Mouton, Alexander

Alexander Mouton
US videomaker

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biography—>

Interview: 10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and your educational background
I received a B.A. in Comparative Literature with a Film Certificate from Indiana University in 1996, followed by a Fulbright Scholarship to Berlin, Germany in 1996-97. I also spent the years 1990-1992, and 1994 in the former East Berlin studying film, photographing, and collaborating with artists and exhibiting work, in part with the help of Artsts’ Grants from the cities of Berlin and Potsdam. After returning to the States in 1997, I received an M.F.A. in Photography and Digital Media at Indiana University, where I stayed on for a year to further my studies in Digital Media. In the first decade of the 21st Century I became increasingly involved in experimenting with real-time video performances and installations with dancers and musicians, as well with my own video-based interactive net.art.

2. When, how and why started you filming?
Watching films in historic theatres in Chicago and later in Berlin, Germany was a major part of my childhood and early adult years. This lead to my studying film at the university and later to begin foraying into film production, albeit in an expanded cinema sense where moving images became ingredients in experimental productions.

3. What kind of subjects do your films have?
I work experimentally, creating visual poetry from realist imagery, often times alluding to dream states and altered consciousness.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
I alter between long takes that are static in the mode of Tsai Ming-liang (What Time Is It There) and compositing imagery in the style of 242.Pilots. Some of my projects are monitor-based interactive net.art pieces and some involve multiple large screens in a full theatre.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
I shoot wide angle whenever possible and often shoot spontaneously in the nature of a street photographer (using for example a Lumix DMC-LX3). I am waiting for a low priced, HD video camera that shoots wide angle and that is small….

6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general
and you personally?

To my mind new media has transformed film/video into a media that can involve collaboration and interdisciplinary practices in ways that would otherwise be impossible. The use of MAX/MSP to program both real-time and captured digital video lends itself towards sophisticated video work involving sensors, robotics, live feeds, multiple screens, and improvisation with moving images akin to improvising with music on a piano. The possibilities for streaming video on the web also allows for incredibly creative possibilities for interactive video which is only just beginning to be meaningfully explored.

7. How do you finance your films?
Digital media is so much cheaper to work with than analog film-making, creating a much more democratic means for production. I fund all my productions through my career as an educator at the University level.

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 usually shoot individually and depending on the nature of the work, I collaborate to edit, or to bring sound and images together, or for programming in either performance or installation settings. It really varies, except that the shooting is almost exclusively a solo operation. As for what I prefer, working alone is very contemplative and is vital to my process and collaboration is totally exciting and an equally important facet in my creative practice.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
Nicholas Clauss (flyingpuppet.com), David Horvath (6168.org), + 242.Pilots are all current inspirations of new media moving image work. Jon luc Godard and Wim Wenders (Robbie Müller), Jia Zhangke, and Gus Van Sant are cinematic film-makers who are my heroes. And who could forget Bill Viola?

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
I am planning on collaborating with a set designer for a theatre production using moving images and I am in the process of a new net.art piece that will make extensive use of interactive and scripted video. Further in the future? More collaborative work with musicians, dancers, theatre. A full length film? -who know!…

Can works of yours viewed online besides on VideoChannel/SFC? Where?
List some links & resources

http://www.unseenproductions.net
http://www.vimeo.com/7019048

http://www.terminalapsu.org/exhibitions/digitalliterature/index.html