After some deliberation, I’ve decided to separate the film and photography work I do for others (artists and other clients), from my own artistic practice. I’ve named the company ‘This Era’. The name stems from the ambition for the company to be involved in projects that reflect this day and age. To be a cinematic support for artistic voices unique to this era and perhaps, not heard enough.
To celebrate the work I’ve done until now and give a clear visual intention of the type of work I’d like to do more of, I made a trailer, edited to Kimiko Ishizaka’s rendition of Bach’s ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Fugue No. 24 in B Minor’.
To learn more about This Era and my aims for the company, visit thisera.art.
A long walk in the desert
It’s been years since I made this. I still dig it. A lot of sampling – my own voice, bits and pieces of existing music, synthesizers. When I listen to this song I imagine a lone cowboy in a Mexican desert, slowly shuffling along on his faithful horse, on the lookout for water and perhaps, a kind soul.
I don’t quite remember why I titled the song ‘Stop Giving A Fuck’. I think it had something to do with the fact that at the time, 7 years back, I was worrying quite a lot. Worrying about school, whether I was walking the path I should be walking, worrying about life altering choices I had made. I think that in this regard, I’ve grown quite a lot since then. I’ve come to accept change, good and bad, as a fundamental part of life. And I’ve come to welcome change and not look back all too much, as more often than not, things evolve in certain directions without our thoughtful consent, many things are not within our control.
Spectre-19 is a multi-channel film installation that takes place in both the material and digital public space. It mixes elements of fiction and documentary film to depict how the collective subconscious processes the social and societal disruption caused by Covid-19.
Every Friday and Saturday in August 2020, from 10 pm to midnight, the work was projected from the windows of Lab 111 in Amsterdam Oud-West. An online screening could be viewed during the same hours at www.spectre-19.tv.
During this period, the work changed and grew, refusing to take on a definite shape. The 16mm black and white images were filmed weekly, developed in my darkroom and reassembled for the next screening. Spectre-19 unfolded in time like the shadowy afterimage on the retina, after it has been exposed to a glaring reality.
The treehouse in the forest shown in one of the scenes in Spectre-19 was made by artist Talisa Kiyiya. Spectre-19 was made possible by Marijn van Haaster, David Wasch, Joppe Harinck, Onno Petersen, Edwin Schouten, cult cinema LAB111, independent film production company Submarine and live streaming platform WpStream. Spectre-19 is supported by The Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK).
Every Now and Then
During the making of this film, I realized that the limitations of found-footage film are its strengths. The inability to pursue continuity editing forces you to combine images you would not have in a traditional narrative setup, and produces unexpected results. It converts the editing room into a creative playground where the world you are creating unfolds piece by piece, through every choice you make.
Perhaps the result can best be described as dreamlike. Logic is not entirely absent, but never its driving force. Meaning is present, but never fixed. I like the idea of dreams being our way of sorting and processing the things we experience during waking life. ‘Every Now and Then’ may have served me in this sense as well. The selection of images was done intuitively, yet somewhere along the way the edit came to resemble a narrative: a boy is witness to the injustice in the world and aspires to help. Yet he is paralyzed by the violence seemingly inherent to his own kind.
The film reflects doubts I have on the ability of mankind to think of himself as a species (with the aim to survive and prosper as a species), as opposed to thinking of himself as a singular being (that perpetuates conflict with other beings in order to achieve and maintain prosperity for himself). In other words, shifting from a thinking focused on competition, toward a thinking focused on cooperation.
Even though I strongly believe the atrocities in the world should be reported and talked about and not neglected or hidden, I’m painfully aware of the fact that the amount of images I’m exposed to on a daily basis, numbs me to their content. War, poverty, death and decay become abstract familiar ‘things’. There’s an al too real danger of becoming cynical and the cynic is difficult to convince to stay focused on prosperity on a scale that expands beyond his immediate surroundings and short-term personal gains.
I want to believe art has the power to sensitize the desensitized. Either by exposing the mechanisms here described or by using images in new and unexpected ways to enable emotional response. Both methods may clear paths toward enabling the ability to consider an image worth discussing. Discussion may revive ideals.
El Ausente is a short film about a garden that aims to persuade its inhabitants, visitors and onlookers to disengage from thinking about past (events and feelings) and future (desirable states and outcomes) and instead engage with the ever available present.
Its images are accompanied by a voice that speaks seductively amidst a discordant melody of analogous and disparate sounds. The voice and sounds give shape to an ongoing friction between ambition, indecisiveness and acceptance.
El jardin canta
No puedes escuchar?
Tienes algo mejor que hacer?
Basta de buscar
The garden is singing
What’s it singing?
You can’t listen?
Got something better to do?
Are you sure?