Angelina Voskopoulos is a visual artist based in Athens, Greece.
She is a graduate (BA with Distinction) in Fine Arts and Technology and also has a Masters degree in Digital Arts from the university of the Arts London).
She is an independent filmmaker, lately focusing on the “minimal movement”, a project centered on Man and his inner world.
She talks to artCollective Magazine about her philosophy and also takes us through her process and the challenges she is facing as an independent filmmaker.
– How did your environment, the Greek culture & history and your studies in London shape you as an artist? Did you have any other influences or experiences that contribute to what you currently are?
Let’s see… Greeks are taking their time nursing one coffee, maybe three hours or so ..This is because they are so busy chatting with each other. British on the other hand have this ‘drink to get drunk ‘ culture. So coffee vs alcohol. Who wins? Hahaha! I am just kidding.
London was one of the greatest experiences I ever had. I gave so much effort in studying Digital Arts! I had the luck to study in Arts London, one of the best Universities and also to be supervised by Andrew Stiff. An excellent tutor and artist as well. London with the major lifestyle benefits of living and studying in London, ranging from nightlife to food markets and culture. There are many alternative spaces of showing your artwork and so many people from different cultures to meet and exchange ideas and beliefs. In London I met my friend Jessica, a friend for a life time. I wouldn’t change anything at all from this multi level experience . London is a city that perfectly blends together its history with its present. Free museums (and other free things). One of my favorite things about studying abroad in London was that there were so many museums to visit… Driving? Forget about it. You absolutely do not need a car while studying abroad in London. So many good things…. What we are is a mixture of complicated things. There are many things that have influenced me in using video or art film as a medium and cannot address them all here.
– You are an independent filmmaker. What are the biggest challenges you face (in terms of budget / recruitment etc) and also, what are the advantages?
You need to process so many things. No matter how you cut it, you’re likely going to have to do a ton of work by yourself. It’s not as bad as it seems if you make lists and keep doing what you have to do each and every day. It’s not just the doing, but also the learning. You have to know how to get good sound, and how to work your camera, and how to plan your shots and lighting, and where to get the wardrobe, props and set dressing that you think will look good for your shoot. You’ll have to rent and buy whatever equipment you need, and figure out how to transport it yourself. You’ll have to be ready to do any of it. And guess who does all the video editing? Things have been getting better though due to better technology, with highly capable 3 axis gimbal stabilizers for lighter cameras, and drones open up a lot of options too, but everything still costs money, and it adds up.
But for me honestly, independent is the only true form of art. Digital revolution has transformed the film industry, including production, editing, post-production, marketing, and distribution processes. I need to internalize that making a great movie goes above working extremely hard, and having luck; the truth is that it needs love, passion, commitment, and tons of patience, especially if we are talking about independent films.
– What is the key method of extracting and conceiving your film concepts?
I will keep it simple. Experimentation is the key to any idea.
– The heart of your films, despite the concept, is the body and its movement. Even though choreography is somehow forgotten in movie making, what makes that so powerful?
The editing process makes each of it powerful. When I create a video work, for the most part, I am creating video dance, (also known as screen dance); I am not documenting. I am making dance for the camera. I choreograph a piece knowing that I will re-organize and ‘manipulate’ the material during the editing process, combining elements such as time, space, speed and spatial composition. In addition, one incorporates the movement of the camera, as well as the composition of the frames.
Even though the body in movement is the ‘seed’ and inspiration of screen dance, often the movement phrases get ‘throw’ around, the end becomes the beginning, the body gets fragmented and layers of dancers end up superimposed into different backgrounds, creating a new work which in some cases is far apart from the movement material that it was based on. My decisions are based on the rhythm and composition of the new piece, as well as on the design, contrast and the proximity to the camera. I am trying to create a visual metaphor. Using a combination of both, narrative and location. The concept of a video choreography, in my films, is based on my own lyrics, texts and ideas.
What I am dealing with is the effects, the perception, and the visual effects of my work as proposals, as an open space, so that you can get there things you always wanted to feel and maybe didn’t know how to express, imagine, watch, observe, whatever. This is so far away from the strong screenplay, the beautiful movie, etc.
– You create your own choreography and write the lyrics for your films. How do you visualize your scenes?
Well, actually, I work through lyric imagery. This in poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language-such as sound symbolism, and metre-to evoke meanings, in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning. Imagery draws on the five senses, namely the details of taste, touch, sight, smell, and sound. This method leads the way to all of my experimental films. It’s like a dream stage situation. It’s like we have sleeping emotions in us all the time; half-sleeping, so one specific image or the combination of one image and sound, or the way of putting things together, like two images one after another, what we call montage, editing – these things ring a bell. These half-asleep feelings just wake up because of that – that is what it is about.
– Do you have a specific creative workflow? Can you take us through it?
I believe the above answers leads you to my way. Well, in my work the body has been an integral part of the self-concept, and body image has come to play an important role in contemporary society as a means of constructing, symbolizing and expressing one’s self. Performance art is the “unconscious” scenery.
