Conversation with Ani Schulze


Conversation with Ani Schulze

On the occassion of the screening “Differences” (2014) in Schau_Raum

Museum für Neue Kunst Freiburg, June 2015

Didem Yazici: As the title suggests, the film focuses on ‘Differences’. It happens through using adjectives and contrasts, it also refers to differences of perception and imagination. Can you elaborate in which meaning/ ways do you use the expression ‘differences’?

Ani Schulze: I use Differences aiming to shake and distort structures of visual information and chal-lenge contradictive ways of thinking. The film opposes text and images and my inten-tion was to open a sort of tournament between them. I was playing with word combi-nations, distinguishing between a given conceptual system and my creations or vi-sions. In my work I am constantly interested to explore the ambivalence of image’s visible and invisible nature, which goes back to the early cinema idea of film being a language made of rhythm and colors.

DY: ‘Concrete rough like velvet’ this is quotation from the piece, as you said before it is an expression that does not exist. It triggers the visual imagination of the viewer…

AS: Yes, I try to tickle especially this relation of images and text and the imagination of the viewer. I wrote the first version of the text in German and the expression “Concrete that is rough like velvet” just happened through a sort of mistranslation.  So the words started to develop something own, they became like surreal images, when combining with the moving image. My interest was that expressions like that do not just only accompany the visible images but also that they provoke an image be-yond, another image, that only exists in the of the viewers’ imagination.

DY: The language aspect is particulary interesting in the work, as it challenges the stereotype of categorical thinking. The text is not merely a part of the piece, but plays a crucial role. It comes back to the question of – philosophy and politics of language.

AS: Indeed, I’m definitely interested in the power of words, how they mirror acts of thinking and possibilities of constructing and solving problems in the field of language. I love that there’s a freedom for new conjunctions and associations. I like to create my own system by breaking existing ones through word games, mistranslations and floating or morphing relations between text and images. It is so nice as it can take you on really new journeys. I’m also interested in how the written word in form of subtitles influences and guides, but also misleads the visible image. And the other way around: The boundaries of the texts control and the power of the images.

DY: Even though the work deals a lot with conceptual themes of film making, construction of language and the relation between imagery and the text; yet it has a strong dreamy and open spirit. There is a certain level of cloudy, timeless, drunkenness feeling which is puzzling and confusing…

AS: Yes, there’s a strong sense of becoming lost in time, images and language. Losing control, creating blind spots, cars moving back and forward, a sudden doubling of sky images – and everything in a slow, but still fluent motion. The two voices in the film seem hidden, apart and almost voyeuristic. I let the images flow, following their own rhythms. They show traces of a sort of conserved beauty, somewhere, whenever.
DY: The video program ‘Get Away From It All’ deals with the topics of alienation, non-place, and escapism. How do you feel about presenting the work within this conceptual framework?

AS: My film piece is definitely comprised by issues of alienation and non- placement, they are topics which have come up intuitively in my previous projects as well. So I was happy to receive the invitation to show at the program. And I like that the conceptual framework leaves space and openness for each of the artists’ works.  The Schau_Raum is a great space to screen video works and I really like that it forms a permanent program within the museum.

DY: Historical reflections seem to be the base of your artistic research. Film script fragments by Alexander Kluge, a contradictory modern building in Strasbourg which was rebuilt, architecture, design can be starting point. They often bring out the discursive aspect of your methodology. Can you talk about these pro-cesses and the current piece you’re working on?

AS: I’m working on a visual language engaged on conversations with the history of literature, architecture and cinema. It is a way to explore the material and sculptural potentials of film as a medium to look into cultural, political and economic backgrounds of social interactions. I am working on a new film piece, which takes as a starting point a modern space constructed to percieve cinema through dancing. The original space built 1928 survived less than a year, apparently people did not liked it and it was soon replaced. But its image become a reference and it has been reconstructed about 20 years ago. It was originally designed by Theo van Doesburg who was concerned to create feelings and a state of illusion through precise mathematical constructions. This ambivalence between abstract systems and intuitive physical appropriations provides me a way to play with the contemporary expressions of these ideas.

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