multidisciplinary artist from Morocco
Interview: 10 questions
1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background
I was born in Tanger, in the North of Morocco. I wasn’t a very good student in the local high school where I studied plastic arts. I needed a diploma and a visa to go to Europe. I enrolled in a visual arts school in Brussels, where I attended several studios (sculpture, silkscreen, photography, …). Besides, I spent a lot of time in the university libraries of Brussels. That is where I taught myself by autodidactic study of the writings of Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Edward Saïd, … My intellectual training thus shifted away from following practical courses and art history courses that are taught in school, towards an immersion in theoretical texts on aesthetics, philosophy, and sociology. I am a provicial autodidact that has shifted away from the institutional.
2. When, how and why did you start filming?
I began filming to record my actions and performances. I never followed courses on video or cinema. I did not know anything about the techniques of film and video. It was a great pleasure for me to start something « new », and to try something else. The taste of failure! When you’re not trained for a profession, you do it in another way. Art is no profession, so you don’t have to do things the way you’re supposed to do them!
3. What kind of subjects do your films have?
In my videos one can find concepts like: the institution, exile, solitude, melancholy. I don’t speak of these subjects in a direct manner. What interests me are the gestures and attitudes that perturb the established order. In general it is that: how a gesture of ordinary life can provoke disorder in the system.
4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
My videos are short reels, and I don’t film outside, in the exterior. It is in the interior that the body is formed: at home, in school, at the library, … these are the places of my films. The camera only rarely moves, the cuts and frames are minimum. It is not minimalism, it is « poverty », it is human, the innocence of the world. Like Pasolini said about cinema, it is an iconographic style that is transmitted through a fragile medium.
5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
I’m not a professional, I don’t care about technical equipment, what is important to me is to make beautiful images! And making beautiful images has nothing to do with the camera you use. A year ago, for example, I was at my family’s, and my sister’s son—who is barely one year old—started manipulating a book. I found his gestures very interesting. I didn’t have a camera, so I found one over there (an old VHS, used for filming family scenes). I shot with that. If I had shot with an HD camera, or a 35mm, I wouldn’t have had the same quality of images.
6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general and you personally?
I’m part of the generation of artists that have begun shooting when video became democratic. Everybody can make a video, distribute it, and have an audience. Today, artists have extraordinary possibilities to create films. They have more freedom to resist the machine, to liberate art. It is a pity that you only here people talking about technique instead of talking about resistance when it comes to this thing of new media!
7. How do you finance your films?
I don’t need a big budget to make a video or a film. I work with a very small team (2 to 3 persons). My ideas take into account my means from the outset. Never I would think of closing off a street to shoot a scene. I would never look for a budget to do so, I would let these people and the street be.
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 work alone.
9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
Sometimes a sentence that I underlined in a book puts me to work. I can build a whole work around that. I think that authors like Mohamed Choukri, Edward Said, Walter Benjamin, and Omar Khayam have helped a lot to make my videos. They helped me find personages and conditions for my videos.
10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
Every project is a dream for me. It proves that I continue doing and making something that is different from « commodities ». And my plans are to continue.
Can works of yours viewed online besides on VideoChannel? Where?
List some links & resources