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Alex Pearl - Clockwork and other works

10:00, 2006, Video Art
I like to work quickly on suddenly apprehended ideas, and often use video as a parallel activity to drawing. Many of my shorter video pieces have a lot in common with automatic drawing in that I set up situations where chance plays a large part in the outcome.

These pieces are also comparable with the idea of the sketch or doodle, an initial, throwaway idea made visible. Sometimes these video drawings are developed into ideas for more substantial pieces often they are left to fend for themselves.
DirectorAlex Pearl

CountryUnited KingdomEdition2006

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Interview

Who is Alex Pearl?
Born: Manchester 1968
Education: BA hons Fine Art, UCE Birmingham; MA History of Art & Design, UCE Birmingham

I now live and work in Suffolk (more by chance than design) All though previously I have made sculpture and installation, in the last two years I have begun working with video and other digital media, which has created a world of new opportunities (and headaches). From this I have gained recent successes exhibiting in a variety of venues. These have included video installations in group shows and events, screenings in cinemas & arts centres, and international film/video festivals. I have also shown work at various online sites.

I started making short films and mini TV installations as a way of bringing the objects I made back to life. This was usually necessary, as everything I ever made tends to fall apart sooner rather than later. I thought the medium of digital video would be all about control and precision, but my work seems to have more to do with chance and blind luck.


Why filmmaking?
I started life as a sculptor but everything I made fell apart. My first video was made as a record of my work, but I soon became more interested in the videos themselves.


My work is about...
I like to work quickly on suddenly apprehended ideas, and often use video as a parallel activity to drawing. Many of my shorter video pieces have a lot in common with automatic drawing in that I set up situations where chance plays a large part in the outcome. These pieces are also comparable with the idea of the sketch or doodle, an initial, throwaway idea made visible. Sometimes these video drawings are developed into ideas for more substantial pieces often they are left to fend for themselves.

I have recently been working on a series of automatic filmmaking projects. These are mini residencies for which I produce automaton camera operators and actors that are then allowed to perform to camera. The resulting film or films are then screened on site. This play between helplessness and control has begun to fascinate me.

My films are often made with a variety of discarded or otherwise redundant material. This material can range from: broken electric toothbrushes and clockwork teaspoons to old jokes and bad advice. Other work has stemmed from my many failings as a human being: my inability to sing, dance or even hold a conversation feature widely.


Financing your movie?
I make all of my films independently with zero budget. Although some (How to Dance & Automatic Film 1) have been commissioned by galleries and others have received indirect backing from the Arts Council. Otherwise I sometimes receive fees from galleries exhibiting my work and film festivals or screening events. I also occasionally sell the odd DVD


New Media; a challenge for film-makers?
I’m happy to play with whatever new media comes along. I have used mobile phones, live streaming, spy cameras, flash animation and I am a podcaster (whatever that means) oh and I like clockwork.


Individual film making or co-operation?
As an artist/filmmaker I make nearly all of my work in total isolation although I have been involved in projects where the public have been invited to contribute to the process. As most of the objects I film have some degree of self will I guess that you could say there is a degree of cooperation involved.


The future...
In the short term I am working on getting some of my work shown in mainstream cinemas as mini supporting features. Otherwise I want to continue as I am showing work online, in cinemas all over the world and as part of gallery exhibitions.


Digital or classic?
At the moment I mainly use digital techniques. I have two Sony mini DV cameras and a Powerbook, I tend to use the most basic software I can find. I edit most of my films on imovie. Though I sometimes use Final Cut if I have to.


Other remarks
This is a place for a witty remark which will no doubt come to mind in about a month.

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