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Le médium vidéoludique comme (générateur de) discours : retour sur le colloque international « Les langages du jeu vidéo »(06/20)La représentation de la masculinité dans les films américains ou comment dépasser le clivage entre les genres. Compte rendu de Charles-Antoine Courcoux, Des machines et des hommes : masculinité et technologie dans le cinéma américain(06/20)Une guerre sur les écrans ? Le cinéma en Suisse et la Première guerre mondiale. Compte rendu d’Adrian Gerber, Zwischen Propaganda und Unterhlatung. Das Kino in der Schweiz zur Zeit des Ersten Weltkriegs(06/20)Vues imprenables sur la critique ou quand des journalistes écrivent leur propre histoire. Compte rendu de Philipp Brunner, Tereza Fischer, Marius Kuhn (éd.), Freie Sicht aufs Kino. Filmkritik in der Schweiz(06/20)Festen (Cyril Teste, 2017), la fusion de deux arts(06/20)Voir tous les articles

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Anciens numéros

Cinéma ethnographique, n° 40-42, automne 2019Jeu vidéo et cinéma, n° 39, automne 2018Lionel Rogosin, n° 37-38, automne 2017
printemps 2018
Cinéma de re-montage, n° 34-36, automne 2016
printemps 2017
Séries télévisées contemporaines, n° 32-33, printemps 2016Education au cinéma, n° 31, automne 2015René Vautier, n° 29-30, printemps 2015Arnaud Desplechin, n° 28, automne 2014Drones, cartographie et images automatisées, n° 26-27, printemps 2014Werner Herzog, n°25, automne 2013Le doublage, n° 23-24, printemps 2013Cinéma élargi, n° 21-22, hiver 2012Dossier: Peter Watkins, n°20, printemps 2012Autour d'Elephant de Gus Van Sant, n°19, automne 2011Mario Ruspoli et le cinéma direct, n°18, printemps 2011Les abîmes de l'adaptation, n°16-17, automne 2010Raoul Ruiz, n°15, automne 2009Cinéma et migration, n°14, printemps 2009Anna Sanders Films, cinéma et art contemporain, n° 13, automne 2008Fredi M. Murer, n° 12, printemps 2008Terrence Malick, n° 11, automne 2007La trilogie de Dieu de João César Monteiro, n° 10, printemps 2007Le monde de Star Wars, n° 8-9, automne 2006Stephen Dwoskin, n° 7, printemps 2006Train et cinéma, n° 6, automne 2005David Lynch, n° 4-5, printemps 2005Hitchcock côté cour, n° 3, printemps 2004Le hors-champ, n° 1-2, automne 2003

Interview with Stephen Dwoskin

Interview with Stephen Dwoskin:

filmography commented by the author



by François Bovier (November 2005-January 2006)



French translation published in Décadrages n°7 (Spring 2006)



Do you think it is legitimate to speak of different periods of your cinema, which can be a (chronological) way of ordering the corpus following three or four main axes? Approximately, we could say there is a first period, as you filmed (femine) models, and a second one, as you turn your camera against your own self. In between, there is experimentations on literate adaptations and an alternative to linear narration. And after the first phase until now, there is also documentary films. What do you think of that delineation?



Steve Dwoskin

I'm thinking about your idea of "different periods" of my work. Basically your summary is correct though I think your 'first period' and 'second period' are more connected. The first I am the camera (and camera as 'actor') and the second is the same but I become both the camera unseen and seen. The flow and point of view, however, remain the same–there is only a slight (but big) shift....




There is a sense maybe to apprehend your first short films, from 1961 to 1970, as a coeherent whole in term of processes and of shooting. To be more precise: Asleep (1961), American Dream (1961), Alone (1963), Naissant (1964), Chinese Checkers (1965), Dirty (1965), Soliloquy (1964/1967), Take Me (1968), Me, Myself and I (1968), Moment (1969) and Trixi (1970) all put face to face the man with the camera and feminine models (as Kulechov intends it: not an actor, but a model). But with different kinds of relations, which can imply as well binary as triangular interactions. Can you tell me a word about your general approach, which brings into play a dynamic of glances that Paul Willemen did theorise as a fourth look? And can you precise what are for you the ways of differenciating beetween those short films? Maybe by taking on account your relationship with your models, and the indications you give to them before shooting…


Steve Dwoskin

Regarding the early films, let me say that the process was, at first, exploratory. Films such as Asleep and American were pretty much experiments to see how I could work with the camera and the element of time. I was moving from a more static practice painting, photography and graphics) so it was firstly necessary to expand my vocabulary and make the camera 'eye' my 'eye'. With films like Alone, there begins my long relationship with the subject as both what is seen, what looks back and sees. The relationship with my 'models' (as you put it) had no theoretical beginnings. They were quite clearly 'a relationship' with another and the films became both a reflection of this relationship in that the 'models' also relate back to me. (A dialogue of sorts.) Also the films (in different ways) took on the position of being witness to, and part of that relationship. My intention was to explore the process of these kind of concentrated relationships as they develop through a period of time, much like following a thought, or spending some time with someone (or oneself). They were to follow a feeling about those kinds of moments (or periods) rather than a narrative as such. The conclusion (in the films) were never known while the films were being shot.


Why woman–I'm always asked–I think I merely filmed the 'dialogue' with that which I 'desired' to have a dialogue with. All the films of this period have high degree (greater or lesser) of sexual implications. It was not to make a voyeuristic relationship with the 'model' but to create an 'actual' relationship of participation (this is important)–it was to be involved–and triggered the way the camera participates and the way that the 'model' acknowledges the presence of the camera (and the person using the camera). This acknowledgement is the key shift from voyeur (the English sense of voyeur) to participant.


In Alone or Moment the look is often a glance, in Trixi or Take Me it is almost a continuous stare. In a film like Me, Myself and I the presence of the camera is by the consciousness of avoidance. Equally, in all these films the 'themes' are about relationships (with each other, with the self ; with the self, the camera and the other–which becomes the viewer !) (I think it's this [these] combinations that brings into play a "dynamic of glances" that Paul Willemen (and Laura Mulvey) theorised as a fourth look!) I must say that all these early films were also part of a larger exploration' with me and cinema–in order for me to find a personal language with the medium–to expand upon and utilise elsewhere and with other themes.


I should say that the early films were a critical part of my personal concern of how to 'deal' with the self–the inner space of the self–as one does in ones own mind when one is alone. I was very moved by the writings of James Joyce (particularly Ulysses) and with such parts as Molly Bloom's soliloquy (my film Soliloquy was directly inspired by this). I was moved to considered how to turn the sense of words into images–to speak with the eyes, sort of–but mostly how to turn the internal process of thinking into visual representation.




You did distinguish between two or three kinds of looks, concerning your first short films. Firstly, you did speak of "glance", concerning Alone and Moment. Secondly, you did speak of "stare", concerning Trixi and Take Me. Thirdly, you did speak of an "avoidance of the consciousness of the camera", concerning Me, Myself and I.

On the first case, you do concentrate on a girl whose position changes swiftly with time. In Alone, there is a multiplicity of points of view, a real discontinuity which underlines the floatting attention of the model. In Moment, you opt for a fixed shot, and moreover you put out of frame what could be viewed as the film's attraction (i. e. masturbation) in a different mode of representation. It seems to me that you exercise here two radically different kinds of framing. Can you precise your point of view on that question? I cannot avoid, in front of Moment, to think of a displacement of the fixed voyeurist gaze of Warhol, which you put radically in question here (implicitely) and afterwards overtely.

On the second case, we enter frankly, at least from an audience point of view, in a dynamic of intersubjectivity between the cameraman and the model. To put it directely, I doubt we can still speak of "stare". Can you explain me your relation, which seems here crucial, to dance and choreography, which is de facto related to Trixi?



Steve Dwoskin 

Regarding Moment and Alone–yes there are different types of "framing" though this is only relative in some ways. Both, however, are from a fixed position though Alone uses different framing close-up or semi-wide) but from a fixed camera position (foot of bed) and Moment in an absolute fix camera position (above the woman). I somewhat disagree with your point "In Alone, there is a multiplicity of points of view, a real  discontinuity"–Alone is a continuity from one point of view though edited making it a cumulative effect of time whereas Moment is the single shot making it 'real' time (two different structures, I suppose).


Depending how you define "voyeurism" (or voyeurist), Alone is more voyeuristic than Moment since the main 'gaze' in Alone is that of the camera whereas in Moment the woman (model) consciously acknowledges the camera (and viewers presence). In Moment you propose that the 'masturbation' is placed in a different mode of representation (I assume different from seeing the whole body of the woman). For me the film was to 'be with' (and transition with) the expression of 'orgasm'–to be (witness), (to share that moment) with that inner feeling produced by being 'with oneself'! (Both Alone and Moment share that similarity–of being with (the model) in instances of intimacy.)


I think the connection to some of Warhol's work is more coincidental than anything else–that the fascination with the 'motorised' camera and 'real time' structures (as in Wavelength, etc.) was a natural extension of those mechanics being available (history probably look at it in this way–and if video was around at the time, who knows what would have then!)–and this is (was) coupled with the notion of 'unbroken' (unedited, un-manipulated) time. Warhol's Sleep for instance was 6 loops edited together whereas Empire was continuous takes. (I wonder what Alone would have been if I had a motorized camera rather than a wind-up one that only could take 26 second shots...)


The fact that Trixi is a dancer is accidental in a way. The relationship is more about physicality: my lack of it and her abundance of it–her fascination with my lack of it and my attraction to her abundance of it–or the physicality of my eye with the physicality of the body! A point to consider, perhaps, is my disability and the position it places me in relation to others–it gives me a particular 'fixed' point of view. When I began making films I didn't think about it much... now, with hindsight, I see that it was a very formative aspect of how began to explore both 'a point of view' and different kinds of looks....




The process of dialogic and intersubjective interaction is a key notion to apprehend your work. I would say you do postulate a differenciation between two different planes. On the one hand, there is the experimentation on the filmic medium and its temporal dimension: how to frame a subject, to keep the intensity of the flowing time, and how to evolve from a static image to a linking of moving shots. On the other hand, you speak of a sphere of private relationship: there is a seen subject which turns back his glance and stare at you (the camera), i. e. at the audience. In other words, this relationship fissures the Hollywood representation of the subject-object : instead of a voyeurist gaze, you institute an interaction between the filmic and profilmic instances, involving an improvisation. Can we say there is an intrinsic relationship between the search of an accurate framing of the feminine subject and the exposition of an intersubjective experience you share with the model? And how do you evaluate the relation between your own immobility and the relative mobility of the filmed) subject?


Steve Dwoskin

A thought occurs to me (I'm not sure how relevant it is to your question)–I transpose through (film ; the camera ; the montage) what I have and what I feel onto and with that which I do not have and that which I desire. The basis of the dialogue!

The question of 'framing' (and the pursuit of the frame) is the 'look'–the look of the face and how the 'face' directs the body movement (towards and away) and through the eyes–the idea of the eyes being the extension of the 'mind'–the expression of the inner subjectivity as it manifests itself externally–through the expression of the face–and the 'gaze' from the / by eyes. The camera also, is an extension of the eye – looking and capturing spontaneously as it relates, responds, feels about the other (the model's response, mood, feeling)...


This is my 'narrative' so to speak. The surrounding situations (or environments for the action) is merely a backdrop for this pursuit–or this aim and intention. For me–to find a way to express how someone including myself) feels inside–to present it externally through the film as a reflection (or mirror) of this feeling or series of feelings or the changing evolution of one feeling into another feeling. (Feeling being a more complex array of inner moods, fears, desires, etc. The film–especially because of time and confrontation–is an attempt to extract–display–present–question–translate this complex inner network into the reflective potential of the moving image).

The mobility problem–physically limiting but the mind, the eye, and the look replaces the physical limitations by becoming very mobile inwardly; subjectively–and becomes another kind of 'mental' mobility. I suppose I replace one kind obvious physicality with another kind.




In Dirty (1965), you establish a relation between naked girls and a very materail grain. Did you refer to expressionnist painting, and–if it is the case–in which sense ?


Steve Dwoskin

Dirty was rather a simple exploration of the film material re-filming, showing scratches, breaks, frames slips) plus an 'analytical' play of the movements and gestures of the girls and their actions through this re-filming process. The nature of film, if you like. One of the results of this process was to make the images more 'enhanced'; more 'grainy'; or more graphical or more 'photographic'–I suppose this could be seen as expressionistic.




How did you evolve from relatively short to long features? Which implications does a longer duration have on your shooting and editing, if there are any? Times For (1971)–your shift to long feature–and DynAmo (1972) have quite a different dynamic. The first is concentrated around a private (intime) sphere, the second happens on a theatrical scene. Can you tell us more about it?



