Interview made by email with Kate E. Hinshaw and Ж for Analog Cookbook publication (2019) Publish on Analog Cookbook #1 (Volume 1) available here
Kate: Who are you and what do you do?
Ж: I’m not sure how to answer this…The first thing that made myself interested in working with moving-image was – back to 2008- the perception that both, film media and thought, are time based.
Simultaneously there was a permanent interest in investigating the sensual aspect of thought with/within film media. As we know, thought, ideas, immaterial cultures aren’t individuals constructions/creations.
So this starting point enabled a reflection about subjectivity that cross the subject center/oriented perspective. This kind of existence goes across and beyond oneself. This subjectivity ‘happens’ emerges as a flux trough the “inside” and “outside”. The Klein bottle could be a good image for that form of existence its never ending process would be an intriguing syntheses o are possible answer to your “who are you” question!
The constant process, the flux, more than one fixed “self”, to transit and live in this state of becoming would be a interesting way to start to think about the “self” idea. As we know ”The subject does not belong to the world: rather, it is a limit of the world.”
So my work is somehow this limit. This humble intent to hear/cohabit with/those forces, this matter-energy-information transiting, and to give a support, to find a materiality for this sympoiesis- what simply means- “making with”.
I’ve worked with films, installations, public art, film programs, counter-spaces, texts and books publishing in order to establish this relations, to stabilize those intensive forces into tangible/readable/danceable : ) temporary and intensive structures.
Kate: What inspired Revém Natura?
Ж: Revém Natura took the form of a outdoor film installation, conformed by two super8 film projectors, two west oriented “prepared screens” and the privileged presence of the pacific ocean. For this project it was important to synchronize and to be oriented by the sunset. Because of the peculiar light, the atmosphere created, the common contemplation moment. But also, because of the direct light illuminating the back of the screens needed in order do generate shadows forming texts and a fix image. The place/space where the work was done influenced a lot it’s production! The first idea was that it will happen only once. It was an situated film.
Made possible by those specific time-space conditions, not in the “site-specific “sense ( it has lost it’s potency when captured by the art-market), rather in this symmetric, dynamic, non self limited and more “symbiogenetic” mode.
The work was made in the context of the research for my thesis called “CI NE- Cine Natural Expandido” translated into English it will sound like “Natural Expanded Cinema”.
The Amerindian perspectivism – this anthropological-political radical concept developed by Eduardo Viveiros de Castro inspired the work a lot. Based in Amerindians cosmocentric view this theory drain modern distinction between nature and culture. In Viveiros de Castro terms:
“The perspective of the world we humans and animals have is not a representation produced by mind or spirit. Rather, perspectivism is a point of view produced/located in the body. The soul in all bodies [cats, humans, monkey] sees the same things but sees them differently because their bodies are different to ours.”
With this and others statements the embodiment of the ideas turned possible. For exemple from an important mexican shaman’s confession who told me about the two “essentials” forms of water (salt and sweet) I decided to use two separated screens. After this, the practical aspects of the work started.
The image making and the “experience” process all happened in the small village by the Pacific ocean in which we – Carla Lombardo, our cats and me- were living. Jonh Cage have this “question” somewhere in his book “Silence”: “What is the nature of art when it reaches the sea?”
Maybe we’ve have been too literal, but after developing the film material we’ve literally launch it into water.
This obvious, simple and humble action…. an intent to put this “bodies” in contact, to let them interact. The aim was to physically produce the conditions of this encounter between this different “nature-cultures”’ – the film and the ocean. So that this “point of view”, this matter-energy-information stabilization could find this compound “non-human” perspective.
The intentionality of this “object” could emerge and the potency of a non-linear cinema, an expanded, synesthetic and finally, haptic cinema could exist!
Kate: What is MAPA?
Ж: MAPA was a public art program held in Mazunte y Mermejita – Oaxaca, Mexico in 2013. It emerged from our – Carla Lombardo and me- desire to thank people’s village for their intense, strong and careful reception they gave us. It also worked as an assemblage of the work we’ve been developing all along 2012 while we were living there.
So, the program that occurred along 15 days was this public art “time” suspension. Our aim was to suggest a duration more than an event. The intention was that the public art program could be interpenetrated profoundly by the silence moments, the popular singular practices of daily life in the village.
I mean, there was a program established in time – with a weekly radio program in the local station, a “exhibition” with paintings and video-space, a contextualized objects project (Mandibulae al mar y Totem al cielo by Carla), Revém Natura and a ‘educational’ action for kids with the desertification/ environmental issue – but the in between spaces, the gaps, the non intentional, free and joy moments were also considered part of it.
The process of becoming of the village itself, the strong and permanent transformations held by “exterior” forces like the hurricane (Carlota) and other tropical tempests that occurs, the permanent transformation of landscape, territory and (capitalist) relations that tourism and foreigners presence bring to the village and etc. were somehow “invited” to compound this MAP(A).
This affective and temporary cartography pretended to be an acknowledgment of this permanent but discontinuous mutation of life.
Kate: Why was it important to project Revém Natura outside? How do you see your work in conversation with the environment?
Ж: The experience was since the beginning conceived to be in a (any) public/open space. Then a grant by the Brazilian government and this kind reception of the community made it possible. This CI.NE (Natural Expanded Cinema) experience intends to arrange the conditions to the emergency of a” self consistent aggregate”. The heterogeneous elements (projectors, sunset, film, nature sounds, prepared screens, etc.) most of them not intentional were “invited” to the compound this aggregate and the flux between their differences should be able to generate this “cine-haptic state”.
The famous brazilian artsits Hélio Oticica, once said something that was really important to me … not sure how to translate, maybe “Anthropophagy is to swallow the environment”. Revém Natura could had be an experience in that the environment swallows cinema and vice versa.
Kate: Do you prefer showing in the gallery or in nature?
Ж: It depends a lot of each project.
In the “low market level” in which my work transit and in which they are experienced the galleries (a few) gave me more conditions to long-term exhibitions. “A União do Povo/ Peoples’ Union” which was a counter-site to perform architecture and an open call for dance in a interesting cultural space (not a gallery) was possible only because of the building architecture and non intentional uses of it.
In other cases, like a counter surveillance project in which Carla and me formed part SSS_South Small Sister the action on the “surface” of the territory was indispensable. Although after some years we’ve find also to interact with traditional and established institutions like MASP in São Paulo.
Kate: Your work has screened all over the world! Where was your favorite place to screen your work?
The good and the bad thing in working with reproducible media (film, video) is the amplified possibility to circulate the works. The already existent structures (cinemas, experimental distribution centers, festivals) with their singular potency to invite audiences in different contexts arround the world is amazing, it’s the good part of this medias. The hard and maybe dangerous part is the lost of context and the de-politicization that derive from that. But I was saying that because in lots of screening and exhibitions I wasn’t personally present. In some others I’ve been – especially with Revém Natura– because of its performative aspect (manipulate projectors, installation of screens etc).
Considering those face-to-face moments my favorite one was in Teotihuacán, Mexico. The Revém’s Natura work in progress was exhibited in a shaman’s encounter! The meeting called Tawanitnisuyo articulated different ancestral healers, therapeutic practices, agro-ecologic knowledge and the inclusion of my work let me think about a trans-disciplinary situated artistic practice. A kind of “action” that happens nearby life, integrated to it, a humble gesture in to break out the narrow so called “art-world”. There’s only one world – with people with more or less access to it- and it’s up to us transform and practice a different way of being.
Another screening that I was really happy to form part – not in person – was Crossroads 2018 in SFMoMA. The counter cultural environment, Bruce Baile’s heritage, the LGBTQI district in which the museum exist, and the presence of a filmmaker-programmer (Steve Polta) connected my south centered, precarious practice with this community. This spaces made in collaboration, the common effort that made them possible are a tradition that I’m happy to participate.
Kate: What advice would you give other filmmakers working with super 8 projection?
Ж: The super8 ecosystem seems to be a sane environment to be involved with. The “low cost” possibilities of filming, developing and projecting, especially in North America and Europe. The inter-dependency of the community should be practiced in a way that the formats, media and circulation grow!
Kate: Jonas Mekas left us this year. Can you talk about your film Viva Jonas and what Mekas meant to you?
Ж: Jonas is a permanent inspiration! His non-specialism, his ethic, praise for the tiny, the minor, his community based actions and of course the films meant a lot to me.
I’ve met his practice while living as an immigrant in Buenos Aires and his resistance while living inhuman conditions and yet creating poetry – wordling– shocked me in a good manner. After some years I’ve meet different filmmakers/artists (Peggy Awhesh, yann beauvais, Deborah S. Philips,Gustavo Janh and Melissa Dullius, Emilija Škarnukytė, Pip Chodorov) that confirmed this not self-centered way to lead with life. Trough their personal confessions I confirmed what I imagined.
Viva Jonas! was a simple way to make an homage after his death.
We’ve been in contact since 2013 because of our (.txt texto de cinema ) poetry translation project . When we get to know about his unexpected death – although his 96 years I have to confess that his vitalism almost convince me that immortality exist- the necessity of a homage came immediately to our minds-bodies. Viva Jonas!, the film, was the first part of it but we also created a public program in Modern Art Museum Cinemateque in Rio de Janeiro and in CCBB – a Cultural Center in São Paulo- in which we’ve shown Jonas works, made a kind of performance lecture – called Linguametragem– and learned to cook Lithuanian bread ; ) . I should say that he’s legacy stand like an ethic compass for me.
Kate: What’s next for you?
Ж: In September of this year we should release “Diaries” our (RIVERAO + .txt texto de cinema ) translation to Portuguese and Spanish of Jonas Mekas’ poetry book ‘Dienorašciai”.
I’ve been collaborating in a 16mm work with Deborah S. Philips and Tobias S. that has had it first exhibition as a performance in Belgium this year. Verdevermelhar (Green turns red) should be released as a film too, I hope so…