Do you call you work, cinema, video or photography? Because contemporary art uses cross-medium technique. And what is medium for you?

I define my own work as Cinema, except when I make (rarely) art works for galleries. "Cinema", "video" or other fields of art are more about how to present the works to the audience than about the technical tools to make the works. Cinema is a space (the theatre screening room, without lights except the projection itself). Cinema is a space where audience could concentrate on the works purposed, and could be immerged on it. According to my own point of view, Video sounds more in some kind of multi-media projections project (TV, internet, galleries, etc.) Few years ago, the difference between Cinema and video was really about the technical material used, but now, there is no sense to consider that difference as Cinema could be made with video formats. Now the question is: what the context of presentation of the work is?

About cross-medium techniques. For sure in the contemporary art fields, artists use all kind of tools, techniques, etc. to express themselves, but we have to keep in mind than Cinema and/or video also create artworks that could be made with different kinds of techniques. I am quite sure that techniques can't define the genres or the fields of arts.

Myself, as artist, I define my work as Cinema because, first, I like the screening room spaces and the screening process of cinema, but in other hand, to affirm to do Cinema is to be against TV, it is to keep faith in the animated images as art.

In which culmination point, according to you, the future of cinema? Was it related or exactly like Godard said the relation between cinema and photography?

Links between Cinema and photography can't be the future of Cinema as photography is the base of Cinema. 24 photographs per second.

I don't know myself about future of Cinema in general. And I don't really care. (But for sure the future of Cinema is not the 3D, it is not Avatar or Alice in Wonderland).

Edward Muybridge found frame acceleration as the base of moving image. Do you think it's already a representation of cinema/video?

Muybridge is important for his idea of decomposition of movement, but Cinema was created when ones created movement from different still images.

I am more interest, in this archeology of Cinema, by Etienne-Jules Marey than Muybridge. Etienne-Jules Marey was the creator of camera-guns. Camera are guns, not used for killing, but for catching some images (dead images) of a living object. Cinema is dealing with death. This Camera-gun is really an interesting object to open questions about what is Cinema…

How does the cinema see the history?

I am not sure that Cinema sees History. Few decades ago, before the domination of TV, Cinema created History. Now, it is TV that creates History, no more the Cinema, or by coincidence.

Since the creation of photography, and furthermore, with the creation of Cinema, History is not what happened, but what was catch by images, what was represented. History was not about the reality, the events, but about the representation of the reality, the representation of the events. Just one point, we don't have to be naive, before images, the History was only the written history; it was not a "real" history, a concrete one. The History is, will be, and was always, told by the Power with the medium of the Power.

Now the Power is TV and TV is the Power. That doesn't mean that Cinema is free of ideological tasks. Mainstream Cinema is always a tool of the Power. But it is no more the mean tool of this Power. Moreover, even if we could offer counter-histories in films, the fact that our own films go in the same cultural structures as the mainstream cinema ("art cinema", "political cinema", "experimental cinema" are more parts of the global cinema than against it, are like genres actually, parts of the "market"...) defuses the critical contents of our movies.

What about sound? Does it become an essence in video - regarding the assumption that cinema is a visual language?

For me the sound is probably the mean tools in the creation process of filmmaking. The language tricks meanings in a particular culture. But the sound, the music, even the language if it used not for its first level meaning, but for its rhythm, for its poetry etc.., could be shared by everybody. Moreover, it is possible to create senses, meanings, with sounds; the sound allows to bring the audience sensitively to some experiences, to some questionings etc. with more liberty than with language.

Is the sound was a secondary or primary things? (Referring to your work: 200000 Phantoms)

I can't say that the sound arrives first in the conception of a project. But in the concrete filmmaking process, aka the editing, I always work the sound before the images.

Are you a router of author tradition in nouvelle vague, since you come from France?

I don't think so! Moreover, even if Nouvelle Vague movement is always present as an all, it contained so many different kinds of styles, ideas (artistic and/or political ones)... For example Godard and Truffaut are both from the Nouvelle Vague, but it is difficult to find two authors so in opposition!

I am not really comfortable with this idea of "Author cinema". It is really important, if one decides that Cinema is an Art, to define the makers of the films as authors, as artists, with particular views, particular ways of expression... But actually, critics (discussion about authors are a universities or journalistic discussions) dilute the notion of author because they define all the filmmaker as authors, including the ones that clearly work in the industrial. But what is the meaning of being an author if Godard and Sam Raimi, or whoever hollywoodian filmmaker doing blockbusters or bullshit, are both authors? Moreover, when critics consider one filmmaker as an author, all the films this author does are good. So all the movies of Coppola, Scorsese, Fincher, Allen and Burton are masterpiece. That is clearly wrong! There is some kind of dissolution of the critical definition of the idea of "author".

Idea and politics

What do you think about history?

History is always the History of the power, the History of the winners. Except, for sure, some revolutionary events, as the Russian revolution, when peoples became the subject of the History, even if those events became failures. To be a revolutionary subject is to make the History and not be a witness of it.

Moreover the History told by the power is, it is not a contradiction, the History of the forgetting. To be interest in History, to bring back forgotten events, to make some past events re-appeared in the present, could be seen as a political tool as it helps to destroy the pseudo-linearity of our present.

