VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Saito, Mikio

Mikio Saito
Japanese videomaker

The W:OW Project

Interview: 10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background

I was born in Sapporo in 1978. I studied literature and art history at the University of Waseda in Tokyo, Japan (graduated in 2000) and studied Fine arts at Städelschule in Frankfurt, Germany (graduated in 2007) and hold Meisterschuler of Fine Arts by Prof. Mark Leckey. I’ve been now working with a variety of media, including video, photograph, sculpture and performance.

2. When, how and why started you filming?

When I was a student in 2000, I was very influenced by the films of William Kentridge and made a drawing animation with 8mm film half in play.

3. What kinds of topics have your films?

My interests in making art is to make up the story for all questions coming into my head, and create the art works as a solution, even if it’s nonsense and misunderstanding. I often focus on what is negative (because there are frequent opportunities to solve the problem by art in the society we live in today), and try to turn it into the positive thing in a playful way.
And for me important thing to work as an artist is to explore some common/similar ideas in different cultures. Local ideas are often related to a certain part of universal at the same time.

4. Concerning your included video: please tell me more about the aims and the contents.

Misunderstanding might lead a new idea, good communication is the key to any project’s success, imagination is a powerful deceiver, but it makes thing too good to be true. I like the difference between individuals, and also something in common.

5. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?

I’m not always going to follow the certain principles, styles and original idea, but want to value spontaneous ideas through the improvisation process, and extend beyond the original intention.

6. Tell me more about the technical equipment you use.

I started my artistic career with hand drawing animation and shooting frame by frame. I gradually combined hand-drawn animation by scanning, photographed images and computer graphics.

7. How do you finance your films?

It depends on the condition of the exhibition, screening and commissioned work.
There have been some exhibitions and art events in which financial support was given. (exhibition as a result of the artist in residence, museum and gallery). And there have been sufficient budget to make a film if it was a commissioned work.

8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?
if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

Individually but I often get technical help and piece of music from colleagues.
I like to include possibility of ideas both conceptually and technologically from others in my film.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
Monika Schwitte. I owe a lot to her.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?

I sometimes want to go back to the starting point, when I first made a film by 16mm. I’ve felt it was unfinished and want to remake it.

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