Interview: Michaela Resch
Luca Curci talks with Michaela Resch during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2021, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space and Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Michaela Resch (she/her) is a filmmaker and artist with a background in Visual Anthropology and Media Studies. In 2018 she graduated with a Master of Arts with her documentary “HERZ STICHT” (Austria/Germany). She has been working, amongst other positions, as a director, author and producer with different organizations and companies such as Deutsche Welle Women, Museum Neukölln or Kulturprojekte Berlin. Her awarded short documentary “RE:AW:RE:FW” (producer, co-director) was screened at various European Film Festivals and her video art is being shown internationally. Latest at the Macau Video Festival 2020 and THE BODY LANGUAGE – ITSLIQUID International Art Exhibition 2021. Currently, she lives and works in Vienna and Berlin.
Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Michaela Resch – Currently I’m working on three different projects. The first one is an ongoing digital portrait series that I initiated in Spring 2020 during the first lockdown that took place in Berlin. The series follows ten women throughout Europe and captures their thoughts, feelings and reflections during the pandemic. I meet with the participants once a year via Skype for a digital photoshoot and interview them about their current situation. How is the lockdown affecting them? What did they find out about themselves and what changed for them throughout the last year? Along with the black and white portraits that I capture during these sessions, I share the date and location as well as significant quotes of our exchange. Secondly, I am co-developing an artistic research based on workshops with people from various backgrounds. Our aim is to dismantle barriers and enable human connection through exploring emotions in creating art. My colleague, Helena Klaßen, and I want to find out in what way shared artistic expression of emotions fosters human connections. Last but not least I am working on a feature-length documentary film about community, trust, and alternative ways of living.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
MR – I work as a filmmaker and artist and my background lies in Visual and Media Anthropology and Communication Studies. I believe my work is a combination of many experiences that I’ve made throughout my lifetime, however, some defining moments and encounters, stand out to me on my artistic journey. As a child, I was able to spend time with friends of my parents who were both visual artists. I could experiment with them in their studio and it was pretty clear to me from an early age on, that my heart beats art. Much later down the lane when I was working in TV, I followed a lecture of Ute Aurand, an experimental filmmaker who still films and edits analogue. Her lecture and works were incredibly inspiring to me and I was lucky enough to also meet her afterward to get a glimpse into her practices. Last but not least attending the class “Poetic Framing” taught by Kristian Peterson during my Master Studies had a lasting impact on me. It encouraged me to speak my own artistic language of audiovisual poetry.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
MR – With my visual art I follow questions revolving around time, identity, connectedness and spirituality. In creating collages of soundscapes and (abstract) imagery, I mirror my subjective processes and observations of the world around me. Recurring motifs are sounds and shapes of nature, shadow and light and last but not least reflections. My preferred subjects next to nature are human beings, as often myself.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it like your medium of expression?
MR – Art for me is a way to explore, ask questions and connect. Most likely I use it to express my own feelings, reflections and observations about our existence as human beings. Art is definitely my medium of expression. When I create, I feel most connected to myself which allows me to authentically mirror and express my perceptions of the world we live in.
LC – What is your creative process like?
MR – Most of all, I follow my intuition. Usually, I feel inspired by something, may it be a question, a task, an observation or a thought. I then turn inwards, listening to what and where I feel drawn to. Being in nature is a huge part of this process for me, which is also reflected in my works. I then follow the flow, as an instrument played from within. Creating is a meditative process for me, where I connect to myself and everything around me. Next to my multilayered digital photography, my main method is audiovisual poetry. In this specific process, I start off with writing a poem or interpreting one that inspires and touches me, relating to a larger question or phenomenon. In the next step, I design a concept around it that I then visualize in creating an associative and affective experience in form of video art.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? How did it inspire you?
MR – I really like the concept of this festival. Bringing international artworks from multiple artistic disciplines together focusing on BODY LANGUAGE was intriguing me from the first moment I read the call for artists. I believe the body is one of our most powerful instruments and how we use it tells so much about us as human beings. The way we move, the way we communicate and express ourselves etc. So much wisdom lies in our bodies that I think we often don’t pay as much attention to as we do to our minds. To reflect on the language of our bodies, thanks to this festival, inspired me in a way to grow in my own artistic practices and challenge personal boundaries.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
MR – The artwork I have in the exhibition is a video art piece that I created inspired by your call for artists at the beginning of 2021. “BODY language” is an immersive exploration of the way bodies communicate. Through audiovisual poetry, I invite the viewer to follow my intimate reflections around the question: “What language does my body speak?”. I combine different layers of my breath, voice and moving body parts with images of nature. In doing so I create a sensual and meditative experience that invites the spectator to immerse themselves and reflect on their bodies’ language as well.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
MR – I think everything was highly professional and I was happy with the organization during the event. Communication went smoothly and questions were answered quickly.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
MR – Yes, I really enjoyed working with you and I would be happy to also continue our cooperation in the future moving on from this exhibition.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
MR – The overall services you provided were great. When it comes to suggestions, I can say that for artists not based in Italy like me, it could be helpful to get more clear information or assistance in terms of accommodation and travel restrictions, given the current pandemic.