Elsa Philippe - The . & co

10:30, 2012, Video Art
Inspired on how communication technologies affect human behaviour and the daily life rituals, The . & co sets a futuristic world ruled by tv presenters, surrounded by an addiction to electronic components which develops different distortions to the human body. The story follows one character who is ‘different’ and how he is going to have to yield to this over exaggerated society.
DirectorElsa PhilippeProducerElsa Philippe

CountryUnited KingdomEdition2013

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Who is Elsa Philippe?
I am a french artist based in London. I mostly do videos for which I also create costumes, sculptures and all sorts of stuff. I work with the debris of popular culture and complement it with homemade forms.

What is The. & co about?
Well lots of things but the main concern is how new technologies affect human behaviour and daily life rituals.
The. & co is set in a futuristic, chaotic and grotesque world that depicts a society addicted to new technologies and only communicates through it. Their over consumption of these components develop body distortions, the video follow the only ’normal’ human being and how he is going to have to yield to this absurd society.

How did you start with film? And do you have an educational background in art or film?
I did my first video when I was in my second year in art school in France, the subject was self portrait, it was actually a pretty obscure video. This is when I first started using myself as a character and using chroma-key, both things I am still using in almost all my works.

Could you explain how you work, what themes or concepts you use and what is important to you?
I am mostly interested in culture in all its forms, individuality, contemporary consumerism and grotesque but recently I have been focusing on how new media, technologies, cultures or trends influence mankind.
I use internet a lot, I digitally collect images, videos, sounds and then modify them to turn them into my own work.

How long do you usually work on one project?
It really depends if there is lots of props to make or lots of post production, the duration of the video etc... I can do a video in 1 week or in 5 months.

Do you carefully plan the production process or do you work more intuitive?
I work really spontaneously, if I start thinking too much before doing something I will always find a reason not to do it, so I always dig into things straight away and then deal with the obstacles as I go.

How does the title relate to the work, and how do you find a fitting title?
For years all my works had a common noun as a title, I was doing really short silent videos and they were working as a sort a of visual diary so using a common noun as a title was to define the main theme of each episode.
I kept this common noun thing for a while.
Now I work with a different process, but the title is always an important part in the work, a clue which helps the viewer to appropriate the work better.

Where do you get your ideas or inspiration from?
As I concentrate my work on culture and society, my ideas are coming from everyday life, I had the idea of The. & co when I was on the tube, The Conductor came from a story a girl told me at a party one night, The Bike Crash (well the title says it all), I dreamt of EGOTRIP, été W is inspired from a book...
I am influenced a lot by the society that surrounds me.

How important is sound in film, and if you use sounds, do you create your own or use existing?
I didn’t use sound for years, at this moment the work I was doing was visually so strong that I didn’t feel the need to add sound to it, but it’s probably because I was scared too.
Now I can’t see any of my video work without sound, I make sound with the same process of my videos I collect stuff online and then modify and combine them to make it my own.

Did the web changed your view on art, or your career?
My work wouldn’t exist without the web, it’s one of my essential sources of material.

What is your next project about?
I am actually doing an artist residency in Germany, and I am working on the installation EGOTRIP: composed of videos, sculptures and artist books. EGOTRIP deals with the social, economical and individual sense of self culture.
I am structuring this work by reusing the codes of a society based on individualism and self-development, a society always glorifying the banal and in a permanent search of glory and attention.

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