Fedele Spadafora - The underground project

7:30, 2010, Video Art
THE UNDERGROUND PROJECT is a New York City/Berlin-based art project that aims to bring people together to investigate human behavior in the underground transit systems of cities around the world. Using video created from still photography as our medium, the project strives to capture the chaotic interactions and intimate moments of anonymous individuals who all share the same immediate goal: catching the next train.
What happens between people - their expressions, moods, and stories - is left up to the subjective interpretation of the audience. The execution of the project, the actual creation of the individual frames, is purely accidental as we use total objectivity in capturing the frames. The stories are simply that which unfolds in the brief space of time as we shoot at a specific underground station in a specific city. The rhythm of action comes like waves as trains arrive and leave the station causing crowds of commuters to suddenly come alive like water boiling in a kettle.
DirectorFedele Spadafora And Stefanie SchairerProducerFedele Spadafora And Stefanie SchairerWriterFedele Spadafora And Stefanie SchairerCameraFedele Spadafora, Stefanie Schairer, Margery Newman, Lilian Radovac, Nicola PellegriniEditorFedele Spadafora CrewLilian Radovac
Margery Newman
Wendy Umanoff
Jeanhee Kim
Spencer Sunshine
Nike Forsander Lorentsen
Helena Todd
Gergely Markó
Krisztian Dombrad

CountryUSAEdition2009 ScreeningsNovember 2009, Visions in New York City

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Who are Fedele Spadafora and Stefanie Schairer?

They are both individual artists. Independent of each other they practice painting. Fedele’s paintings focus on realism while Stephanie’s are abstract. The collaboration between these two artists is in the video realm where they bring their different perspectives and approaches together. At the moment Fedele is living in New York and Stefanie in Berlin.

Your film is about?

The Underground Project demonstrates the chaotic dynamics of human behaviour in underground transit stations all over the world. Our video shows intimitate moments of anonymous individuals who all share the same immedieate goal: catching the next train. Is an ongoing project. We are still collecting material and invite people to participate, for more information go to http://fedelespadafora.arloartists.com/portfolios/656-the-underground-project

How did you start with film? And do you have an educational background in art or film?

The idea for the film started unexpectedly in Berlin when Fedele and Stephanie were waiting for a train at the Alexanderplatz subway station. They began fooling around with a digital camera and the first installment of the The Underground Project was created that day.

Could you explain how you work, what themes or concepts and what is important to you?

Our aim is to show what happens between people and their expressions, moods, and stories. These details are important to us. We create a system for capturing footage that allows us to be as objective as possible, so that the audience when presented with the video can create their own stories and explanations for behaviors.
Another important aspect of The Underground Project is that it is participatory and so we have pieces that we have collected from around the world from a variety of people. Our instructions are minimal to allow a degree of creativity for the participants.

Where do you get your ideas or influences from?

In our video work it just happens.

How does the title relate to the work, and how do you find a fitting title?

Subways - underground - THE UNDERGROUND PROJECT

How does content relate to the form of your work?

All individuals seen on our project are there by chance, never by invitation, so our resulting video allows the viewers to invent their own explanations for the behavior, they will see in the video. We don’t use a video camera to generate our footage material because we wish to avoid a giving the project a documentary character. Using video created from still photography brings the project into the territory that exists between the real and the ethereal.

How important is sound in film, and if you use sounds, do you create your own or use existing?

With sound the stories become more intense and lively. The audience gets more engaged with the sound of voices. We use sounds from different sources, the voices are of people Stefanie has invited to speak and record there thoughts as the watch footage. Fedele is the mixing it together and producing our sound. The thoughts are recorded from people in Berlin and NYC.

How do you finance your projects (by yourself, sponsors or subsidy)?

At the moment we are financing The Underground Project ourselves, but sponsors are very welcome, especially for our next project.

Nowadays everyone with the right equipment can create videoart, good, bad or ugly?

Stefanie: Your need good ideas and creativity. Fedele: Its good, but in the end it depends on the quality of the idea. I don’t think you you need the best equipment if the idea is strong.

What possibilities of the web are yet to be explored? Which dangers do you see ahead?

Stefanie: I don’t know at the moment, the development is that fast...but I know, I want to be controlled as less as possible....
Fedele: I think there are always people that are going find new things to do with the web. I think the web is great but I am trying to watch it less and less because its also a big waste of time.

Video broadcasting platforms on the internet, why or why not?

Stefanie: It’s a good instrument, that people know more about our work and we know more about the work of others. People all over the world are able to participate and it doesn’t cost a lot of money. Just one disadvantage we don’t get a feedback, emontions directly from the audience, so it is more anonymous.
Fedele: Its good for more people to see more material and not have to pay but it will never be the same as watch something in a theater. Totally different kind of energy.

In what category would you place your work; cinema or art. And is there a difference between those?

THE UNDERGROUND PROJECT is a piece of artwork that could be screened screen in the cinema, but also in a gallery. The form changes from situation to situation. It could be display on one screen or on many screens at once. We adjust the presentation according to the venue and audience.

How important is the reaction to your film by the audience?

Stefanie: I like to have the reaction live, for me it’s an interesting moment, when people are stimulated about what they saw, it’s more honest, maybe....

What is your next project about?

We will start a project called: Visions in Africa, therefore we need sponsors and money. We want to create a work about daily life in Africa, with artists, and nonartists. Another participatory project

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