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Jennifer Martin

Jennifer Martin

What’s your background?

I have a background in Fine Arts, my BA degree was a fine art programme and I studied in the media department with a focus on time and space-based mediums. My MA degree was in the Photography department, although this interest was more so theoretically grounded than materially based in photography.

What influences you artistically?

NY Times cultural writer, Jenna Wortham commented on the change in her professional content around popular culture since political upheaval in 2016, stating, ‘We had entered another ecosystem, and gravity was different. We had to re-evaluate what we were doing and for who. Instead of treating culture as an extracurricular, it’s like the culture is actually forging and shaping who we are and why we are here. And we have to treat it like a hypertext to try to understand something about where we’re all at emotionally, spiritually, physically, psychically,’ (April 2019).

My process of making is usually influenced by culture and in particular popular conception and popularised belief systems around a set thing.

How do you start a new work?

There’s not always a clear start to a work, I bank a lot of ideas and rely on the note app, TextEdit and google sheets to save thoughts. Most of the time I begin in language and research, sometimes I’ll start with an image in my mind and the language is later.

What are you working on right now?

I have two solo shows opening this October, Turf Projects in London and Primary in Nottingham. Both works approach the subject of immigration.

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Karolina Stellaki

Karolina Stellaki

What’s your background?

I grew up in Athens, Greece in the 90’s. I studied Sculpture at the Edinburgh College of Art and I completed recently an MFA in Fine Art Media at the Slade School of Art in London.

What influences you artistically?

I am interested in how people communicate and perceive particular contexts and the language. Reading is another important source of inspiration and regular confrontation which largely contributes to question things anew. I am devoted in watching independent cinema. It is a recurrent and vital interest and influences my approach in art-making.

How do you start a new work?

I usually I have an urge to create something new when I encounter a work which I love, or a story or a person which fascinates me. Some other times it occurs gradually through a long process of research and exploration of subjects that I deeply care about and investigate.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on a performance and dance work which invites people to explore their bodies, inner rhythm and movement in silence. The work is seeking to unfold personal narratives drawn by on-site experience rather than representation. I’m also in the process of editing older and newer video footage and thinking on possible narratives for a work which deals with themes of subjectivity, interiority and representation within western and post-colonial contexts.

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Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir

Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir

What’s your background?

I come from Reykjavík Iceland but moved to Berlin some 10 years ago. I’m raised up at the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean, literally with the waves going over my house in bad weather, and childhood family travels between the different small harbour towns in Iceland extended to world travel as I grew up. I have always been very curious and carved out my own path to satisfy that urge. In my 20s I was travelling and studying anthropology and later interactive design in London before going to art school. My first encounter with making art was during a stay in an high school in the US as a teenager. Later I was the first one at the University of Iceland to hand in a visual project instead of written thesis when I was finishing my degree. I started making creative documentaries before I ventured into contemporary art.

What influences you artistically?

I’m very influenced by the critical perspective and approach that I was so lucky to receive during my studies in anthropology. My art work is born out of qualitive research and observation of socio-economic issues. I haven’t really approached art making with adoration of an older master artist but rather been influenced by the art and thinking of my peers. I’m very influenced by the many conversation I have both with friends, colleagues and collaborators. Everything I see, hear or sense, whether it is art or the broader culture and society influnces me. I feel like I’m an observer.

How do you start a new work?

My projects are very long-term. I work on the same research project for years and there are many artistic outcomes on the way. Documentary, book publication, single-channel videos, sculptures, large immersive mixed media installations…. The last long-term project Keep Frozen started with a gut feeling and the research goals and objectives came clearer along the way. It was a journey of discovery. Iceland had just become bankrupt and I had just moved to Berlin. I felt that the problems Icelandic society was facing and continues to face have very much to do with a denial to deal and work out the past. It is my conviction that how you deal with and what you choose to deal with in the past, what kind of research is funded, what kinds of diggings are undertaken, determines what possibilities are imagined for the future. How the collective or the individual can imagine how things should or could be done. So my gut feeling was that I should go on a personal journey looking at the past and travelled to the small fishing village of 166 people that my grandmother came from before moving to Reykjavik. There I just walked around and talked to people, observed, took photographs and just did what I felt like doing. I ended up making a one minute single shot video work Keep Frozen part zero. My next steps took me on a journey all along the North-Atlantic to the coast of Africa in the east and the coast of the US in the west and to Reykjavik in between and the works started to have much more broader relevance although rooted in the personal.

What are you working on right now?

I just started a new work. Couple of years ago I was invited on a residency in Southwest Australia to research the harbor there. I had become some kind of harbor artists I assume. I’m not used to going on organised residencies. I usually just go to the places I need to go for my research interest and organise it myself. So I was not sure what do do. I had not much previous connection or reason to go there. What I decided to do was to start using my camera to investigate, I shot photographs and video clips around all the products that were exported from that harbor both at the port and also in the hinterland where those products were mined or harvested. It was later when looking at those photos and and video clips in my studio in Berlin and also at the same time hearing about the opening of German owned silica processing plants in Iceland that I started to make connections. One of the export products from that port was silica dioxide sand mined closed by. This kind of silica dioxide needs a lot of processing and the most pure silica (Si) that comes out of the process can be used to produce chips and solar cells. I used my time at Künstlerhaus Bethanien to show the project in its initial state to some curators and now it looks like it is going to be part of two exhibitions in Berlin opening in October and also an exhibitoin opening in south Germany in November. The journey is just starting and I will be on this journey for some years to come.

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Pieter Geenen

Pieter Geenen

What’s your background?

I hold a MA in Photography, which I obtained with a project that entirely consisted of a series of video pieces which explored the limits of the photographic and the moving image. During the following postgraduate program Transmedia at Sint-Lukas Brussels I had the opportunity to have classes from inspiring artists like Herman Asselberghs, David Shea, Manon De Boer, Leslie Thornton, Malcolm Le Grice, Anouk De Clercq and Hans Op de Beeck. It was then that I started experimenting with the evocative aspects of sound which resulted in a series of so called ‘nightscapes’. Since then my practice is generally characterised by an audiovisual and photographic approach. However, some ideas recently ended up being translated into text, print or installation.

What influences you artistically?

Since my first passion as a child was music, I still find a lot of inspiration in music and sound. What affects my work as an artist most is minimal, ambient, electronic, new age and experimental music, especially from the late ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Also music and sound work which is rooted in field recordings and traditional music attracts my attention. In film and video art I spontaneously have to think of the work of James Benning, Sharon Lockhart’s ‘Teatro Amazonas’, and Ben Russell’s ‘Let Each One Go Where He May’. Or the photographic work of Richard Mosse. On a continuous basis perhaps an even bigger influence is the work by my colleagues and fellow Messidor co-founders Meggy Rustamova and Sirah Foighel Brutmann & Eitan Efrat. The ongoing dialogue between the four of us on the level of content, production and presentation is perhaps the strongest influence of all.

How do you start a new work?

My work is based on research and finds its origin in the history and current reality of a place and its people. In most cases I travel to these places to explore and to verify the local situation, make contacts, interview people, collect footage and make use of local archives to collect data. The fascination for a certain subject can be triggered by different literary sources or from traveling itself, and might be hanging around for a long time before actually being used, if ever.

What are you working on right now?

Currently, I’m preparing a solo show in which a first body of mainly photographic work from three travels around Mount Ararat and Mount Aragats and its surrounding Kurdish and Yezidi communities on the border between Turkey and Armenia will be presented. This series of work speaks about belonging, the desintegration of memory, the construction and deconstruction of cultural identity, but also of the image itself. At the same time I’m processing footage from a recent residency period in Mexico City to start editing a few new video pieces.

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Chooc Ly Tan

Chooc Ly Tan

What’s your background?

I am a French-born Afro/Vietnamese/Cambodian creature. I was mostly raised by my mother, in the suburbs of Paris. She was a seamstress, alternating with moments of unemployment. We lived in a housing project, with my sister and my brother, in a very multi-cultural and working class environment. I grew up watching kung fu movies, Japanese animations, playing video games, riding my BMX and drawing. I also practiced karate for 5 years. Then I became obsessed with reading and writing. At 18, I begun studying modern literature at the Sorbonne. After 2 months, I gave up and moved to London with 500 francs (£50) in my pocket; I slept at the hostel. And phewww! I quickly found a cash-in-hand job, washing dishes and pans in a Soho restaurant. Then I worked in a factory, then a number of restaurants and bars. I was also a party animal and hang out a lot with ravers and DJs. Then I studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins (2006), focusing mostly on sculpture and installation. At the end of the program, I started incorporating videos into my 3D work. Then I moved to Reykjavik (Iceland) where I lived for 2 years (2007-2009). There, I worked as a bartender, a set designer, a touristic guide and a fisherman. I did a lot of road trips around the country whilst making a series of videos. Then I returned to London, to do a Master of Fine Art at Goldsmiths (2011). In the meantime, I also became a DJ.

What influences you artistically?

Almost everything but mostly classical and theoretical physics, science fiction, activism, rebellion, weird landscapes and music. But for more details:

My practice is informed by progressive research in fields, such as Chaos Theory and Synchrony. Many of my works present a “surrealist” take on this manifest reality. In the past, I have worked with Quantum Theory researchers, drawing parallels between their legitimate fields of study and the narrative extravagancies found in science fiction. Also, I love watching the making-of (behind-the-scene) of sci-fi movies and magic shows.

Recently, I have been interested in how race and gender have become other systems, used to make sense of the physical reality. As a brown female artist from a working class background, I have been made aware of my own “characteristics”, when privileges are given upon a “chart” defined by race, gender and class. So I read, watch and listen anything to do with social justice and activism. I am a big fan of senegalese writer Fatou Diome, author of The Belly of the Atlantic. She gave enlightening lectures proposing efficient solutions for the process of decolonisation. Also, Martinican Psychiatrist and philosopher Frantz Fanon is one of my hero.

I am interested in optimism and positive technology as forms of activism. I look into futuristic architecture, product and graphic design, and, Afrofuturism. I listen to niche music produced outside the West. I’m interested in mad topology in nature, and vulnerable and intense landscapes.

How do you start a new work?

It varies. Generally, I do A LOT of research. Sometimes I can’t sleep because of my hyperactive brain that processes the first ideas. In these moments, I get up and try to put these ideas on a notebook, writing, making storyboards and / or diagrams.

I like setting a list of parameters, similar to a plan of action, to improve the quality of my productions. I write this list on a whiteboard or digital document that I commit myself to check regularly throughout the process. Here are examples of possible parameters: “have textures”, “build a climax”, “don’t overdo the flares, otherwise it will become hmmm!”, “do not compromise”.

Sometimes, I’d collect homemade and found audio-visual materials that I use directly, or, let to ferment for ages until it becomes relevant to a project.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on a video, in collaboration with Icelandic-based artist, radiopresenter and adventurer Svavar Jonatansson. Last year, we used his Nikon D800, and filmed ourselves interacting with outdoor warehouse spaces. We did it on the outskirts of Reykjavik, while playing loud music from his car stereo. One of the tracks was mine; otherwise we played a lot of techno. He did a first edit of the video and it’s already super kuul! Now it’s my turn to have a go. We work remotely but we will sometimes be in the same city. He was in London last week. I am going to Reykjavik at some point in the spring. Also…literally I just started working on a satirical, political and upbeat video. It will premier at the next Euronoize event, on 23 May in London. Also-also,I am working on my first EP – I am making super hybrid music. One of them as a zouk (Creole music) kind of beat, with a very electronic feel to it, and my own voice.

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Aimée Neat

Aimée Neat

What’s your background?

