WORK 28 / CONTEXT / FILMS

FILMS 01/12 To date, every time I am in a new circumstance I position my camera, likely on a tripod and film. What trigger me to film then could be a different place, or different people or a different weather or a special event I encounter while accomplishing 1 of my 36 works. I generally shoot 5 to 30 seconds long clips from different perspectives. A film has no less than three clips and could be very long. Clips are later trimmed, put together and exported to a 16:9 high definition .mp4 video format. On average I shoot 1 film per week for a grand total of 2.592 films at the end of the project. I then make a month production by merging 6 of them together. Each of the resulting 432 productions gives a glimpse of my reality; from a mere representation of my project the films reveal a most spontaneous life with my family and the natural environment (Fig. Screenshot of a film showing me with my oldest son observing the work of a beaver in the near of the one room apartment I moved to after divorcing with my wife. While documenting my practice the films may also show the subtle tragedy I experienced alone in an immigrant suburb trying to start a new life. Additionally the films show my discovering process and the sharing of these discoveries with my oldest son at first and later with my daughter and youngest son, particularly in the natural contexts I try to maintain a strong relation to).

FILMS 02/12 The making of the films has other dimensions going beyond the mere documentation of a documenting practice. Watching carefully through the films, viewers can detect a narrative of a character trying to get away with the everyday dogmas and find his own poetry and independence from any form of conformism, avoiding to be enrolled in any form of social or commercial regime and simply adhering to his own regime. While many of the films may seem rather dull or repetitive, some weird element emerges. Amidst an apparently dull and boring existence the more attentive viewers will discover something out of the ordinary, something rather challenging and in fact quite daring, namely my years long preparation to deposit the whole of my life project in a remote valley of my native alps. Only viewing without too many preconceptions these films one can at last witness a vision coming through. If the slow realization of the project museum is in a sublime setting, it is in a most ordinary environment that its realization has taken place (Fig. Screenshot showing myself intuitively discovering the site where years later I had the opportunity to build the project museum. Interestingly I discovered the site and filmed myself right next to a hunting lodge unaware that the owner would later declare a most meaningless war on the museum).

FILMS 03/12 My extensive practice of self-documentation began years before the starting of the project. The first steps I took in this direction were during my year as an art student in Vancouver Canada. At that time digital cameras were not yet in the market and I used heavy 18 millimeters equipment. I always carried around this equipment on a shopping chart and filmed at home or on the road mostly doing things for others like baking bread at home and then filming its distribution to the many homeless people on the streets of downtown Vancouver. This way of filming was of great inspiration to the later development of the project but was starkly criticized by critics and producers such as Alessandra Galletta who told me that I needed to stick the camera in Madonna's tits to make it interesting. I nonetheless incorporated a documentation of the documentation as it can be found in several advantgarde movies in which the filmmaker is filmed filming (Fig. Screenshot of an old film I made documenting myself living as an homeless and filling up with a thought booklets I later distributed to the Emily Carr students. Having spent too much time in the editing room editing the film with the antiquate technology available at that time, I developed my life project also as a way to capture the whole of life yet avoiding all the post-editing work of my student years).

FILMS 04/12 Many times I was approached as the potential subject for a documentary. Whether it was a film maker or a TV producer who got excited about my project, no serious film was ever made of me and my practice. One small film was made in 2006 by Daniel Wilson depicting a day in my life while in 2009 another film was attempted by Mervi Junkkonen. Later when I began building my museum in the alps and the local hunters lead by the Italian far right began their campaign to block me, I felt the need to at least get my struggle documented. At one point I was in touch with Francesca Bertin, a Hamburg based film-maker who turned out to be overloaded with work. Anyhow I had the feeling that these newly educated film makers approach films as young scholars approach their scientific publications. Later as I started installing the museum, students from the European Institute of Design approached me to get me on tape. They were too chaotic and at last I advised them to discontinue the collaboration. In this respect I have always been left with the very filming I shoot positioning the camera in a scene acting within it (Fig. Picture taken in a Swedish lake by my Norwegian friend Åsmund Gamlesaeter showing me filming with my oldest son a discovery underwater. While the first set up made use of better quality reflex cameras, given the weight I at last opted to film with a compact camera).

