In conversation with Liz Atkin

Last Friday I met with the inspiring artist Liz Atkin, to have a talk about her practice, my final showcase and making artistic choices.

At the beginning of my current master study Creative Practice Liz gave a workshop during the module Performance Making in which she made us come out of our heads and into our bodies by using the technique collage.

I had planned to take you all even a step further during the workshop, by letting you have a three dimensional response to your initial paper collage.’
However, time flew by while we were working and before we knew it it was time to pack-up, but the process did not stop there for me. At arriving home I immediately started to make three other collages over the next week and I even used it in choosing material for my collaboration on PERFORMANCE with Libby Wade. This rediscovering of the collage technique opened my eyes.
Throughout my creative practice, and even as a kid, I have used the collage technique to create in-depth work. The technique allows you to access your intuition and create a state of flow in which you create without right or wrong whilst emerging yourself completely in the doing.

During our conversation Liz gave some great insight on work processes and made me have a real brain fart when I discovered that I have been using collage in not only the editing phase of  my final showcase, but also during the filming and designing, yes even running and writing phase of my final project. This discovery will definitely become a thread through my thesis writing.
She encouraged me, much like my tutor Tom Paine, to call myself an artist first and let the medium I use to create my work be no more defining than a means or tool to present the ideas I have.

Check out Liz Atkin‘s artwork and have a listen to her latest interview with the BBC at 35:14min.

Liz_Atkin© ANNE• 2014 Photo & work by © ANNE• 2013

On An Empty Stomach

Very exciting!

Tomorrow my final Master showcase On An Empty Stomach @ Bonnie Bird Theatre, London.

Concept, film and scenography: Anne Verheij
Sound composition: Cassie Kinoshi

On An Empty Stomach © ANNE• 2014

Work in progress during tech day.

On An Empty Stomach © ANNE• 2014

On An Empty Stomach © ANNE• 2014Photo’s by © ANNE • 2014

Goltzius & the Pelican Company – Peter Greenaway

Last Friday I had the pleasure to meet Peter Greenaway and ask him a question in person after seeing his new film ‘Goltzius & the Pelican Company’ at the National Gallery in London.

Greenaway himself gave the introduction to his new film:
This film carries a notice of voyeurism and eroticism. It’s about the question of taboo. What is a taboo ‘then’ and what is a taboo ‘now’? The film is very self confessional in a way of being a film about a film about a film, but it all doesn’t recedes ofcourse in the 16 hundreds. “I don’t think there is any point in making a film about the past unless you are trying to say something about the ‘now’.”
The film is about the contemplation and understanding of being visually literate. It is about the idea of what does it ‘mean’ or how is it operating and is it as relative ‘now’ as it was ‘then’? People of the 16  hundreds might have been more visually literate than now, since the a lot of people could not read where they now can. But then what does reading mean?
Do we not need a cinema that is truly ‘cinema cinema cinema’ rather that an illustrated text or recorded theatre or some other phenomena that doesn’t really allow the excitement of cinema to be really developed.

Personally, I thought the film was a carefully composed comedy of sorts, that plays with our prejudices about our greatest ‘sin’ sex. Depending on where you are in your own personal development this film will have a certain impact subject wise, in which the visual did do nothing more than showing you your own truths. A certain dry humour took its presence through the serious choices of language, thick with accent, and the matter of fact attitude of theatre scenes created within the film scenes. The editing was ingenious starting at the very beginning of the film with the intro titles, during the collages of the many locations, up until the end titles. The acting was very much that of theatre, blurring the expectations on film acting.

