VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Louie, Jeanette

Jeanette Louie
US video artist


  • artist biography
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    Interview: 10 questions

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

    I have had a straightforward postmodernist educational background. I studied illustration as an undergraduate and studio art as a graduate student, cruising through an array of art mediums while deepening a great appreciation for philosophy and literature. I was born in New York City and presently live in a New Jersey area across the Hudson River from downtown Manhattan. The community is a strong source of inspiration for me as it is multi-ethnic, representative of the globalization occurring in world politics, and dominant in family values. Much of my work examines human consciousness and its relationship to perception. Living in and participating with such a community offers fodder for many of my projects.

    2. When, how and why did you start filming?

    Video is a new medium for me. In 2007, I created a commissioned collaborative project involving seven teenagers and the concept of collective daydreaming. The final installation required an animated video sequence to be projected onto a live human. The organization that commissioned the work supplied me with the technology to create the video. At that time I was exploring the possibility of studying streams of consciousness in order to construct contemporary icons. I was already incorporating photography and photo-collage into my practice. The opportunity to experiment with video technology pushed my work into a new direction.

    3. What kind of subjects do you film?

    My primary focus for using moving image is to render a stream of consciousness. “matter” depicts a mind that perceives the world through anxiety. It is primarily composed of a sequence of still images and animated collages. I am presently working on a video, titled “Exile (of the Solipsistic Son)”, which transports the viewer inside the mind of an individual taking a brief stroll. The settings for both videos are places that are decaying, but are still utilized by the public.

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

    At the moment, the writings of D.H. Lawrence are heavily influencing how I structure filmic narratives. This particular author articulated the emotional abstractions that dominate self-awareness and achieved an uncanny ability to identify consciousness as being the unifying element of society. My interest in any art medium is usually prompted by how it can render my ideas of how perception mediates consciousness. I try to steer away from principles, modes or trends.

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

    The still photographs are shot with an 8-mega pixel digital camera. The collages are made in the traditional studio manner of cutting and gluing. I shoot all the photographs that are used as source material for the collages and do not incorporate found imagery. I use Final Cut Studio 2 (mostly Final Cut Pro 6, Motion and Compressor). For the audio elements, at first I borrowed mics and a mixer and fed everything through Motu, but now I have switched to using a portable H-4 unit for sound collection and Garageband for effects and dropping all files into Final Cut Pro, which is streamlining the editing workload.

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

    There is a great deal of experimentation in film, video and sound and I like seeing how hybrid forms are becoming more mainstream. I prefer experiencing images and sounds that are produced using the simplest of technical equipments. Sometimes the technical affects and fabrications overshadow the final aesthetic result when creators concentrate too much on the digital machinery. For my purposes, video is being incorporated into an arsenal of mediums that I use to portray streams of consciousness.

    7. How do you finance your films?

    “matter” was created from a hodgepodge of sources. Seed money came from a not-for-profit institution and personal monies as well as barter and trade financed its completion. “Exile….” Is solely a self-financed project. An upcoming multi-media installation project will be financed by private and governmental sources located abroad. Basically, every project is funded in a diversity of manners.

    8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker of do you work in a team?

    I mostly work alone, but am now having the opportunity to collaborate and to incorporate others into my projects.

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

    I have been asking myself this question for some time. I think it comes from talking with people in my community about what they feel, believe, think and hope for. These conversations offer a glimpse of an image that defines what being alive constitutes. I want to concentrate on this small issue and consequently, am willing to put up with the hellish attributes of the technical problems of using video in order to obtain long-term results.

    10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?

    At present, I am grappling with economic survival as there is less and less funding in the USA for artists. I’m interested in working with collaborators abroad and will begin doing so in 2009. I am hoping to tap into alternative funding sources in order for me to begin a dream-project of mine that involves video installation.

    Can works of yours be viewed online besides on VideoChannel? Where?