The November-December 2016 resident Benjamin Verhoeven sat for a Breakfast Talk at Hotel BLOOM! with Denis Maksimov several weeks ago to chat about the projects he was busy with while staying in the Penthouse Art Residency.
Benjamin Verhoeven, “Sculptural Movement: Chapters I & II” (2016), courtesy of the artist
DM: Which project occupied most of your time during the residency?
BV: It is the first time I make a movie in the role of director. I was inspired by Eadweard Muybridge photography and pioneering researches of motion and thinking about photography as a cinema. Among other things, he was analysing a movement by painting the grid behind the moving subject. In the project I am working on in Antwerp right now, I produced the painted grid background for filming the dancer with 50 frames per second.
DM: Do you plan to scan the images later following the methodology in your previous work?
BV: Yes, and having the grid behind the dynamic subject will allow me to look in detail at the distortions of the movement in the process of scanning. I wanted to do this project for a very long time. It is indeed long anticipated experimentation.
DM: When do you think it will be ready?
BV: Before the end of Spring I think. The film will be transferred in 60 mm form. It comes back to stop motion and physical frame, from the digital shooting as it goes now. For me there is logic in this action in extracting the digital images into making them ‘an object’.
Benjamin Verhoeven working material for upcoming project, courtesy of the artist
DM: Anything else you are working on right now?
BV: Yes, there is another project cooking in parallel. I was looking at the Rio Olympics water jumping competition this year and thinking about how the TV specialists are filming the divers: how they select cinematic angle in live stream, etc. It brought to my mind comparisons with ‘Olympia’ of Leni Riefenstahl, where the aesthetic value of filming sport was carrying heavy ideological meaning. Comparison of filming the subject now and then is the departure point.
I found a lot of video material from 2012 London Olympic Games – different camera points, accents. So I decided to take this material and create a dialogue with Riefenstahl aesthetics, distorting and changing the image through my process of scanning moving image, that I have used in ‘Sculptural Movement’ as well. For now I am in the beginning of the process and the outcome will be slowly taking shape over the next months.