The first film I saw by Andrew Kötting was This, Our Still Life (2011). After the film finished, I had that rare and fluttering excitement that what I had just watched would far outlive the duration of my viewing. I had watched the film on DVD in a flat in London. On leaving the dark room and out into the street I began to immediately walk towards the BFI Southbank where I knew they had a copy of his first feature Gallivant (1996). It was one of those moments where, walking beneath an unnervingly blue sky and in the giddy aftermath of what I’d just seen, everything seemed bustling for my attention, each thing more vividly itself and newly awake to (re)discovery. Striding forth to purchase another skittish dose of Kötting, bounding after my next fix, caught up in its afterglow – gratefully infected – seeing within and from its restless energy, following its propulsive curiosity.
Taking a mutable form somewhere between documentary, collage, film-essay and a playfully diaristic recording as the basis for a visual poetics, This, Our Still Life centres around Kötting’s family (specifically his daughter Eden, who has a rare genetic disorder, Joubert’s Syndrome) as they spend time in a remote part-time home in the Pyrenees. Taking cues from the changing seasons, the old farmhouse (deeply and romantically isolated amid forest and mountain) becomes a rickety locus for family rituals: the daily struggles, frustrations, intimacies, and joys that build a life and its collaborative explorations in and as art. The film is edited with Kötting’s characteristic jumps of intuition and scattershot logic; itching with humour and eccentric seriousness, its handheld kineticism eager to be out and among the accidents of happening. In this unstill ‘still-life’ portrait (if ‘portrait’ is in turn the departure for makeshift galleries of moving), the film’s distracted zest for observation and personal family-footage begins to perfectly enact a defining focus for Kötting’s filmography: the spaces between ‘outsider’ and ‘insider-art’; between art, performance, living and film; between a collaged poetics and a filmed journey; and between people and landscape.
This interview took place after I met Andrew for a Q&A at Tyneside Cinema, he was introducing Edith Walks. The film (like his films Gallivant, Swandown and By Our Selves) took the form of a journey. A walk-in dialogue with the spirit of Edith Swanneck, stepped out in séance between Hastings and Waltham Abbey to reunite the dismembered, battle-torn body of King Harold with his wife. Undertaken as an improvised pilgrimage, the film curates a troop of fellow musicians, historians and writers, bringing together: the bearded gnosticism of Alan Moore, the conspiracy of literary cartography that is Iain Sinclair, the musical innovations of Jem Finer, and the incarnation of Edith in Claudia Barton – a singer clad in an increasingly bedraggled dress. The film was accompanied by a beautiful book (EDITH The Chronicles) , a CD of field recordings and music, and touring performances alongside screenings.
Andrew's responses came in the emphatic shout of caps-lock, reminding me of the text in This, Our Still Life, I kept it that way as I feel it is in-keeping with the spirit of a 'dirt-under-the-fingernails' bounding, climbing and swimming that runs throughout all of his work...BOLD ELEMENTS OF LANGUAGE UNTETHERED / GATHERED / LAUGHING / LIGHT / WALKING / DRUMS UP / & ONWARDS...
Whether it is in puncturing the hubris of Pound’s cantos with a small plastic swan (Swandown, 2012), retracing the pilgrimage of John Clare (By Our Selves, 2015) or exhuming the lines of Heinrich Heine via strolling song (Edith’s Walk, 2017), poetry continually excerpts an influence or presence in your films…are there any particular poets that you read for pleasure, or that are particularly significant to you? Do you read much contemporary poetry?