Steve Dwoskin

For me the concept of Times For and DynAmo are very similar even though the space or sphere where they happen are different. Both are thematically the same–woman as used by male sexual desires–woman presenting themselves as objects of this desire yet disliking this presentation of themselves (the contradiction of the whole male female self stereotyping–or "we are what we are told we are–yet we hate it". In Times For the women are there' as 'types' where the male encounters each one (four times). (Derived from Joyce's Night-Town–the man [Bloom] in the brothel.) DynAmo is the theatricality of the strip tease. Woman strip tease is done for the male viewer. This makes the two films similar and in both cases my focus was not on the actual act of sex or the strip-tease but on the woman and their expression(s) as to how they 'felt' about their own actions and contradictions–their position (the contradiction of stereotypes and symbols of exploitation)–back to their faces and their look'(s). (For me, as well, to look beyond the obvious–to look behind the stereotype–to try to 'unmask' the 'mask' that people wear–so to speak.)

Yes, Times For represents (in the body of work) the transition from shorter films to longer films. Why–because my ideas became longer and more complex–needing more time. It was part of my own exploration. In Times For one can see a slightly awkward transition since it can be seen a bit like four shorter films put together whereas in DynAmo the fusion is more complete as a single film (also with four parts.)




To litteraly "strip tease"–to unmask the social, cultural, etc. mask–or, to put it on other words, to peel off the differents layers of an onion skin, is at the basis of your work on both films. Can you precise by which filmic means (again framing, but also cutting) and modes of relationships (with the subjects) you do obtain this lay bare in the films?



Steve Dwoskin

Often by establishing something like a stereotypical image (action, gesture) that poses the expected' (in the case of the viewer)–e.g.: the strip tease is expected to reveal private parts of the body – instead I frame the 'look' on to the personality' and 'mood' of the individual acting out the 'stereotype' (usually the facial expressions) avoiding the 'expected' action and re-framing the 'look' to the individual and trying to capture their individual relationship to the act of what they are doing. Also by altering the amount of time spent looking at the individual (thus distracting from the expected) a new relationship is established–the unexpected or the point of view is shifted so that look (of the viewer–also of the camera) has to be re-established including the 'models'). Certainly, this shift from the expected voyeuristic point of view (because of the stereotypical set-up) to the un-expected individual expression (between all parts–viewer, performer, camera) becomes a confrontation requirng a personal investment from the viewer having to use their own relationship to what they view. To me this becomes no longer voyeuristic (which means to look without that personal investment–or 'being told what to expect and to watch passively') but becomes an immediate and active interplay between viewer and image where one has to change during the process of looking–it moves from passive to active. (In another way this is done more from 'editing in the camera' rather than editing on the 'cutting table'!)




DynAmo is based on a play by Chris Wilkinson, performed by the Soho theatre. Can you tell me more about that play and your own interpretation of it (during the mise en scene, the shooting and the cutting)?



Steve Dwoskin

The story of DynAmo and the Play is basically a simple one. I was asked to make a film on the play by a producer. The Play was running at a pub theatre. I said I would make it, but when I saw the play I became more interested in how the performers felt (in themselves) about performing strip tease. (The play, as far as I remember, was about the strip tease on stage and the woman backstage–the stage was split in two parts to show this). When I made the film I pursued my own interests (much of what we have already discussed e.g.: mask and unmasking and the contradictions, etc. I filmed it in an actual (but unused) London strip club (without an audience) and not in a Theatre environment. I never was involved with the Play as such and I neither read it nor met the author so I don't know how he thought about it. The man who produced probably was expecting something more exploitative. I did not see him after the film was shot, nor did I ever get any money for making it! The rest is history.




One thing did strike me, reviewing DynAmo. The strip tease, after a time, seems to turn into a really violent scene (some kind of an extreme happening). And the last shot explicitely refers to a representation of the crucifixion. In a sense, then, DynAmo speaks as much of strip-tease as of violation and rape. (At least, it was my impression. The long fixed shot on the girl crying near the end is not alien to that impression.) Which was your position, your intention, facing it, recapturating it?



Steve Dwoskin

It was my intention that DynAmo transforms from a 'performance' (a show) into a rather violent form of 'reality' (or a confusion between what is 'acted' and what is 'not acted') between women and men. It was to explore the sexual 'power game' as well as position (place) themselves in (or find themselves in) relation to women presenting themselves as sexual 'objects' (a form of seductive icon that has an initial 'power') and how women (or anyone, for that matter) become trapped (or prisoners) by that 'icon' since it doesn't represent how they feel–or, in simple terms, what looks one way on the outside, doesn't feel the same on the inside. It can also be seen as how voyeurism is also a trap that suppresses the feeling of that which is being looked at / by those looking. The 'long shot' of the 'girl' (crying) is that confrontation.


She's crying for 'help'! She wants to get out! The viewer is no longer a passive 'voyeur' but someone who has to engage with her situation without knowing how to help her. In terms of the transformation to what you see as violence' in the film also happens during the process of shooting–in the beginning you are almost always aware of the 'stage'. As the film progresses, the camera moves closer and closer, most of the 'stage' disappears. The characters are seen in close-up and repetitively 'studied' with out the 'stage' (another kind of 'strip'). This, with the 'long shot' moves the film from 'outside' to inside'. The final shot is back to the stage–where you note the 'crucifixion' pose. I did not literally think of the 'crucifixion'–it was a pose of 'yielding' or surrender (though I suppose the crucifixion position equals the same idea). It's also a pose circus performers use at the end of their act–except the woman is naked and the men are not (another contradiction!). They are painful reminders of the real sexual circus behind it all.  (The music is also a pastiche of 'circus' music.)




Which is your relationship to minimalism, especially in music?  Does it relate, from your point of view, to structural cinema? And–furthermore–does a musical mode of composition (implying a regular rythmic tempo, a calculation of the length of the shots–of the photograms) exerce an influence on your filmic practice?



Steve Dwoskin

My relation to music (I find) is very strange (to me). I cannot play any instrument, I cannot read music, I'm tone-deaf' and cannot even hum a tune and like all sorts of music in a very disorganized sort of way. I love opera as well country music; minimal to romantic, etc. Music is organised sound, I suppose, and love the flow and space various combine sounds give me. Often I find 'passages' rather than whole pieces of music powerful and will repeat them (in my mind). I do tend to like simple shifts in long passages of music–as Mahler or Ives might create; or phasing repetitions as Steve Reich might do (or a Gregorian chant for that matter). I cannot say precisely how directly this affects my films, but it was through listening to music that I began to understand film editing. In others words, how to 'shape and construct time'. (Music is a kind of metaphor but not something to copy literally) It's not 'structural' cinema (as a type of cinema), but how to structure images in time which is cinema. To answer part of your question more specifically: 'minimal' music might relate to 'structural' cinema in theory but not in practice. The language of the image (moving) imparts a completely other meaning (a different sensibility) than does sound, and though they might ally themselves together (a delicate balance) each alone remain distinctly different forms of expression and different kinds of experiences. In almost all my films the sound (or music) was made after all the images were complete. In practical terms then, you could say that images influence the sound!!!




In a way, I had a very precise question in mind: do you calculate the lenght of the shots and establish metric measures between them, or does the (filmic) rythm depend on the duration of a single take (I think in particular of your short films of the 1960's and 1970's)?



Steve Dwoskin

The length of shots is not dependent on any metric measure (in the mathematical or mechanical sense.) Duration is dependent on the kind or type of movement (in gesture or expression) inside the individual shot (or 'take'). Sometimes it happens (usually) during the actual filming and later within the editing. Depending on the film it is, in the end, a combination of both–and the relationship of different shots together based on the movement(s) within the individual shots. There is little preconceived 'rhythm'–the 'rhythms' are directed by the actual material as it is made. (I suppose there is som element of instinctive 'rhythms' [or choreography] when filming but they are not conscious ones!)




If I do not mistake, Laura Mulvey did know your films before writing her famous article on "visual pleasure and narrative cinema". Can you tell us how she did react to your films? And if they had, from your point of view, any incidence on her formulation of three gazes, mainly voyeurist and fetishist (we could say your films exhibit and put in crisis that dynamic)?



Steve Dwoskin

Yes, Laura knew my films before writing her piece "visual pleasure and narrative cinema". (In fact we were friends and neighbours at the time!) She said she found my films 'difficult' for her (from a feminist point of view) at first but later found them very much part of her thinking that lead to her thesis in "visual pleasure and narrative cinema." (I think DynAmo, Times For and Behindert were her main references of my work). So, certainly my films 'affected' her formulation of "visual pleasure and narrative cinema."




After your first long feature, you did come back to a brief form again. Jesus Blood (1972) consists on a brilliant interaction between extreme slow motion and the looping sound of a beggar singing. Can you tell me a word on your own conception of the interaction between sound and image?



Steve Dwoskin

Jesus Blood was a simple idea. It was–to make the 'old man' go to heaven. The slow progress of the old man–as if he is swimming through the grain of the film trying to get closer but never does. Time, slowing time down, disappearing out of time, etc. The song was found in the background on an old sound tape made for a documentary on alcoholics. It was looped and then orchestrated to play with the film in a 'live' performance. (The first showing of the film was in a theatre with the film projected very large and the music played with a live orchestra and the voice on a looped taped. The music was recorded and added to the film afterwards.) In a word–the sound was suppose to do what the picture did intensifying through repetition!)




Tod und Teufel (1973), your third long feature, is an adaptation of Frank Wedekind. Can you tell me how you did rework the play? And which relation your own film has with Pandora’s Box (G. W. Pabst)?



Steve Dwoskin

The original text for Tod und Teufel was modified, and parts re-written and new parts added to the Wedekind text. The original text was very outdated (though it's essence was about the social ambiguity of women–but also the mistake men make in relation to women.). Part of the reworking was helped by Carola Regnier (Wedekind's granddaughter) and Charles Regnier (Carola's father and Wedekind's son-in-law) since both were also acting in the film there was a greater understanding of Wedekind's intent. A lot of the text was changed (not the theme) using contemporary (of the '70's) 'feminist' language (and contradictions!). Wedekind never really finished the Play, in any case, so in the film I took some 'liberties' in extending his idea–also in a different way of delivering the dialogue and presenting the characters.

Tod und Teufel was suppose to be the third Play in the Lulu cycle. Pabst, as you know, only used the first two Plays (Earth's Spirit & Pandora's Box). The main link to Pabst is that with Tod und Teufel I vaguely hoped to complete the cycle. I very much admire Pabst work but the only film (stylistic) connection may be with the way Louise Brooks portrayed Lulu. (Amazing expressions!) A greater influence was my own connection to the Wedekind family and related background information (like seeing the original manuscript!). However, the biggest influence was the theme of the Play–the contradictions in male/female role playing and the relationship between them.




The camera begins by slowly approaching the face of the model, in close up. Then the film shifts to a dialogue, with the camera wandering in the space, between the two protagonists. How did you plan this reversal of representation? Which kind of relation is there between the first and the long second part?



Steve Dwoskin

The long dialogue sequence is, of course, the hub of the film. The sequence before (of the young woman Lisiska) presents the 'reality' of the woman of whom the man, in his mind, refers to later, as his 'ideal' of 'untroubled, pure sensuality'. It's his mistake. And while he is rejecting the woman he is talking with he, in turn, gets rejected after realizing that the young woman is not at all as he imagined, and his own self-centred ego, has no meaning to the only free woman the last woman) in the narrative. This undermines his own argument and leaves him only with his barren self. (In the film, everything happens in different rooms in the same house during one single day.) (Wedekind intended the Play to show what happened to Casta Piani [the man] who first turned Lulu into prostitution.)




Tod und Teufel thematises in a way the difficulties of communication and of relationships between male and female relatives. Can we say that the film, through the play, presents itself as a reflexive process on your own filmmaking?



Steve Dwoskin

I would say Tod und Teufel only, in part, thematically (in general terms) represents a more external (situation) rather than a reflective process–mainly in my early films. Less so now as I'm more concerned (or, in addition to) the self reflective voice (the internal space) more likely found in (thematically) Beckett's, Tsvetavea's or Joyce's writing / and in my own interpretation of 'sur-realism'.




Can you tell me more about your own interpretation of surrealism?



Steve Dwoskin

I have a notion of Surrealism in that it has allowed me a kind of freedom. The way I have always 'seen' surrealism is that allows 'normal' contradictions to be put together and by doing so both 'explains' the contradictions while demonstrating them as contradictions. It also deals with 'extremes' that become relocated into a kind of 'norm'. Alfred Jarry's 'Pataphysics'–placing an imaginary process on to a real process (this is an over-simplified explanation) is behind much of my thinking. Jarry's idea, of course, is behind of surrealist thought. Artaud, Bataille, Duchamp, Bellmer, Aragon, Man Ray, etc.–and that 'school' of thought and way of processing work in that it is a way of re-looking and re-thinking without confinement. This kind of thinking has inspired me as way of processing my own 'ideas' since it constantly alters the 'rules of engagement' or removes the 'rules' altogether. It also plays with absurdity. I find life absurd and so surrealistic processing gives sense to the absurd. At the same time it somehow captures (or gives) a core meaning to that absurdity saying 'it is reality'–I could dress this explanation up better verbally–I'm not a writer. Then, too, film-making is a surreal process.




