Schmidt, Stephana


Stephana Schmidt
from Germany

artist biography

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Interview: 10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background.
During my life I tried to focus on different literal and physical aspects to approach some general idea of what it might be. After being involved into some styles of music when I was a pupil I got into philosophy studies first, but since I came to the conclusion that truth always turns around in circles, I thought I could express my thoughts better in visual, acoustic media and space. That’s why I turned over to studies of visual and fine arts. Since 2005 I live in Berlin as a “multipurpose artist”.

2. When, how and why started you filming?
The fist active “filmic” essay as a child that I remember right now is an eraser/rubber on an empty surface turning around itself, turning around to become something else.

3. What kind of subjects have your films?
Within the “Gedankenschmied-Projekt” (“thought-smith-project”) I try to signpost ways through a labyrinth of reflections and references. It means to navigate the complex milieu of representations of thoughts. The project arises from interaction with the dynamic field of the environment in which it is embedded. The focus here is on the aspect of the authenticity of the representation of the particular reflections. They reify throughout the production process and branch off into entities that can be experienced by the senses. The results of the respective processes can be understood as encouragement; an attempt to perceive the reification of ideas/thoughts themselves as a positive challenge. What does an idea really look like? What does it feel like? How does it sound? What are the preconditions that determined its birth and that govern its existence? Is it a spontaneous association? From what point does it transform into a thought, into a train of thought? Are the transitions noticeable, fluid, arbitrary, spontaneous? Do trains of thought need an internal context? What happens during the particular reification process? Does an idea change when you try to describe it?

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
The diversity of particularities, the respect for the otherness of the other, should inspire further processes. These questions mean we have to travel, combine and loop through many different media. The development of the processes tends to be infinite. No definitive context exists for the content. In principle, no logical or logo centric determination is planned. The thought-smith-project can unfold in many different ways. Thoughts are free!

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
I always try to use constellations of media that approach most to the aboriginal idea.

6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general and you personally?
The computer increasingly unifies most of the traditional media. It offers to handle many different sources with only one tool. Regarding to flexibility and material economy this circumstance seems to provoke positive effects at first glance.

7. How do you finance your films?
Until now all my artwork has been produced with no or very low budget.

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?
It depends on what it is about to try to communicate. Both can mean fulfilling experiences. For sure all the ideas coming together when we work in a team can be understood as a creative melting pot, but also, not to take it to serious, there is an old proverb that says: ”Too many cooks spoil the broth.”

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
Lasting influence to me, as I was already trying to say, has more the mélange of many different experiences that come together to build up an individual, dynamic, somehow flexible truth. Honestly I have to mention Luis Buñuel’s “L’âge d’or”. … At the time I am watching the opus of Werner Herzog again. What especially impresses me is his blurred concept of an “euphoric/ecstatic truth”.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
I am trying to balance on the ways and crossings that happened to make me become a “multipurpose artist”. Regarding Film/Video that means: I hope I’ll be able to realize some more dreams and visions, spaces to propose doubts and quests. This I think we as a society need more than automatically responding answering machines.