Nisha Duggal - Colours

11:17, 2009, Experimental
Colours is an exploration of individuality and preference. Interviews are animated across a relational portrait where orchestrated responses produce a complex schema that dwells on what makes each of us different, our likes and dislikes and the evolution of cultural standards.
DirectorNisha Duggal (all)ProducerNisha Duggal (all)

CountryUnited KingdomEdition2011 Screenings2010
PW10, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK
Common Ground: Aurora Film Festival, Norwich Arts Centre
The Brain Unravelled (exhibition installation) , Slade Research Centre, London

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Who is Nisha Duggal?
I’m a visual artist based in London but originally from the north east of England.

What is Colours about?
I shot Colours whilst I was on residency at ISIS Arts in Newcastle upon Tyne. My process was really very simple - through ISIS’ networks and my own connections in the north east I persuaded a fairly random group of people to volunteer to be in the film. I asked them to talk about their favourite colours to camera and later edited and animated their individual responses together for purposes of comparison. I was interested in the way that people who liked certain colours tended to share similar reasons for their preference. For example, green reminds people of nature and freedom, and red is vibrant and stands out. I was also interested in the different relationships people have with the visual realm.

How did you start with film? And do you have an educational background in art or film?
I started working in video in my second year of university in 2000. I studied fine art at Derby, and more recently on the MA course at The Slade in London. I’ve always worked in moving image alongside other media like drawing and performance.

Could you explain how you work, what themes or concepts you use and what is important to you?
Almost everything I make is in some way a form of portraiture - often of groups who I film individually and then assemble together into multiple images on a single screen. I’m interested in repetition and in the social and communicative differences between individuals. I like to compare and contrast them. I’m also keen on mimetics and the herding curves that groups tend to follow. Underlying all this I think is an personal exploration into a loss of control and autonomy.

Much of my work is also self-referencing or structural in that it is art about art. I’m fascinated by the cultural processes behind formalising visual ticks and how value is ascribed to contemporary works. Again I think it comes back to the pack animal mentality I’m interested in unpicking.

How long do you usually work on one project?
It really depends on the project and the medium. Generally about 4 new works a year, across media.

Do you carefully plan the production process or do you work more intuitive?
I never work with actors and take a documentary approach when I’m filming. I have a general idea of how something will end up but then work intuitively in the edit.

How does the title relate to the work, and how do you find a fitting title?
Titles have always been important to my work - many years ago I used to think of myself as a text artist more than anything else.

Where do you get your ideas or inspiration from?
From other people, from looking at as much art as possible and from reading popular science books.

How important is sound in film, and if you use sounds, do you create your own or use existing?
Sound is always integral to my films but never as a sound-track that is added on post-production. Everything I’ve made has used live action or specially created audio that leads the work.

How does content relate to the form of your work?
I don’t think of myself as being a particularly formal artist so content tends to be everything for me.

What possibilities of the web are yet to be explored?
I really loved Life in a Day by Kevin MacDonald. I think it would be interesting to set up some sort of system where users across the web are generating content by uploading footage and some amazing digital algorithm is then editing the film live and streaming it to your screen - a film that could be constantly regenerating.

Did the web changed your view on art, or your career?
They’ve both grown up together so its hard to say. The web has definitely shaped it though.

Where would you place your work; cinema or art. And what is the difference between those according to you?
Art. I think the main difference between cinema and art is budgets and labour. In art you can make a work about a single idea if you like. Cinema has to sustain a large number of people’s interest for so long that I think it’s impossible to be so singular.

How influential is the reaction to your film by the audience?
I’m more influenced by the reactions of people I show stuff to while I’m making it.

What is your next project about?
At the moment I’m making a short animated self-portrait of myself singing The Internationale to camera, a capella. It’s called The Invisibles and should be finished by January 2012.

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