Eng, Angie

—>
angie_eng
Angie Eng
is a New York based video artist

artist biography

Her video “Souvenir 2”
is participating in
VideoChannel’s “image vs music”

angie eng  souvenir2

—>

—>

Interview: 10 questions

1.
Qustion:
Tell me something about your life and the educational background.
Answer:
Peripatetic. Moving, movies move me. I like the desert and I like dessert. My art travels when I cannot. I studied painting at UC Santa Barbara. I taught myself to use computers, edit video, build websites and retouch digital images in 6 months when I was broke and 27. The prior year friends taught me creative technology with Amigas, Fairlights, tube cameras, digital cameras. I did a brief stint at DCTV (socialist documentary making studio in Tribeca, NYC) where the director ran around in rollerblades and a Mao t-shirt. I learned linear and non-linear editing and received free classes at the New Media Department at NYU in its first years in 1996.

2.
Question:
When, how and why started you filming?
Answer:
I started working in media in 1994, one year after I arrived in New York City from San Francisco. I participated in my first live video performance at The Kitchen (first experimental video venue in NYC) with a video collective/band called 77Hertz. My job was to manipulate miniature sets in front of video cameras. I was responsible for dumping a carton of live giant ants on top of a plastic toy village. Instead of taking over the village as intended, the ants decided to disperse, run off their set and escape into the real world. The video mixers, camera people and musicians improvised as I frantically gathered the bugs back to plastic toy land. This was my entrance into media art and the beginning of a passion for live experimental video.

3.
Question:
What kind of subjects have your films?
Answer:
Since I have been making video for installation, performance and screenings, the content and/or technique involves demystifying the process of video making. With this window I could take advantage of dreaming inside the familiar. Common object is combined with the exotic. I often use nomadicism as a reoccurring metaphor for the state of existence today. (Parascape, is warm, Lost Guides, Zero Travels, Transhumance, Empty Velocity, Memobile, Life Still) An overview of an African market becomes a surreal dance between people and rocks moving slowly across the screen. This extreme contrast in scale combined with inanimate object coming to life adds to a poetic movement through time and space. Here, one does not feel lost. One is taken on a journey- travels through surfaces that allow us to see from behind, above, beyond and through. The arrival points become quick moments to depart to the next scene. False narratives are built up and dissolved. Landscapes become characters, and objects stake claim on its context.

4.
Question:
How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
Answer:
I never start with a conventional film score, but with a set of rules. Within the rules, is the rule that the rules change. When I first started video in 1996 (with the Poool) we applied rules such as, everything we shot had to be the color white or every prop/subject had to be made out of tin foil. Sometimes we would confine ourselves with a set of 3 digital effects. Similar to the ‘5 Obstructions’ (Lars Von Trier on Jorgen Leth) In one piece, ‘is warm’ (co-directed with The Poool) we made a rule that all video had to be shot and processed live and we were not allowed to use pre-recorded footage. For Transhumance, I directed new media theorists and digital artists. In the span of 24 hours they were to give me at least 20 URLs they had ‘arrived’ to without intention or a goal to achieve. Therefore, like the Situationists on a derive; they wandered the digital landscape taking note of what direction they went. I followed their URLs, used both text/image for object and a layer of video animation.

For Life, Still no. 1, 2, 3 the rules I applied were: a shoebox of objects (souvenirs, memorabilia or any object that one kept) would be collected and lent to me. I select 1-3 objects to shoot until all the objects have been used. No re-shoots were allowed. All of the footage would need to be used and edited. Afterwards, the video would be given to a musician to write music to the video. The split-screen was an element I added afterwards to recontextualize the false narratives created by the interaction of the objects. In some cases, the reverse occurred where I selected the music first. (Life, Still no. 2/ David Weinstein) This piece is a ‘game piece’ where I will continue to make these video vignettes until I reach 20 game pieces.

My initial training in cinema was with experimental video artists. They were influenced by electronic music and experimental performance artists of the 60’s. Hence, I was taught to approach moving images with a tight marriage between sight and sound. I use music models to build a video. The initial process begins with a jam session with music. Video is rehearsed with music. Afterwards, the arrangements and a score are written as visual/audio cues for the artists to recreate the work within a structure. Rather than accompaniment, I go for dialogue.

5.
Question:
Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
Answer:
I use PowerBooks, midi controllers, teleconferencing cameras, digital cameras, Vidox Grid Pro live video software, digital video mixers, Final Cut Pro. I would like to use mobile video cams when the technology is enhanced.

6.
Question:
What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general and you personally?
Answer:
If we define video as moving images, then new media or more specifically, the Internet is already cinematic. Even when a video frame is ‘stilled’ it remains video. If a 3-frame animation is considered a moving image, then a 3 frames/sec, 15 frames/sec or 30-frames/sec objects can be regarded as cinema. Our resources and lifestyle will gradually adapt to how many frames we will accept. How we build the images depends upon the tools we use whether it is with mobile phones, digital cameras, film cameras, photographs, 3-D software etc. It is only a matter of our standards merging with the advance with technology and our ability to accept the frequency and duration of film/video made for broadcast television or cinema on-line. I can watch a 5-minute short video 320X240. However, a 2-hour film conversion (with subtitles made for a room size projection and surround sound) to 15frames/sec 320 X240 is a painful translation. Therefore, video on the web thrives as long as it is video for the web.

7.
Question:
How do you finance your films
Answer:
I receive funding for my video art from grants, commissions and working part-time teaching video workshops in alternative high schools. I have yet to sell the rights to a video. All my works have been self-produced. The artist fee/royalty is almost non-existent with new technology. This remains a challenge for the individual artist.

8.
Question:
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?
Answer:
I normally work with teams of people with myself as the director. I collaborate with musicians, video artists, architects, and software programmers. I have made some video installations as a solo artists, however I do prefer collaborations as my ideas are realized more effectively with specialists in each field.

9.
Question:
Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
Answer:
My influences are changing and being discovered all the time. Joan Jonas, Stan Brakage, Dan Graham, Jorgen Leth, David Lynch, Nam June Paik, John Cage, Paul Virilio, Haruki Murakami.

10.
Question:
What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
Answer:
In 2005 there were many major exhibits in the US addressing the dialogue between sound/moving images. (Hirschorn ‘Visual Music’, Eyebeam ‘What sound does a color make?’, SVA ‘Visual Music’) However, much of the outcome of this work was pure abstraction with aesthetics of/or reminiscent of the psychedelic 60’s light shows. The ‘story’ is dismissed and reduced to the formalism of the media. Even though I associate with a similar process, I see expanding the narrative. If video gave cinema makers the spontaneity and intimacy that the giant expensive film crew could not, then I am waiting for the next push in technology both in new media and in the camera that will shape the instantaneousness of how we recreate and respond to life on the spot. ‘Life, Still’ is toward this direction. I give a glance over at strange objects and create a narrative on the fly by listening, feeling, scrutinizing, playing and processing music and images as I go. Chance, mistake, improvisation allows for magic to occur in the moments where everything comes together and then falls apart again.