When you speak of 'putting together' things which do represent normally "contradictions", are you thinking of a kind of collage or montage? How does this process relate to your own photomontages, Ha Ha! ou la solution imaginaire? Furthermore, is there a direct relationship with your way of understanding surrealism and Further and Particular 1988)?



Steve Dwoskin

Collage or montage (or editing) is, in effect, a 'putting together' and in a general sort of way a surrealistic' process. Whatever is 'put together' (or connected) begins to make a 'statement' or creates relationships. In that way one can put together two apparently different images and thus make them relate to each other. (You can put two different colours together and they then make a unique relationship as well!) These connections give a new meaning beyond what each individual piece, on their own, represent. One piece may on their own be a contradiction from the other, but by putting them together they no longer represent a contradiction.  A new 'logic' (a new narrative) is formed. In Ha, Ha! this is a very fundamental process. Regarding Further and Particular–yes, this is a direct application of surrealism in that it tries to assemble ideas from both Jarry and Bataille. I think it is too much a literal application. I prefer how I used surrealistic notions in some of the later work like Visitors (2004) or the recent film Oblivion (2005) where the sense of surrealism lies behind the making rather than a literal interpretation...




Further and Particular, as well as Oblivion, asks the question of the adaptation of literary texts. How did you consider your own way of transposition? Furthermore, these texts take part in a deviant branch of surrealism (Jarry appears as a model for the later surrealists, Bataille follows his own line and founds his group, and Aragon represents the political axis of the movement). What is your relation to them?



Steve Dwoskin

The main connection between the authors is that they provide a kind of 'vocabulary of thinking' (for me) that deal with the 'borders' in areas such as personal behaviour and sexuality–and the extremes in these areas (and in opposition to the 'conventional' ways of expressing them) plus the point of view of those 'isolated' from the acceptable'–and that seems to capture my own feelings. My own life has been forced into being 'outside' the expected 'norm' so I find that their perceptions give sense to my own. I've not been particularly concerned with what  'schools' of surrealism these authors have been connected to. What they have provided for me is this kind of sensibility (and vocabulary of 'thinking' and 'expressing') that inspires me. I have tried to 'translate' or 'harness' this vocabulary with my own visual concerns. It is more about the 'moods' or under-narratives' they put into a verbal form that I try to represent in a visual form, but with my own narrative, so to speak! I don't usually try to adapt' their narrative (though Further and Particular may be close to that) but try to translate that kind of thinking into my personal 'story' (that usually about me –  as in Oblivion. It's a kind of 'kinship'!). I should point out–and this is important–it is not only the surrealists but other writers such as Beckett (my film Another Time, 2002) and Joyce (Times For, Soliloquy) that have inspired me because for whatever reason they all deal with ways of expressing the interior space of the self. This, above all, is the main drive of all my work. I'm not a 'story-teller'. I'm a 'reflector' of this interior space. These writers have helped me find a 'form' to express in images what they do so well in words. Perhaps, to answer your question more directly: it's the 'poetics' of their writing I try to adapt (or metaphor) and not their stories and I do this less consciously and less literally than it might appear.




What strikes me is your constant search of an under-narrative–by focussing on details (i.e. close-up, unframing, etc.). Sort of what happens  beyond the facts. You did link interiority with alterity, speaking of a border between personnal (sexual) behaviour and external (societal) normality. Can you precise by which means you do reflect an inner space, your own and that of the people who face the camera? And how do you position yourself in front of the question of the limits and their surpassing, which are central for Artaud and Bataille? Maybe I am irrelevant. But I cannot prevent linking the writing of a stream of consciousness (notably with Ulysses but also in a sense with Beckett) with the notion of an inner speech which dubs (adds to) the film. What do you think of that connection?



Steve Dwoskin

For me it is to make films to free myself and audiences to find film as it should be, and not as it is. It is also to make films that explore and express the self. To express the self is also to expose the self, but at the same time to allow a dialogue with others. It is not only a dialogue but a process of investigation and reflection for all. To do this film making has to (in my opinion) be honest and revealing. It has to let the viewer be able to engage with their own selves and their own feelings. The films, therefore have to open up with the elusive and the intimate space to permit the viewer to enter or reflect upon it. It therefore can be a space where the viewer, like the film-maker, introduces their own form of 'narrative', a 'narrative' that is not necessarily conclusive nor resolved ; a process that is not made as a distracting story. For me then, films become like a mirror, as my films are. They are made as a process that is reflective (often meditative) and at the same becoming a reflector. This forces a type (or style) of film making that is outside or beyond the barriers of conventional 'storytelling' (and beyond even 'voyeurism'). What happens between to viewer the film also happens (in the opposite direction) during the making between the 'performer', myself and the camera!


I think that the idea of 'limits' and 'surpassing' them are unique to Bataille or Artaud, though they do a precise stand on this. Surpassing the sexual 'limits' go even further with de Sade, of course, but I think most decent artists attempt to surpass the limits if one assumes that the idea of 'limits' represent the oppressive rituals of an existing convention; or the personal 'limits' of ones 'inabilities' and the wish to expand them (or explore them ; or confront them!) For me confronting and trying to 'surpass' the 'limits' is a way of making a declaration (or shouting at) the solemnity of the formal rituals of 'convention' (confinement) and to think / see / go beyond that kind of 'oppression'.

I think that your connection is relevant. The inner voice (speech) certainly adds to the film.




Can we make a connection between your films and the writing of a stream of counsiousness, as did Gertrude Stein practice it? Brakhage, for instance, did promote her writing as a model.



Steve Dwoskin

For me, the closest connection to a 'stream of consciousness' in my film to writing would be Joyce's soliloquy's. It's more like a process of 'associations' or the way conversations' occur. I've never really managed to take to Gertrude Stein's writing so I cannot make comment on her way.




Behindert (1974) is one of the first film where you appear in front of the camera. How did you approach the question of the self representation and its relation to a privileged other?



Steve Dwoskin

When I put myself in the film it was like switching between 'being the camera and then showing camera'. Particularly in Behindert (the first time I did this) it was also part of the 'dialogue' since 90% of the shots of me were filmed by Carola Regnier from her point of view (almost done like 'home movies' with a crew, etc.) I think this relationship becomes more complex in later films–more like introducing a form of 'self-portraiture' and self-reflection!




Portraiture and meeting is more at stake than self-reflection in Behindert. How did you approach Carola Regnier in Behindert? At the beginning of the film, she seems almost outside of the conversation, facing alone the camera…



Steve Dwoskin

Behindert was, for the most part, a 'real' relationship. The beginning was a 'recreation' of the meeting (the awkwardness of)–how we met! The film then becomes 'living together' so it sort of switches to a more diary-like' format (not literally, but metaphorically) so it becomes 'us' and the 'situation' (the difficulty). It breaks. She leaves the 'story'.




