VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Contreras, Marita

Marita Contreras
videomaker from Peru




Interview:10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background
I was born in Lima, Peru. Although I grew up during an age of terrorism, Peru, through its art, music, geography, and people, instilled in me a powerful aesthetic sense – an appreciation of the importance of art in a time of violence and chaos.
After receiving my B.S. in engineering at the University of Lima, I received my graduate degree in Engineering at the University of Texas. Throughout my engineering studies, I pursued my true passion in art by taking various courses in sculpture, photography and drawing. During my work as in Engineer in the Silicon Valley, I became more committed to the study of visual arts. Eventually, my passion compelled me to leave engineering and to purse my M.F.A. at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

2. When, how and why started you filming?
As I attempted to express movement in my still photography, video/film was a natural progression. Through this medium, I realized that I could convey much more information with the moving image.

3. What kind of subjects have your films?
I work with the human figure within multiple contexts. Based on my childhood in Peru, I am especially interested in exploring themes regarding the abuse of power, through subjugation, violence and torture.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
The style of my videos and films arise from the particular concept that I am working on in the composition at that time. From my background in photography, I design each frame as if it were a single image. I am also very interested in suggesting a feeling as opposed to describing it. Thus, I often alter the image to be more evocative.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
I use a variety of equipment from low to high definition. I enjoy experimenting with old film cameras such a Pixel Vision and Super 8. I also like the low resolution of cell phone videos. I use 24 fps video and high definition as well.

6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general
and you personally?

Video has become ubiquitous in the art world. Developments in technology are allowing more people to utilize it beyond conventional applications. I see myself experimenting more with video art and installations.

7. How do you finance your films?
My films are usually self-financed.

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?
Most of the time I prefer to work individually unless I require assistance with equipment, in which case I would use one or two more people.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
My artwork is mostly influenced by Baroque artists like Caravaggio and Zurbaran.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
I would like to keep making films/videos that become part of a larger installation. For instance, I have always dreamed of presenting my video triptych work “Altarpiece,” a commentary of the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, on an altar in an abandoned church with smaller videos presented as the “Stations of the Cross.”

Can works of yours viewed online besides on VideoChannel? Where?
List some links & resources