How do you see fascism?

To continue about History... Fascism makes the People become the subject of History, but People as an all, People as all-the-same. With this desire of creating a homogenic People, fascists have to expel the different ones. But this kind of thoughts about fascism is already too old and can't help to understand today. Because today, our societies (I only refer to occidental ones) are constructed on the integration of the differences. With its integration, differences loss is revolutionary power. So, now, it is no more the idea to create a unique kind of man that is problematic, but the one to integrate everybody in a same multi-colored, multi-sexual etc society where the consumer replaces the citizen. This transformation of the citizens as consumers, even is one seems to keep his own particularities, is a neo-fascist or a soft-fascist process. Actually, we could talk about some new kind of fascism, event if it is "soft", because the ones who refuse to become consumers are actually rejected by our societies, and more and more they are criminalized. If our societies seem to be more open-mind, the price we paid is the one to not be able to be against these societies. We have liberty, but not the one to contest that this liberty is exclusively the one to drink Coca Cola.

And what about Marxism?

The fact that the Russian revolution failed (and the Chinese one, and all the others around the world) can’t invalided the Communist hypothesis. When one defines what happened is the East bloc as Communism, he really lies. What happened then was far away of the political definition of Communism by Marx...

For sure, One century and half after Marx, his thesis have to be thought in a contemporary ways. Anyway, whatever Communism is or not, we have to change our societies that were ruled since two centuries by Capitalism and now by Neo-Capitalism if we want to survive as human beings.

Which one do you have faith in: fiction, fact, or neither? Why?

We could only have hope and faith in the reality. To have hope in art, cinema, representation etc. is naive. An image can't change the world. For sure Art, images etc. could help to survive, to share, to think..., but they are not active. Only the real is.

How far is the measurement of reality in visual language (cinema or video)?

Only in the negative way! We could learn about the Power in the movies produced under its rule, We could really understand our societies, how the "reality" is built there, in watching TVs...

It is complicated actually to have clear counter-points of view on the reality by artists because no one actually can define positively a new politic. At the best, we can't be against capitalism, but to be against is not a utopia, it is not a positive politic. Actually, in movies or arts, we could feel that we don't know really how to catch the world, how to catch the present, or the reality. At the best, we could find films that interrogate the world. But I think that we also need artworks that create new realities, not only on artistic level, but also political level.

How did frame-by-frame technique become a choice?

By coincidence! I made a movie (21.04.02) with pictures, and then I discovered that, with a more precise editing, with animation techniques, this idea of frame-by-frame of archives pictures could be an interesting tool.


What is the basic statement of your work Undo?

I made this movie for a command. The topic of this command was "you have 10 minutes to rebuild the world". So I just asked myself this question: what we have to rebuild? "RE-building" the world sounds like if the world before was ok, and that we have to return to it. But for me, the world before was not better than our present world. So appeared this idea of going back to the past.

The technical function of back-tracking exist in the functional technique in films and videos. Do you believe in reality?

I already answered about that. I believe obviously in real, but I don't believe in the idea that representation is reality. The force of the power when it uses images, representations, is to make them appeared as "real". When people watch the news on TV, they fell those images "real", "objective", but those images are not real, they are constructed. In my films, I tried to make my own representation process appeared as constructions, and then perhaps, to point that every representation of reality is a construction.

Referring to We are the winning don’t forget, are you an anarchist?

I am not sure to be 100% anarchist. I am more Communist because I believe in the power of the people as people to make collectively the History. In this film, I worked on this idea than individuals could find their own power, their own position as subjects only in the struggle and moreover in the collective struggle.

Do you believe in the struggle for identity or struggle for class? 

I believe that we need collective struggles. For sure, we need to fight on "identity" levels, for example: equality between man and woman, for gay rights, etc. But those particular struggles could help to change the world only in the collective struggles. Before being black, gay, woman... we are human beings and we have to fight because we are human beings.

How do you see archives and memories? Particularly in 200000 Phantoms?

There are two kinds of memories. A solidified one, frozen one. To solidify memory is the way to fix the memory (and the History), to cancel the political aspects of an event, it is the way that official History do.

With the pictures of the disaster of Hiroshima, the "main" History fix this event in the past, and ask for people to cry on the victims, the memory loose all its power to be active on the present. The second memory could be an active one. A memory that deals to the present in the same time of the past. A memory like a bridge. For example, with the same pictures of Hiroshima, if you don't give them to the "audience" as "archives", as exclusively parts of the past, but if you make them appeared as present, you create links between yesterday and today and then the memory become a living one. And then also, political questions could appear again. Then, you don't ask to the "audience" only to cry on those poor victims", but you make the nuclear topic present in their minds, you make the war concrete. It is not to be pessimist and to ask to the people to be dark and sad all days long. When you listen the survivors of Hiroshima, or of other disasters, you learn that life is precious and that everyone has to enjoy it, but not in an egotistic way, but in a generous way, in a political way. You have to enjoy every second of life and you have to take care of this life, that means that you have to struggle for it, you have to help the others to have an enjoyable life. Time becomes precious, full, full of desires. And it is better to fight for desires, for hope that for oil.

Who is the audiences to you?

I don't know. But it can't be "the audience".


by Adel Pasha
Jurnal footage, January 2011