VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Badani, Pat

Pat Badani
US videomaker


Interview: 10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background.
My artistic and personal trajectory involves an intertwined intercultural journey. I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I finished high school in Lima, Peru, in a private school similar to the one I had studied in Argentina, where teachers and students were recruited from all over the world. From my early days I received a special multilingual and multicultural education that has shaped my worldview, influencing my artwork and a career that spans 30 years. In terms of my art-studies, upon finishing high school in Peru, I immigrated to Canada to study Fine Arts and graduated with a BFA from the University of Alberta in Edmonton. I later received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in the USA. I lived in Mexico for 8 years, and in France for almost a decade developing a career centered on photographic and object-based installations and in 1994, while in France, I began incorporating video, film, and digital media, adding richness to an already abounding menu. Throughout this period I travelled and exhibited extensively; I received significant awards; I was active as lecturer and educator, and as trilingual translator. In 1999 Chicago became the center location out of which I radiate internationally because of my full-time academic position in a state-run university art school where I was charged with creating the first Digital Media curriculum, a position that I occupied until 2010. Currently, I work out of studios in Chicago and in Buenos Aires, and I am Editor-in-Chief of “Media-N, Journal of the New Media Caucus” or which I curate ideas from international submissions. I edit and manage the publication and circulation of essays and media related to emerging technologies in the digital humanities. All of these activities are in synchronicity with and extensions of my art practice.

2. When, how and why started you filming?
I began filming in 1994 while I was producing “R’evolution des particles,” a solo exhibition for the Maison de l’Amerique Latine in Paris, and later for “Tower-Tour,” a multi-sited and multi-year project for a monographic exhibition at the “Canadian Cultural Centre,” also in Paris. Like many of my photographic work at the time, my videographic work involved staging and documenting a performative object of cultural significance. I started filming because the projects needed the time-based, durational, qualities of video.

3. What kind of subjects has your films?
My art-production and my moving image production is social practice-based, and I deal with issues of cross-cultural identity, issues of diversity, biodiversity, and migration (in the broadest sense of the concept: from the migration of peoples, to the migration of maize pollen, to the migration of images via mediated technologies.)

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
My moving image works are informed by documentary film traditions, but also by new media practices and narrative structures affiliated to non-sequential, digital narratology. I am interested in the transaction between narratives and audiences, and I attempt to involve the subjects in my films, as well as the viewers of my films, in a co-construction process. I have explored these narrative processes in split screen documentary film; in Web-sited interactive archives and collections; and in pieces created for a mobile audience using mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
For capture: I use a range of equipment, such as mobile devices equipped with photo and video capabilities; consumer photo cameras with video capabilities, and high end professional digital photo and video cameras.
For editing: I use Final Cut Pro; Avid; After Effects; Flash, and more recently I’m exploring image recognition Apps like Layer, Junaio, and Aurasma.
For output/screening: I use hand-held, mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets; the Internet for web-sited artworks with dynamic content and VOD archives; screen-based installations in galleries and museums; single channel theatre screenings; and large scale projections onto public buildings.

6. What are the chances of the digital video technologies for creating art using “moving images” generally, and for you personally?
In terms of digital video and moving images, these have become pervasive in our lives as regular citizens, and artists’ works are part of this moving image abundance paradigm: they are everywhere, and their production and broadcasting range from professional urban advertisement to the amateur 10 year old in You Tube, to the artist herself. As artists, we have sometimes competing, sometimes intersecting agendas within this range. I tend to think that this is creative, fertile ground.

I’d also like to add that – in terms of digital video’s potential- artists have throughout history demonstrated great interest in new discoveries in science and technology for their creative potential. I believe that artists will continue to “play” with the new apparatus to see what it can do – to find out how the new technological device can expand their artistic vocabulary in order to visualize ideas, or in order to connect with an audience. Artists will also continue to look at scientific discoveries to broaden questions about the human condition, and this seems very pertinent today, especially with -for example- advances in scientific visualization.

7. How do you finance your films?
I receive grants, awards, or sponsorship to finance my work. However, this is not always the case and sometimes I collaborate; and at times I pay assistants out of my own pocket to keep the project moving. Things get done in the end – and the scale of the project is certainly contingent on the financing. However, great projects can be achieved with meagre means.

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?
I have experience with both working solo and working as part of a team – albeit usually as director of a team. I thrive in both work models. When working with a team, it is important that team members have well-assigned roles, a common mission, and good inter-relationships.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?

I have to say that beyond the acknowledged experimental film icons, very young and emerging creators continually inspire me.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
I honestly have no long-term plan as a film/video maker, especially because my work is concept oriented rather than medium specific. Yet, I imagine that what will continue to animate me in the future is my interest about how new moving image technologies might intersect with my social art-practice.