How was your experience working with the BIX facade of Kunshaus Graz?
To me it was a great challenge to make a piece for the facade of the Kunsthaus. The enormity of it, combined with its shameless decorativeness made it almost frightening to deal with.
Did the technique of working with the BIX facade correspond with you usual method of working?
I work with abstractions, and so does the facade. The limits of what kind of imagery that would work on the facade, so some of my usual condensation of imagery the facade did for me. The staff had warned me about the façade's difficulty in dealing with more defined grayscales, and I discovered that this was true. As it was I had to discard my initial idea for a piece, since the limitation of the BIX facade was taking me too far away from my original idea.
On the other hand, working WITH its limitation it has proven to be a fantastic artistic tool.
Tell us a little bit about your project for the facade
My animation "Litlle Star" is dealing with todays aggressive and prejudist approach towards Islamic culture, and the success of the extreme right wing's racist politics all over the western world.
The animation deals in an abstracted way in our relation to Islam and its iconography. It came about during the hole Mohammed drawing chaos where both sides in a rather grand way managed to miss the point in their arguments. The notion of "Freedom of speech" collided with the notion of "Freedom of depiction".
As a reaction, I made a film investigating the islamistic iconoclastic approach to portraying God, Oneness and The Infinite. I created a pattern commonly used in, amongst other places Alhambra, to form grids running across the screen. The islamic patterns are always made up from intricate mathematical calculations to be able to go on forever with out and end, thus portraying the infinite. In the film, I have zoomed into these patterns, not allowing the viewer to see the "bigger picture". Whats left are the bars of the pattern, barely showing off their symmetry.
This is what I thought was being done by both sides in the arugment - concentrating on details, missing the big picture. Not seeing the woods for trees.
Still, there are not only grids but a moment of even more intense silence and contemplation, when the lights just stay bright - would you say that this contemplation is a bow to the beauty of Islamic philosophy - to its definition of the infinite and its spiritual dimension?
No, not really. I just thought it would be nice to have an interruption in the pattern. The contemplative part is in the pattern itself. If you chose to see it as contemplative at all. Working with a facade of a building such as this one, doesn't really lend itself easily to that sort of ambition. For all its worth, this might just be decoration. But yes, I definitely strive for making animations that convey a calm, a silence, a rest from the story telling image.
In your previous work sound has been an important factor, how come this piece is silent?
In my earlier work, I have used sound and music as a starting point for my animations. I have made the image to the music, and not the other way around. Quoting early modernist Artists claiming that music is the only pure abstract artform, I have taken my starting point in sound. Pieces like "Little Star" and my film "Score" are silent for different reasons. "Score" has its music in the title, and almost lookes like a musical score in itself. Since "Little Star" is commenting on the use of iconoclastic imagery, I thought it would be interesting for me to adopt a type of audioclasm for the production of it. Hence, no sound.