Growing up mum was a mobile hairdresser, and dad was a primary school teacher. Seemingly a non-artistic, non-performing background, but parents and family are all natural performers, comedians, creators and crafts people. Their perspectives are comic driven, political, analytical, highly creative and resourceful, so all of my principle artistic training comes from them. This combined with their encouragement, and the freedom they always gave me to play.

What influences you artistically?

Artists who take risks, who don’t care if you like it, who pull on the autobiographical to bring an audience something truly authentic and unique. Also theatricality, and the use of human performance to bring us closer to realising a human truth. Outside of art, I am deeply influenced by comedy, also music, and maybe poetry I guess.

How do you start a new work?

By being excited by an idea that won’t leave me, that stays by my side until a relationship grows. I guess I begin to break it down into practicalities, how I can resource and produce elements of what I can see in my mind. Then there’s the research into the subject source material, how I will mimic or impersonate or abstract, I start collecting found media content, or taking photographs for example. Then maybe visiting locations, audio recording, reading, writing. And lots of talking to collaborators or friends! Whatever encourages development and then abstraction.

What are you working on right now?

My version of a first proper short film. The first time I’m going to work with a crew and a cinematographer, a composer, and am currently working with a script writer. It’s very early days but I’m very excited!

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Max Colson

Max Colson

What’s your background?

I originally studied English Literature; I worked in advertising for five years; I did an MA in Documentary Photography; I had a funded year as an artist in residence at the Bartlett School of Architecture; I’ve worked as a freelance documentary photographer since 2013 alongside all of this. I also now teach on the MA Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins in London. The latter is all about helping students use process-led design research to make work that explores the relationship between form and the circulation of knowledge, as well as parameters of that subject.

All of these experiences come together to provide a particular interdisciplinary context to my current film-making.


What are your artistic influences?

These provide some of the frame of reference to my work: Hito Steyerl, Taryn Simon, Breugel (both of them), Sophie Calle, Nick Briz, Walid Raad, Lawrence Lek, Patrick Keiller.

How do you start a new work?

I will usually start with lots of desk research around a theme or question. I’ll then spend ages trying to find the right ‘documentary’ story, which will then lead to gathering vast amounts of visual and textual source material. At the same time, I’m usually visually experimenting with motion graphics and trying to form a script. This experimentation will also inform my research in quite a major way. Whenever it happens, the visual making acts as the filter and synthesis for the source material.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a project looking at exploring how the UK is speculating on its future outside of the European Union. I’m very interested in using specialist video editing and animation techniques to filter through and respond to all the material that’s been produced over the last few years.

Another project I’m working on is exploring the effect of ‘Micro Homes’ (homes which are made below current minimum space standards) in the UK on their occupants.

I’m also very interested in progressing the experimental film work I’ve done to date using Lidar 3D scanning technology. You can see a previous example of this in my film London Knowledge maxcolson.com/portfolio/londonknowledge.

All of these projects will take a lot of time though so I’m applying for funding and looking for commissions. Please feel free to get in touch if you think there’s a suitable project.

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Tyler Winther

Tyler Winther

What’s your background?

Filmmaking has always been a part of my life. I grew up on film sets and watched the best people in the world make movies. It wasn’t until I turned 23 that I decided to try making one of my own. For the 13 years prior I had been training in Classical Piano, guitar and electric bass. Music is my first love, but movie making both narrative and conceptual captured my imagination a few years ago and hasn’t let go. A few projects into my career I realized I make movies so I can score them.

What are your artistic influences?

All sorts of things. Architecture. Photography. Music. Paintings. Books. Great Conversations. Arguments. The sound of someone’s voice. The way the light hits a street corner at mid-day. Influence subconsciously seeps into me at anytime, anywhere, in any form. It’s not until I make something that I look in the rear view and realize what exactly it was.

How do you start a new work?

A new work comes seemingly at random. It sneaks up on me, whispers something in my ear that makes my hair stand on end, and runs off. The work you see are the little whispers I cared enough to catch. That Whisper and I sit down for a few months and go back and forth with one another until we feel confident enough to yell our crazy idea from the rooftops until the next one comes along.

What are you working on right now?

Narratively, I’m working on a screenplay about the American Dustbowl Crisis which I will turn into a movie. On the conceptual side, I’m waiting on the right whisper to come along.

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Ralph Pritchard

Ralph Pritchard

What’s your background?

I have lived in London all my life. At 19 I left a film BA and started freelancing as a videographer for lots of political causes and I got heavily involved in journalism. Then I left that stuff quite abruptly and became a participant at the School of the Damned, an alternative fine art course based all across the UK, completely self-organised by the students. Now I’m at the Royal College of Art doing an MA pathway entitled Critical Practice.

What are your artistic influences?

Many of my influences are from cinema. Fassbinder’s work remains very compelling for its rawness and strength of feeling. Andrei Tarkovsky has always amazed me. I think that ability to make invisible sensations visible is basically the highest aim of cinema. I realised that when I started trying to involve instant messages into my moving image work.

I’d recommend people check out Andrzej Żuławski too – his films have this crazed energy that I really vibe with. There are too many people trying to make films about normal people, I catch myself leaning towards it sometimes too. I think art is uniquely positioned to capture the weird and the irrepressible.

How do you start a new work?

I have my best ideas when I’ve just seen a piece of work I really love. That’s the stuff that fills up notebooks. It’s all too easy to gravitate towards things that are dissatisfying and try and negotiate with them, but the feeling of connecting with a great work is far stronger.

Early ideas get channelled into hasty outlines. The general structure of a narrative usually spills out in a few minutes. Then it can be months of fine-tuning and experimentation.

What are you working on right now?

There’s a few things: a project about climate breakdown and parental resentment, another about an ASMR artist. Because I’ve just finished my short film On Your Terms, I’m back in the writing phase. The challenge now is managing the about-ness of the work, and finding out the format. Right now I’m testing things out.

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Kristian Skylstad

Kristian Skylstad

What’s your background?

I have a degree in photography and a Master in Arts. I’ve been one of the main contributors in the independent art scene in Oslo, curating, running galleries, writing and trying to change the hierarchies and structures of the local art scene, while still attempting to make art that is relevant in a global context, using the method that is available at the certain time I’m inspired to act.

What are your artistic influences?

Mostly I’m inspired by avantgarde movements like the French New Wave and the Italian Auteurs, especially Chris Marker, Jean-Luc Godard and Michelangelo Antonioni. In film Carlos Reygadas, Sharon Lockhart and Apichatpong Weerasethakul has been highly influential in my practice. I’m also very inspired by writers like Arthur Rimbaud, Roberto Bolaño and Anaïs Nin and philosophers like Gilles Deleuze, Noam Chomsky and Albert Camus. In photography Wolfgang Tillmans, William Klein and William Eggleston are very influential. Félix González-Torres and Marcel Duchamp forces me to still relate to readymades. John Maus keeps my blood pumping.

How do you start a new work?

I dwell deeply on certain topic, place or phenomenon, sometimes for years, then I manically execute whatever I’m urged to do, when the procrastination has been going on for too long, and the urge becomes too severe. My process is highly bipolar, so I try to work as little as possible, since it’s mostly unhealthy for me. I feel that an artist shouldn’t make just for the sake of making, but rather follow his instincts when it feels absolutely necessary, an attitude that often leads to highly productive phases follow by great lapses of meditative states, which again feeds new production. Almost like a Buddhist I hope this cycle one day stops, and I can be content with just being a witness to the whole caboodle, doing almost nothing, understanding a lot.

What are you working on right now?

I’m preparing a book with 777 portraits of the Cambodian population, emulating the photographs by Nhem En, who photographed the victims of the genocide in the ’70s, I’ve gone to all 26 provinces of Cambodia, trying to make a new and hopeful history, giving voice to the survivors of the tragic history of the country and their children, igniting a hopeful scenario for the crazy, amazing and beutiful Khmer people. After I’m done with that I’m going to walk around with my Sony A7RII and my Voigtländer lens, recording life Cinéma vérité style, mostly at night, and write notes for a new beginning in a moleskin, maybe.

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