What compelled you to make this piece? How does this work address issues that are important to you or close to your heart?
One of the driving concerns behind my work could be in part
expressed by this sentence: The world is always bigger than one's immediate
understanding of it. I am interested in exploring the tensions that are
revealed in this gap. I look for situations and people that struggle in
particularly eloquent ways with these tensions. I also attempt, within the
shooting or in the editing, to do things that challenge the traditional
tendency to treat the story or dialogues at face value. I like to draw
attention to the fact that we are all peculiar results of larger cultural
and social constructs that get mixed up in a myriad of permutations. I also
like to draw out the poetic insights such collage engenders.
This piece is the third installment of the TALKING PORTRAITS series that
includes two films, YOU and OUT IN THE GARDEN. As the name of the series
implies, both of these films share in different ways some of the concerns
that FEET continues to explore.
In FEET, I was given a situation in which a single mother, grappling with
her own issues of identity and desire, heads opinionated and well
articulated children. Tensions of all kinds erupt. Thanks to the
provocative presence of the camera as referee or public (I presented
myself so that the camera be seen as such, asking that what happened
before my arrival be described to me as a starting point for the video.), I
knew that to make a video in this environment would not only be full of
expressive possibilities, but also present cinematic opportunities. As a
long time formalist, I have grown increasingly fascinated with the problem
of bringing my own intrigues with art making to bear within a spontaneous
How does living in the New York metropolitan area affect your work?
| From FEET.
The effect of being exposed to intriguing events and being able to
access artists one admires is probably still one of the great thing about
being in New York City. It is always possible to discover something on your own or
through word of mouth. Often, I have witnessed inspiring screenings or
events that were not covered by the press. Living away from New York City,
as I do now, means that I have become much more dependent on the "official"
history as written by the Village Voice, for instance. On the other hand,
living in New York City means that all this activity can be overwhelming of course.
And there is the sheer difficulty of just functioning. Not to mention the
time one has to spend these days to come up with the money just to pay the
rent. New York City is in a state of crisis from an artistic point of view as money and fashion increasingly gnaw at much of what goes on there. Maybe I am
just getting old, but the "energy" I used to feel upon emerging from the
Holland Tunnel which seemed so electric, so full of possibilities, now seems
In including your work in REEL NEW YORK, do you think your piece in any way pushes the medium of television, or the viewing audiences' expectations of that medium?
Unlike most documentaries, this video does not seek to make an argument
or draw specific judgments or conclusions. Nor is it structured around
any such things. It is the tendency of TV audiences to expect that kind of
relationship, yet I think that it becomes quickly evident that the video has
to be viewed from another perspective. As I explain in my answer to the
first question, the viewing audience has to engage more actively with what
is happening in the video.
| From FEET.