INTERIOR: AN EXQUISITE CORPSE FILM – STRAND B


‘Interior: an Exquisite Corpse film’, a collaborative project initiated by artist Sapphire Goss during the covid-19 lockdown. Taking inspiration from the surrealist exquisite corpse method, each contributor would see the last few seconds of the previous film in the sequence and continue in their own way. The project resulted in two strands, included here is strand B plus interviews with the artists who made it.


B1 – SAPPHIRE GOSS

Please introduce yourself and your creative practice.

I am Sapphire Goss, I am an artist-filmmaker currently based in Folkestone. I make chimerical moving collages. I like to use obsolete technological methods and unexpected material techniques, making what I call an ‘analogue uncanny’. I like the idea of my films not having this static, auteur viewpoint but being made of choral layered voices and unexpected perspectives.

Can you talk a bit about the making of your film and how you have responded to the theme of Interior?

My film was shot in a few minutes one morning. Slightly delirious with a chest infection. The window was open but the curtains were closed, wind making them bellow, inhaling and exhaling light. I filmed it from bed on my phone, and edited it in bed too, the bed I was confined to for some time, reduced to fundamental functions. I added some lung x-rays from silent footage I had come across while working on a film about the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh. Chambers in chambers, interiors in interiors. I intend to expand this in a chapter for another project ‘Rooms’ – if I ever finish it! 

What was your initial reaction to the video prompt and how did this inform your film? 

I was first, which was quite intimidating. But the circumstances of the light and the room came together. I remember the feeling of being excited to see what everyone else would do and where this would go.

What has your experience been of making art during the lockdown? How has this time impacted on your process and ideas? Please share any ways you have personally found to deal with the anxiety and changes of this time.

I have veered wildly between periods of frantic activity and blank, grey days of nothing. This is not unusual for me however, having a chronic illness (Ankylosing Spondylitis) means my ability to work can range wildly when dealing with pain and fatigue. Managing energy and attention is a constant learning process. I have tried to focus on more process driven projects like this and ‘Eyes of Time’ (experiments continuing my work with antique, weird and Frankenstein-modified lenses, optics and filters). Learning new skills and making new discoveries without a set outcome has been a real solace at this time, as has connecting with people through different online communities in the absence of face to face contact. It feels like I am developing a palette or toolkit to store up for the future.


B2 – EWAN GOLDER

Please introduce yourself and your creative practice.

My films are often bold, lyrical, with a taste for the absurd, while observing a particular sensitivity and empathy for the subject in question. I often work with artists, musicians and poets to create visually stimulating, emotional and provocative works. Committed to a punk ethos of creation, my work also incorporates a spiritual search for authenticity or meaning within the complex modern world.

Can you talk a bit about the making of your film and how you have responded to the theme of Interior?

The work for me was a playful exploration of my surroundings in confinement, what I saw everyday, I also was drawn to the idea of using music and my guitar as it’s something I gravitate towards to express myself with no particular goal in mind, as a kind of cathartic improvisation giving form to obscure feelings and ideas deep within. The reflection of the Sun makes an image of a blinding light that is shining within the mirror. Whatever we do in life I think we must follow this guiding inner light we all have inside us.

What was your initial reaction to the video prompt and how did this inform your film?

The video prompt was quite elusive and alluring, like some secret world beyond the veil. A threshold to be traversed, and an inner adventure may begin.

What has your experience been of making art during the lockdown? How has this time impacted on your process and ideas? Please share any ways you have personally found to deal with the anxiety and changes of this time.

Making art during lockdown has been difficult as a lot of my inspiration come from my interactions with the world, also making art for me is always a kind of performance, without an audience or target it has urged me to dig deeper and question many of my approaches which, although has been uncomfortable at times, has actually been very enriching. ‘Time out’ from the world has also been very rejuvenating and quite beneficial in many ways and I’m pretty grateful for that.


B3 – MELANIE KAT KING

Please introduce yourself and your creative practice.

I am an artist, with a specific focus on astronomy and science. I primarily work with analogue photography and printmaking, but have recently been experimenting with film – including 16mm time lapses of the night sky.

