aka Stefan Larsson (Sweden)
Interview: 10 questions
1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background
Grew up in a small town in the north of Sweden. Been living the last 5 years outside of Kyoto in Japan. Got a Masters Degree in Fine arts from Umea Art Academy in Sweden.
2. When, how and why started you filming?
Quiet recently, like 10 years ago when digital camcorders and editing/compositing software became more accessible and cheap. Was about the same time I realized all the potential in using Computer animation and how it could be integrated in to the film. Prior to that I was mainly in to paintings, photos, clothes and installations and felt it was a limited format for me to express certain ideas.
3. What kind of subjects have your films?
Each film presents various ideas about technology, nature and the human mind.
These subjects are presented and described by an esoteric group called AUJIK.
The films are manifestations and abstractions of AUJIK’s concept.
Some of the essential aspects of these subjects are: the limbic system and Artificial Intelligence, consciousness and sub consciousness, computation, animism and integration.
4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
For most of the films the technical process are: 1. Preparing the film location, setting up motion tracking coordinates, shooting HDR-maps and eventually green screen. 2. Shooting the film with a DSLR-camera attached to a steadicam. 3. Motion tracking the footage 4. 3D sculpting, texture, lightning, animation. 5. Integrate CG to the footage and then post production(keying, roto scoping, colour correction & adding effects). 6. Film and sound editing.
Step 4 and 5 takes about 80% of the time.
The process is very time consuming and requires lost of patient and focus. Occasionally I lose temper because of the trial and error factor(especially rendering glitches and human error) and then try to imagine that I’m working on a Mandala instead, kind of gives another perspective and meaning to it. Afterwards I feel the urge to destroy it but unfortunately I can’t indulge myself to that extent.
5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
For the last films I’ve used a Canon D600 DSLR with a Sigma 8-16 mm lens set to 8mm. A Merlin steadicam. An over clocked Intel i5 CPU, 16 gb of ram. 3D studio Max, Vray render, CG particle systems such as FumeFX, Krakatoa, Realflow & Frost, Syntheyes motion tracking, After Effects and Premiere as well as a vast amount of plug-ins.
6. What are the chances of the digital video technologies for creating art using “moving images” generally, and for you personally?
Considering how fast technologies evolves It has more potential than one can imagine…which obviously will extend one’s imagination.
7. How do you finance your films?
Regarding the films in Cologne OFF’s program:
‘a Forest within a Forest’ had about 50 euro in budget for clothes. During the making (ca 6 months) I had a working grant from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee.
‘9 states of ambivalence’ was commissioned by Japanese music TV-channel Space Shower, I didn’t have any budget for the equipment but was paid a salary for the 3 months it took to accomplish.
‘Cathexis’ is the only one of my films so far that had a real budget. It was funded by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee and Helge Ax:son Johnson’s foundation. The budget covered one year’s work, transportation, materials and fee’s for music and actors.
8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?
So far I’ve done all the film and CG work myself. For the latest film ‘Cathexis’ I collaborated with a Scottish musician called Christ. He also contributed with music to ‘9 states of ambivalence’ and two other video’s. Other artist that contributed with music are Mira Calix, Chequerboard, Boards of Canada, SunnO))), Chambre Noire, Hei and Jetlag.
if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
Since music has a great impact and influence on my work I prefer to collaborate with someone in that field. Working with Christ. was a bliss since his music inspires me and it was fascinating to see how our work gained influence of each other during the developing and how it turned out. At the moment I’m working on a film that I try to make some sort of ambiance sound(eventually music) to. Being a complete layman it is very exciting to explore this and discover how it implicates for new perspectives and aspects.
9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
There’s many elements of influences. Some direct and other’s indirect, I try to be most receptive from indirect sources which I reckon is music, sciences, technology, neuroscience and nature. There’s also some contemplative things that new goes out of style, like watching one of Hiroshige’s winter landscape Ukiyo-E’s while listen to some old Autechre album. I listen to a lot of lectures by people working with AI developing and their visions and ideas such as Nick Bostrom and Ben Goertzel. Also Alan Watts and Carl Sagan are people I often return to. As for film and video art I have to mention Stanley Kubrick, Andrei Tarkovsky, some of Peter Greenaways films, Roy Andersson, Ghibli, Satoshi Kon, Mamoru Oshii, Matthew Barney, Steve Mcqueen, Chris Cunningham and Spike Jonze.
10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
Can works of yours viewed online besides on the CologneOFF platform? Where?
List some links & resources