Lydia Nsiah

Lydia Nsiah

Lydia Nsiah’s works deal with in-between spaces and gaps in different media, transforming found and shot memory pictures, process and archival moving images.

In her films, videos, photos, serigraphies, texts and installations, she processes means of cinematographic montage, text collage and film essay. Mediating between historical and contemporary aesthetic strategies, she critically exposes media (and knowledge) production as multi-layered and complex concepts and forms. Her artistic approach is shaped by the search for open, diverse and experimental outputs of stories, histori(ographi)es and ephemeral commemorative cultures. For this, she deals with forms and practices of forgetting, ephemerality, failure and error, archival practice, arts and useful media, and the photofilmic.

Lydia Nsiah lives and works in Vienna, and abroad. She has published and exhibited internationally i.a. at REMASTERED, Kunsthalle Krems (AT), Curtocircuíto, Santiago de Compostela (ES), Curtas Vila do Conde IFF (PT), Antimatter [Media Art], Deluge Contemporary Art Gallery, Victoria, BC (CA), Cork Film Festival (IE) or New Horizons International Film Festival, Wroclaw (PL).


HD Video / 04:40 min / 2016

In 1949, Hans Richter retrospectively cited distortion as an essential element in the quiver of the historical film avant-garde. Commercial film production failed to express an interest in such effects. “None of these ´poetic alienation processes´ were under patent; but the film industry still didn´t touch them.” (1)
In “distortion” image distortion returns brilliantly, and does so as a commercial copyright instrument, of all things. The material bases of the video are DVD compilations of (largely canonical) experimental, ephemeral, and animation films. When these films are duplicated, their copy protection encoding generates digital artifacts, which now either — depending on the angle — soberly mutilate pictorial inventions by Duchamp, Léger, and Lye, or transform them in a second-order deformation: lips slip, color errors flash, surfaces shimmer, a buffalo nebulizes.

The videos inner dramatic composition leads from sheer abstraction (blobs vs. pixel drift) to concreteness of face, body, landscape, over which stretches the independent digital life of a wafting second skin. In everyday video file consumption interference signals normally point out corrupt data or overtaxed computers, here they move Nsiah´s rhythmic montage and Billy Roisz´s finely modulated soundtrack (distilled from the visual material) back into the avantgarde lab. There, the play with excessive demands is a questioning of what is given (media-technically as well as perceptually) and designing what is new. The gesture obtains its cunning irony in that it is precisely works of the film avant-garde that lose their instrumental working base (16-24 individual frames per second) on DVD. The final shot of “distortion”, a landscape image, reveals the change to digital motion picture processing as a shift of the horizon.
(Joachim Schätz)

(1) Hans Richter: The Avant-Garde Film Seen from Within. – In: Hollywood Quarterly, Heft 4, Herbst 1949. p. 37.

“distortion”, Found Footage, HD 4:3, 04:40, Colour and B&W, Stereo, Sound: Billy Roisz, Lydia Nsiah, 2016


HD Video / 07:00 min / 2013

“#000035189” assembles present Super-8 recordings of a circuit board producing factory nearby Vienna and digitised Found Footage of historical advertising and industrial films. Analogue film material is transferred into digital video (and vice versa) to thematise the quality rating of images and tones beyond media specifications. In the imaginative archival material – “#000035189” – media-preservation fluctuates between today’s computerised Hi-tech production, the dynamics of the ‘found’ protagonists’ glances and bodies, as well as the vanishing amateur film aesthetics of the first, common moving picture ‘archive’ Super-8. (LN)

“#000035189”, HD (Super-8) 4:3, 07:00, Color and B&W, Stereo, Sound: Horace, Lydia Nsiah, 2013