I am keen to promote an awareness of ecology and the environment, and have recently been working out how to make analogue photography more sustainable – for example, making film developer out of seaweed and fixer from salt. I am keen to work with local materials, thus cutting down the carbon footprint of the materials I consume in my practice.

Can you talk a bit about the making of your film and how you have responded to the theme of Interior?

I have found my small yard a real joy during isolation, as I am able to see the sunlight, the Moon and stars without ever leaving my flat. Though technically “exterior”, the yard is a small patch of space that cannot be accessed by another person, meaning it was a precious safe outside space from which to explore the universe.

What was your initial reaction to the video prompt and how did this inform your film?

The prompt that was given to me was a circular shape that seemed to be emitting light in some way, it almost seemed archaeoastronomical which made me think of the Moon and how it interacts with the tides and flora.

I responded by overlaying a timelapse of the Moon with plants and flowers within my small yard, during isolation. Inspired by Sapphire, I used a glass star ornament to create prismatic effects of the light which I felt corresponded with the prompt.

What has your experience been of making art during the lockdown? How has this time impacted on your process and ideas? Please share any ways you have personally found to deal with the anxiety and changes of this time.

I have gone through a number of different stages. I was super productive at the beginning of lockdown and made progress on writing for my PhD, then I hit a wall of anxiety relating to the easing of lockdown, which I am just coming out of. This time is giving me the chance to work on experiments and ideas that I did not have time for before, such as working out new developer formulas or coming up with new projects. Just before lockdown, I got a new studio in Ramsgate with my partner, so I have also been setting up the new space in order to make work in my own private space. In addition to this, I have become quite busy with a lot of unexpected new projects that have popped up since the pandemic hit.


B4 – JOSEF GOSS

Please introduce yourself and your creative practice.

In my job I create digital training materials, I’ve been doing this for about ten years now which involves a lot of video production, post and animating. I usually have two or three phones on me and love to take pictures and collect footage when I’m out and about. I consider myself very lucky in the current circumstances that I am still able to work, with only the adjustment of working from home to deal with in terms of my creative process. Collaboration with colleagues is definitely something that has been difficult which was why I thought the concept of this project was so interesting.

Can you talk a bit about the making of your film and how you have responded to the theme of Interior? What was your initial reaction to the video prompt and how did this inform your film?

I had a few ideas of where I wanted to go with this project as soon as I saw my excellent prompt and am again fortunate to have some amazing footage provided by my good friend and former collaborator Dominika, which fitted perfectly with these ideas. I found that time was a strong theme in my contribution to the film as I spent more and more time on my own and without feeling the rush of the commute and a busy social life in the ‘before times’, I often found time passing either too quickly or agonisingly slowly. The audio for my clip is a combination of birdsong, building work and the sound of rain which replaced the previous sounds of the busy Finchley Road outside my window. This also mirrors the two contrasting themes I tried to get across in the footage of nature and the man-made, industrial world that were changing before our eyes.

What has your experience been of making art during the lockdown? How has this time impacted on your process and ideas? Please share any ways you have personally found to deal with the anxiety and changes of this time.

I have found creativity difficult in this period. In work as I said the collaborative process has definitely suffered and it seems that time and budgets are now so squeezed that compliance and deadlines are more important and quality and proper design principles are taking a back seat. Projects such as this have been very helpful for me as an outlet for creativity and to try and find some kind of meaning or beauty in what has been such a strange, life changing time for everyone.


B5 – HEATHER BRITTON

Please introduce yourself and your creative practice.

Heather Britton – multi-instrumentalist and audiovisual composer, working across multiple mediums and genres. Projects include her band ‘Calluna’, a psychedelic shoegaze collaboration, and ‘Vulgaris’, her experimental audiovisual work. Heather also plays drums in the bands ‘Krush Puppies’ and ‘Hired Muscle’ and in addition to directing, shooting and editing multiple music videos, recently made a short portrait film about the effects of old age on lifelong musicians as part of her MA in Creative Practice, that she completed with Distinction from Goldsmiths University of London in 2019.

Can you talk a bit about the making of your film and how you have responded to the theme of Interior?

For my film, I wanted to recreate the melting repetitive monotony of the lockdown; how days appear to melt into each other. Nurturing houseplants is often an attempt to bring the outdoors indoors, but the stark reality is that you’re still inside, drowning in technology, constantly staring out the window at the life you should’ve been having. In my film, the plants are obscuring the view of the outside, playing with expectations of inside/outside. In the distance through the plants and window is the sea, a wistful memory, looked at through the tunnel-vision lens of the binoculars, it makes the outside seem like an abstract, faraway place. The short film was created with a combination of both analogue and digital effects – the main footage was shot using binoculars held over an iPhone using the Hyspektiv app filter ‘Arrow’. These shots were edited using Premiere and After Effects and blended together with crossfades to give the sense of time passing. The audio was created by layering notes in the C# and Bm chords (taken from the cue of the previous track, which had a drone in a C# key). I used a hand fan played on an open string tuned electric guitar, and an electro-magnetic recording of a microwave. The colours of the video, warm and innocent, are juxtaposed with the tension in the glitches of the video and the soundtrack, specifically the feedback of the electromagnetic microphone. One could be tricked into thinking all is well with the visuals, but the audio tells another story.

What was your initial reaction to the video prompt and how did this inform your film?

The prompt I received had a tension – the busy skyline littered with buildings and cranes that appeared to be dancing in the skyline evoked an inner chaos. You immediately get the sense of looking out, from inside. I wanted to play with this by using houseplants to create that inside/outside, and instead of the cityscape, my film hints at the country and seaside.

What has your experience been of making art during the lockdown? How has this time impacted on your process and ideas? Please share any ways you have personally found to deal with the anxiety and changes of this time.

Initially, you’d expect to create so much more when given the gift of fewer distractions and more time, unfortunately that hasn’t necessarily been the case, and with this new ‘freedom’ comes an awful lot of personal pressure, which isn’t a great recipe for creativity. I’m still the same artist I was, which is someone who is motivated by deadlines and accountability. Knowing this, early on in lockdown I pulled together a network of friends in a weekly challenge where we produce creative work to deadlines in response to a prompt. This has meant that I have been producing creative work in a variety of mediums weekly, which has been vital for my output during lockdown and also helped give the weeks structure and purpose. The hardest thing is that I currently spend 4 days a week teaching music online, and when it comes to days off, I have such screen-fatigue that I just want to be outdoors, not editing videos or recording on a computer. I’m very thankful for some collaboration projects with my university lecturers that are keeping me flexing the video-editing muscle, and for projects like the ‘Group Therapy’ mixtape, which led me to produce and record my band Krush Puppies remotely in creating our latest single. As a musician, it’s a terribly lonely time, and I desperately miss making music with my friends and playing gigs. The uncertainty of when this will happen again is also difficult, but I suppose we must take comfort in all the new and exciting ways artists are being forced to diversify and come together virtually during this time.


B6 – MICHÈLE SAINT-MICHEL

Please introduce yourself and your creative practice.

Hello, I’m Michèle Saint-Michel. My work is most often in film, but I also create art books and land art. Through overlapping layers of imagery, sound, film, textiles, language and movement, my work functions as settings, soundtracks, movements, poetry and networks –attending to how time is constructed, manipulated and, above all, experienced.

Can you talk a bit about the making of your film and how you have responded to the theme of Interior?

My work explores time and is almost always an effort to recreate the experience of time. During lockdown, the experience of time has shifted for many. As we no longer carry out our routines and rituals, time begins to fold in on itself and stretch in new and interesting ways. I worked on this while considering Bradley Trumpfheller’s poem “Speculative Realism”, and while protests sweep across many major and not-so-major cities in the US in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by Minnesota Law Enforcement. I experimented with texture and ideas of relative safety and inside/outside during this time of Coronavirus and uprising and attempted to recreate the shape and watery/bubbly texture of the original prompt.

What was your initial reaction to the video prompt and how did this inform your film?

The video prompt I received was brilliant neon colours and tonal vibration sounds. Soothing and ethereal. I was struck by the orb-like shape at the centre of the screen. I decided to recreate this feeling using a filled, rounded glass that would reflect my own body, in this case, my fingers. I duplicated the film and placed it on the interior of my piece in an attempt to display the parallels between the two pieces, harken back to the theme, and act as a small stitch to hold the exquisite corpse together.

What has your experience been of making art during the lockdown? How has this time impacted on your process and ideas? Please share any ways you have personally found to deal with the anxiety and changes of this time.

I was very much already in lockdown before the lockdown. I was exiting a lengthy recovery as the lockdown began. This extension of my personal lockdown made me feel like an immediate expert in quarantine life, an anomaly to be sure.


B7 – OLIVIA VERGNON

Olivia Vergnon is a broadcast editor from France now living and working in London.



B8 – TEODORA KOSANOVIC

Please introduce yourself and your creative practice.

Hello! I’m Teodora, my creative practice is mostly focused on experimental film-making/video art and documentary film.

Can you talk a bit about the making of your film and how you have responded to the theme of Interior?

The theme seemed really fitting in response to a pandemic (because we’re spending so much time indoors!) and I liked the idea that the interior can slowly remind us, prepare us or help us recreate the exterior. I think during this period we’ve began to live in a very small microcosm and our previously more exterior-focused lives have been reduced and replicated on a minor scale. I wanted to say that our experiences of this time will shift and change as we prepare for going back into our exterior world and maybe small reminders of it can help that process.

I made the film very simply with not much post-production. I found some objects (mostly from outside my home) and framed them in shapes I made from pieces of card I found interesting. I then filmed it all on a tape camera. 

What was your initial reaction to the video prompt and how did this inform your film?

I liked how the black screen surrounded this tiny almost microbial circle in the centre, it reminded me of looking under a microscope at bacteria or a life form. The prompt made me decide to cover the screen but have small shapes that allow for a gap in vision as a testament to our focus on our interior, whilst also introducing natural forms and memories of the exterior world.

What has your experience been of making art during the lockdown? How has this time impacted on your process and ideas? Please share any ways you have personally found to deal with the anxiety and changes of this time.

I’ve made art only when I’ve felt compelled to and I haven’t forced myself to do it, when perhaps in the past I would have done a little bit. I’ve definitely realised that with an abundance of time my ideas are able to change and develop without much constraint but this has also meant that I haven’t stuck with one idea for very long. I’ve been writing and thinking a lot.

It has been difficult moving along with the changes when the outcome of these changes feels so uncertain. I have been dealing with this by trying to be compelled by the uncertainty and the spaces it leaves for radical change and new opportunities. I have also spent a lot of time cooking and finding joy in menial tasks.


B9 – CHRIS LYNN

Please introduce yourself and your creative practice.

My name is Chris H. Lynn and I work with moving images and sounds.

Can you talk a bit about the making of your film and how you have responded to the theme of Interior?

After trying out a number of different concepts, the idea of recording one of my super 8 film rolls appealed to me.

Since I have a working super 8 projector it was easy to recreate the cinematic experience in my living room. The interior became a screening space and I was able to bring the outside world in.

I filmed my super 8 roll and edited it down to 25 seconds or so with no embellishments.

In retrospect, the images of my daily activities actually resonated and added extra layers because of the lockdown.

What was your initial reaction to the video prompt and how did this inform your film?

I found the video prompt very stimulating and was intrigued by the use of music and mixture of the natural and the abstract.

What has your experience been of making art during the lockdown? How has this time impacted on your process and ideas? Please share any ways you have personally found to deal with the anxiety and changes of this time.

Well the lockdown has provided more time for me to view old footage and reexamine some things. Fortunately, I can still film and record very early in the morning. I live close to a wooded area that is pretty quiet, so I can get out every now and then.

I think it is too early for me to perceive how the lockdown has impacted my ideas or process – I am sure it has, but I cannot articulate the impact yet.

To relieve my anxiety and stress, taking long walks in the morning or late in the afternoon has always helped, observing and listening to my surroundings as well.


B10 – E SALLY JOHNSON

Please introduce yourself and your creative practice.

E Sally Johnson, currently studying Fine Art at City Lit. I use a range of media in my practice and since lockdown having been exploring my personal experience of the restriction of our freedoms.

Can you talk a bit about the making of your film and how you have responded to the theme of Interior?

My turn to participate in Exquisite Corpse came while I was staying in Venice. I explored the place I was staying in and the contradictions of being physically able to leave a place but being restricted from doing so.

What was your initial reaction to the video prompt and how did this inform your film?

I wanted to take a different direction and style, my ability to respond to the film I received being limited by not being in my normal environment with very little available.

What has your experience been of making art during the lockdown? How has this time impacted on your process and ideas? Please share any ways you have personally found to deal with the anxiety and changes of this time.

My partner suffered a horrible accidental head injury early in lockdown and so we had to go to A&E and then into isolation. My practice explored the fear I felt at this time because of his injury and the feeling of being trapped – physically able to leave but prevented from doing so by laws and societal expectations.


B11 – ROBERTO LIRA

Please introduce yourself and your creative practice.

Roberto Lira, 40 years old, Mexican. Videographer specialized in photography.

My work in cinema began doing behind the scenes and still photography for various feature films. In 2012 I founded the video and photography production and postproduction studio “Making Of Studio”. I have developed in various areas of cinematography doing short films as director, photographer and editor, collaborating in film meetings and laboratories such as “Collective Crew”, “48hrs”, “LabKinoRoom” and “Secuelas de la Cuarentena”. Among the short films in which I have collaborated are “Corazón Robado”, “Más Allá de tus Narices”, “De Cereza”, “Entre Burras y Tanques”, “Creí que no me ibas a esperar”, “¿Y mi celular?”, “Llorona” y “Un sueño del Covid”.

I make video and photography for living and I make music as a hobby and to feed my soul.

Can you talk a bit about the making of your film and how you have responded to the theme of Interior?

I made it alone at home, it´s being told from the perspective of someone who is afraid to go out.

I give it continuity with the perspective of my door, which has become very particular with the masks hanging. I see it as a symbol of imposition but I like people to interpret it as they feel it.

What was your initial reaction to the video prompt and how did this inform your film?

It gave me a sense of isolation, I gave it the continuity from the perspective of my door these days.

What has your experience been of making art during the lockdown? How has this time impacted on your process and ideas?

Faced with the current situation, feeling uncertainty and fear, my creativity has become the way out so as not to get trapped.

My creativity has boosted and I have taken advantage of this time to take overdue projects.


B12 – MAJA ZEĆO

Please introduce yourself and your creative practice.

My name is Maja Zećo, and I am an interdisciplinary artist originally from Sarajevo and now based in Aberdeen. I work in performance, sound and video. As I work in different geographic and institutional contexts, my works are often site-specific and relational, negotiating personal and group narratives of identity and history. Presently I am developing work that tackles my experience of migration from a non-EU country (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The works explore my experience of borders, diaspora and displacement. In 2019 I obtained a PhD on sound and performance art practice, based at Gray’s School of Art (RGU) with the support of the Sonic Arts Programme at the University of Aberdeen.

Can you talk a bit about the making of your film and how you have responded to the theme of Interior?

As of 2020, I will have been in the UK for five years. This makes me eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, the last hurdle before I apply for British citizenship. As part of the process, I have to pass my Life in the UK (citizenship) exam. In the film, I recite the text from the exam book that describes the values and principles of life in the UK. By juxtaposing these principles, such as freedom from unfair discrimination, with some migration figures, I aimed to raise the awareness of the effects of the hostile environment policy towards migrants. This policy keeps thousands of families separate, and many more face financial difficulties due to exorbitant visa fees (the expenses of the five year partner route cost almost £7000 at the moment). Asylum seekers in the UK live in extreme poverty. More than 170,000 children are growing up in households without access to public funds and their families can’t access help despite the global pandemic. These examples reflect the theme of ‘interiorities’ as these issues are not common knowledge. This is why I used abstract imagery and sound, as I hoped to urge the audience to listen to their communities and neighbours. Many struggles are hidden behind our four walls.

