Blank, Isobel

Isobel Blank
Italian videomaker


Interview: 10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background

I was born in Tuscany, Italy, but I always travelled a lot and often moved with my family, from the center to the south and north Italy, as my father is a chemistry researcher.
I graduated in Philosophy, Aestethics precisely, and I always dedicated myself to many artistic disciplines from when I was a child: dance, theatre, illustration, sculpture, music. Just later I started to make videos by my own, as I could include all those disciplines in one thing. And for me that was an amazing solution not to feel fractured.

2. When, how and why started you filming?

I started in 2006, from a side to melt in one object everyone of my artistic skills from the other as a cure. I always believed in the cathartic function of art, especially for the artists and not only for the audience. I was not in a good moment, it was a period of deep changes. So I started making my video “Dawn of wood and skin”. I put it online, and all came by itself, people started making me considering it as a real job, and that was how then it developed.

3. What kind of subjects have your films?

They started mostly as a self-analysis, to understand my own limits and lines, to figure out my real shape. In a second moment this subject started to include the universal link and relation between man and nature. Trying to represent in an artistic vision the echoes between each other, the deep and strong similitude of the mechanisms that rule both the two elements and their inner poetry. We are one thing with nature, but man is actually more and more forgetting it, constantly trying to destroy everything, including himself.

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

I don’t have particular principles except for the closeness and strong relation between the rhythm of music (an important element in all my works) and images. I try to express one concept moving them together as a contemporary dance piece. I think I got my style, but without having it as a purpose. I try to create movements that don’t exist by a really short and frenetic cutting as in a dance improvisation, but using images as dancers of an emotional, necessary and intense choreography. Moreover I often use my body like the matter, the horizon of every landscape I draw in my videos, as the performing side is really important in my work.

5. How do you approach such complicated matter like Shoah represents?

I worked a lot on the Shoah matter when I was an actress in theatre, by studing authentic documentaries, reading the real texts of the law processes that came after and acting pieces of authors like Peter Weiss, in particular his “Die Ermittlung”. I was so deeply involved that I started to suffer and at the same time to re-elaborate that matter as one of the biggest tragedies of human being, that could have a universal emotional weight on people and could express the deepest terrible human side together with the biggest human fears. In all this I think art could try to find the poetry of these aspects, like it was for ancient greek tragedies. That was the way I started to think about my video “If a spot of human lasts”. Not as a documentary, or as something real, but as something that could bring to light the tragical and delicate poetry hidden inside the memory of such a tragedy, drawing an immaginating, almost abstract picture in which the little but enormous poetic side of man could be seen, still alive, also if just in memories also if almost cancelled by that horrible event.

6. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use..What about digital technology?

I use a Panasonic Cam, AG-DVX 100 BE . I’m really happy with it as it is really handleable but at the same time with a professional result.. I think I trust more the analogical lasting in time and quality, than digital technology, but anyway I don’t refuse the future idea of changing.

7. How do you finance your films?

They are almost all selfproduced, excepted for the ones committed by musicians. One of my principles is also to obtain the maximum result through really cheap means.

8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?

I work alone, I manage all by myself. Also if in some rare cases I asked help for some shootings that I couldn’t technically do alone.

if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

Even if I mostly work by myself, I truly believe in the values of collaborations, both for the artistic side (music for example) and the technical one.

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

Well, for the artistic aspect, I surely hold the surrealism (in any shape) as a steady point of my way to express together with the oriental aesthetics of the void. Both for the aesthetics and conceptual values I certainly love two above all, Maya Deren and jan Svankmajer. A delicate and important place also for Francesca Woodman’s photograpy and for the thoughts of Jean Paul Sartre, J.L. Borges, Nietzsche, T.W. Adorno, Heidegger, Socrates the master.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?

I hope I could continue to be a free videomaker, free to express in my personal way and survive by this activity as I’m actually trying to do.

Can works of yours viewed online besides on VideoChannel/SFC? Where?

my web links: