robertogreco + aaronstewart-ahn + digital + filmmaking   2

Time is Part of the Work: An Interview with Agnes Varda — Bright Wall/Dark Room
"For a while she sold DVDs of her movies to visitors from around the world through the window, living out a daydream, she says, of being a shopkeeper."



"I like to reconciliate black and white and color, the past and the present, the digital and the authentic. It’s like trying to make everything simple for me. It’s not ‘that time’ or ‘this time’. It’s mixing time and technique.”"



"This is a recurring idea in her work, that beyond the representational space of a film frame, an edit, a single image, a gallery space, there is an outside world only implied or imagined or rendered as unknown history."



"All images are questions. if you look at everything, a painting, an image, you can question… The way you look at it, what it brings to your mind, if it reminds you of something. My god. It does something. You could get that from one image, and there are so many. So you have to choose.

A snapshot is a real mystery. Because you do them in the street somewhere and really each time when I look at them I say who are they? From where are they coming? Why are they together? Maybe they hate each other, maybe they love each other. It’s even - in a magazine when they show all these things about war, about peace, about people in the streets, even you see them in demonstrations, I am always questioning: who are they?"



[Q: "A lot of the art you’re making asks the viewer’s imagination to be a participant…"]

"Well I ask people to participate, because an image you know… If you close the light, and you all go out, an image is nothing. It’s nothing. If nobody looks at an image it’s a dead piece of paper.

One viewer is enough. Somebody looks at the image, one viewer is enough. Two or three is fine. A thousand is, you know, in a film if you run the film in an empty theater, it’s nothing. But one spectator is enough."



[Q: "So what about our modern culture of photographs and videos? Last night at your art opening everyone was taking photos constantly of everything."]

"Well that’s interesting, cause you know when I was young it meant something to have a camera. It changed so much that now not only people start to have cheap cameras, but they all have smartphones and people do photos all the time. And it’s interesting because most, when they do selfies, they want to prove to themselves they were there.

It’s interesting because it’s saying “I need proof in my life”. When I am traveling, or I meet someone, people say “can I take a picture with you” like this [she mimes standing next to her and making a selfie]. And it has been studied by sociologists and historians because it’s something very new in civilization, that not only images are everywhere and easy to make, but we want to have memories of ourselves. So people do that.

When at the time, when I was young, people would bring a child to a photographer. And the child would be on a shiny pedestal, and the baby lying on its belly, or sitting, very posed, and it was an act, you know?

I even made a short film about it called Ydessa. And at the time, in Germany, before the war, they would always take a teddy bear with them and go into the studio with the teddy bear. The child or the couple would pose. It was like an art that would last for their whole life, they would have a photo. But the questions in this film are everywhere eight years later.

It’s very democratic in a way but still, some people now think of photos differently. And a lot of people are on Instagram and they put a lot of images, beautiful images, private images. They're beautiful. I look at a lot of Instagram pictures of people I don’t know. And I say, “Oooh he went there and did that, or she did this?” A woman that I knew, but I lost for years, and suddenly there are images of Mexico - she must have been traveling there. She’s in Mexico! Oh! And then she is back.

So it’s like in a way it becomes transparent. Like you leave information about yourself. Like all this Twitter and Facebook. Do you use them?"



"Sometimes I think in a selfish way, you know, we cannot grab all the misery and carry it in our bags.

Sometimes I feel we have to do what I feel I have to do as an artist. To do things. Maybe sharing with people. Sharing emotion, sharing information. But, I am just, too… I cannot change the world. I can only change some relation between some people in the cinema. It’s a very modest work. Touching very few people. I mean it’s, we have no possibility to do much more than the very modest work of artists. That’s the way I feel."



"I like to make films about people who aren’t spoken about.

What I think is because I know… The way you are involved in what’s happening in the world is relative. Because I cannot make a change about the desires of millions of people that want to move.

I’ve been hurt, in the heart, just by watching these images when they are on a boat and they die in the ocean and sometimes they are saved. But we cannot save them. We cannot go and take another boat and save three people and give them food and bring them home.

So we are assisting as a terrible spectacle all the hunger and migration in the world.

So I say, as artists, you can only do what we know how to do, which includes friendship, sharing, transmission."



"I have a formula: I switched from old filmmaker to young visual artist. Because people want definition. You are this or that. And I like to feel that I’m everything. I’ve had three lives: as a photographer, a filmmaker, and as a visual artist.

I am in time. I’m old. I’ve been crossing time for years. I love the idea that even with a bad memory I can pick something which is years ago or someone I met years ago and I am here, and I enjoy it."



[Q: "I ask her one final question: In all your work as a photographer, as a filmmaker, as an artist, what have you come to discover is the difference between media and memory?"]

"I don’t know, because you can see in your own life and use your memory to remember what you have. That’s not my point. My point is to get a piece of the past and bring it into my life of today.

So I don’t have the feeling that I wish to tell you my memories. I’ve done that in some of my films. What I do now, is always: make it alive now. I’ve been loving the seaside since I’m young. And it’s set where I did my first film, La Pointe Courte. By bringing the sea into a new medium, into the art world, it makes it alive. It’s not my past. I don’t care so much. I’ve been through a lot of things in my life. What I love is to make the now and here very important. That’s how I stand life.

It’s sharing what I do with people. My work is to propose, to propose the notion, to propose surprises, my view. That’s life. That’s what we call… The artist."
agnèsvarda  2017  aaronstewart-ahn  interviews  time  memory  memories  film  filmmaking  photography  audiencesofone  instagram  twitter  facebook  socialmedia  digital 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Aaron Stewart-Ahn Talks His 25-Year Relationship with Wim Wenders’ Until the End of the World | The Talkhouse Film
"It’s the kind of filmmaking endeavor one only tries when one has made two back-to-back masterpieces such as Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire and one has just enough leverage to even try realizing a film that’s unprecedented, batshit crazy and in love of its pursuit of the epic as much as the possibilities of cinema.

But, for me, that grand vision wasn’t fulfilled in the movie I saw. Something was missing, clumsy, off-key. My love for the movie was qualified, something I kept private. I was certain there was more there, but the Internet that existed then couldn’t fulfill my curiosity about a narrative larger than the film itself, about how it came into being and what happened along the way. This other movie became a dream, something to pursue, a key to a door I couldn’t open. And sometimes I wonder if this isn’t responsible for the profound, unceasing love I had for something so imperfect.

As an example of how information about films used to move: it wasn’t until the next millennium that I discovered there was a director’s cut of Until the End of the World. At some point, I was given an Italian DVD of the director’s cut, this version of the film I’d always dreamed about, but could not bring myself to watch it. It didn’t seem fair to the movie’s spirit to do it that way. I had to hold out, wait for the day to see it projected in a movie theater, turn it into some sort of pilgrimage. For more than half of my life, I lived with this movie only in my head, with no copy, no way of watching it. Only as I write this do I realize how strongly it affected me. It was something more than a movie: a séance, vision, prophecy, a call of longing that, I can admit, changed my life. And somehow decades went by with that faint hope, but no opportunity to see it in a theater.

Twenty-four years later I have finally seen the director’s cut of Until the End of the World. I’m now certain it’s a kind of a masterpiece. It has redrawn this map I have of life running parallel with movies. I can see how we got from film prints to live-streaming cellphones. At five hours in length, it is overwhelmingly audacious to the point of leaving you with an exasperated, exhausted grin. Nothing else has ever been made like it, and cinema is now old enough that nothing will ever be made like it again. The whole world is inside it, a broken ladder leading to who we are today."



"It’s a funny thing to admit that a film can change your life, maybe because more of them ought to and that’s what we’re truly fearful of admitting. A few days ago, on a different sleepless night, here in the future, I watched Alejandro Jodorowsky on a digital video direct from a hotel room in Santiago, Chile pleading that, at 86 years old, he was doing everything he could to fight against the death of auteur cinema, despite the pain in his bones, and how movies ought to change someone’s life. It’s a terrifying thought, one that leaves me ashamed, because I don’t think I’m brave enough to believe that filmmaking can do that, and most of these days I am convinced auteurism is dead, that this film was one of the last great auteurist movies.

But a few years after watching Until the End of the World, trapped in a small U.S. town next to a military base, working as a teenage dishwasher in a Chinese restaurant with no college prospects, I read an interview with Wim Wenders in which his advice to the young people of America was to get a passport. A few months later, I left the U.S. and didn’t return for eight years.

I admit now that a music video I directed in 2008 was essentially my attempt to reverse engineer or shamelessly rip off Until the End of the World. Our small film crew traveled circled the globe in two weeks. I had to comprehend in my own small way if filmmaking was that limitless.

I know these things are directly related, and I don’t want to admit it. But yeah, a movie can change your life, and I left that small town, went everywhere, my world opened up, and I met people all over the world, heard their stories, even once saw kangaroos outside an abandoned video store in Western Australia, and I’m so goddamn grateful for it."
aaronstewart-ahn  2015  film  wimwenders  untiltheendioftheworld  1999  digital  solveigdommartin  sciencefiction  scifi  filmmaking  1991  auteurism  auteurtheory 
august 2015 by robertogreco

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