Lisa Vinebaum - Blow up

3:45, 2006, Narrative
Blow up is an experimental work of narrative fiction. It is a thematically and visually challenging artist’s video that grapples with the complex subject of urban/Western suicide terrorism, cultural and religious identity and otherness, the traumatic aftermath of events such as 9/11 and 7/7, and the dangerous consequences of the war on terror.

Filmed on a mobile phone, blow up draws its visual inspiration and aesthetic from the haunting images captured on mobile phones by victims of the July 7th London bombings.
DirectorLisa Vinebaum


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Who is Lisa Vinebaum?
I am an interdisciplinary artist from Montreal, living and working in London. I work with video, digital imaging, performance and installation. I’m doing a PhD at Goldsmiths, on the cultural and ideological implications of the digital dissemination of images arising from the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

Why filmmaking?
I have a strong interest in narrative, and especially non-linear narratives. We used stop-motion animation in grade school and I was hooked from then on. I’ve always been interested in the moving image and in how images are put together as sequences. More than anything I really love the editing process.

Your film is about...
I moved to London exactly one week after 9/11 and never really processed how much it affected me, until the attacks on London happened last July. I live close to Aldgate station and was pretty freaked out by the bombings, and the film was a way to try to process what I was feeling, which was a lot of fear and anger. So I created a character who blows herself up in a mosque. Ultimately the film is about fear of the “Other” and the extremes that can occur in this climate of fear that’s being created under the guise of the war on terror. But at the same time, my film is also a neighbourhood story, it’s a story about dislocation and living in surroundings that you don’t really fit into or understand.

Financing your movie?
I filmed my project on a mobile phone so it cost nothing. I did the voice-over and editing at the digital media lab at Goldsmiths. I’m especially grateful to Tolga Saygin for technical support.

New Media; a challenge for film makers?
I think new media is fantastic, I’m a huge fan. I use whatever media are appropriate to what I want to make. I wish I had more technical skills with regard to mobile and web technologies. Some new media is overrated but I also think that a lot of traditional media (for lack of a better word) suffer from the same pitfalls, that is, poor production values. A lot of artists discredit new media art as being all technology and not art – but painting and photography are also based on technology, on chemistry... Everything was once “new” media. New media offers incredible possibilities — especially for dissemination (the web, mobiles, video/podcasting, etc) and for collaboration, research and networking. As someone whose practice is cross-media, I’m all for hybridity in art/film, projects that combine new and “traditional” media, collaborations across media.

Do your films have style, just as some painters have?
I wouldn’t say I have a style... I use my own footage as well as found footage from Hollywood films. My style is more of a thematic one; I tend to deal with issues of identity and subjectivity, with destabilizing historical and political narratives. I think some of my work could be described as confrontational in its style whether visually or thematically.

It’s hard to name one but: Kathy Acker, Charles Bukowski and Frederick Wiseman... Also Bill Viola’s early work.

Which film related websites do you frequent?
I don’t really, except for www.dvblog.org. I spend more time on new media art sites. Rhizome.org is an incredible resource; I visit www.mediamatic.net, www.furtherafield.org, networked performance, and some online new media journals on a regular basis. Also www.newsgrist.typepad.com is one of my favourite sites.

Individual film making or co-operation?
I tend to work individually with technical support as needed. I mostly shoot and edit my own footage — I don’t really work with actors or anything. My “collaborations” consist of spending time with other artists and seeing/talking about work, and sometimes, collective exhibition projects – I’d say that creates a larger critical context for what I do. A lot of my work comes out of my academic research. I would like to collaborate more – but I also love spending hours at a time by myself obsessively editing video or working in photoshop.

Your plans and dreams...
I’m very interested in interactive video – in non-linear narratives that use database technologies to allow the viewer to experience the work in a more engaged way. I’d like to make an interactive video project in the near future.

Digital or classic?
Digital, definitely, but with a soft spot for super 8, I like cutting and splicing but it’s been a while. I have a mini-DV camera and am hoping to go HD at some point.

View other work
I’m participating in the European Media Art Festival, Site06 Festival, Her Shorts (USA), and the Athens Video Art Festival. I recently showed work at Exploding Cinema (London), Videonale (Berlin), Videoformes (France), and at the Bangkok Experimental Film Festival.

All other remarks
Thanks for reading what I have to say. Enjoy the festival.

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