Interview: 10 questions
1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background?
I’m a brown. I am female. I’m angry.
Born and raised in Paris by a Danish mum and Guyanese dad, I’ve been channelling Scandinavian and Caribbean cultural influences in a French environment.
French culture and the associated privileges of western lifestyle: free education, free healthcare, social benefits, you know the saying ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’ … Although assimilated into the French culture, my booty has always been slightly too big to be fully French. People would constantly ask me were I’m from, comment on my shapes, ‘tan’, or talk to me with a pronounced Antilleans accent (like it’s funny) – the basics of exoticism. France still struggles to acknowledge its multiracial society and accept that you can be black, Arab and French. So I guess my social consciousness spawns from there.
I have a Bachelor in Economics that got me frustrated about the western hegemonic-patriarchal-hetero-supremacist-capitalist world we got ourselves into. Then I moved to London to do my Master in Moving Image at Central Saint Martins School, researching screen based body politics. I am now based in Johannesburg.
2. When, how and why started you filming?
I started filming in my twenties. My first documentary was about being 20 years old in Paris, asking people about sex, drugs, dreams, relationships, spirituality, I was really into French new wave and Harmony Korine at that time. I’ve always been interested in marginalised bodies, behaviours, and was thirsty for unconventional role models, alternative histories and choices. Since then I’ve used the camera to create situation, to provoke encounters, to live things for the camera, trying to challenge the powerful images and narratives created by medias and history books. I also like to create a bubble for myself. In London I had a theatre/film stage in my room, I would invite friends to dress up outrageously, we would cover ourselves in glitter and carry out excess. Burst the bubble of body constrains and social stigma.
3. What kinds of topics have your films?
Postcolonial identity/ sexualities/ gender roles/ class system/ exploitative relation/ power structures/ media propaganda/ feminism/ resistance/ cultural politics…
My recent works’ topics range from twerk to hair, lgbt struggles, sex workers, landfill workers, African cyber resistance, or cultural appropriation.
Continuously trying to confront occidental hegemony, I’m exploring the aesthetics and mechanism of body resistance online and IRL.
4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
As Malaxa, a collaborative practice with filmmaker Alicia Mersy, we came up with the term CINEMYTHOGEOGRAPHY. It refers to Phil Smith concept of mythogeography, which is a way of walking, thinking and visiting a place in an alternative manner. Walking becomes a performance and the streets or the web a partner with who to explore the geopolitical dynamics of a place, transforming the simple act of walking into a conscious and proactive experience by which the walker reclaims the urban space. Cinemythogeography combines the act of filming to this approach emphasizing the dynamics between the camera and the performative character of space, whether online or IRL. The recording device acts as a trigger for interactions with communities involved in the environment. Nurturing a philosophy of displacement, cinemythogeographers are simultaneously artist/cameraman/outsider/voyeur and this liminal position is acknowledged and performed within the works produced.
That’s the vibes.
5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
When I want to feel like a pro I use a NX30E, when it’s about swag I use an old (Y2K) finepix Z20fd Fujifilm, when I need to be quick I use my iphone, and I am still waiting for my spyglasses from Ebay.
For online cruising exploration I abuse shift+ command+ 4, QuickTime screen recording and photobooth.
6. 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 fought against the authority of technology for a long time and then resigned. Now I’m slaved. For my videos, I use digital technologies (after giving up on super 8) but it is mainly the Internet that has been influencing my practice, in terms of aesthetics, subject matters and dissemination strategies. The Internet has become a subject in many of my recent work but also a tool to produce, using online platforms, websites, and social media or web infrastructure to create work. I’m particularly interested in online politics, cyber cultures, and activating decolonizing practices in cyber space.
7. How do you finance your films?
I finance my practice through a French government benefit given to unemployed people. While I understand that this aid was not designed for that matter, I use it as a cultural funding. France has built its wealth on slavery and colonisation, so I get some of that money back.
8. 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 am one half of the duo Malaxa, so collaborating is an important process of my practice. Although it can easily become frustrating, when it flows it’s beautiful, and can be very powerful. U and me is more than us.
9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
I melt for socially engaged practices with strong aesthetics. Pop Politix. A cyborg merging ancient Goddesses, Malcom X, Beyonce, Trinh T. Minh Ha, Jack Smith, Aalyah, Guy Debord, Franz Fanon, Hito Steyerl, and Edward Said, I could go on 4ever. At the moment I’m reading Dambudzo Marechera, so I’ll add him on the list. Also my friends inspire me a lot, as well as talking to strangers, the Internet, and nigh time in general as it is when the secret gnostic knowledge revels itself.
10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker
To get a beach house.