I READ POETRY INTERMITTENTLY – BUT INVARIABLY IF IT’S FOISTED UPON ME I’M RESISTANT TO IT – WE DID A LOT OF WORDSWORTH AND KEATS AT SCHOOL – HOWEVER I HAVE SHARED A STUDIO WITH A POET AND PUBLISHER OF POETRY FOR ALMOST EIGHT YEARS NOW SO A LOT OF HIS ENTHUSIAM HAS RUBBED OFF ON ME – I LIKE THE METAPHYSICAL WEIGHT OF POETRY – THE NEED TO DIG INTO IT – BUT ALSO ITS IMMEDIACY WHEN IT WORKS
I USED TO LIKE TO STUMBLE ACROSS POETRY – WHEN I WAS GROWING UP IT WOULD HAVE BEEN RICHARD BRAUTIGAN – SAMUEL BECKETT AND JOHN COOPER CLARK BUT MORE RECENTLY IT’S KATE TEMPEST MEREDITH MONK MARGARET ATWOOD AND NICK CAVE – AND THEN OF COURSE JOHN CLARE – LUCKILY I WAS BULLIED MERCILESSLY INTO RESEARCHING HIS WORK BECAUSE OF A PROJECT I WAS INVOLVED WITH - BY OUR SELVES - PROFESSOR SIMON KOVESI WOULD KEEP BOMBARDING ME WITH ‘STUFF’ – HE’S A CLAREHEAD - THE ASYLUM POEMS ARE VERY POWERFUL AND INSPIRING – IAIN SINCLAIR HAS OBVIOUSLY BEEN A BIG INFLUENCE AND ALSO BRIAN CATLING.
TODAY I FIND MYSELF TRAVELLING WITH THE WRITINGS OF E.M CIORAN; ‘THE TROUBLE WITH BEING BORN’ ‘ON THE HEIGHTS OF DESPAIR’ ‘THE TEMPTATION TO EXIST’ ‘A SHORT HISTORY OF DECAY’ – THE TITLES THEMSELVES ARE LIKE HAIKU POEMS AND THEN THERE’S DAVID SHIELD’S BOOK ‘REALITY HUNGER’ – I NEVER TIRE OF DIPPING IN AND OUT OF IT – BUT IT’S NOT ‘PROPER’ POETRY.
I WRITE A LOT OF PROSE POEMS MYSELF AND INVARIABLY THEY FIND THEIR WAY INTO PROJECTS THAT I’M WORKING ON; PERFFORMANCES/FILMS/BOOKWORKS/WALL TEXTS AND MY DAUGHTERS COLLAGES AND PAINTINGS
Through using sound as collage and with an ongoing collaboration with Jem Finer (and subsequent albums of field recordings), many of your films seem to suggest a kind of sonic poetics. I’m thinking here of the detailed, careful (dis)arrangement of voices, the hauntings of one film’s audio in another’s (Gladys and Eden’s voices from Gallivant as recalled in Swandown, or the short film, Klipperty Klopp, 1984, echoed by a character in Ivul, 2009, who utters the phrase in joking imitation of a horse), and then the mischievous way in which sound will often complicate or confuse the image. Do you collect sound as part of a project, in a comparable way to accruing footage, or is there a more specific method? Are there particular archives you return to, to gleefully pillage and plunder? Do you approach the cutting up and editing of sound as a kind of poetics, embodying and furthering a mode of ‘expanded cinema’?
YES – YOUR QUESTION(S) AND ASSUMPTIONS ARE VERY CLOSE TO REVEALING MY METHODOLOGY; SONIC POETICS/MUSIC CONCRÈTE/MEDIATED COLLAGIC CHAOS/DRIFT POEMS/CHOREOGRAPHED SOUND/IMAGE SCAPES AND ‘SPILLAGE’ - I’M ALWAYS REVISITING WORKS – LOOKING TO RE-IMAGINE/RE-WORK/RE-CONFIGURE/RE-ARRANGE/RE-ALLIGN AND RE-GURGITATE BOTH OLD AND NEW FOOTAGE WHETHER IT BE MOVING IMAGE OR SOUND.
‘PILLAGE AND PLUNDER’ MAKES IT SOUND TOO BRUTAL – I’D LIKE TO THINK THAT THERE’S MORE FINESSE INVOLVED – A NUANCE OF STRUCTURE – AN EBBING AND FLOWING OF IDEAS – A TIDE OF UNDULATING ‘IMPLIED’ OR ‘FRAGMENTED’ NARRATIVES – THEMES AND SCHEMES BUT NOTHING TOO DIDACTIC OR OBVIOUS.
I LOVE SUBSTRATA AND SUBTEXT – I LOVE THE INFINITE POSSIBILTIES OF REVERSE ENGINEERING - I ALSO LOVE ATMOSPHERE - I WAS VERY INFLUENCED BY DUB REGGAE WHEN I WAS PRETENDING TO BE A PUNK – I NEVER FOUND THE 1 2 3 SHOUTY SHOUTY WAY OF MAKING MUSIC THAT SATISFYING – ALBEIT THAT I WAS QUITE GOOD AT IT AND CAN STILL DO IT TODAY - BUT ONCE I DISCOVERED THE POTENTIAL OF TAPE LOOPS/REVERB/ DELAY AND ECHO SUDDENLY I WAS UP AND RUNNING INTO THAT WORLD OF ‘HAUNTOLOGY’ - AS IT HAS MORE RECENTLY BEEN DESCRIBED - YOU CERTAINLY DIDN’T HAVE TO BE A MUSICIAN TO ‘MAKE MUSIC’ AND JEM FINER HAS ALWAYS BEEN VERY SUPPORTIVE AND REASSURING IN MY ATTEMPTS TO ‘MAKE MUSIC’.
I AM ALSO VERY INTERESTED IN MOVING IMAGE ARCHIVE – I HAVE A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH SCREEN ARCHIVE SOUTH EAST AT THE UNIVERSITY IN BRIGHTON – I SPEND A COUPLE OF DAYS A YEAR CATCHING UP ON NEW AQUISITIONS – IT’S MAINLY HOME MOVIES THAT HAVE BEEN BEQUEATHED IN THE WAKE OF A FAMILY DEATH – 9.5MM/8MM/SUPER 8MM/16MM - SOMETIMES EVEN VHS AND THERE IS DAVID LEISTER - WHEN I WAS LIVING IN LONDON – WE WOULD HEAD OUT TO THE BFI IN BEACONSFIELD AND SALVAGE ANY 16MM PUBLIC INFORMATION FILMS THAT THEY MIGHT BE THROWING OUT TO MAKE WAY FOR THE NEW HARD DRIVES – IT WAS LIKE CHRISTMAS – AND DAVID STILL HAS MASSES OF THAT STUFF SCATTERED ACROSS LONDON IN VARIOUS LOCK UPS BATHROOMS AND KITCHENS – I CONSOLIDATED MY COLLECTION WHEN I ARRIVED IN HASTINGS 15 YEARS AGO BY TRANSFERRING MOST OF THE SOUND TRACKS FROM A STEENBECK ONTO DAT TAPES OR MORE RECENTLY MY iPHONE.
You seem very attentive to the movement between repetition and play, where ‘play’offers interpretive mobility in addition to valuing child-like perception (whatever that can or could encompass) and ‘repetition’ suggests and disrupts patterns in each film, as a process in which context can re-configure meaning. Does this changeable, open and chance-led approach interact with your ‘eARTHOUSE Manifesto’?
REPETITION IS IMPORTANT – AS IS PLAY AND OF COURSE COMEDY – I THINK DADA IS A PART OF MY DNA – PERHAPS IT’S THE GERMAN GENES – IT ALSO SERVES TO DISRUPT ANY POTENTIAL GRAVITAS OR SELF-IMPORTANCE - IT ALLOWS FOR OTHER WAYS OF SEEING OR HEARING – CONTEXT IS THEREFORE GIVEN THE CHANCE TO BE READ DIFFERENTLY AND THUS AMBIGUITY COMES INTO PLAY – WHICH I’M A VERY BIG FAN OF – IT’S EASY TO GET LOST THOUGH AND OCCASIONALLY I RESORT TO A REPETITION-OF –ATTEMPT BY WAY OF TRYING THINGS AGAIN BUT IN A DIFFERENT ORDER!
THE EARTHOUSE MANIFESTO WAS WRITTEN WITH MY TONGUE FIRMLY IN MY CHEEK AS A REACTION TO THE DOGME MANIFESTOWHICH HAD JUST COME OUT – I THINK BOTH MANIFESTOS REMIND US THAT THERE ARE OTHER WAYS OF MAKING WORK OUTSIDE OF THE INDUSTRIAL NORMS – BUT FOR COLLEAGUES AND FELLOW PRACTITIONERS THAT WORK OUTSIDE OF THE MAINSTREAM FILM GULAG - WE ALL KNEW THIS BUT IT WAS GOOD TO BE REMINDED AND HAVE IT WRITTEN DOWN – AND OF COURSE THERE WAS THE JUSTIFICATION FOR ME TO GET MY ARMS OR FEET INSIDE ANOTHER SENTIENT BEING, ALIVE OR DEAD…
It seems like this would be a good point to question the significance of what is left unfinished or unresolved in your films. Looping and meandering, the films (like the journeys they depict) often enact a restless structuring that permits no final structure but that is left open to continue – a continuing – a going-on…I was wondering how much of this was linked to your reading of Beckett or E.M Cioran…or other bleak advocates of the fragment, the decay and the endless unanswered...
I THINK THEIR WRITING HAS HAD A PROFOUND IMPACT – THE WRITING IS OPEN FOR INTERPRETATION AND MEANING – I ENJOY THE NOTION OF FLUX OR CONTINGENCY – THINGS AREN’T FIXED – THINGS AREN’T ‘NORMAL’ IN THEIR STRUCTURE.
THE BIRTH OF MY DAUGHTER EDEN – THROUGH HER PROFOUND DISABILITY HAS ALSO ‘ENABLED’ ME – SHE HAS INSPIRED ME AND THWARTED ME – MOVED ME AND ANNIHILATED ME – BECAUSE OF HER I NEVER BECAME THE PERSON THAT I THOUGHT/HOPED I MIGHT BECOME – SHE CONTINUES TO TEACH ME ABOUT ENDURANCE/HUMILITY/HOPE AND DESPONDENCY – SHE PUSHES ME INTO TROUGHS OF MELANCHOLY ONLY TO THEN HELP ME SOAR INTO THE REALMS OF SUBLIMITY – SHE HAS NURTURED MY LOVE OF BOTH THE PHYSICAL AND THE METAPHYSICAL – LIKE A MUSE OR ILL ADVISED CONFIDENT….
BUT ALWAYS THE GOING-ON….
Despite the improvisation and play that animates much of each film, there is also, it seems, an interest and investment in ritual, or versions of the ritualistic. This is apparent throughout your work: from the early and incredible Hub Bub in Baöbabs(1989) and the folkloric anthropology of Gallivant (1996); the chain of site-specific, inflated tributes of In the Wake of Deadad (2006); and through to the re-traced journeys, honouring and speculating upon obscured histories, in By Our Selves (2015) and Edith Walks (2017). It feels as though a kind of ‘ritual’ might also apply to the significance of collaboration, of gathering and constellating like-minded people? Or perhaps even your continued gravitation towards acts of endurance, of making the film a physical, as well as artistic, endeavour (or erasing those distinctions) …this also seems connected to a ritualised impulse. Would you agree that non-religious ritual is something that consciously shapes your approach?
YES – A PRE-CHRISTIAN ANTI-MONOTHEISTIC APPROACH IS VERY IMPORTANT – IT’S ONLY DURING THE LAST TEN YEARS THAT I’VE ATTEMPTED TO ARTICULATE MY LOATHING AND DREAD OF ‘THE BIG-BOOKIST-BRAIN-WASHERS’ – A MALE DOMINATED/ALL POWERFUL/SUPERSTITIOUS/ANTI-HUMANISTIC APPROACH OF CONTROLLING FREEDOM OF SPIRIT – I LOVE THE FOLKLORIC – THE METAPHOR OF MYTHOLOGY AND THE POWER OF RITUAL – THE MARRIAGE OF THE CORPOREAL AND ‘REAL’ EXPERIENCE WITH THAT OF THE CEREBRAL – THE CONTEMPLATIVE MEDITATIVE POWER OF BEING-IN-LANDSCAPE – THE MULLING OF DEEP TIME – AS ARTICULATED BY JEM FINER’S 1,000 YEAR-LONG MUSIC COMPOSITION LONGPLAYER OR ALAN MOORE’S THINKING…. THE SHAMANISTIC POTENTIAL IN ALL OF US IS SOMETHING THAT I’M ALSO INTERESTED IN.
SO THE WORKS ARE CONSISTENTLY CONCEIVED WITH ENDURANCE OR JOURNEYING AS A CATALYST OR AMBIITION AND THIS IS SOMETHING THAT IAIN SINCLAIR HAS BEEN DOING FOR A VERY LONG TIME – WE CONNECTED WHEN I MOVED TO HASTINGS AND FOUND A WAY TO CELEBRATE OUR KINDRED SPIRITEDNESS THROUGH COLLABORATION – HIS GENEROSITY OF MIND RE-CHARGED MY BATTERIES AND TOOK THE WORK INTO A DIRECTION THAT I HAD INTUITIVELY BEEN DABBLING WITH WHEN I MADE JAUNT AND GALLIVANT BUT NOT FULLY REALISED - HIS MORE RECENT PROSE MANAGES TO CONSTRUCT POETIC THOUGHTSCAPES USING JUST WORDS TO GREAT EFFECT – I FIND THEM SPELLBINDING - MY PROCESS INVOLVES MOVING IMAGE/SPOKEN WORD/SOUND AND MUSIC BUT ULTIMATELY I’M ALSO TRYING TO CAST SPELLS.
IT IS THROUGH COLLABORATION THOUGH THAT MUCH OF THE WORK ATTAINS ITS’ MAGIC AND POTENTIAL – I’VE ALWAYS WORKED WITH PEOPLE THAT I HAVE A FONDNESS FOR REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY ARE ‘GOOD AT THEIR JOB’ OR ‘PROFESSIONAL’ – IT IS MORE ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS AND BEING-ABLE-TO-SPEND-TIME-TOGETHER – SOME OF THOSE EARLIER COLLABORATORS HAVE DRIFTED AWAY BUT THAT INVARIABLY HAS MORE TO DO WITH GEOGRAPHICAL DISTANCE – ALTHOUGH IN A FEW INSTANCES IT HAS ALSO HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH A MEANESS-OF-SPIRIT IN THEIR AMBITION FOR WANTING ME TO BECOME MORE MAINSTREAM AND ACCESIBLE.
Following on from the mention of endurance, I was wondering whether you are ever tempted to explore the viewer’s endurance? It seems that, whilst your own endurance or pursuit of physical and feet-on-the-ground experience (extending to those around you in the filming process) is paramount, the films do not necessarily demand a reciprocal endurance in the viewer… in terms of shot-length and duration (a slowness that emerges, say, in Ben Rivers' work), or the resistance of abrasive imagery or uncomfortable visuals…do these cinematic approaches interest you at all?
THEY DO AND WITH BEN’S WORK IN PARTICULAR – I THINK WE ARE BARKING UP A SIMILAR TREE BUT BEN IS BRAVER WHEN IT COMES TO THE DURATIONAL – HE’S VERY INTO THE MATERIALITY OF FILM - OF CELLULOID – I BLAME IT ON THE FACT THAT HE HAND PROCESSES MUCH OF THE WORK AS WELL AS THE LENGTH OF A HAND CRANK TO A 16MM BOLEX.
A LOT OF MY EARLIER WORK WAS A PRETTY HARDCORE BARRAGE OF SOUND AND IMAGE – MY RYTHMS WERE ERRATIC AND AT TIMES TOURETTES-LIKE – I’VE SLOWED DOWN AS I’VE GOT OLDER LOOKING FOR A DIFFERENT ORDER – AND I’VE NEVER BEEN AFRAID OF ‘UNCOMFORTABLE VISUALS’ - WORKS LIKE ANVIL-HEAD THE HUN/FLESHFILM/NUCLEUS AMBIGOUS/ME/ABOVE THEM THE WORLD BEYOND AND THIS FILTHY EARTH - I THINK MY NEW FILM LEK AND THE DOGS IS QUITE AN UNCOMFORTABLE RIDE IN PLACES BUT THE IMAGES ARE MEDIATED THROUGH A LESS ERRATIC VIEWING EXPERIENCE – IT FEELS LIKE A HYBRID; A PIECE OF WORK IN WHICH THE JOURNEYWORKS; GALLIVANT/SWANDOWN/BY OURSELVES/EDITH WALKS MERGE WITH THE AMBITION OF THE STORYWORKS; THIS FILTHY EARTH AND IVUL.
Having just said asked about ‘abrasive imagery’ and the possibility of uncomfortable viewing experiences, I have just remembered two of your short films that do delve into this area: Me (2000) and Above Them the World Beyond (2013). Both of these films, in very different ways, approach frightening levels of discomfort and make for challenging, and impressively unhinged, viewing. Do you find yourself drawn to darker implications and sequences in your films and then having to later cut back, or edit out (as with Me, which was originally to be included in Gallivant)?
I THINK I’VE EXPANDED ON SOME OF THIS WITH THE ANSWER TO THE PREVIOUS QUESTION – BUT YES I’M ALWAYS REVISITING WORKS – LOOKING TO RE-IMAGINE/RE-WORK/RE-CONFIGURE/RE-ARRANGE/RE-ALLIGN/RE-GURGITATE OLD AND NEW FOOTAGE WHETHER IT BE MOVING IMAGE OR SOUND – OLD AND NEW ANSWERS ARE NO EXCEPTION!
To what extent you see your films as an extension of performance-art…or the documentation of performance art? I feel as though the suits you wear (In the Wake of Deadad / Swandown / Edith Walks) signal the initiation, in costume, of a performance or persona…or is ‘the suit’ (in its changing guises) perhaps another instance of ritual?
MUCH OF THE WORK IS ROOTED IN PERFORMANCE ART – I WAS BESOTTED BY JOSEPH BEUYS STAURT BRISLEY AND GINA PANE WHEN I WAS AT ART SCHOOL – THERE WAS AN ATMOSPHERE ABOUT THEIR WORK – THEY PERFORMED MAINLY FOR THE GALLERY SPACE BUT MY ANTICS WITHIN THE PUBLIC SPACE HAVE PROVIDED RICH MATERIAL FOR BOTH THE INSTALLATIONS/FILMS/PERFORMANCES THAT I MAKE THEREAFTER - THE SUIT REPRESENTS A MINDSET OR CHARACTER – AN INVITATION TO ENJOY THE RIDICULOUSNESS OF AMBITION AND BY INHABITING THE SUIT I FIND MYSELF COCOONED OR COMFORTED – A PROTECTION – I THINK IT WAS INSPIRED BY BOTH MY GERMAN GRAND FATHER WHO WOULD ALWAYS BE MENDING THE CAR OR GARDENING IN HIS THREE PIECE SUIT OR THE FILM THE MOON AND THE SLEDGEHAMMER – I LOVED THE IDEA OF THE MEN OF THE PAGEFAMILY WEARING SUITS WHILST HARD-AT-WORK IN THE LANDSCAPE – IT FELT INCONGOROUS AND EXCITING - ON ANOTHER MORE MUNDANE LEVEL IT ALSO MEANS THAT I NEVER HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT TO PUT ON IN THE MORNING.
I was wondering if you could say a bit about the Earth trilogy? With This Filthy Earth (2001) you mutated elements from John Berger’s Pig Earth and Zola’s La Terre to create a mud-soaked community wed to the earth, and in Ivul (2009) a fractured family leads to a young boy’s self-imposed exile from touching the earth – into an existence in the treetops. Is Lek and the Dogs the final in this proposed trilogy? Do you feel much has changed in your practice from the first ‘Earth-instalment’ to now, with its completion in sight?
