Interview: Aurélie Crisetig
Luca Curci talks with Aurélie Crisetig during ANIMA MUNDI FESTIVAL 2019 – CONSCIOUSNESS at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi.
Aurélie Crisetig (b. 1992, Vevey, Switzerland) is a Swiss photographer and visual artist. She uses photography as a tool to explore the alteration of human memory in a world overwhelmed by digital entities. Working both with film and digital photography, her works reflect on the constant use of mechanical recordings, especially in public and cultural places. After graduating with a BA in History and Aesthetics of Film & History of Art from the University of Lausanne in 2015, she completed an 8-week Digital Photography Workshop at the New York Film Academy. In 2018, she graduated with an MA Photography at UAL: University of the Arts, London.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Aurélie Crisetig – I believe art is the materialisation of a creative impulse based on our own perception of life. Art required a sensibility drawn in our inner self that allows the artist to create objects, material or immaterial, tangible or intangible, durable or ephemeral which represents, realistically or abstractly, his/her feelings regarding the world, society, people or him/herself.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
AC – I was 4 years old when I took my first picture with my mom’s old camera. At 11, I knew I wanted to be a photographer. Later on, I decided to study art history and film studies in order to have a solid background in art, managing to collect a wide imagery of visual inspirations and new influences to bring along with me. After my bachelor, I completed a photography certificate at New York Film Academy before graduating with a master’s degree in photography at the University of the Arts in London. Every part of my life has brought a piece of inspiration for my artworks. I would not be the person and artist I am today without the up and downs I have lived, and each project has a meaningful aspect reflecting on the mental state I had during the time of its creation. However, a moment that drastically changed me as an artist and as a human being was my trip to Hong Kong for my art residency, early 2019. It was my first time in Asia and seeing such a different, yet familiar environment was intriguing and comforting. I realised how essential it is for my work to let the city empower me in order to comprehend it fully.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
AC – Artists give to the general public an opportunity to open their mind by creating an alternative way of seeing the world. Art is not only an entertainment, it pushes the boundaries of reality and fiction, transcends time, space, nation, gender and age. The artist is the visual narrator connecting this experience to the society. Furthermore, the diversity of art makes it accessible to everyone, and thanks to the digital area we are currently living in, artworks are seen across the world in a matter of seconds. Spread by social media, art has become so open that it is almost utopian to find a place into the overcrowded art space.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
AC – Most of my inspiration comes from the outside: cities, streets, public institutions. Walking around a place, no matter where it is, always brings a new element of discovery. I believe curiosity is a strong energy that pushes an artist to break the boundaries. Despite having lots of art books at home and visiting museum and exhibitions regularly, nothing influences me more than being outdoors. I am not the type of artist that creates art from nothing; I need an external stimulation to bring the spark that I need to work on a new project. I take what is given to me and transformed it into my own vision.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
AC – People rely too much on their device. They bought it, take pictures, edit the image, share it online. It has never been so easy to manipulate the reality. Nowadays, having 5k followers on Instagram means that you are already a well-established photographer. Everything became so accessible since the birth of the digital that new artists have to find a way to distinguish themselves from the mass. That is how I started to use expired film. First as a practice exercise for my vintage film camera, I immediately saw a potential hidden behind this unusual method and started to use them as my main canvas. However, expired films are unpredictable, unstable and unreliable. Capturing images imprinted on a photographic material without knowing if the material itself is damaged, usable or corrupted can be seen as a great photographic challenge. It is like jumping into the abyss with a parachute without knowing if it will open or not. If it works, then you find yourself admiring the beauty of a film consumed by time; if it does not work, you have lost the images forever. There is no in between. This method can scare some artists by its unpredictability and the possibility to waste the images. However, I think there is beauty in it, something thrilling and scary, frustrating and satisfying. It’s a challenge that I have gladly accepted to defy.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
AC – I like that the festival is somehow linked to the Venice Biennale, which is one of the most inspiring, respected art events in the world. Seeing my work exhibit not only with my fellow ITSLIQUID artists but also in the same city that established ones is a great honour and inspiration.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
AC – My project, Faded memories, represents the fragility of human memory in a world surrounded by digital recordings. Made with expired films, these images provide a visual representation of how memory, captured by a mechanical apparatus, is altered by our contemporary society. Our vulnerability to remember is partly caused by the overwhelming flow of images taken daily and shared online. We take pictures all the time, unconsciously losing the ability to capture a souvenir in our mind by relying on the device. My project aims to visually encounter how the development of the digital age we are currently living in has affected our way to memorise.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
AC – I think it is a good opportunity for emerging artists to find a place in the art world. The international platform helped create great connections around the world.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
AC – I have found the event organized and professional.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
AC – As said above, I think the event is an opportunity for artists around the world to gather around two beautiful spaces (the palazzo Ca’ Zanardi is wonderful) in the city of the art, during the Biennale.