Interview: 10 questions
1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background
I graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts and at a Conceptual post-graduate Academy, both in the Netherlands.
Since my childhood I’ve been deeply interested in people. My fascination with their behavior has actually led me to being an artist. I have always felt the need to capture human stories and to translate them into art. Partially as a way to understand the world around me, but mainly because I’ve always seen the beauty in ordinary people and their daily feelings, thoughts and struggles.
In general I work from my studio in Maastricht, but for a few years now I’ve also been working abroad on a regular basis; I established (video) art projects in New York, Kosovo, Belgium, Macedonia and Slovenia.
2. When, how and why did you start filming?
I consider myself to be more of a conceptual artist than a video artist. I started filming when one of my concepts required a series of short video interviews. This happened in 2012, when I started working on the ‘Who am I’ project in New York City, for which people from different backgrounds and cultures responded to the same question. In this case: ‘Tell me who you are, in essence’.
3. What kinds of topics do your films cover?
In my films I enlighten social themes through personal perspective. Essential themes throughout my work are the human psyche and the human identity.
4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
As I explained, the leitmotif in my films and my interactive projects are basically the same, and the form of my films stems from the content.
All my work is based on research of the personal thoughts of people from different cultures and backgrounds. When I start working on a new project, I always begin with collecting ‘thoughts’ through social media – or simply on the street. And depending on the specific project I choose a documentary style of filming like I did in the ‘Freedom’ series, or a more surrealistic approach, like in the video ‘Do dreams merge with reality?’
5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
I only use my iPhone and my Macbook Pro.
6. These days digital technology is dominating also video as a medium. In which way does the digital aspect enter the creation of your videos, technologically and/or conceptually?
I use the digital possibilities both technologically and conceptually. For example: I regularly post open calls to invite people -worldwide- to make a video with their smartphone in response to a specific question, and to subsequently upload it to a special project site. I consider this interaction to be both technological and conceptual. Besides this, I use technologies like Skype in combination with screen recordings for my interactive interview projects.
7. How do you finance your films?
They are generally not funded: I do all the work myself and invest mainly time in my videos. The models and participants cooperate voluntarily. However, for one specific project I used crowdfunding.
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?
With regard to my video projects I mainly work individually. But sometimes my video’s are part of a more extended project, like the Borders & Boundaries project for the BIO50 Biennale / MAO museum, for which I recently cooperated with the artist Jeton Muja and with the establishers of the BIO50}hotel project; Alessandro Fonte and Silvia Susanna. Working in a team can add a considerable artistic value to a work. I can’t say I prefer the one over the other, the way of working simply depends on the project.
9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
Random encounters with people, and the conversations I have with them.
10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
I am the co-founder of a new international art collective called BAUM, I hope to establish many new and interesting video projects with this talented group of artists.
My works can be viewed on my website and on my project sites: