Sunday, July 21, 2013

Q&A: with cylixe

Q&A with visual artist, cylixe. Interview & photos (@ Prospect Park) by K.K.W.

When it comes to interesting people, especially artists, NYC is a gateway for it all. I first saw cylixe's creativity @ []Nothing Space ("Letters from pocket embassy"), and out of quite a few, her work stood out as something great. 

SP: At what point did you start pursuing creativity seriously? 

C: I never had the guts to apply for art school. I thought I wasn't good enough. I studied political science as a major, philosophy and sociology as minors. It was interesting, but also frustrating. Somehow it wasn't enough. After the first year, I couldn't take it anymore, I dropped out and applied at the University of Fine Arts, Braunschweig. Of 400 people, 60 got accepted. I had a bet running that I wouldn't make it in, but I did. I had to shave my head. From then on, art was all there was and it's all there is to this day. 

SP: In videography what was your first project or creation you were proud of?

C:  The first video I am really proud of is "the world counts loud to ten". I finished it in 2007, though the voice over text is from my diary and dates back to 2004. It's a very personal piece and at first, I would have it run anonymously, I was afraid of people's judgement. My teacher at the time, Birgit Hein, helped me to get over that and to embrace the freedom that comes from exhibitionism. I learned a lot, making this film. About film making, about life, about myself. I still keep the film on my website, even though it has a very low quality compared to the pieces I produced since then.

SP:Unlike other mediums (painting, drawing, etc) photography & videography involves watching and capturing images, putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge, and therefore power. Do you think this is true?

C: I don't think that capturing an image gives one more knowledge than drawing or sculpting an idea. The videographer is subjective and so is the knowledge, she can achieve. As an artist, one has to be careful, not to misunderstand an experience for a universal fact. I am not recording reality, I make a conscious decision to record a piece of time in a certain space, out of infinite possible pieces. Editing narrows this process of select and neglect down even more. The only knowledge a videographer can acquire is "techne". 

SP:  In Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window"(1954) the camera is presented as promoting voyeurism. Would you say, as a photographer you've learned to take pleasure in watching and observing other people?

C: Speaking for myself, people interest me only moderately. It is interesting to see them interact with architecture, or systemic obstacles. The choreography of a swarm, or the ritual of a group is fascinating to me. I guess that comes from my background in sociology. I love "Rear window", it was one of my favourite films when I was a teenager. But I feel like the camera ( and binoculars) in this film is much more than a tool of voyeurism. The main character is very much driven by curiosity in human behaviour than interested in finding personal pleasure. He starts his observation out of boredom, not out of a fixation. Boredom, in any case is a good reason, to do something. To get back to your question; I do gain pleasure from observation, but I don't care if I am watching people or machines or the sky. Movement and choreography can be found in so many places. 

SP: Your video "Florilegiae", the summary on your site said: '...take your eyes off and you will miss it. A trail of is a miracle giving answers that blow your mind...Archiving and collecting in man-made categories brings a explanations. This is how I imagine the autistic mind: full of ideas and quickness." Is any of this personal, from you, or just from an idea for the short video?

C: Of course any video I make is personal, in that I am the decision maker, so it is not "just" an idea I come up with. It is my idea. Florilegie to me is a collage. The texts (especially the part about stamp collection) don't all reflect my personal agenda, but I wrote them, they serve a purpose in holding conversation with images and sound. The video is about the beauty of observation and interpretation. It doesn't ask to be taken as universal truth, but as a anecdote and maybe, hopefully a notch for the viewers to start a chain reaction in their mind. 

cylixe is a visual artist from Hanau am Main, Germany. She's a photographer, videographer, and specializes in video/related media. 
Her work is bold, insightful, and utterly interesting. She was here in NYC once again working, and it was wonderful to meet-up & converse with her. 

If you would like to know more, or see her creativity, go "Art is the reason, art is the way".    

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