VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Preisner, Evo

Evo Preisner
(Roelof Broekman)
Dutch videomaker


Interview:10 questions

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

Born in Amsterdam, 1967, a brief moment at University (history) was enough to consider the school days over. I had my own ideas, be it that they were not yet completely clear to me at that point, not at all in fact. But I started to write music, poetry and short stories anyway and kept myself alive with all kinds of jobs. It was an uncertain road but the personal path became a gratifying one when I started to be able to reach other people. I ended up in the finals of a music-contest on national radio with a song I wrote and for which I played all the instruments. I played live. My poetry started to get published in different literature magazines. My music was asked for in commercial productions, documentaries and national TV. I learned to compose ensemble music, published a poetry book, wrote a novel and started to make video art…under the name of Evo Preisner.

2. When, how and why started you filming?
Out of some frustration with the composing work I did for TV, commercials and educational films. It seemed all so typical straight and infantile, and so the music I composed followed that path while my interests where lying somewhere else: challenging movies, modern art-music and art in general. So I bought a XLR camera and immediately knew what I wanted for my music, and how that should look like. I worked hard at it: learning pro edit software for video, reading every page of the camera manual, talking with pro camera man, learning, accepting camera jobs, reading thousands of pages about video artists and it’s history, filming as much as I could, working and working, trying, failing and…

3. What kind of subjects have your films?
Inner circles, the un-represent-able god, movements and moments, sleep, silence, looks, lucid dreams, sounds, and reflections.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
The way in which I produce my video work differs from the traditional way of putting music to words, or writing words for a piece of music, or composing music for a short film. There is no copy and paste in that sense.
At the start of a project, there is not a complete poem, or a finished piece of music or a complete film. It (the end result) develops out of different fragments (solely made by me) which find their genesis in the process of the work or an initially idea. In other words: while I’m at work.
So all these different parts arise out of the process. Therefore I work alone: to be able to concentrate in a way similar to that of a writer when he writes a book or a poem. During the writing process, new ideas and complications evolve that you have to deal with. That’s how I want to achieve the result for these videos: pieces made out of visuals, words and sound coming out of the same cell of space, out of a single thinking, into a single duration.
The music, words and visuals can’t be separated: you end up with broken pieces. There is not enough music for a complete composition, not enough words for a poem, not enough visuals for a film: there is only the video with all these forms interweaving, that can be absorbed as a coherent object that can be considered done.
There are constantly ‘black holes’ in my work to underline the independence of each form: absence of an image, absence of sound, absence of words. The visuals can appear in silence, the music can be heard while there is a black screen, words can pop up when there is no music etc. etc. But they follow each other almost effortless because they are still part of the same trajectory. This tension between loosing objects and interweaving objects is essential in finding the right balance in order to achieve one cell of space.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
A camera, a computer and my imagination.

6. The field of “art and moving images” (one may call it videoart 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”)
Every artist has it’s strong field in which he works: video art has a short history in compare to painting, writing and the theatre. The great thing about video art is that in the near future every other art will be involved in moving images, and vice versa. Because video art differs so much from conventional film making and photography, there is a whole world to discover: and it’s limitless.
But with this revolution of heavy loaded computers comes a responsibility and a challenge: within the thousands of choices (a.k.a. freedom) one can make in editing these days, only the strong will survive. More and more it will depend on the imagination of the maker, on his ideas and his philosophy, how strong the end result will be, and not the challenge of overcoming technical limitation (as in the early days of video making). It is now basically the same as the white canvas of a painter 100 years ago, or the universal silence in the ear of the composer…and it is precisely because of this that you have to know what to do, or/and develop strong intuitive powers!

7. How do you finance your films?
Composing music for TV and documentary, audio (speech) and camera (weblectures) work. There is also some private funding for special projects or travels in relation to my art: I’d like to mention my dear friends Chris Kwik and Jaap Westermann.

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?
The basis of my philosophy is: I work like a writer, with that private concentration, and that’s in every aspect of my video making, in every part of the trajectory.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
Different people from different arts:

– Elliot Carter (composer) who developed the independent routings of different instruments in an ensemble: he started to see instruments as individuals with their own needs and willpower as a equivalent of the modern democratic society.

– Alexander Sokurov (director) who showed how spoken words and slow revealing images can capture ones attention in a way that you eventually get overwhelmed by the intensity of simplicity, and taking the time to let you become part of his dreamlike world, for instance in his ‘elegy of a journey’, but it’s everywhere in his work.

– Michel van der Aa (composer) who combines film images, interviews and acting with ensemble live performance. He also uses singers who interact live with pre-recorded images and voices of themselves projected on screen. Van der Aa writes the music and directs the visuals himself.

– Rob List (moving art) who makes very slow body movements in strict silence, moving away from dance in such a way that it manifests an inner world seen on the outside, demanding full concentration of the spectator who almost becomes part of the play. Very compact ideas stretched out over a long period of time. Challenging performances.

– Sonic Youth for what they are.

and… non-specific order: Anders Weberg, Claude Vivier, Ingmar Bergman, Arnold Schönberg, Black Sabbath, John Frusciante, Pierre Boulez, Edgar Reitz, Zappa, Anton Webern, Woody Allen, Radiohead, Vinnie Colaiuta, Anton Corbijn, Edgar Varese, Hal Hartley, Thurston Moore.

10. What are your plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
I’m living the dream right now: this day and age is beautiful for me personally. It almost seems as if I have waited all my life to be able to make the things I make right now: 10 years ago it wasn’t possible, not the way I work, at least not for an individual artist.

Can works of yours viewed online besides on CologneOFF or VideoChannel? Where?