Arzu Ozkal Telhan
is a turkish video artist living in New York
Her video “entitled” is participating in
VideoChannel’s “gender identity”
Interview: 10 questions
Tell me something about your life and the educational background
I was born and grew up in Ankara. I got my BFA in Graphic Design from Bilkent University and tried to work as a commercial designer for four years after graduating. However commercial life was not the answer for me.
Since 2002, I’ve been traveling in Europe and USA. I completed my MFA at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where I have met the people who had influenced my life and my art vitally. I have been working with video for three years now.
When, how and why started you filming?
My first video was a documentation of one of my performances, which I wasn’t sure if I could perform in front of the public or not. So I decided to do the performance to a limited audience but shoot and show the footage later on. I believe it worked well. This incident made me realize the power of the medium.
What kind of subjects have your films?
They are mainly about the female body and its relationship to the environment.
How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
I try to avoid editing and visual effects as much as possible. I like the spectator experience the duration of one second as a real one second.
Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
I use digital video camera and lightning equipments. I also use a computer for processing and transferring the video.
What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general
and you personally?
In general new media influences every genre in film and video. The impact is not only in the production techniques but also in the way the subjects are chosen.
This is a tricky question if I need to define new vs. old media’s impact in my own work. I occasionally use the net as a new media environment to disseminate my work to a broader audience. On the other hand, I use new media technologies for controlling the presentation of my video in traditional gallery settings. I have pieces where my videos are activated with different interaction systems (e.g., with sensors).
How do you finance your films?
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 usually start thinking of a concept for a film individually but during the production I collaborate with other people, artist friends and sometimes people on the street. It is much interesting for me to let the idea grow and take shape by comments and suggestions. But of course when necessary I insist on my original plans.
Question:Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
If I need to list a few: Faith Wilding’s “Waiting” performance, Marina Abramovic’s endurance pieces and Joe Gibbons video work.
What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
I’ll continue to make video and performances and share it with other people as much as I possible.