VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Galvin, Kirsten

Kirsten Galvin
US artist


  • artist biography
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    Interview: 10 questions

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

    I’m an interdisciplinary artist working mostly in video, installation, and performance. I received her MFA in Studio Art and her MA in Modern and Contemporary Art, Criticism and Theory from Purchase College, SUNY; and my BA with Honors from Brown University. I’ve shown in New York at the Annex at White Box Gallery, Supreme Trading, The CAA Regional MFA Exhibition at The Hunter College/Times Square Gallery, and The Richard &Dolly Maas Gallery at Purchase College.

    2. When, how and why started you filming?

    I have been working in the medium of video since my undergraduate studies. I’ve always been interested in the intersections of art, film, television, and theatre.

    3. What kind of subjects have your films?

    My interests are in American pop culture, and cultural and political history, in relation to media and technology. With the proliferation of YouTube and user-friendly software, media information is more accessible and malleable than ever. In my work, I use digital abstraction and play to disrupt traditional conventions of the moving image, while also creating a new form of audio-visual pleasure. While keeping recognizable elements of the original source, my remixes expose, exaggerate, or recontextualize meaning. My re-edited and remixed videos play with time, and call into question pop culture and technology as representative of greater sociological, political, and economic conditions. My work is not only a form of cultural commentary, but also a personal negotiation in understanding the power of imagery, social structures, and narrative, in the digital age. The foreboding narcotics of pop culture and the lack of distinction between the original and copy as historical reality become the substance of my work and a metaphor for the tenor of the time.

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

    I usually decide on a particular abstraction, distortion or visual style that is either a literal complement of the content, or works in opposition to the subject matter. The chosen visual effect is always in the form of deconstruction and commentary. The visual style is usually decided upon before I start working, or locating footage, and that becomes the basic course for developing the project.

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

    I use a Mac with various editing, graphics, animation, music composition, and sound editing software. At times I will shoot video footage on miniDV, or from my computer’s iSight camera (low budget!).

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

    I think the broad space of new media provides an exciting way of distributing and promoting film and video works that would not have such a public format. More importantly, new media technologies impact the way they are created. Forms of narrative and storytelling, along with the methods of production and post-production have dramatically shifted. In my work, I embrace the sense of media history, of cinema and television, under the rubric of new media. I am interested in the remediation of all media technology, and how each form of audio-visual communication informs the other.

    7. How do you finance your films?
    My art is financed by freelance work and assorted day jobs.

    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 worked both alone and in collaboration. I enjoy both methods of developing a project, and like to keep the two in balance. Collaboration can be difficult with the wrong people, but in the ideal collaboration, you end up in place that you would never get to on your own, which I find extremely satisfying and exciting.

    9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
    John Waters is my sun, moon and stars.

    10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
    The luxury of making my artwork full-time, and staying inspired and focused is enough to ask for. At some point soon, I should have my website up and running, in which clips of many of my projects will be available.