Mauro Arrighi – Marco Buziol
media artists from Italy
1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background.
I earned a Bachelor of Visual Arts Degree at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, Italy.
I have been to England for an Erasmus Scholarship at the faculty of Fine Arts in Southampton. I currently live in Italy, mainly in Padua and Venice, and for short periods in Bologna and Milan. Since 2001, I have been a professor of Digital and Electronic Arts in the New Media Departments at the Academy of Fine Arts. I also work as a Dj and Vj. I am planning to move to London as soon as possible.
I was born in Treviso. After my diploma I started working in an Architecture studio. I am still working in this studio where I focus on functionality, interior design and graphic design. At the same time I earned a Bachelor of Visual Arts Degree at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice majoring in painting and CG. My passions are photography and design.
2. When, how and what started you filming?
I started in 1997 as a means of exploring the possibilities of my new computer, a 133mhz pentium I!.
At that time I was able to work only with scanned photos and handmade drawings.
So I made very short movies in the form of animated gif or crappy quality .avi videos.
The main subjects were mainly strange shapes and myself; alternatively I worked with abstract and psychedelics shapes.
Later on I started to work with minidv cameras and with keyframe animation in flash, depending on the subject.
I started in 2002 with research based on a virtual representation of an Art Gallery.
3.What kind of subjects has your films?
Actually I am working in collaboration with other authors. As, our personal research is slightly different, so it is difficult to focus on a specific style or subject.
It really depends on the situation. For example: I made several animations that look hand made, in a childlike style, populated with funny and strange creatures acting in both nightmare and dream worlds. Other times I made animations with a socio-political intent in which I tried to investigate some of the opulent behaviours of Western nations. Right now I am working with other artists, such as Marco Buziol to whom I give only some advice and then let him work the images as he likes. In particular we are exploring what is usually unseen, using 3D models. For example the inner space of our body. Transparencies, three-dimensional digital environments and body reconstruction allow us to move from the anatomical data to a more spiritual dimension.
The main theme of my artworks (both 2D graphic and 3D animation) is the representation of a metaphysical space without boundaries, where geometric shapes come to life.
4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
As I mentioned, I prefer to draw then shoot. I am involved also in Vj performances in which it is better to be short and work with very small pieces of stolen time. It means that the most important thing for me is to do only a few seconds of shooting or animation and combine them, using them like building blocks instead of having a 20 minute long single shot,. Everything is obviously matched and mixed according to the music that I make and to the story that I want to tell.
The most difficult step is the first one: once you have got the right idea, the job becomes easy.
5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
When I work solo: apple powerbook G4, canon mv500i minidvi cam, wacom tablet intuous A4, apple isight, Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Flash, Adobe Premiere and Propellerheads Reason. I don’t mind if they are not the latest versions: some ideas can be expressed without so much software and hardware power. Poetry should be seen over technical improvement.
Hardware: one laptop, one desktop computer (windows) and one digital camera.
Software: 3D Studio Max, Premiere and Photoshop.
6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general? And you personally?
I have never worked in 35mm, and I am not involved in that amazing world of filmmaking.
There is a completely different way of thinking between homemade animation and the corporate film industry. It is really distant from me. Anyway, I don’t want to say that one is better or worse: they are simply technically and philosophically different.
In animation (2D /3D) feature films software and hardware are used to generate from zero everything we see in the movie (except motion capturing and 3D scanning from real models, clay or humans). On the other hand we find ‘real’ old-fashioned movies with actors, locations, troupes etc.., in which occasionally photorealistic special effects are produced. In both cases the core remains the same: a screenplay and a director with huge investments and hundreds to thousands of people working together. The underground scenario of video makers, that came about in the late Sixties, with a strong socio-political intent and analogue equipment, are now being substituted by a plethora of screensaver-makers, who use off the shelf digital effects to create loop animated scenes, more psychedelic than ever, with only an aesthetic intent.
Today it is very easy to be assimilated into that kind of methodology when you work with abstract images.
An essential aspect characterizes my artworks: I like to deconstruct the shapes into a metaphysical and geometric world.
I like sharp edges and very precise, clean and cold drawings. In fact CG gives me the opportunity to satisfy my needs in this sense.
I have the possibility to change all the parameters in real time and to chose the ones, which suit me better.
7. How do you finance your films?
Making short animations is not my main job. It is part of the process of being a teacher of digital art and a vj performer.
In that sense, I mainly finance my movies by myself. I have been paid for shows and lectures. I hope to soon find an established position in a new media agency.
I have financed my animations; it is difficult to find sponsors.
8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?
Both. Usually when I make 2D animations, I work alone creating both the music and images.
I work with other people when projects are more articulated or require other techniques.
If you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
They are completely different. The choice sometimes is not conscious. I mean, from the creative approach, not technical.
I prefer to talk with other authors in order to produce a better and bigger work than stay alone, this helps to find alternative solutions.
When I work alone I can express myself without any contamination. Several times I have found the visual language of other artists too distant from mine.
Despite this, it is undeniable that working with others is very stimulating and evryone can improve from this kind of experience.
9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
Bill Plympton and Hayao Miyazaki.
During the last three years I have focused on urban and architectural representations of the city seen as a metaphor of thought.
10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
I am searching for a job where I can express my potentials. It is for to this reason that I am moving to London.