FILMS 05/12 With time I started to not only film literally things related to a work of my project such as walking, or photographing my right hand, or updating my project but also more general things such as the birth of my daughter. If the latter event relates to my work on acquaintances, it takes the films beyond simply describing my practice but also into a more communicative human language. This passage from technical to more human films occurred right in the middle of my project. Then all the technical aspects were already being filmed and I started shooting more day to day events such as my effort to get my kids used to live in the fresh and genuine nature surrounding our Dutch village, encouraging them to be in contact with it. There is no beginning, nor a middle nor an end to these films but always a to be continued. They show passages of a long journey, the water of a river which at last flows back to its mountain spring (Fig. Screenshot of a film bringing my small daughter in contact with cows in a stable. The film relates to my fable work. It shows where I get my inspiration from but beyond that it reveals me as a human. To some extents this filming coincide with many neo-realist filming such as the serendipity of the character of Victoria De Sica “Bicycle Thieves” also depicting an unemployed man with his son roaming around until a certain element of catharsis is reached).

FILMS 06/12 While from the beginning I extensively used a tripod and only made steady shots, later I began using my compact camera alone without tripods or with some small tripod. This kind of filming gave me more freedom but less nicely framed shots and the constant risk to drop the camera. I specialized in using flat rocks, garbage bins or whatever urban or domestic furniture to keep the camera up or anyway at a decent height with the wind being really the main factor that can compromise this precarious set up. I also began to extensively film myself with the camera often pointing inward or outward, often also holding it while moving. I thus began to vary my static way of filming with a more dynamic one (Fig. Picture showing an intermediate set up I used I to shoot my films and keep rather light without having to carry around heavy equipment but fitting everything in my pouch. In later movies I even stopped using any tripods positioning the camera as I could on top of things and often stabilizing the camera using pieces of wood or grass I would find on the ground. The tripod is still adopted for the filming of the making of my museum both in the Netherlands where I use the backyard of my girlfriend's house to produce it during the winter and in the Italian alps where the pieces are finally mounted during the summer).

FILMS 07/12 Throughout the years I have experimented to produce several movies out of a selection of my films. I used to extract all the movies showing me photographing my right hand or walking or accomplishing one of the works of this project to create small movies titled respectively “The photographing man”, “The walking man” and so forth. While never really bothering to show any of these results to festivals, the films were only shown once at a conference at MIT University. For the occasion I used Antonio Vivaldi violin concerts The Four Seasons to create an overview of what I then celled a year in the life of a life-logger. In this respect the sound of the actual films edited together was removed and the classic music superimposed. The editing was based on the length of the 12 intervals making up the 4 concerts. The music created more empathy with the character but as in neorealist and Dogma films I believe that the originally sound is vital. The films are in fact the only work in which environmental sounds can be heard (Fig. Picture of the small exhibition organized by my American friend Nick Monfort in the conference corridor. During my short-lived time as a researcher I felt how of other scholars were unable to speak any other language than writing. I felt how they were winded up in politicizing the humanities boycotting the analysis of new cultural forms and meaning making).

FILMS 08/12 With the building of the project museum in my native alps it became clear that a documentary of my work could be made by editing together my short films. While I believe that these short films are sufficient to depict my life effort and can provide a lot of the nuances that a more conventional narrative would eliminate, the potential is there to create a shorter and more concise movie the brings forward a strong duality. On one hand there is my domestic housewife life in the Netherlands, taking care of my kids and looking after the soft parts of my project and on the other hand there is my more masculine life building the project museum in the alps. The common thread between this duality could be the actual birds that reach the Dutch river where I live after being decimated in the alps by the very hunters who so much try to sabotage my building of the project museum. Following this line however there is the danger of creating yet another documentary like series depicting two fractions, the artist and the hunters with all their bias so much enjoyed by local newspapers (Fig. Screenshot showing me while working on the project museum. The genre of a final documentary could mimic the ones shot around the work of outsider artists such as Ferdinand Cheval, Simon Rodia and Justo Gallego Martinez).

