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Sarah Bernauer

Sarah Bernauer

What’s your background?

I grew up in a small village in Switzerland, my parents were strictly religious and there was not much contact to the „outside“ world. Because there was little entertainment, I started to read everything I could get my hands on. Through that reading process I became aware of alternative world views, views different than the one I was strongly taught. As a result of my upbringing I became very sensitive to any kind of imposed or isolating ideologies. I also realized how our conditioning impacts the perception of ourselves and the world in general. Those early formative experiences are still crucial for my practice as an artist. I like to think of ideas within a network of relation and references and therefore installation is my preferred medium of presenting my work.

What are your artistic influences?

When I was 18 a friend took me to a retrospective of Niki de Saint Phalle and I was immediately hooked by her filmic work, the way she transferred her shortcomings into a tool for deconstructing her male-dominated surroundings and creating her own narrative. I thought immediately: this is what I want! However, it took me a couple of years until I finally decided to study art and become an artist myself. I’m always drawn to strong female positions, be it in art, literature or theory – but I’m also generally interested in artist positions, contemporary and historical ones, that combine different mediums and disciplines, especially those who are using writing as an essential part of their work.

How do you start a new work?

I’m definitely a collector and sampler. I have the sometimes annoying habit of constantly writing everything down that strikes me as important. My ever-growing collection of copybooks is in a way the backbone of my work. That includes as well a lot of sketches and drawings. I never have a fully formulated idea of the end result when I start working on a new project. I’m more interested to see where it takes me. I follow different approaches and notions and then the actual work comes into existence during an extensive process of editing. Usually a deadline is helpful to conclude that process.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment I’m working on an installation that combines elements of spoken poetry with sound pieces. I’m also excited about a new project space I’ll be opening in Berlin in September together with my partner, where we’ll be organizing periodic exhibitions, talks and readings.

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Luciana Kaplun

Luciana Kaplun

What’s your background?

I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, where I studied education. When I migrated to Israel I started to focus on art. I studied photography for my BFA. During my MFA I expended my interest in video and performance. Through those years I was also part of an artistic group called “Public Movement” — that investigates and stages political actions in public spaces.

What are your artistic influences?

I’m truly inspired by narratives created by popular culture, usually from post colonial countries. My work addresses sociopolitical issues like immigration, refugees and new hybrid identities of people looking for work and a better life in different places. I’m interested in television and cinema formats and some Latin American writers like Cortazar, Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, mainly from the “Magical Realism” genre.

How do you start a new work?

My work is based on extensive and long research. I usually start a new project by talking to people, listening to their stories and learning about their cultures. The personal connection with the people I chose to work with, is crucial to my process.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on raising my baby. I decided to take a little break from intensive projects. Meanwhile, I would like to experiment with new formats and styles.

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Artist Anne Haaning

Anne Haaning

What’s your background?

Having been a Dane in London for many years, I’m now between London and the Arctic, working on a fellowship with the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme. Before achieving my MFA in 2014, my history was in architecture – but even then, my chief concerns and practice were animation and the field’s durational qualities. I think being introduced to 3D when 3D consumer programs emerged at the beginning of the millennium has really influenced the way I perceive the digital, making me, perhaps, a 3D native.

What are your artistic influences?

I feel deeply connected to the moving image art scene in London. I think there’s something about the dis/utopian pulse of life, the scarcity of space and time that you can really sense in London moving image works in recent years. But in terms of who I look to for inspiration, it’s often writers, particularly those who play with voice and space in their writing: Andrew Durbin, Anne Carson, Lynne Tillman, for example.

How do you start a new work?

One work often bleeds into another. There will be some element that didn’t quite fit with the piece it was intended for which turns into something of its own. Often the work grows out of attempts to embody very abstract ideas in 3D animation and video editing, and of embracing the failure to do it, moving down the path where the templates break down, where the digital systems reveal their limitations.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on a piece that looks at the mineral cryolite, mined by the Danes in Greenland in the 1850s, and the stories that surround it. Cryolite made the mass production of aluminium – and so modern technology – possible; in effect, it helped secure Denmark’s place in global capitalism. The mine has now been reclaimed by the ocean and is largely erased from the Danish conscience. The work revisits that scar in the Greenlandic landscape, geographically as well as symbolically, and the transformation of the now extinct mineral into ever-present technology.

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Dagmar Schürrer

Dagmar Schürrer

What’s your background?

I grew up in Austria and studied Fine Art at CSM in London, in the class for new and time-based media. I attended art school quite late – at the end of my twenties – and before that I have moved around quite a bit between Vienna, Berlin and London. I started out with works of photography, collage and drawing, but I was drawn to the medium of the moving image quite quickly.

What are your artistic influences?

I am fascinated by systems of storytelling, although I am constantly sabotaging coherent narratives in my work. So I am often influenced by films or texts, that are experimenting with incoherence. The composition of my work is consistently formal, a consequence of my engagement with the minimalist concepts of structural film. Another big influence are theoretical texts by a wide range of writers, time and again I seem to return to Laura Mulvey or Giorgio Agamben.

How do you start a new work?

I usually start with writing about and around the material I am collecting – images, texts, fragments, colours, typography, slogans, GIFs, extracts of films. This often culminates in lyrical texts, reminiscent of a sequence of slogans, circulating a particular theme. The text then slowly starts to interact with fragments of imagery.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on a moving image work in collaboration with the writer Christina M. Landerl, based on a technique of Adalbert Stifter, who uses a sprawling and meandering description of landscapes to slowly approach the characters in his novels.

Another work in progress are short, GIF-like moving images, that depict fantastical and utopian machinery halls with 3D animated objects, reflecting on ideas around the apparatus, industrial production and machine labour.

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Anita Delaney

Anita Delaney

What’s your background?

I studied animation and fine art in Ireland before moving to London to complete a masters in fine art. Growing up where I did it was hard to find much relating to art or niche culture so a lot of my earliest influences would have been English political comedians of the 80s that I watched on television. Music was also a big influence – we would swap tapes in school. The Velvet Underground, ‘Venus in Furs’ made a particularly potent impression.

What are your artistic influences?

Seeing Bruce Nauman at Tate when I was 17 was a formative moment and he remains a founding influence. My work reflects on life in the current moment, particularly life in London: a large urban place that feels the full force of capitalism and social differences. This as much as other art, music, writing and so on feeds my practice.

How do you start a new work?

I usually start a new moving image work with a storyboard or script. These can often change once production begins but they are a useful way of framing the making. While I have mainly made moving image, I have an increasing interest in sculpture and materials.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment I am working on some sculptures and a new moving image work that reflect on the specifics of how a place feels. This has grown from an interest in the various communities and cultures that tumble on top of each other in different parts of London. I’m interested in what the vibe of a place is, who belongs there and who may be excluded.

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Gary Zhexi Zhang

Gary Zhexi Zhang

What’s your background?

I was born in Suzhou, China and grew up in Birmingham, UK. I actually originally studied painting, but was working far more with film, writing and technologies by the end of my BA. I went on to study literature and theory for a while, and spent much more time with writing. Now I’m somewhere in between, but most of my friends are painters.

What are your artistic influences?

Theorists, especially in media, like Friedrich Kittler or N. Katherine Hayles, and various pseudo-philosophers like Donna Haraway, Michel Serres, Georges Bataille. I take more from writers than by other artists’ work. Though I think I’m most deeply influenced by conversations with friends, other artists, as well as researchers in the sciences, ecology, engineering, and elsewhere. I take a lot of inspiration from people who seek relationships across different spheres, whether that’s in interdisciplinary practices, or between political relations and lived experience.

How do you start a new work?

I have no idea, actually. I usually begin to disown a project as soon as I leave it behind, and making a new work feels like starting all over again every time, not necessarily in the blissfully creative kind of way. Maybe that’s OK. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a good thing to have a style, though I suppose it’s good to have a grasp of some kind of visual language as your foundation. I don’t think I have that, so each new work still invariably begins in crisis.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment I am in the middle of a slightly sprawling ‘project’, “a state of erotic communism”, which is ostensibly a video work about distributed forms of organisation, emergence, parasitism, sensory interfaces, and a bunch of other things… It has grown into several texts and some workshops and various things culled from ongoing conversations with many amazing researchers, artists and some biological organisms. It’s getting quite nebulous — right now I’m trying to cut off some of the extraneous tentacles and resolve it all, somehow..

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