I TOUCHED ON THIS IN THE ANSWER TO AN EARLIER QUESTION BUT INDEED A LOT HAS CHANGED FROM WHEN I MADE THIS FILTHY EARTH – TO MAKE THAT ‘TYPE OF FILM’ TODAY WOULD BE A LOT HARDER – AT THE TIME I WAS SEDUCED BY ALL THE ATTENTION I WAS BEING PAID IN THE WAKE OF THE SUCCESS OF GALLIVANT AND ALSO A SELF-CONFIDENCE OF BEING ABLE TO ‘TELL-A-STORY’ ON A GRANDER SCALE WITHIN A POETIC (MADE-UP) LANDSCAPE – I WOULD HAVE BEEN LOST WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF SEAN LOCK WHO WROTE IT WITH ME – BUT ULTIMATELY THE FILM IS A FRAGMENTED NARRATIVE DELIVERED WITH A WANTON DISREGARD TO THE COVENANTS OF CONVENTIONAL CINEMATIC STORY TELLING – I REMEMBER SEAN COMING OUT OF THE FINAL SCREENING WITH HIS HEAD IN HIS HANDS BEMOANING; ‘WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU DONE?’ – I DID IT AGAIN WITH IVUL – ALWAYS LOOKING TO REVERSE ENGINEER NEW/DIFFERENT MEANING INTO WHATEVER THE PROJECT STARTED OUT AS – IT MUST BE VERY FRUSTRATING FOR MY COLLABORATORS – HOWEVER AS THE BODY OF WORK HAS GROWN I THINK THAT PATTERNS ARE APPEARING THAT WERE MOST EVIDENT IN MY FIRST PERFORMANCE/LAND ART/PISS TAKE FILM; KLIPPERTY KLÖPP – IN WHICH A MAN (ME) IS SEEN RUNNING ROUND AND ROUND IN CIRCLES IN THE LANDSCAPE CARRYING A PAINTING OF A PRE-HISTORIC HORSE TO THE POINT OF EXHAUSTION – A MONOLOGUE AS VOICEOVER ATTEMPTS TO MAKE SENSE OF WHAT IS HAPPENING BUT ULTIMATELY FAILS TO GIVE ANY RATIONALE OR ORDER TO THE EVENT – IT WAS SHOWN MANY MOONS BACK AS AN INSTALLATION AT THE CENTRE POMPIDOU AS PART OF A SAMUEL BECKETT EXHIBITION WHICH MADE ME HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY – AND HAS COME TO REPRESENT MANY OF THE THEMES AND AMBITIONS THAT STILL INFORM MY WORK TODAY.
LEK AND THE DOGS FURTHER DEVELOPS MOST OF MY PREOCCUPATIONS THROUGH A MONOLOGUE (INSPIRED BY KRAPP’S LAST TAPE)
- THE THEMES OF ISOLATION/ENDURANCE/ RELIGIOUS BELIEF SYSTEMS/LANDSCAPE/PLACE/RITUAL/REPETITION/ARCHIVE/ATMOSPHERE/BEASTIALITY/DOGS/ETERNITYAND HOPE
To return to writing, specifically poetry, you have yourself written a series of what could be called experimental essays and prose-poems, many of which accompany your daughter Eden’s art. Beyond a collaborative input with Eden’s published sketchbook, This Illuminated World is Full of Stupid Men (2015-2016), and the books that accompany your films, do you have any desire to further publish your writing? How do you view your own writing? Is it always in service of, or inspired by, another project…or do you often write as an activity separate and autonomous from your film and art?
I’VE NEVER SEPARATED WHAT I DO WITH MY PROSE-POEMS AND OTHER WRITINGS FROM WHAT I DO AS AN ARTIST – THEY ARE PATHETIC ONGOING ATTEMPTS AT BEING NOTICED OR REMEMBERED – AT ONCE ONE AND THE SAME AS ALL THE OTHER ‘STUFF’ THAT I MAKE – I’D LIKE TO THINK THAT AT SOME POINT BEFORE I DIE I MIGHT PUBLISH THEM MYSELF THROUGH BADBLÖODANDSIBYL WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM AS MANY OF THE PEOPLE THAT I’VE LOVED AND WORKED WITH OVER THE YEARS AS POSSIBLE.