VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Paraboni, Muriel

Muriel Paraboni
Brazilian audio-visual artist


Interview – 10 questions
3 July 2022

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background
During my training in communication and arts, my main interests were literature and cinema. So it didn’t take long to mix both things and experiment with images and words, rhythm, montage and poetry. This led me to deepen my studies in the field of cinema, theater and, later, the visual arts. The master’s degree in art and technology consolidated the transit between all these languages through digital video and installation.

2. When, how and why started you filming?
I started experimenting with video very early on, around age 14. I already loved cinema and was very curious about home video cameras. These initial explorations led me to the first 16mm short films, as a film student. From then on, I worked for several years in the film industry, always keeping in parallel my personal and authorial practice, which gradually became my main artistic activity.

3.What kind of subjects have your videos/films?
My films and videos in general work different aspects and gradations for the same interest, which basically revolves around the problems of language, perception and sensory elements, affection and senses involved in our everyday experience. My work investigates the ways in which our views and actions affect the environment and how the environment affects us. In the sense of observing how we build the world and our experiences and how our context conditions or determines us. Giving a philosophical touch to this investigative bias, I would say that the main objective of the work is to explore the limits of our freedom and creativity as human beings, to inquire to what extent we can really be free and to build our own individual human experience.

4. How do you develop your videos/films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
Depending on the project, there can be two paths. In general, when it comes to a larger project, with some type of significant funding, I tend to follow a more traditional methodology, of prior research, detailed planning, pre-production and a lot of preparation, in which the filming and post-production stages are make the execution of these previous steps. But the method with which I have the most affinity is linked to smaller productions, especially in video and installation, whose process starts from vague ideas and intuitions that soon trigger explorations with the video. These materials will generate sketches, texts, scripts and with that new elements will be added to the process. The work then becomes the result of the sum of these experiments throughout the entire process.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
Once again, it depends on the project, as each type of film, video or installation ends up signaling the best equipment and technology to be used. That’s why I don’t rule out any type of equipment, from 16mm film, through VHS, through the first digital videos to the most modern HD cameras. However, since I like to work alone or with a minimal team, my best friends are usually SLR cameras and cell phones. I like the mobility, flexibility and versatility that these portable devices allow. I believe that I have been producing more and more in this fluid and immediate way, using more robust equipment only in very specific situations.

6. What are the chances of new media for the genre videos/films in general and you personally?
It seems to me that new media have the potential to expand the circulation of films and videos. I believe that they do not compete or replace the physical circuit. On the contrary, they work as a multiplier, expanding the visibility of works and artists and thereby strengthening the experimental circuit. In this practical plan of the exhibition, I believe that these dimensions complement each other. In terms of aesthetics, language and experimentation, it also seems to me that the new media can only add to the genres of film and video.

7. How do you finance your films?
I’m always looking for funding for projects in different calls and institutions. These are projects that take longer to execute, as they are developed in greater detail, then undergo evaluations and new adjustments until they are able to receive funding. So I don’t sit around waiting for funding to arrive. The production goes on continuously, sometimes with a small personal contribution, sometimes without any budget, certain projects advance little by little, being made possible many times with the help of artistic and production partnerships. I believe that this last model is increasingly being the most effective in the type of works I make.

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 experience with both, as mentioned before. Although I don’t like working with very large teams, depending on the project this is necessary and so it’s fine with me. But in general I prefer to work in small teams of two or three people or even alone. The difference for me is total, because with a larger team it is necessary to plan, it is necessary to think about everything in advance to be able to lead the project. With a small team or alone, there is much more space for movement, improvisation and experimentation, the creative process becomes preponderant to production, so there is no doubt that working individually tends to more surprising results.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
You see, I don’t think my most recent influence came from film or video. I’ve been re-reading Paul Auster’s first novel these days. He was already a relatively established poet when he debuted in literature. It is a very deep and experimental work, as well as courageous, in which he mixes memories and autobiographical perceptions with philosophical, existential reflections and, perhaps most interestingly, lively theorizations about the writing process itself, about rhythm, meaning, games of language. Somehow I was able to contemplate those ideas in a very visual way and immediately transposed to my own practice with the images, I just didn’t see any barriers in this and I’ve been working from many of these provocations.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
I have more than one feature film project and many in video and installation. Some are already in progress, others I’m still sketching. Of all the projects, however, there are two that I am particularly fond of, as they involve elements that increasingly challenge me in terms of experimentation with performance, with chance and with everyday life. This direct clash with reality has interested me more and more, proposing a certain script of actions to the real and letting reality respond to it in its own way.