What was your initial reaction to the video prompt and how did this inform your film?

The prompt inspired me to focus on migration because it depicted a door in the domestic interior. This made me think about the agency and power. I ask: Who can open the door? Who is knocking? To be a subject of migration control means to be conscious of your status and different circumstances that can jeopardise it.

What has your experience been of making art during the lockdown? How has this time impacted on your process and ideas? Please share any ways you have personally found to deal with the anxiety and changes of this time.

Lockdown for me continued and will continue for months ahead in many ways. Reduced social contact, avoiding public spaces, restaurants and pubs is not easy. I feel that artists from vulnerable households and those who are shielding might be disadvantaged in the post-lockdown period as we need to consider many factors. So working in these circumstances has been challenging, even more so because a lot of my work is performative and collaborative. I find reading groups useful, and the numerous online events that I took part in were helpful. In terms of my practice, I am making props for pieces that I will perform in the future. Moreover, I am also adapting my practice to these new circumstances.


B13 – CAROLINE MAWER

Please introduce yourself and your creative practice.

I’m an emerging multimedia artist.

Can you talk a bit about the making of your film and how you have responded to the theme of Interior?

My film is about how some people are blocked from coming into the interior of this country. Those blocks act as a distraction from the poor performance of those people we pay to govern the interior of this country. That poor performance even includes blocking – or more accurately removing – the right to life of some people living in the interior of this country.

What was your initial reaction to the video prompt and how did this inform your film?

I had a detailed plan – until I saw my prompt. Immediately, I knew I had to forget my original ideas. Hassan Akkad kindly gave me permission to build on his video about migrants.

What has your experience been of making art during the lockdown? How has this time impacted on your process and ideas? Please share any ways you have personally found to deal with the anxiety and changes of this time.

I was shielded: Living alone and not allowed out at all. I got very anxious about not having access to food. All the fine words about access for the needy were… only words. After I sorted regular food, I got much less anxious. I started making art in the only place I was allowed to be – my front room – using the only material I had – leftover packaging. I’m proud of the installation I crammed through my front room. After that, I’m proud of the first film I made – I even won prizes for it. But I’m left seriously underweight – when it’s always really difficult for me to put weight on. Stuck inside, I could only look at the walls of my flat. I think that has made my already poor vision much worse. I just got tested by an optician and I can now only see a dark fuzz on their tests. So my video was made nose-to-screen.


B14 – CHARLOTTE COOPER

Please introduce yourself and your creative practice.

I’m Charlotte Cooper and I am a visual artist. I am currently studying for an MA at the Royal College of Art. My work is made using various forms of print. I have started to bring animation into my practice, using the print techniques I employ in my 2D work to make frame by frame animations. I am currently interested in our early memory and experience – how it forms, its generational nature and its lifelong impact on us as adults.

Can you talk a bit about the making of your film and how you have responded to the theme of Interior?

The theme ‘Interior’ immediately resonated with me and the work I am currently making. I came from the perspective of our interior landscapes, and how this extreme situation will have affected us all in different ways. Again my interest lies with our early experiences that will have caused us to react to and deal very differently with this all encompassing event.

What was your initial reaction to the video prompt and how did this inform your film?

I was interested in our very different takes on the theme. I like that the previous video had a political edge to it in contrast to mine. I used the black screen at the end of the prompt as a jumping off point for my video, something emerging from the blackness but then dissolving back into some form of darkness. 

What has your experience been of making art during the lockdown? How has this time impacted on your process and ideas? Please share any ways you have personally found to deal with the anxiety and changes of this time.

Making art during lockdown has been therapeutic. The consistency of the work being there, unchanged since you last worked on it, when all is changed around you was very helpful. I sometimes felt isolated working alone. I miss collaboration and so I have sought out projects like this to help me feel connected to the outside world!



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