Saturday, 25 February 2012

# 70 [28 June 2010]

At last I've done it... made a video featuring my interview with Norbert Herz, the intern at the camp at Rivesaltes during 1942.

I have been debating whether or not to make my videos self-explanatory, less abstract and more descriptive. A while back I posted on the AN forum how much information should you give in a work of art... My videos are usually quite abstract, so need some sort of context, which I usually provide at the start with a few lines of text explaining where the video was made and a little history of the camp, this time I've built on that.

The new video is entitled simply: 'Rivesaltes' (rather than my normal 'RQV' or 'RSA'); at the start is the usual text with the addition of a quote from the memorial stone at the camp which reads:

Delivered to the Nazis in the occupied zone by authority of the French government, deported to the extermination camp of Auschwitz, and murdered because they were Jews. We will never forget these victims of racist and xenophobic hatred.

Then dispersed throughout the video are five sentences spoken by Norbert Herz, for example:

People lost their lives, and many children, many, many children lost their mothers and fathers.

The images and sound are evocative, made at the camp, the sound is the howling wind and sometimes crunch of a footstep, the images are presented as a triptych... moving forms, occasionally a glimpse of a hut, but mostly shots of trees, bushes, grass and stones.

The images present a blurry indescriptive view of the camp... I've explored how we perceive the world and how we sometimes have a vague memory of something. I filmed a random walk in the camp - trying to avoid my personal reaction to it. Nothing is focused - I've not sought to emphasise any aspect of the filming, it's just a walk, not necessarily mine - a walk anybody could make at the camp. The images aren't ones I planned to make... just 'open' images for anyone to interpret.

This is all sounding a bit 'Death of the Author'... and to a certain extent that is what has guided the development of the video.

Norbert Herz is talking, explaining his experience of the camp, an experience he had 70 years ago, a strong memory, but more recollections of experiences and feelings.

Is there suspense in the video? I'm not sure there has to be, but it is a film, with a beginning, middle and end... the viewer may wonder who is talking and it is only at the end that this is revealed - I'm hoping it works.

So, I'm frantically promoting 'Rivesaltes' now and hoping there is some interest.

I hope to create my own vimeo channel and spend some time interacting with other members - all good networking - so little time though. I'm also bogged down with framing the new series of paintings on metal that I've just completed. They are quite fragile so need to be protected, quite good timing though as it's good weather now and I can work in the studio without a coat (at last).

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