VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Thyes, Myriam

Myriam Thyes
Swiss videomaker


Interview:10 questions

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

I was raised in Zurich (Switzerland) in a well educated, culturally and socially active and interested family.
1986-92, I studied fine arts at the Art Academy of Dusseldorf.

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

In 1990, still painting, I worked in Paris with a grant (as AIR). There the movement, the people, the visible history and the light inspired me to start videotaping. I actually started AFTER the residency, back at the art academy in Dusseldorf. The video art professor Nan Hoover and her class became an important influence for my video work.

3. What kind of subjects do your films have?

For the last 15 years, my themes deal with symbols, myths and visual signs from architecture, geography, politics, movies, and religions. My artworks are explorations of their meanings, a questioning, reassessments, “destabilisations” and creations of new associations. In order to undermine entrenched representations, I work directly with them, to develop them further, transform them and juxtapose them against new representations. Cultural symbols and views of our human built environment undergo transformations, start to communicate and build new relations – symbols of identities become elements of dialogues.

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

The principles of COLLAGE and METAMORPHOSE are important to me. My videos don’t have the narrative structure of a story, but the visual (and auditive) elements function like arguments in a discussion or in a reflection about human conditions and behaviours.

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

I use a video camera (now HD) and Mac computers, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash, Apple Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro. Now I’d like to start working with Adobe After Effects again.
(I’d like to emphasize that drawing and painting by hand was my long years practice, so without this experience, my work would certainly look different.)

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”)

In the last years, video art and film art merge, they are often narrative, like fiction movies or documentaries (which I partly regret). On the other hand, multi-channel video installations and installations with videos and sculptural elements have evolved as very interesting, ambitious and touching art forms. Animation has become an important form of expression as well in the visual art world (which I love). At present and in future the field of “art and moving images” is spreading into all media and techniques – the web, smart phones, iPads, computer games, interactive installations, … With 3D video, many more video art forms will be developed which we cannot imagine yet.
The future of my moving image art is exploring such possibilities, although the artistic content is more important to me than new technical devices. What I’d like to develop more in my work, is participation in and communication through artworks.

7. How do you finance your films?

My way of working is not expensive, so I often finance it myself. For some projects I receive grants or funding, for example by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture (BAK), or by the city of Dusseldorf.

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 mostly work individually, create and produce everything myself (except for the software) – script, camera, graphics, animation, editing, text, sound.
In the project FLAG METAMORPHOSES, I invite many other artists to contribute their Flash animations, so I sometimes help them with technical issues.
In some cases, I ask a musician to contribute a sound to my video or animation, or I need a technician for the sound mix.
The work of others inspires me, but in the process of developing an artwork, I prefer to be alone.

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

I guess – reality, the world around me, and its history. AND certain art epochs and architecture:
Stone age drawings as much as African ritual sculptures, Christian church art (Byzantine, Baroque), Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Russian Avantgarde, Dada, Constructive Art (Concrete Art in Switzerland), Pop Art, Cartoons.

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

Many plans, secret dreams …
One concrete plan: A participatory project: a series of videos for people and their smartphones in Zurich.
One wish: Enough space and best equipment to realise my installations the way they are intended.

Can works of yours be viewed online besides on CologneOFF or VideoChannel? Where? List some links & resources: