80's video art to more experimental directors of the time, such as Peter Greenaway, Jim Jarmusch, and Hal Hartley as well as the greats such as Federico Fellini, Luis Buñuel, and Jean-Luc Godard. So my work was shaped by this strange hybrid of influences: everything from animated MTV shorts to deeply conceptual post modernistic cinema.

Later on, I started to build video installations, combined with photography, objects and performance. From this, I started to become involved with stage art and independent dance and theatre. Several directors have given me the time and space to experiment using multiple video projectors, and my work has become an active element onstage, sometimes interacting with the performers. Every project has been useful in some way for exploring and refining my ideas. Now in my capacity as film director, I'm able to call upon my experiences gained from working as a cross disciplinary artist.

Your artworks are revolving around the problem of social identity and cultural affiliations. Is there any particular way you would describe your identity as an artist but also as a human being in dynamically changing, unstable times? In particular, does your cultural substratum/identity form your aesthetics?

I belong to a minority group in society and that identity is always a part of me and my work. I don’t believe my artworks are changing due to unstable times but that I'm working my way through a theme and a method over time. The content of my work is becoming more and more personal and I think that is because I dare to be more honest with myself. What I find interesting to work with is in my immediate presence. When I collaborate with stageartists, we often focus on a current political theme. In these collaborations I work more as an art activist and have a broader openess for the aesthetics. My work is then more experimental with research on different ways to develop live presentations in the space.

Could you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about race

and ethnic identity in visual culture?

“Revolted by the Thought of Known Places… Sweeney Astray” by Joan Jonas was one of the first performance installations that really made a huge impact on me. I was living in Paris during this time, in the early 90s, with a lot of influences from different cultures. It became the starting point of my own work. Joan Jonas practice has explored ways of seeing, the rhythms of ritual, and the authority of objects and gestures. Jonas continues to find new layers of meanings in themes and questions of gender and identity that have fueled her art for over thirty years. She is a great inspiration still today.

It is impossible to avoid the topic of body consciousness, embodied emotions and the image of body and personal identity that we see in your practice. What is the function of the identity appearing in your artworks – is it a canvas used to present your ideas or rather the subject of the art? What inspired you to use this as a theme in your practice?

I have been developing my visual imagery since I began studying art and film - from conceptual thinking, composition, using light and colour in different ways, through all the different techniques I've utilised over the years in my work and in my collaborations with stage artists such as dancers, musicians and actors. My approach is always developing through exploring these things. Visual imagery in essence is your way of experiencing what you see and transforming it. This is my world that I want to share and express through my art. The body consciousness, embodied emotions and the image of body and personal identity is part of this visual imagery, the emotional essence in my practice. Always present and always developing in different themes and projects.

Marina Abramovic stated: You see, what is my purpose of performance artist is to stage certain difficulties and stage the fear the primordial fear of pain, of dying, all of

which we have in our lives, and then stage them in front of audience and go through them and tell the audience, 'I'm your mirror; if I can do this in my life, you can do it in yours.'Can you relate anyhow to these words?

de-identify myself, by losing my roots, my culture, I would be very happy. Unfortunately the human being does'nt choose the place where he is born. He grows up in a society that automatically identifies, through education, culture, family... More than ever I think it's more important to go on a way of self-knowledge with the aim to meet “the other”.. This other without which we can not exist. It's the same for the artist. It is more important for me to be focused on my practice than to try to define it according to esthetic criteria of identification. It's probably the reason i like to remember the painter Matisse who said or wrote that an artist must never be prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation.

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Could you talk a little about experiences that has influence the way you currently relate yourself to your artworks?

All my way is influenced by encounterings.

It began by the meeting with my professor of literature at school. More than giving French or Literature classes, she brought us to discover texts, movies, plays, visual artworks and to think about on what we saw or read.. Thanks to her that I met Pierre Vincke, a theatredirector who was worjink in the tradition of Grotowski ... Both of them have led me to go to theater school. In this school I had meetings. Meetings with artists but also and especially human beings that made me discover. I always need o discover rather than to master a practice. It's probably the reason my encounter with Monica Klingler and Boris Nieslony was decisive for me and led me on the path of Performance Art which is a form still difficult to define. Each performance artist has a different definition of what it is...

Could you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about race and ethnic identity in visual culture?

No I don't have a specific artwork that has influenced my artistic practise but many.

I'm influenced by some philsophers as well as poets or musicians or dancers or visual artists but also by some places or landscapes or atmospheres ... For some years, I was used for example to go to India where I was used to follow some traditionnal muscians or to learn bharatanatyam and practice vipassana meditation... Of course this experience has impacted my art work.... This brought me to think and work differently... My experience in India brought me to discover traditionnal strong art and paradoxally to the way of Performance Art. But there I see one common point: to make no separation between art and life and to be here and now, without projection on the future.

It's difficult for me to speak about race and ethnic identity. But I can say that today we miss more and more this notion of “to be here and now” which is more present in some cultures ... By practising Performance Art, it's my way to be connected to this way of thinking. And even in this field actually it's more and more difficult. The society and the art world brings us more and more to plan in advance, to define our work, more than to do. Just to do. To do what we deeply need.

And of course, my encountering with Black Market International and later the notion of Open Source or Open session via PAErsche have also a big impact on my work. When we go on that, each of us perform by sharing time and space but without trying to convince each other on some common way. This is for me a wonderfull way how we can meet each other, regardless of our origin, our race or our “identity”...

Many of your works carry an autobiographical message. Since you transform your experiences into your artwork, we are curious, what is the role of memory in your artistic productions? We are particularly interested if you try to achieve a faithful translation of your previous experiences or if you rather use memory as starting point to create.

My memory is clearly a starting point to create. I don't have any autobiographical message. I use my personnal experience ( what I feel , what I see, what I learn, what I ear...) to work. It's a motor or a material. I'm not able to paint, so I can't do something with red or white or yellow or black colors. All I have is life, a body alive. And I need to do something with that...

My sensation about life sometimes is too intense then I need to transform this intensity in some action. Some artistic action... If people can take something from this action this is great... but I don't want to give them “a specific message” or to control the translation of my experience.