VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Härenstam, Mattias

Mattias Härenstam
Swedish videomaker


Interview: 10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background
– Though born in Sweden, I was educated at the Art Academy in Bergen, Norway and since lived in Oslo and Berlin.

2. When, how and why started you filming?
– Being trained as an artist, I gradually shifted from painting into installation, video installation and also “pure” video works.

3. What kind of subjects have your films?
– That differs, but they usually deal with the more “nightmarish” undercurrents of the consumerist welfare state, always told from a very subjective perspective.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
– I don’t have one special formula, but most of my works are loops with a circular narrative. I also work a lot with integrating the videos into spatial situations and installations.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
– I use a Canon 7D with a couple of different lenses, Final Cut on a Mac for editing and often get help when I need more advanced digital effects (like “Close Circuit” for instance)

6. The field of “art and moving images” (one may call it video art 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 (or what ever you prefer to call it) is nor anymore a “new media”, but one artistic medium among many. It is not anymore so interesting with technical experimentation with the image in itself, but more focus on content and form.

7. How do you finance your films?
– I most often try to work on a low budget, but also apply for funding from the Norwegian Arts Council and other funds for art production.

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 work individually, but have a couple of friends/colleagues that help me out (and the other way around). Important to have good people that you trust around for advice, energy and help.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
– The films of Bunuel and David Lynch have made a big impression, but also artists like Francis Bacon, Henri Magritte or writers like Camus, Dagerman, HP Lovecraft or Dostoyewski. As for video artists I really like the work of Sam Taylor-Wood for instance.

10. What are your plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
– Right now I am working on a large installation without video completely, but I am also planning to do a series of video works concerning the relationship between the still and moving image in connection to mortality and the fear of disappearance.