Your next films are Central Bazaar (1976) and The Silent Cry (1977). In a sense, they conclude a period (you then mainly shift to autobiography and documentaries, roughly speaking). In the first you auscult a group dynamic, and in the second you concentrate on family. Can we say there is a link between them? Central Bazaar puts on stage the question of masquerade, of dressing up, which is usually not so much present in your work. What could have been a joyous transgresssive feast turns out to be something much more uncanny and perturbing. Can you tell me more about the shooting conditions and your intentions at that time?


Steve Dwoskin

There is a link, in general, between Central Bazaar and Silent Cry only in so far they deal with desire and the inability to achieve that desire. For me this link is reoccurring, in varying degrees, in most of my films. Central Bazaar has more in common with a film like DynAmo–the 'mask' (Masquerade as a false outward show; pretense) and the true feeling 'unmasked'. In Central Bazaar it is futility behind the mask, or the impossibility of realising one's 'fantasy' causing a kind of despair–(or something much more uncanny and perturbing as you remarked). The Silent Cry is more about the 'cold' pretense of the false closeness (the 'social' masquerade) found so commonly in middle class families, particularly British and it's effect on a woman. The 'self-confusion' it causes; the production of an identity 'crises' or a form of personal impotency. The illusion that things are possible (desire) but the denial to realise that desire has no way to be understood.) The background for the basis of 'self-deprivation'.) [The Silent Cry was originally part of a trilogy with Behindert and Outside In for ZDF of different kinds of 'handicaps'!]

Central Bazaar was shot before Behindert but completed after Behindert. Central Bazaar was made with agreement of the participants where everyone (except one) would all stay together for about a month. It was, as you observed, that everyone was to come to a diner party, and then were to play out their 'fantasies' with one or more of the other guests, and with the camera. (Somewhat like an 'encounter group'.) This lead to all the various 'frustrations', 'avoidances', aggressions, despair, fears which all unfolded during the shooting. One person (a guest stranger played by Carola Regnier) was to interrupt the group three times–a privileged guest–to offset the groups solidity'. The title Central Bazaar was the name of a shop where you can get everything–or seems to have everything you would like to buy – so much so that, in the end, you buy nothing. Thus it's a metaphor for the film, and my intentions. When anything we imagine is made possible we seem unable to go past our limitations–or if we can have our desires fulfilled we loss that desire.




How do you conceive the link between two films which constitute from my point of view an autobiographical whole, Outside In (1981) and Trying to Kiss the Moon (1994)? Can you tell me more about the inside and outside shifting of points of view in the first film? Furthermore, can we say Outside In has a link with the burlesque or comic genre, especially regarding the fall of your body?



Steve Dwoskin

It's true that both Outside In and Trying to Kiss the Moon are autobiographical on the outset.  Trying to Kiss the Moon, however, is more autobiographical in the 'classical' sense of an autobiography–a 'whole' life reflection (as in My Autobiography by William Carlos Williams) and made up of real pieces of images from my life (e.g.: home movies, photos, letters, etc. – and very little 'recreations').

Outside In was a very different 'ballgame' because it's really all recreations based on how absurd, or even stupid, the encounters are when 'a disabled person' meets the so-called 'normal' society and environment. Since the 'normal' society (or individuals within) do not have way of dealing with disability' at all (and difference in general) it produces a kind of Marx Bros. world–a burlesque, but even more crazy kinds of 'confusion' between the expected and unexpected. Most disabled I know find it very easy to relate to Outside In since they too have the same or similar 'range of stories' as I do. For that reason it is less autobiographical and more about what happens the moment a disabled person enters the everyday 'normal' world. Disability upsets all the expected norms.

It shows how really absurd everything is (Jarry would like that!). Outside In often 'embarrasses' some people as they don't know whether to laugh at the 'comic' (e.g. the falling).

The film also 'contrasts' the 'quiet' and solitary world of the disabled (me) and the up-side-down world that happens the moment you leave the 'solitary' world. For with a disability (my disability) there is no 'middle ground'–no normality' !



Trying to kiss the Moon exposes a kaleidoscopic point of view. Can you tell me how you did plan to treat with all the heterogeneous materials you used?



Steve Dwoskin

Trying to Kiss the Moon was putting together film material like a painting (or a collage) quite literally for the first time (for me, that is!). It was made without any preconceived structural plan. Metaphorically, it was like opening a draw and finding all the various pieces of ones life lying there, and then picking them up and trying to string them together (like found' art!). I was help by the fact that my father had left a very large collection of old family 'home movies'. He had made and kept reels and reels of 8mm footage he shot from the time I was born. He was an avid 'movie-maker' about the family and documented as many family events as he could. Since most of the old 8mm film had deteriorated very severely (in some cases to an unusable point) it gave me the idea to use the 'textures' caused by the deterioration. Then, there were lots of photographs, that, when filmed produced more textures ; and then my own old film and old video, etc.–all providing a rich 'tapestry' of feelings and moods. It all was put together very much like a 'stream of consciousness' or by my own mental wanderings and associations. As I said–there was no concrete plan (except the idea) before I started. Once one piece was put down it suggested another and so it went until the end. Luckily I had received some 'experimental' money (a rare thing) allowing me to convert all the different formats into the final film format.



Can we see Pain Is (1997) and Face of our Fear (1992) as a continuation of the previous autobiographical films, but from an another point of view (more from a  documentary side)?



Steve Dwoskin

I don't see Pain Is or Face of our Fear as part of the 'autobiographical' films apart from me having a personal interest in the subjects. They are much more universal and are about social issues–very big ones. They are more essays on the subjects–though, it could be said to be from a personal point of view (as opposed to a 'scientific and purely objective point of view'). Face of our Fear is an essay on probably the world's greatest prejudice–the one against disability and deformity–that it's more embedded into every culture and far deeper than racial or religious prejudice–that was my point. Though the film is perhaps 'stylistically' similar to some of other work the subject is more historical and analytical. Pain Is is less 'historical', but still about a universal 'problematic' not recognized (or accepted) by both society and the scientific community, nor understood by the majority. I found it to be an important examination into the way we think and how 'culture' directs our way of expressing itself. (Well, it's more complex than that!) Interestingly, out of all the European countries, Britain is the only one that refused to show it (out of seven other that did) saying it was not 'scientific' enough! The British also rejected Face of our Fear even though British TV paid to have it made–but the politics surround my films is another story! To answer you your question in brief: I don't consider these two films as part of the autobiographical film continuum.




What was the basis, the beginning point of your video correspondance with Robert Kramer? And your relationship with his own filmic practice?