Dreams and traumas are the content of this unconscious, and the screen dance art is to externalize these and enlarge them, so that they become available, ultimately, to the gaze of the other. It’s something you can feel.
Technology allows me to feel more, not less, connected to what I am creating. Technology is reshaping what art is and how it’s produced. The body is a tool, a study material that connects us to the primordial self, to the animal instinct, to earth, to the world. Looking for our limits, our fears, in a ritual which looks like a mirror of a world that has something absurd and something amorphous at the same time. An exploration of motion in relation to the subject-body. The movement is not defined by the moving
body, not necessarily, but includes also the movement of the camera, the editing process, the relationship between movement and sound or the absence of sound. In this process, the body goes through a journey; a transformation that is changing and shaped by the movement of the camera and the general vision of the cinematographer. A meeting point of dance and cinema. Something mysterious that leads to understanding the often emotional and destructive emotional pulse of human desire.
– You represent the Universal and the unconscious via choreography. This creates an artistic abstraction from which your audience is “allowed” to initially trust its instincts to understand and learn. This might lead to a different approach of understanding than your own. Do you wish to lead your audience to a specific direction or do you want to let them wander freely?
Wander freely of course …I have been trying to extend into metaphysical extension; my films are changing, metamorphic; that is, infinite; the idea that the movement of life is totally important rather than a single life. My films were built on an incline, an increase in intensity. I hoped to make a form which was infinite, the change of things…
– The Minimal Movement project focuses on “Man and his inner world”. What is this project about and in what way did you manage to express the inner world?
Art is actually based on the notion that if you would really celebrate an idea or a principle, you must think, you must plan, you must put yourself completely in the state of devotion, and not simply give the first thing that comes to your head. I use my freedom to experiment with visual ideas. That’s the inner world. The more unknown the mystery, the more beautiful it is.
– You are also the co-founder of a dance group called “State of Flux”. What are the actions of the group?
The team doesn’t work together anymore. The “State of Flux” group was based on Butoh dance; Butoh is a form of Japanese dance theatre that encompasses a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement.
– Working with emerging artists as a professor, and also organizing workshops for children, what is the perception of young people towards art?
Hmmm…Honestly, I am not quite sure about this. Young people conceive of contemporary art in quite different ways to the art world, and that their perceptions of visual culture today are out of step with the art gallery orthodoxy—what are seen as the current ideas, styles, and concerns of curators, critics, art professionals …Art does not show people what to do, yet engaging with a work of art can connect you to your senses, body, and mind. It can make the world felt…
– Are you currently working on any project? What are your future plans?
Yes. It’ s a new film collective which I am co -working with two colleagues of mine which will be released on Eye’s walk festival on September.
– Up to now you have received a lot of awards and your work has been showcased to a lot of exhibitions and festivals . But what was the peak moment of your career?
My peak moments are many. I cannot choose easily…
My work has been published in Women Cinemakers magazine , Biennale edition, twice, Independent’s Women Cinema covers news and events of interest to independent filmmakers, including distribution and grants, reports from the Cannes Film Festival, interviews and a special section dedicated to the future of the film industry.
My work has been previously published in Videofocus Magazine, Biennale eEdition,2015 and also in Women Cinemakers Special Edition, 2019.
On 2018, I received the International Caravaggio Award , Litta Theater, Milan, Italy.
0n 2019, I received an award prize in video art category from Bibart, Biennale Internazionale d’Arte, Bari, Italy.
On 2019, I received an HM award from London International Creative Competition.
Selected for the Art rooms fair in London and for the Art rooms Fair in Rome. Among 2k applications and managed to be selected in both cities.
Recently selected for the 8th International Biennale of Contemporary textile art , Madrid Spain.
My video was also presented to the international conference of Vortex video 12th edition In Valletta Malta.
Recently I was selected for cyfest 12 in Saint Petersburg and for MDINA contemporary art Biennale in Malta and Biennale di soncino a marco , in collaboration with visual container and Over the real festival.
Last but not least, I had participated in the Levante Jazz Festival, a music bridge between Italy and Greece, a co-production of the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, the Italian Embassy in Greece and the Italian Educational Institute of Athens. This is an online event, in which ten bands from Greece and Italy will present the best tracks from their jazz repertoire. A total of five online shows, which kicked off on European Music Day (June 21), showcase various styles of this global music idiom, such as bossa nova, gypsy swing or vocal a capella covers, and there is a unique combination of innovative video projections. Artists (Angelina Voskopoulou, Miguel Gomez).
Participation with video: the “Literary Travel Park in Greece and the wider Greece”, with the acronym Polysemy, organizes an action in the public space with works by international artists. It is the creation of three video art installations on the exterior surfaces of buildings – landmarks of three cities in the Ionian Islands and Puglia: Corfu, Bari and Taranto. Three cities, where the interaction of the two cultures is intense, both in monuments, in language and in culture. The program is INTERREG V – A GRECE ITALY 2014-2020 Literary travel park in Greece and Magna Grecia “Polysemy”. Organizing eyes walk festival & Bibart Biennale Bari Italy. In collaboration with eye’s walk festival and Bibard Biennale , Bari, Italy.