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Member Area
Venice Biennale

It would be nice to do something political (AIS 22)

Fragments and windows
Emerging filmmaker Esther Johnson presents her work.
It is always difficult to address one’s work objectively so here I will try to decipher through the journey which has led to the recurrent interests in my film and video work with my own Q and A.
What led you to become an artist filmmaker?
Growing up in Hull, a city which was extensively bombed during WWII, I acquired a ferocious appetite to photograph, paint and draw the many derelict buildings I was surrounded by. I became intrigued with the detritus left behind and past histories connected to these places: the now mostly redundant docks my father set sail from, the old market where we purchased stock for my mother’s florist shop, the crumpling faded glamour of cinema and concert halls turned into carpet showrooms, the fish smoking elegant towers now burnt under arson attacks. In the 1980s, these places formed a landscape of bygone years in the shadow of 1960s modernity. My appetite for film as an expressive art form grew from visiting one of these buildings, Hull Screen in the city Central Library. Here I watched countless hours of cinemas past and present and still visit whenever I’m in the North.
I am primarily a visual person translating thoughts and ideas into moving images so carrying on from my photography and my obsession with seeing as many films as possible I began to experiment with various cine cameras and super 8 film both as a filming medium and a surface to directly mark (bringing attention to the surface as a real touchable entity). My drawings and paintings where also always executed as kind of scenes in which something has or is about to happen, like stills from a storyboard.
I think the term ‘Artist filmmaker’ can be somewhat problematic being too restrictive with too many connotations. Godard is a filmmaker and he is also an artist but is referred to as a filmmaker. I am a filmmaker just as a writer writes books, I make films. These can be read as an art form and can be viewed in multiple situations i.e. gallery, outdoor projection or in a cinema, but I would also like to make work for television (a medium not widely heralded as an art form) and theatre, or any form in which I can reach an audience.