Steve Dwoskin

The Video letters with Robert Kramer (1991-2000) started without any real consideration towards each others filmic practice apart from the fact we both made films from a fairly 'personal' perspective. The letters began from the point of view of two friends and as two Americans living in Europe (and both being of the same age and growing up in the same city). We had no idea of how the letters would take shape in 'filmic' terms, but it was a process of 'going back to basics' in technical terms–and then with the spontaneity of the new video material. We started with the personal debate (in our minds, at least) as to where we were with ourselves (rather than 'were we were with our work'.) The question in both our minds was a this one of Europe verses American and problem of not knowing any longer to which 'culture' we belonged and whether we could go back' or 'stay' as we no longer fit either (and neither place fully accepted us!) Ironically we hardly touch on these issues in the video letters it, never-the-less, compelled us to make the letters. (We were about to continue the video letters when Robert unfortunately and suddenly died!) Making the letters–for both of us–had a degree of influence in our films made after the first set of letters in terms of 'ways of constructing films' and some other stylistic approaches. (It's hard to be specific as to what these precisely are–but it certainly influenced a way of working and thinking about the material.)




Can you tell me how did you approach and treat the representation of an artistic activity, in such different films as Shadows from Light (on a photograph, Bill Brandt, 1983), Ballet Black (on dance and choreography, 1986) and Brendan Behan (on a writer, 1990)?



Steve Dwoskin

Both Shadows From Light and Ballet Black have

one thing in common in terms of my approach. They both begin from 'inside' the

person, or people involved. I knew Bill Brandt (or, more precisely, was a close

friend to his brother, Rolf, who gave me a way to know Bill). With Ballet Black I knew two members of the

original dance company who gave me both insight and interest into what they

were trying to create with a certain type of dance form. Of course, I have

always been interested in photography and dance in their own right, but having

the unique opportunity to be 'inside' their creative 'story' was a great

inspiration and motivation. With Shadows

From Light I built the film out of Bill Brandt's own perspective on his

work. He never wanted to talk about his work in a technical way. He, himself,

was inspired to make his images in a much more 'dreamy' way of thinking and was

moved by such other work as Alice in

Wonderland and Welles' Kane and The Amberson's. I approach the making of

the film by 'adopting' his references. Also, Brandt had said to me that the

work he found most important to him was the 'nudes' because they were the only

pieces of work he did without a 'commission' therefore they were the most

personal. Also, by knowing 'his family' I began to understand what was

important to Brandt, and thus his work, to better express his work. It also

made me closer to his world where I could better connect it to mine own

subjectively), so the whole processes became a personal 'exploration' between

him, me and both our kinds of work. (This 'personal' or 'subjective' process

has so often annoyed those people who only want the 'objective' technical point

of view). In a way, this 'personal' connection also meant that Brandt became

part of 'the making of the film' and not just the subject of the film. In a

similar way, with Ballet Black, the

personal involvement with the friends who were originally the 'Ballet Negre'

gave great insight into what they were attempting to do both creatively, and in

their case, politically. Without this connection it would be virtually

impossible to recreate the kind of dance, and dance narratives that were so

important to their thinking. (When they first performed in England it was

simply called "monkey dancing" and was never taken as a serious

attempt to express ethnic 'stories' with a combination of Caribbean dance

movements and classical ballet.)

For me, personally, the way other 'artists' like

Brandt, or members the Ballet, find motivation or ways of manifesting their

work is as important to me as the work itself! (what drives them ; what

influences them ; how they feel about their own life and situation–and how

this shapes their work!)

So with Brendan

Behan (though this was a 'commission' whereas the other two were my own

proposals) was approached by me with a similar attitude. Behan's own writing

and the fact that he had the capacity to write as he was speaking was they way

to approach the film. Allowing him to speak through actors his own words which

in turn are the words about himself (as if he was always openly writing his own

biography hanging out in a pub or down by the canal!)

All three films are about three different 'artistic'

activities yet they are all about the same type of process. The differences

remain only in the personal manifestations that drive the work towards

realization and this is what shaped the films for me.

Question: How did you approach Intoxicated by my Illness (2001), which revolves on age, illness

and the attention devoted to a patient ? Does it introduce a point of

rupture, displacement, on your work?

Steve Dwoskin: Intoxicated by

my Illness represents a rupture and displacement in my life, so, therefore,

I suppose, on my work. My disability became severely worse and I began to get

ill very frequently spending more and more time in the hospital. My body began

to noticeably 'fall apart', of course, partly due to 'ageing' which seemed

accelerate other physical problems originally caused by polio, etc. My

increased loss of mobility and strength produced a rupture from my previous

relations with other people, especially in personal relations, as well the way

I had previously been able to work. My condition further limited my ability to

work with film equipment (too heavy ; too expensive; etc.) and I turned to

digital media (lighter and cheaper and could be done in a more physically

confined space.) It was also a time when all 'funding' and other financial

support seemed to stop. All applications for production support were rejected

as they still are). Intoxicated

started when I was ill in the hospital and read a book called Intoxicated by my Illness by Anatole

Broyard, an American writer who had terminal cancer. (I found him in the

aftermath of the Pain film research!)

His 'essay' moved me to 'discuss one's [my] own illness' ; to express something

about the condition I was now finding myself in: serious illness and the

attitude towards ageing (ageing being a terminal process) and the fears and

desires that become trapped in such a 'space' – what it feels like and how

others respond (or not respond) to it!

Broyers said that in such extreme situations as in

illness and death one must 'speak' and use ones 'language' to speak with,

otherwise, in illness as a patient in silence you become 'nothing'. llness, he

said, should be considered like a journey to a foreign land where you've never

been before; like making a speech about a subject you know little about ;

or like making love to a demented woman!


by my Illness (obviously I took Broyard's

title) was made in two parts because while making the film I became so

seriously ill that I witnessed death and nearly didn't make it! So the second

part became a very clear expression of that (of my) near death experience. It

was (in reality) like a movie, or a strange dream or a bizarre circus where

sexual thoughts mingled with indifferent medical invasions and everything is

turned into some kind of theatrical event. As well, it's a space of loss,

loneliness and dependency yet 'high drama' (thus the music)–the ultimate world

of contradiction.

Certainly then Intoxicated

by my Illness is a juncture in my work where much of the following work

deals with the sense (or the senselessness) of loss, age, memory, dependency

and death–into the internal space of the self. On a technical level as well it

became a juncture in that I was able to apply filmic thinking to digital media,

as well as explore the expressive potential of the digital processes to

continue to make 'films' under new circumstances.

Question: Can you tell me a word of your work after Intoxicated? Your did realise a serie of

films which are a kind of portraits, like Some

Friends (2002), Dad (2003), Dear Frances (2003), Grandpère's Pear (2003). Some of them

are a nostalgic evocation, an elegy, and others are exposing moments of beauty,

of happyness and shareness. Can we say they share similarities with home

movies? You did also turn to a kind of alternative fiction, as in Lost Dreams (2003) and Another Time (2002). How did you

approach the question of  indirect

narration in them?

Steve Dwoskin: I suppose you can say that the series of film like Some Friends, Dad, Dear Frances, etc.

are, in part, born out of the self-reflective aspects of Intoxicated. Though they use 'home movie' material as a 'source' I

wouldn't call the actual films 'home movies'. They are much more 'formal'

formalising home movies–sort of) and relate more to the notion of 'portraits'

as in painting) or 'poems' (sonnets) (as in writing) or 'chamber pieces' (as

in music). They are based on reflective aspects of 'my own history' (nostalgia,

memory, mementoes, etc.). They are about 'loss', 'absence', and solitude. [Paul

Willemen said they were about death!] Friends

apart reflects on both the question

of 'what are friends' / where are those we call friends–relations that 'once

were' but no longer are! Dad and Dear Frances are directly elegies–the

loss of loved ones (Dad being more

reflective since the loss was many years ago ; Dear Frances being more of a eulogy due to a sudden loss !).

The more I think about your question 'as to the approach' I can only say that

was (is) like writing poems visually. It seems to a similar process in my mind.

Sometimes it reminds me of how Charles Ives weaves musical momentoes into his

pieces (well, not only Ives!) (The music in Dad

is from Ives.) I put Lost Dreams with

the other short pieces–the reflection on loss and absence. However, with Another Time I embarked on trying to use

my own situation constructed out of (or from) a literary framework and the kind

of 'stream of conscious' ability writers can employ with words into a visual

expression. With Another Time, of

course, it was Beckett's Malone Dies.

Thus, an 'indirect' narrative is realised since it's the seamless shifting,

sliding, past, present thoughts of the characters 'mind' that dominates rather

than the 'physical aspects of story'.

Question: You speak of Malone

Dies as an inspiration for Another

Time. Can you precise in which way you did use Beckett? The relationship

with the text seems to be more distant than in Oblivion (where we see the model reading Le con d'Irène–in Another

Time we see a book of poetry but not Malone

Dies). But the treatment share similiraties : cutting of the space and

bodies, unframings and use of slow motion, apparition of shadows and

concentration on details (an insect here, a bulb there). The sound, without

dialogues, is discontinuous, fragmentary. Can you tell me more about the

aesthetic choice you privilege?

Steve Dwoskin: To be more precise, as with Malone Dies, I found in Beckett's way of writing a way of expressing

an 'inner space' of the main 'character' (which is also the authors voice to

some extent) in that the writing is able to move through thoughts and combine

past and present, memory and imagination, of event and self-reflection,

seamlessly. The inspiration (rather than the influence) of this manner; of this

flow between the various levels of objective and subjective 'triggers' I found

to akin to my own thoughts. The book (and the way of writing) became a 'guide'

or a form) as to how I might use visual elements in a similar 'seamless'

drifting way, yet tell the (my) 'story' as Beckett tells his. I suppose one

could say I follow the 'style' (or the 'way') the writing expresses the 'story'

rather than the story (or the characters) itself. In other words, I use 'my

story' (and I am the character) not Beckett's or Malone's story. I seldom refer

to the written text nor do I use any of the descriptions in the written text

for the purposes of making the film. I use only the 'feeling' (my feeling of

the text) and apply it to the making of the film. I, more or less, did the same

thing with Le con d'Irene (though I

did use the same number of characters Aragon used) but followed my own 'story'.

I use 'story' very loosely here!) When I made Another Time some people said that should have mentioned Beckett and Malone Dies–then people might understand

the film easier. So when I made Oblivion

I put the visual reference to Aragon's book (in the film as Hitchcock type

pun'–it could have been any book) and credited the book at the end. Of course,

this presents another problem in that the viewer starts looking for the

interpretation of the book which can prove to be a distraction since most of

the 'literal' connections are not actually there! (It isn't such a problem in

England since hardly anyone knows of Aragon. They, of course, know Beckett!)

The aesthetic choices are very personal since they

happen in my own space, but most it was based on the enclosure of space, the

loss of the 'geography' of the space, the concentration on detail, what may be

happening 'outside', the expanding of detail and movement (or the slowing down

of real time)–in a way to re-dramatise a gesture, a glance, a second (becomes a

minute), etc. The drifts like the mind drifts, the focus changes like a thought

that suddenly gets forgotten. The character (the camera) is stuck where it is

like in a dream–or as trying to gain control over an uncontrollable dream. The

sound follows  the same procedure. The

eerie atmosphere of 'house noise', body noise, space sounds, sounds from

somewhere else, footsteps, doors closing, whispers. That's what being 'stuck in

solitude' is like! Everything feels fragmentary (as if the mind breaks

up–fragments–anything continuously repetitious).

Question: Face Anthea (1990)

is in a way a filmic portrait, but on one person, one face. Which was your

intention turning that long sequence? Is there relationships from your point of

view between Face Anthea and later

film portraits. Let's say Lost or Visitors.

Steve Dwoskin: Face Anthea

is more related to earlier films, Girl,

part of DynAmo, perhaps Jesus Blood. Rather than a portrait it

is changing 'mind / thought' pattern as reflected in the face (like a

mirror)–though, I suppose, it is also a portrait in time–but it is only in that

time; only that hour, no other hour.  (Face Anthea started as project when Hi-8

video came out where you could suddenly do one hour takes without editing!)

Question: Your last films are on video (I suppose it is mostly

a practical and an  economic choice). Does

it have an influence on your aesthetic approach, on your formal work and

enonciative point of view?

Steve Dwoskin:

Certainly the use of video (digital

video) is an 'economic' and practical choice. However, every kind of medium has

within it it's own aesthetic and expressive properties that can be 'harnessed'

and employed to become part of the overall work.  Before colour one made films in Black and

White and used the nature of Black and White as part of the 'expression'. Then

with colour film, one used colour. Now it's digital video and that too has it's

own inherent properties which can be employed. Of course, I'd like my 'video'

films to be transferred to actual film (this is very expensive!) but mainly for

the reason of being able to 'project' them on to a large screen. I still feel

that projected light is more 'magical' (powerful) than the 'received' image (as

on a television screen.) [But soon there won't be anymore film cameras, as is

happening in still photography, so even the choice will not be available!]