During the Q&A Peter discussed:
The interpretation of the image. “If I may make a statement: there is no such thing as history, there is only historians. Most of our history, curiously, is textual. All our history books are based on text, because many people thought the image to be un-trust worthy: too much within the freedom of the imagination of the interpreter.
Why do we mistrust the image so much? Why are the English so dubious about the notion of the image? Is it because they celebrate themselves as great liberaty of literature itself?
We do in a curious way have very text based cinema. Virtually every film that you have seen in the cinema has started as a text. They are illustrative. Apart from the obvious Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter that are in fact books, even Lars von Trier’s, Goddard’s and Eisenstein’s films start from text. We are a 118 years into cinema, shouldn’t we have learned by now that cinema really has its own values, its own characteristics? We’ve been looking at paintings here. But paintings only have practically recently removed themselves from a literally textural background. A key painting is that of Monet a sunrise over Westminster at the Thames, the first painting that really did not have text as its originating impulse.
Cinema is not a good narrative situation; if you want to tell stories be an author not a filmmaker. Story is not important, where you have come away with is something else. That something in particularly is cinematic and an audio-visual experience has to be for the future health, prosperity, life and motions of the cinema ‘visual’.
Literature has so many things to play with: the theatre, lyric poetry, and the novel. So why don’t we get on with what cinema does best, which is to portray a notion of ourselves in the world in visual images. Whether we succeed in that, I personally think that the intentions are honourable and creditable.
Umberto Eco suggests that in this digital revolution, which he hardly supports, it now is the time for the text master to stand aside and allow some prioritizing of the notion of the image masters/mistresses. Eco would say: ‘lets reconsolidate and reconsider the way and means in which we organize our ideas through visual means that not always rely on text.’
I could go on and on about this for ages, but let me just ask you all a question: Who believes in the audience that he or she is visually literate? By visual literate I mean you probably have to be trained. Rembrandt said: just because you have got eyes, does not mean you can see’. Every single one of you who did not drop out of the womb talking you had to be taught how to talk. And that didn’t come easily now did it? Visual education is one of the richness’s of being a human being.”

After the Q&A I ran into Greenaway in the hallway and asked him about his take on purely visual led films:
I was wondering, I’m currently working on my final Master showcase, and I do find I have to be able to express myself in text / words rather than in visuals.

“But do you really believe that in your hart or in your head?”

No, I don’t believe that. That’s why I’m making a visual film or lets say video, although a lot of people then comment that it is video art rather than cinema as a genre. Do you have a take on that?

“Well I don’t think that there is any difference really. When I was making films in the 1980ies there was a stupid English concern about making films for television or films for cinema. There really is no difference. So the notion of video and film are all the same thing. It is just a journalistic convenience that made the separation.”

Go and see this one of a kind film.

Goltzius & the Pelican Company

Composing rhythm with Cassie Kinoshi

Today was the first day where my composer Kinoshi and I sat down for my final showcase film ‘On An Empty Stomach’, to bring our new film and sound footage together.

And my gosh it is exciting!
Like I wrote in my previous post about sound, I have been recording sounds like I was recording film. I had envisioned to make a rhythm of these sounds, but did not now how to start and I asked Kinoshi from a very early stage if she would like to get involved in the project. And am I glad I asked:
She literally took my sound material to the next level!

You need to check out her work!
Cassie Kinoshi

composingPhoto by © ANNE • 2014

Take 2#

At the moment I’m the middle of editing my footage for my final showcase. There are a few tings that are demanding my attention.

Firstly patience. Patience for the time it takes to render footage uploading, in between adjustments and transporting it. That in consequence makes it very hard to let go of one idea and move to the other. Where I change canvas or paint completely over the existing canvas while painting, I try desperately to make it all happen in the one canvas on my computer screen.

Secondly, I started to try imagining upfront what it was that I wanted to make, very unlike the footage I actually shot. Making me often come to a complete stop in the process of creating. Where the footage is always filmed in the momentum of going from point A to point B and in one shot, the editing seems to demand a different approach. Getting me out of the flow of the momentum.

And lastly, I’m in search of the tension span of my footage. Instead of using just 2 or 3 clips, I am playing with 5 to 10 clips to not repeat my previous project. Even when I just use 2 clips, it appears there is something missing in the process. Since I do not work with a narrative I have to surrender to the rhythm and direction that my footage takes me. Trying to put them into a pre-thought-out form feels awkward and clashing. Footage that excited me starts to look boring and choices on which footage gets its full time on the canvas is becoming more of a torture than a discovery.

This is why I decided to come back to the tools that I use while painting.
– Collage to play around with the footage in no particular order.
– Making multiple new canvasses to start from scratch.

Taking in account the scenographic design of my installation and taking queue’s of its rhythm, always keeping in mind that things will happen between point A and point B.

Photo by © ANNE • 2014

take 2#