In my practice as a filmmaker, I have never worked with a camera. My works are conceptually tied to the historical techniques of direct film, found footage, and video synthesizing. Since a young age, my tool for generating moving images has always been the computer. Therefore the term “Exposure” doesn’t apply in its conventional definition when we think about “film.” In my approach, there is no actual exposure of celluloid or digital sensor to light, no turning it up to the max and beyond. But at the same time, the spectator in the cinema is very much exposed to the flickering light of the projector. Cinema has many origins. One lies in the psycho-physiological scientific laboratories of the nineteenth century, whose aim was to study the body’s reflexes and physiology. The models of the mind and the psychology of the senses developed in these labs, through the implementation of chronometric apparatuses, eventually resulted in the trance technique of the cinematograph. Since its inception, cinema has been the manipulation of optic nerves and their time. It is always manipulation beneath the level of conscious perception.
Here lies my own origins of interests when it comes to creating films: to simulate and stimulate involuntary activity in the brain, using today’s technical potential of higher frame rates, brighter projections and the new image- generating possibilities of software. In challenging the photoreceptors of the retina through the fast alteration of images – thus “overexposing” the mind – the viewer is led to a dramaturgy of interior and exterior worlds. The line between where we begin and where we end is blurred, confused. Through this idea of a synesthetic, immersive zone engaging all of our inputs and senses, questions about the certainties of perceived phenomena arise, and our body becomes connected to its surroundings, such that we becomes indistinguishable from our immediate context. Everything seems to be static, and yet we are in flux. In this collective experience of gazing on a big electrified screen and listening to infinitely long tones and howling drones, our understanding becomes so sharp that the synchronicity of self-consciousness and background noise is brought together: time becomes flat, space comes to a standstill.
Rainer Kohlberger (Artist-in Focus 2019) gives his own definition of the Festival’s main theme “Overexposure.” During his visit, he presented the original performance Happy to Go Blind: a dance – or battle? – of three projectors, historical and contemporary art practices, pixels and celluloid.