Erika interviewed by Viktor
V: What are you going to be presenting at this exhibition? E: I’ll be presenting five videos I made the past 3 years, an overview of my practice up to now.
V: What kind of films are they? It’s difficult to categorize these videos. The exhibition is an overview of the different film format I am experiencing with. I play with formats and categories in filmic cultures and question this language by using it to interact with my surrounding and staging people I encounter in my life. My videos are definitely showing a sense of documentary, but I use this way of filming to question the notion of truth and reality in images.
V: So this is going to be a mini retrospective? Yes, exactly. The show is a good insight into my practice.
V: It’s the first time you bring these works together, right? Do you think that this exhibition is site specific? It’s the first time I bring the work together indeed. I had to take into account the configuration of the site but the exhibition is not site specific. The location is not part of the work, and the work doesn’t depend on the site.
V: It’s the first time the work will be together? Yes
V: Why do you want to put them together? What do you hope it will communicate to an audience by placing them all together? Bringing the videos together creates a dialogue. They all come from an intimate approach of filming. I question my position and the performativity of the subjects filmed in different ways. It is interesting for me to see all the persons I have been filming in these past years in the same room, performing, telling stories, becoming part of this dialogue I try to create. My presence as a filmmaker is also important in each work and placing them in one exhibition gives a sense of how I play with my presence as the director of these videos.
V: So there is a specific way you would like visitors to see the work? It’s not like putting them on a website. The presentation plays an important role in the way the audience will perceive the work. Watching a video on a computer or in a cinema changes the perspective and the way of looking at the work. I try to play with these different modes of presentation in this exhibition. Moreover, having films or videos displayed in an exhibition emphasizes its conceptual approach I have to video making in contrast to having a video screened in a cinema, where I believe the audience tends to focus on the narrative aspect, as they expect to watch a movie in the cinematographic sense. There is a relationship between the location or the way a video is displayed and the expectations an audience has. These expectations strongly influence the way the video is being considered.
V: So…Do you think that a certain kind of audience will be interested? Do you think it will attract certain people? Although I believe that my work speaks an universal language, the audience needs to be ready to engage while visiting. The videos are not necessarily attractive in an esthetical sense, there are construction of narratives and I am asking my audience to sit and watch, have the time to focus,
V: Why do you feel sort of driven to work with certain themes? I question the idea of identity and self-representation, performing the self. I am interested in how people are ready to share a bit about themselves with me and the audience. I consider my camera as a tool to meet people. Many times, the act of filming creates a barrier between the filmmaker and its subject. I like to overcome this barrier. Because, usually the people I film already know it is easy to make them feel at ease with the camera, they quickly trust me. The identity of someone has nuances and complexities. I like to confront the different elements of identities and decipher these complexities by questioning the performativity and the reality of the subject being filmed.
V:Do you have references? Other artists you are interested I am interested in the tradition of documentary filmmaking and the question of performativity within cinema and film. I can get very inspired by watching TV, by meeting people, enter different communities and observe their interactions. There is an anthropologist approach to my way of working. I also really like the early experiemental art video works of the 60’s-70’s, the videos of Andy Wahrol, Bas Jan Ader or Baltazari,
What are your plans after this exhibitions? Do you hope that this exhibition will give you some closure?
It is always fruitful to get a bit of feedbacks from the reactions of people. I am sensible to how people react when watching my videos and I become more aware of what I am communicating. It is also interesting how people make you realise deep things about your work that you were not even aware of.
Is there anything that you would like to communicate to the audience? My ultimate goal is to provoke questions. I like that my audience is not sure about what they are watching. I also aim to speak about universal emotions and notions as relationships.
Would you say that your work is autobiographical?
Although my work is intimate, I wouldn’t call it autobiographical. For now, I haven’t share any information about me, about my life in a narrative sense, as Sophie Call could do for example by staging events from her own life. The videos are about witnessing an action at a certain moment, while the camera is recording. There is no attempt to explain a past or a present of someone’s life. I am trying to keep a mystery about who I am but also about the subjects I am filming, although it might be that one day I decide to do something autobiographical.