Rolland, Jean-Michel

Jean-Michel Rolland
French videomaker


Interview: 10 questions

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

I learnt drawing and music quite young and later on in an intimate environment. At Sorbonne Nouvelle University, I studied English and American literatures and civilizations. The four years I spent there were very rich, they contributed to opening my mind and awakening my creativity.

2. When, how and why started you filming?

I started filming in 2010. I had been both a painter and a musician for a long time but I had difficulties to manage these two activities at the same time. I decided, after my painting series “Life in the woods”, to shoot a related video. This was my first film and I decided to continue shooting, going further in the sound / image relation, thus succeeding in melting my two passions in the same medium.

3. What kind of subjects have your films?

When I decide to create a film, I generally don’t focus on the subject but rather on the sensitive result I wish to obtain. I discovered a few days ago that I had a problem with technology because several of my videos talk about this strange relationship (“Neons Meldoy”, “Acommunication”, “Error System”, “Cars Melody” and “First Person Shooter”). In “Smiles and slaps” however, I wanted to talk about the global crisis the world is going through.

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

The strong constraint of my approach is to never separate the sound and the image that comes from the camera but to play with their perceptive complementarity. I never add additional sound or music but prefer to focus on the natural sound I shot. In my creations, I like to introduce some rhythm, both in the sound and in the image and I like to talk about “rhythm’n’split” to explain this technique.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.

I shoot with a small AVCHD camera that I carry almost all the time with me. When I want to capture very soft sounds, I use additional microphones to have a better audio quality. I then edit on premiere.

6. What are the chances of the digital video technologies for creating art using “moving images” generally, and for you personally?

Digital videos technologies allow us to work with almost no boundary because we have a total control over time. I use of this power as much as I can because I think it’s the main interest in digital video.

7. How do you finance your films?

I’m robbing banks.

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’m building my videos on my own but work with Fran Lejeune, a researcher and a teacher in Metz University, on transmedial exhibitions. This collaboration is interesting because we have very close artistic universes. Fran focuses on interactive installations and we try to conceive kinds of total art pieces. “Neons Melody”, for example, is made of a video, an interactive installation and an audiovisual performance, these three “spaces” being made out of the same material.

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

Sounds from my environment…

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

As I told before, I’m working on audiovisual performances where I also use my “rhythm’n’split” technique. I’ve just put online a first demo of “Error System”, the violent filmed destruction of a computer that I edit in real time in order to create a new reality close to techno rhythm. I hope this very hard performance will meet its public!

Can works of yours viewed online besides on the CologneOFF platform? Where?