- Mobile Performance
- Electric Speed
- Schematic as Score
- (Re)purposed Clothes
- Collaborative Spaces
- Device Art
- Digital Dub
- Rise of the VJ
- Sample Culture
Tell me a bit about your art and film practice leading to this point in your career, and how this artistic journey has led to your these works you have sent me and your current practice.
I graduated in Social Communication in Brazil, studied Film in Italy, Screenplay writing in Cuba, and then Direction in the United States and my curiosity led me to all these courses. Since 2001, I have been researching new ways to make art with new technology, always seeking to create new experiences in people. Today my focus is the use of art and technology to amplify or even provoke new experiences in the people. Something they have never felt before.
This research provokes me to think that one of the objects that has become of greater global consumption is the mobile phone. The mobile phone may be the most abundant consumer device on the planet. In 2012, the mobile phone industry will reach the mark of 6 billion connections. So why not take all the mobility and convenience to produce art?
What attracts me most to the art made by the mobile phone is primarily a democratization that the device allows. Nowadays, most people have a mobile phone, not only to speak to people, but also to send text messages, connect to the Internet, take pictures, make videos, and why not to produce artistic content? Second, the immediacy appeals to me as it differs from the cinema, where you have to reveal the 16mm film in a darks space, etc ...These mobile cameras also allow people to have an unprecedented look at things from a different angle, which is more experimental. And lastly, of course the mobility factor, the practice of using the mobile allows you simply determine your desired look – the tool is there wherever you are, available to you.
Tell me about 5#CALLS and what inspired you to make your work using mobile video? Why/how was the mobile phone essential? and why did you decide to make it the way you did with the performers and making it all on the mobile phone?
I had done some experimenting with mobile video clips and producing drama, needed a project that was actually a little further and use all the mobile features: SMS script, recording unusual angles and movements, editing on the device itself, as a ringtone wallpaper soundtrack and graphics. The first one was called Beeep, the first one made in Latin America, and one with the Brazilian popular music icon, Roberto Carlos. I wanted to know all its limits. 5#CALLS the project gave me this opportunity. All the details of the audiovisual production were designed to exploit the mobile phone. The script was written in SMS.
It was important make 5#CALLS all on the mobile to show that the even when using independent media, the contents of a story is still the most important aspect. But telling that story from another angle, with a new aesthetic language was the challenge. This aesthetic language, as I said before, is available to many people through their mobile phones. This new aesthetic allows new frameworks, new angles, movements, etc. ... A different point of view to tell normal stories.
We used the unusual angles that only a small camera like the phone would be able to do and tied the phones to the bodies of the actresses to record their expressions and gestures. Then, all editing was done using only the features of mobile phone. We needed a soundtrack so the phone’s ringtones were used for this. The phone graphic wallpaper helped to finalise the visual look.
The actresses ran around during rush hour by subway from Rio de Janeiro, for example, which wouldn't be impossible with traditional cameras. The intimacy and minimalism, the immediacy and convenience were key factors.
When you go out to shoot, to produce an audiovisual piece, you must form a team. Lighting, sound, photography, makeup, production, security, authorisation, location, etc. are all necessary in conventional video produciton ... In addition, when recording with the television celebrities that are in such a piece, this team draws a lot of attention. With the mobile phone, it was the actress and me. The process of direction was better, because we were both just as dedicated to the minimal details of their actions and nothing else. People around us did not realise what was being recorded. There were some production needs, such as security, authorisation of the site, but the whole process was more practical and intimate.
How can 5#CALLS be viewed? Is it available for viewing on mobile phone? or Internet? You've only sent me the trailer and the "making of" - how do we see the final piece?
At this moment, 5#calls is in festivals around the world, so we just posted the making of and trailer. To see how the festival viewers experience the work in the gallery and viewing environment follow the links at the end.
Can you tell me about other projects, artworks, performances and workshops (like the one you were doing in Africa) - using mobile media/video?
It is evident that the mobile phone is present in people's lives, not only as a tool or a device to make a voice call, but also to communicate in the broadest sense. Today Africa is the continent with the lowest penetration of mobile connectivity, with "only" 52%! So it is my interest to use the mobile phone to produce art there also. Not only to make videos, but also taking photos, ringtones, wallpapers and sculptures, and for text messages….
The workshop Art_Mobile is a global social action project focused on education and digital art, with pillars of sustainability and environmental awareness, teaching children and young people, from various communities around the world, to produce art with the mobile phone, as a new perspective on working with digital media in a democratic way.
5#CALLS is touring various festivals at the moment, and we will soon bring the work to the art galleries in Canada, Brazil and Argentina. Before 5#CALLS, I produced videoclips made on mobile phone in 2007, 2008, which were given awards in several festivals in Brazil. In addition, my video recording of the singer Roberto Carlos was shown on primetime TV Globo with a lot of exposure. Today, I focus on sharing this knowledge of all these experiences in a social project called # Art_Mobile, which teaches children and young people around the world to make mobile art. This project began in Tanzania, East Africa and should continue this year to Cuba, Morocco and other underserved communities.
What future potential do you see for the mobile video platform for making film, video art, interactive art and performance and in terms of your practice specifically?
The phones will be better in the future. We have wonderful applications now, but people are always looking for the best content, best story, as it always was and always will be, and it will be found in the art.
I believe that the use of mobile phone today allows for the democratisation of society through digital art. The art produced by the mobile is coupled with the social networks as an individual communication channel with the world, independent of other means. Obviously, this opens up new opportunities and enhances the future prospects of young talent. From the moment you have an appliance that does not cost millions of dollars to produce something, and is fully accessible in most countries, it is a history making moment. I say this because I have lived through this experience in Africa, the continent with the lowest mobile penetration, 52%!!!, From the moment the tool is in your hands and you can record your story; the moment you do not need to enter a line of great producers in the unfair process used by most tv channels, etc., to display content, it is liberating. As you can rely on the democracy of the Internet. Now all you have to focus on is the talent and a really good story to tell!
How do you hope your work will influence a new generation of artists who are digital natives, growing up with mobile and social media?
I must highlight that it is of great importance to produce good content, independent of the medium. One must have the appropriate media background; one needs to study and see a world, with different eyes. I come from a very small town in Brazil, and my work is now reaching beyond these boundaries; the work is reaching out through the value of the ideas, of their contents. Today only 16% of people in Brazil use the phone just to talk. They are already looking for other applications. I believe the work we do serves to provide another possibility, to produce art with an object that is part of everyday life.
Just look at the social movement that is happening in the world. You will see that the media and mobile devices are fully inserted into the lives of youth. New application technologies will be increasingly available and more expensive resources of audiovisual production which don’t allow and actually restrict new artists will also be available, but these will be replaced by these more accessible media. This will influence the new generation of digital native artists greatly.
Is there anything else that you would like to share or add about your work in terms of the Vague Terrain issue's focus on performativity, video art and using mobile media?
Try it. Take advantage of positive factors such as immediacy, connection, unusual angles, practicality and minimalism to tell a story or just to portray a different view.Try using the phone not just to talk, but to share content.
Reference Links and other projects: