An Interview with Laure Prouvost by Robyn Farrell

Posted by | Jessica Bardsley | Posted on | April 16, 2012

March 1, 2012

Roybn Farrell in conversation with Laure Prouvost on the occasion of the screening “Don’t Look Up,” a program of brilliantly anarchic videos by Laure Prouvost.

Robyn Farrell: Your work is highly sensorial: color, sight, and sound all feature prominently, as well as the desire to touch and taste. How does the medium of film inform this aspect of your work?

Laure Prouvost: These words you are reading are smelly. They stink, they make the room smell.

The power of suggestion and imagination is something I love to play with and with film, I love this medium, as it triggers so many senses, and can provoke many senses as it requires a lot from the viewer. I love the idea that a film stinks or is soft like a cloud.

Ideally a film would smell of honey and metal and green motorbike.

Robyn Farrell: Discordant images, text and sound punctuate many of your films. Can you talk about the role of translation or mis-translation as a means to propel the direction of your work?

Laure Prouvost: Ideally these words would be translated into an image, then into a sound, then into movement, and back to words.

Translation is something that I have always worked with: translation of a video to a colour to a painting to a performance to another language. A mis-translation from language to language; this constantly evolving, changing, mis-understanding, mis-communication, mis-making a point and mis-leading you, not reaching an answer, but trying to propose a different interpretation and different views.

Losing control, it’s something I am constantly aware of: different interpretations of the work, the work changing constantly, for each person has a different reaction to it, its change with time, with places, with cultures. It’s all about in-between states.

Robyn Farrell: In Monolog (2009), you play with the director/audience relationship using your hand or text as an apparatus to control the viewer’s attention. Do you see yourself as a director? Or is this a mode to create self-consciousness in your art?

Laure Prouvost: Ideally these words would talk directly to you, and you would read the word “you” as “I”.

Yes I tend to be quite obviously directing my audience, pointing at things, asking the audience to listen, but here I play more with the ridiculousness of it, as it is purely images projected on a wall or a screen.

Robyn Farrell: Many of your videos do not follow a conventional narrative, but in works like Stong Sory 6 (2008) you act as storyteller.  How do you negotiate these differing structures?

Laure Prouvost: Ideally these words would carry you somewhere else on a big adventure around the country side through cities and late at night watching the stars in a warm evening, then a car would pick you up to drive fast and things would endlessly happen, something else would always happen.

Robyn Farrell: You included Speak (1962) by John Latham in CATE’s program and exhibited all these things think link at Flat Time House, the late artist’s home and studio. How has Latham influenced your body of work?

Laure Prouvost: Ideally John Latham would be my conceptual grandfather.

Robyn Farrell: Aside from live action, how does your performance work differ from your video practice?

Laure Prouvost: Ideally these words would not be words but they would sing to you, and not be a video, but sung to you by an opera singer here now as you read this text on the computer.

Robyn Farrell: is a significant organization for artists working with the moving image. Could speak about your role as former director and the impetus for the museum?

Laure Prouvost: Ideally I would say a few words that could let you know how many great works are shown there and how it is a great place to introduce someone to work not ideally as installation or in a screening but for discovering work and being introduced to artist works.

The Internet is an interesting platform to discover things, to get a sense of someone’s work. It has a different purpose than seeing a projection or installation, and sometimes when a work is made just for that purpose it’s interesting.

Moving images, because it’s moving images one after the next, its not real stuff. It’s interpretation.


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    Conversations at the Edge is a weekly series of screenings, performances, and talks by groundbreaking media artists.


    CATE is organized by SAIC's Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation in collaboration with the Gene Siskel Film Center and SAIC's Video Data Bank, Conversations at the Edge is a dynamic weekly series of screenings, performances, and talks by groundbreaking media artists.


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