Anikina, Alexandra

Alexandra Anikina
Russian videomaker

biography

Interview: 10 questions

Tell me something about your life and the educational background

I was born in Moscow. I studied journalism and worked as a photographer before moving to London three years ago. When I was a kid, I first wanted to become a paleontologist, and then a writer. I think both wishes are slowly being realised in my practice as a film-maker.

When, how and why started you filming?

I moved to London with intention to undertake a Masters degree in photography at Goldsmiths and to switch from photojournalism to more artistic endeavours. By the time my course finished I found myself shooting experimental films. That was a very painless transition. I realised that I couldn’t use language the way I needed through photography, and film gave me a way out.

What kinds of topics have your films?

I can safely say it’s only one topic, but it’s so basic that it encompasses almost everything you could think of. I’m curious about the peculiarities and the functioning of the human mind. Lately I’ve looked at problems like artificial intelligence, language and speech, human relationship with technology and time, the problems of knowledge and history.

How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?

I follow my hands which follow my head which follows my heart. When I work on something that needs to take shape, I use a process that Brion Gysin came up with and that William Burroughs popularised in the 50s, a game of cut-ups. You put ideas (or elements of your work, words, colours) on pieces of paper, you mix them up and lay out in a random order. The resulting combinations can really surprise you, or make more sense than they were in your head. It’s somewhat similar to what Eisenstein says about intellectual montage as well – new meanings come from unexpected and shocking juxtapositions of shots.

Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.

After being heavily involved with photography, understandably I used DSLR for my first films. But I love the high-quality resolution as much as I love the look of 35mm on the screen, and I’m planning to embrace more advanced means of film-making for the future projects.

These days digital technology is dominating also video as a medium. In which way the digital aspect is entering the creation of your videos, technologically and/or conceptually?

I think I partially answered that in the previous question. I am in close contact, if not in symbiosis, with the idea of technology in general. So although I understand the attraction to analog means of production, I don’t think it’s fair anymore to use it as a main conceptual element in moving image works. It’s been around for a while, it’s time to move past it. I would use it in personal project, out of nostalgia, maybe, but then I wouldn’t consider such works particularly strong. Also, I think that in this regard moving image is very different from still image. I always had a feeling that moving image was never intended to rely on a filmstrip (although that’s exactly through a filmstrip that it came to be in the first place), and that its logical material ‘endpoint’ was always supposed to be a projection – a projection from a digital file or a film, it doesn’t matter. Photography, I feel, is different. If it happens on a film roll, it’s true to itself. If it happens digitally, then for me it’s closer to moving image. I’m working at the moment on an artwork that involves a lot of analog photographs – but not analog film.

How do you finance your films?

Self-financed. Haha.

Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team? if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

I always work alone. Which suits my temper, which is sometimes short when I work with other people – I’m very impatient. But working alone has its limits, so for some of the projects I’d like to do in the future I will need to learn to work in a team.

Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?

I find it hard to define what ‘lasting influence’ is. Ideas grow from seeds that get planted as if by accident. But literature in general and artists’ writings always influenced me a lot. Hollis Frampton is as wonderful a film-maker as he is a writer. Modernist poets like T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. The thick strata of Russian literature in my brain refuses to name any specific writers – it’s just there, like a stone slab. Definitely influences me a lot. Anyway, art-wise, Pierre Huyghe is one contemporary artist that I admire indefinitely and would love to grow as varied and elegant body of practice as his.

What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker? Can works of yours viewed online besides on the CologneOFF platform? Where?

I’m going to become a platypus. Just joking. Who knows? My released works can be seen on my website, for newest works please contact me at the email below.

My website: red-in-blue.com