VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Brotas, Ana

Ana Brotas
Portuguese videomaker


Interview: 10 questions

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

I have a yearning to work upon ideas, concepts are my starting points and materializing them into appropriate media is a tool for my development both artistically and personally. This combination of approaches was something particularly developed when I studied Audiovisual Communication in Antonio Arroio Secondary Art School where I met Mariana Fernandes the performer of the work «Okupa», which is participating in the festival «Cologne Off». My passion for video and photography lead me then to a short passage at the Superior School of Theater and Cinema, but a BA in cinema was not enough as I wanted more than academic film knowledge and cinema techniques. In 2009 I moved to London to study in Central Saint Martins, a one year Diploma Studies in Sculpture, where I developed the notion of installation associated with new media which can be translated by the video «Okupa». I am currently studying Fine Art at Goldsmith University of London which enabled me to experiment with a wide range of materials and approaches to art. I extended my practice considerably and draw a thinner line in my artistic aims, but most importantly met very interesting people from all over the world with the same desires as mine and very different cultural backgrounds, which is frequently an inspirational source.

2. When, how and why started you filming?

Video and Photography were the first subject explored when I studied Audiovisual Communication in Antonio Arroio Secondary Art School (Lisbon). Through several background courses and a short passage at the Superior School of Theater and Cinema I developed my awareness of audiovisual as a creative tool. Nowadays I use video as a vehicle to express artistic ideas, but I couldn’t say I am a director because my work does not resume to that and I don’t have the sufficient amount of knowledge.

3. What kind of subjects have your films?

I have always been interested in the subject matter «space». Using several media to explore this theme my work focus on how space relates to human activity and emotion.

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

I could never talk simply about films because as I said my practice does not resume to that. When I have an idea I only think about which would be the best fitting media after fully developing the concept. I want to continue to learn, to be challenged in new ways and this is also why I tend to work with such a diverse range of materials and techniques which explore the borderline between categories. The intersection of for instance: performance and photography or sculpture and video or private and public or design and installation is my art practice approach. These exciting borders are what motivates me to think and do art since I believe it allows some sort of innovation.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.

I tend to think about projects that can be achieved without too much special or advanced technical equipment. So the final pieces are usually accomplished through simple apparatus or the university facilities.

6. The field of “art and moving images” (one may call it videoart or also differently) is manifesting itself as an important position in contemporary art. Tell me more about your personal position and how you see the future of this field (your personal future and the future of “art and moving images”)

Video-art has established itself as one of the major categories in contemporary art. I use video as a tool to capture an artistic process however I think I will start to see video in a more interactive way. I believe video-art is a very interesting field, but I am getting aware that if it doesn’t encourage at least a basic interaction with the audience it may be a bit hard to enjoy in a gallery context. New technologies have allowed artists to develop innovative and highly involving ways to create artistic interaction and I personally feel that this may be the future of video-art and art in general.

7. How do you finance your films?

I think about projects that do not require a money injection and instead use my available resources in a clever way. I think having this as a principle, in moderation, can be a more interesting way to do art.

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?

Usually I prefer to work individually however there are certain people that I find myself working with regularly. In the video «Okupa», Mariana Fernandes contribution was absolutely vital and the project wouldn’t exist without her. By helping me to develop the concept and visual aesthetic we manage to create a stronger piece and nowadays we work together regularly. The same happens with my parents who have very skilled crafts knowledge and usually collaborate with me on my projects. Nevertheless these collaborations only work well when there is a true connection and a creative relationship between people and this, I find to be a difficult thing to happen.

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

This is a question that personally is a lot related to the previous one as my lasting influences are the people around me. My family, friends and colleagues are a constant creative stimulation and I value their opinion a lot throughout the process.

10. What are your plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
Mariana and I often discuss the future as artists in Portugal and elsewhere. We both have a keen interest in curation so we tend to turn our attention to that area as there is a vast space for new initiatives which may be related with the notion of interaction in art. To think about how to exhibit art is as important as the actual pieces and we enjoy the constant exercise of materializing ideas in an interesting way for audiences encouraging connections between both viewers and artists.