mythology, tales, stories
Creative duo, creating long time exposure photography, video, sound and performances, living and working in Berlin.
Paraphrasing Oscar Wilde, one could say that…“The artist is the creator of” UTTER EXPERIMENTATION using long time exposure, rusty, dirty, foggy, broken self-made cameras, chemicals, the light meter, smartphone exposure time application devices, an upcoming circuit with a Arduino. Also costumes, fabrics, sceneries, elements, hats, dresses to compose with the figure and the ‘mise en scène’, mythology, tales, stories.
Mary Vareli: Tell us a little bit about yourself, studies, exhibitions and anything else you consider important.
Brent Sqar: I grew up in the cold war in the East, a baroque island called Dresden, later I managed a Master in Philosophy, by deep admiration of Heidegger, Nietzsche and Luhmann, the anthem of guys like Derrida, Baudrillard, the medieval universe like the University of Paris in the 13th century. Before I also studied chemistry and theology and I left my ticket to fine arts at the Academy of Dresden without using it. My parents where mathematics, both. She was more on analytical geometry, he more on number theory. I was deep in the rave movement of the 90s.
AudeRrose: I spent my childhood living in cities like Tokyo, Dhaka or Singapore, my mother is an artist using old plants, she gave me a strong passion for arts, and my father a diplomat. I studied arts, painting, drawing, engraving, history of arts, new media, cultural politics and I am supposed to finish a PhD in art, science and technology. I fell into video performance and photography around 2006. I am obsessed by capturing images in any way I can.
Tell us a few things about your artistic collaboration, are all images a combination of each other’s skills?
AR: I would say it is like a play, we share the process, I am on the image he shoots, he is on the image I shoot, we change the roles. Brent handle the technics, I find location, do accessories, we discuss the haptic of the image; it’s an ongoing process of trial and error, a drift.
BS: Yes, the process is the main figure. It comes as something which is just existing in that loop, that loop is what we will build up if we are doing this.
How long have you been photographers?
BS: I am using photography, as a brush. To me it’s just a media, its not a canvas, its film, it’s not oil, it’s silver. I guess my first shoot was made in summer 2007. Before I didn’t know what I was dealing with, when using a camera. Then the next one was in spring 2011 with Aude, just as we started to play with that playful thing, artisan-like art, hand-crafted, manual.
AR: The serious photography project started in 2011 with Brent, after coming back from France, I was able to shoot some ‘birds’ by myself, running in the countryside garden of my grandmother. Me, with a white cover, running in front of the camera, I was so enthusiastic about it, and showed the ‘cliché’ to Brent, that’s how it all started…
How would you describe your style and technique?
BS: Poetics. It’s in the mind of spectator. The (‘art’) piece shall just be the trigger, evoking images.
AR: Experimental-performing-photography with long time exposure.
What type of cameras do you shoot with?
BS: Rusty, dirty, foggy, broken. Or self-made cameras. A Agfa Box from the 1930s, it is a cardboard box for 120 film, one piece of glass as a lens, no aperture, and just a open-close shutter. My grandma gave it to me. A Kodak pocket from the 1890s, same design, but 35mm film and out of wood – it gives on the film a super landscape: a 4-by-10 or even 2-by-8 ratio. Aude brought it with from France, there was an enthusiast in her family, around WWI. A postwar double lens called Lubitel, from the 1950s, manufactured in the USSR with machines they took with from Nazi-Germany, the former Voigtländer company. Its 120 film.
AR: I am a collector, so I search for rare, unusual and cheap photographic tools, we only work with analog old boxes, we started with plate camera lately. My relation to old cameras is like a fascination of the handcrafted optical objects. The tools determines the temporality of the image, when I find cameras in my old family house, it’s like a treasure that can be reenacted a century later.
What is your favorite photography accessory, other than your camera?
BS: The film, the chemicals, the light meter, the smartphone exposure time application I programmed. And hopefully an upcoming circuit with a Arduino or so, which reads the values from the light meters and actions from a mobile – and releases then mechanically the ancient shutters.
AR: Costumes, fabrics, sceneries, elements, hats, dresses to compose with the figure and the ‘mise en scène’. Mythology, tales, stories, reading, watching the world.
If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?
BS: Wasn’t there a lens around to shoot in available moon light? (on film, speed 20-200, exposure 3-8 minutes.) This one please.
AR: The most dirty and old ones to get interesting textures and a vanished touch. Also the Quartz Infrared Macro.
What lighting equipment do you take on a shoot?
BS: Easy, quick, rough’n’ready, ‘available light’, ‘bricolage’, best fitting solutions. What its needs, what you can deal with – but ever the smallest, easiest, light weight one – most closest to minimal and smart. Short: Artificial light is perfect, if needed.
AR: Yes, small compact, easy and transportable, as for the outdoor picture the have kilometers to travel before to reach the place, mostly I would say that we are great adapting to real light situation. And for indoor body shots we use a blinding light.
Can you describe how and when you use flash, video light, reflectors and natural light?
BS: Flashlight never, but ‘mechanical’ caused flashes would be fun at some point, maybe to use damaged bulbs or short circuits for it. I am basically on to learning how to manage the given light just by a light meter, I have to find a spot meter, soon. Best case with an interface, to have machine styled data access, otherwise I have to build or invent the connectivity to the ‘computer’. There is nothing good at being attached to a calculator where you have to update the changing values manually. They are already there, they just have to come into the circuit.
AR: Outdoor we shoot with natural light. Sometimes I like to use bulbs in darkness, gives surprising results.
What attracts you most in conceptual, experimental photography?
BS: To turn the media into ‘imago’. For that reason the image must be as reduced, sublime and vanished as possible.
AR: Storytelling, creating imaginary narratives with two pieces of fabric and an improvisation process. I am always surprised and trilled about what comes, or not, on the image, how reality can drift on the photographic image.
What inspires you?
BS: Recipes, compounds, techniques, programs, whatever they are, antique or bleeding edge. Experiments, problems, ideas, tryouts, if happened willingly or unwillingly. The crazy ideas Aude makes up. And basically two medias catch me: paper and light. Drawing is much more to me then painting, somehow.
AR: Motion, time and improvisation.
All related to the early days of photography, spirit photography, Laterna magica, archive images (…) I am ever searching in the past for anachronistic methods to create images fallen out of another ‘époque’. I find a lot of places that are abandoned and derelicted that we use as ‘décors’ for some of our shots. I am fascinated by drifting into forgotten places where fragments of history and architecture become our playground.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about experimentation?
BS: To dive in, to come to the point that you can manage it and handle, to get in contact, somehow, at its best. It is like out of the blue and by surprise some intuition arises.
AR: Being able to produce golden prints.
Do you use post – production?
BS: I am a control freak. Yes, and its ever better if all of the tool chain works out fine and that little bit of ‘post’ is just the shoe polish. No, I stopped doing the ‘post’ run as heavy repair, or second production. (There is a deep difference between necessary treatment according to the rules of the media you are in and the step of the tool chain you pass – and the ‘post’ as an creation, as a transformer, as change with strong impact. Like you make a scan ready for web proposals, and maybe wipe out one or two errors – or to bring up a half day work shift just to make out of noisy record a less noisy, but still noisy record.)
AR: Brent is indeed a control freak, he handles the technical aspects perfectly. I would qualify myself more as a dreamer, seeking for unusual places, costumes, moments.
AR: Jules-Etienne Marey, Miroslav Tichý, Francesca Woodman, Hans Bellmer’s repainted shots of the dolls.
Other favorite artists?
AR: Etienne-Gaspard Robertson, Rebecca Horn, Louise Bourgeois, Kurt Schwitters.
BS: Filippo Lippi by the way, Bela Tarr,
David Lynch, Alexander Sokurov. All of the Dessau Bauhaus, Soviet Avantgarde, New Deal, Italian Futurism. Last Century.
Is there current project?
BS: I am ‘naïv’. Like the fairy tale from the flowers and the bees. Sometimes there is an idea around, and that idea needs you.
AR: A performance with video and sound in Berlin in some weeks, archives images, digital piano, tape recorder.
The photography project is always in the background of my mind, I keep on thinking of where we can go to shoot the next series, its like a constant-drifting-adventure-play.
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