FILMS 09/12 With constant practice I became quite rapid in importing the clips I shoot and edit them together using no transition and only seldom making sure that the audio among the clips is not too different. In this respect my way of montaging is rather rough as primitive is also VideoPad Video Editor the cheap software that I use for the purpose. Given that my editing style is set and I don't want to maintain it over time, I am not looking for new features or updates. As in all other of my works maintaining the same tool box fearing that one day I won't be able to use it anymore. So far I have been able to use the same software but not the same harder. The camera I used is in fact the same one I use to take zoomed photos of what catches my attention while I am outdoor. The compact lens of this camera doesn't last more than a year or two at the most. I then have to purchase a new compact camera looking at whatever options are available. Overtime however I have been collecting quite some equipment that always enable me to film (Fig. Screenshot of a film I made an editing session. At the beginning of my film making I was more focused in filming the process and often filmed myself doing computer work. After this process was thoroughly documented however I no longer felt the urge of filming these technical aspects and concentrated in depicting real life and transmit to the viewer a feeling about it).

FILMS 10/12 The resulting films are not shown within any of the video sharing platforms such as Youtube or Vimeo where video makers show their creations in order to get viral. As for my other works of this project no form of social media is used. The videos are stowed away, waiting for the time in which they will be disclosed in a less aggressive, less superficial and less commercialized manner than in the environments created by the aforementioned platforms. At times however some of the videos depicting me with my kids or at work are shared among a selected and small group of intimate friends like my aunts or my best friends. They are very enthusiastic about my filming and often demand for more. Thanks to these films I am able to share with this small group a reality that is distant in space. In the project museum in my native alps it will be interesting to see how the disclosing of the films in a different space but also a different time will affect the audience (Fig. Screenshot of one of the few Whatsapp groups I belong to where photos and videos of my growing kids are shared with my closest relatives and friends. Intimacy is always the kind of environment I seek to despite my work being always associated to these cult of personality driven platforms. Purposely I avoid any social media as it hinder users to create a universal poetry to depicting the love for reality I am so much after).

FILMS 11/12 I am aware that whatever I wrote but also whatever I filmed can be easily used against me. In my wish to be apolitical I understand that my political enemies of any fraction can examine my films only for the sole purpose of trying to catch me doing something they can use against me. The Italian fascist representatives who have been doing everything in their power to hinder me in the building of the project museum in the alps can use the actual filming I made of the building process to try to damage me in whatever way. Sadly I have to live up with this reality yet the very fact that this work is not distributed but it is stowed is a small assurance that the time in which my political enemies will trial me as a small Socrates of my time is postponed. Fearing not so much this time however I keep on filming without any form of censorship but only following up to somewhat of an instinct I have developed that tells me when it is time to start a new film (Fig. Screenshot of a demonstration. In all my roaming around I can often stumble on gay prides, political events and protests. My films also then have an element of journalism; the rise and fall of certain trends are documented in this case the gathering of folk seeking for the autonomy of the Venice region a cause many of my Cimbrian folk embrace despite their Bavarian origins).

FILMS 12/12 In an ideal exhibition the films should be presented on one of the walls of the side rooms to the main exhibition hall. The films should be projected one after the other and the audio should be played out loud. It would take approximately 64 hours of screening for a viewer to see through all the films. This could amount to 8 consecutive days of watching them during the exhibition opening hours. Pretty much all other works of this project would take days to view entirely, especially when the content is presented sequentially like in the case of the audio visual works. This is very fact makes me think that the exhibition should be permanent. Visitors then will always have something different to see something every time they visit it. Particularly the combination with which the museum content is viewed would keep on changing without the redundancy characteristic of the mainstream content humanity grew so much used to (Fig. Rendering of the ideal exhibition with the wall where the films should projected highlighted in red. The slow watching through my self-films could in fact inspire some of the viewers to also undertake a life that is more in touch with their reality, enabling them to appreciate its riches. With my films also I show how one can actively generate media rather than being a passive consumer. Most importantly they demonstrate how to awake a numbed human nature).