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<nettime> (No) Paris No Cry: Hans Ulrich Obrist interviewing Anri Sala
geert lovink on Sat, 28 Apr 2001 23:07:06 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> (No) Paris No Cry: Hans Ulrich Obrist interviewing Anri Sala


[The contemporary arts curator Hans Ulrich Obrist interviewing the
Albanian artist Anri Sala. Posted with permission on nettime. /geert]

(NO) PARIS NO CRY
HUO interviews ANRI SALA in Paris, November 2000

Hans Ulrich Obrist
... In a conference in Tokyo, the Japanese artist
Tsuyoshi Ozawa asked me when I last cried in an
exhibition, thinking it happens allot in the cinema,
in films like Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves and
so on... but quite rarely in exhibitions. We started
from there some weeks ago when we started the
interview but the camera did not work...

Anri Sala
And since that time I have been asking people the
question. For example, in Dancer in the Dark, people
responded that either they cried non-stop, or they saw
people crying in the cinema.  Each time I've been
inquiring why they cry, what specifically makes them
cry.  One of the answers I preferred, certainly
because it was in my interest to hear it, was that
"it's the camera, the movements of the camera, that
makes me cry, it's not the story".  Someone told me
that through to the 19th century people would cry in
front of a painting.   I haven't been able to verify
this part of the history of art, perhaps you know
more. Is it plausible?

HUO
Yes, allot, before the moving image.

AS
So what happened within one hundred years or even less
that people don't cry anymore?

HUO
It's shifted, they still cry, but they cry more in the
cinema.


AS
Yeah, so before they were crying in front of
paintings.

HUO
Yes.

AS
I can understand that people cry in movies, but I
dislike it when they cry for the wrong reasons.

HUO
You mentioned a story about tears...

AS
I was speaking with XXXXXX, whom you met yesterday,
and he saw La Dolce Vita a few days ago, and cried,
and said he was very happy not to have seen the film
before.  I think this is a case where someone cry's is
unconditioned; it's the work that makes you cry, it's
not because it's a film, and it's not because the
people tried everything possible to make you cry. I
mentioned to you these objects that I saw in Albania,
I believe they're of Illyrian and Roman origin, and
belong to the period before Jesus Christ.  They are
small  (I don't know how to describe it, so I just
draw it in front of the camera, like this, and this in
glass, although at that time glass wasn't very
transparent but still a little bit green.
Archaeologists found them in a dig; they were used
when someone died, only by the family of the deceased,
who would cry and pour the tears in there.  In Albania
we call it "Lotore", which comes from "tear", and in
Italian they call it Lacrimore or Lacrima, that which
has to do with Lacrima or tears. These tear-objects
gathered from the family would then be put into the
grave with the body.

HUO
Like a Warholian time capsule.

AS
The practice was stopped, as it didn't conform to the
Christian religion. Before the Christian era, these
mourners cried because they didn't believe the beloved
would enter into the next life, they believed this was
the end. In Zurich I found this book, "No drawing No
Cry", but I didn't get to have a good look at it, I
just saw three pages, including this hotel
stationery... Is it all like this?

HUO
Yes, it was Martin Kippenberger's last book.  He used
to do all these drawings on hotel paper, and then he
died, so the book is full of empty hotel paper from
all over the world ...No drawing, no cry. Last night I
saw for the first time your very first short film. So
to begin at the beginning, I thought you could talk
about how this film came about.

AS
This is the first thing I did when I came to Paris
four years ago, and nearly the first time I was
working with a computer program.  That was in 1997.
>From a turn-of-the-century photograph taken by an
Albanian photographer of Italian origin who
established himself in the North of Albania, in a town
called Shkodra. You can see from the photo that it was
taken at the beginning of the century in some part of
the Ottoman Empire, as Albania was part of this empire
at the time.  It was the first time a photographer's
studio appeared in this town, and they say people were
so surprised when they saw themselves on photographic
paper and so on.  In this photo you see three women,
two Muslims and one catholic, sewing with a sewing
machine. I prepared a fabric with Manet's  Le
Déjeuner sur l'herbe ...  It's just a joke about
taboos, especially taboos in Albania in relation with
this woman being naked, this foreign body... but also
about the first reaction to this painting when it was
first shown in Paris. So in the film's animation, the
women are sewing the painting in order to dress the
naked women as themselves, in traditional North
Albanian dress. It was a little bitter, not only about
the gap but also about the different contexts.

HUO
Have you always worked with photography and film? Did
you ever paint?

AS
I can show you photos of paintings I did from the time
I was ten years old in Albania. I did mainly painting
for a while, and then started making installations.
Then I came to Paris.  I didn't actually have an
interest in cinema.  I liked to watch movies though,
but in Albania you could only see Albanian, Vietnamese
or Indian movies and the like.  When I came to Paris,
I did first some animation also because I was just
amazed that I could work with a computer program and
animate photographs. The next thing I did was
Intervista, but when I made Intervista, I didn't know
I was making a movie. It was just in the nature of the
project to film what was happening with me and with
the voice... all this you can see in the film.  It was
afterward when I had to edit the video that I began to
realize it was becoming like a movie.

HUO
And that was the first moment you felt you were
becoming a moviemaker?

AS
Yes, when the rushes were all done and the movie was
already in the computer. The moment I was completely
sure is when I had to give it a title, and credits,
and to thank all those who helped me...

HUO
So it wasn't a conscious decision to become a video
artist or filmmaker, it just kind of happened.

AS
Yes.  I had become interested in researching this
interview with my mother...  I always become
interested in things before I know how I'm going to
handle them.  In the case of Intervista, I happened
that the way I thought to handle it was with a camera,
and I also learned allot doing Intervista, because
before making it I had only picked up a camera a few
times.

HUO
When you were a painter in Tirana, was there a
pre-occupation, or curiosity in, or obsession with
cinema?

AS
Curiosity in cinema was not proper to cinema. You know
in Albania you couldn't see everything, but you could
find things sous le manteau (underground).  If you
searched you could find books circulating illegally,
but only if you knew certain people, and if they
trusted you, because it was very dangerous for them
and for you.  You could find movies, but to see a tape
you need a VHS player, and this was not part of our
apartments as it is today.  So to see an illegal movie
was practically impossible. I remember one of the
first movies I saw when I had access to a VHS was A
Clockwork Orange. Some of the special things we could
see from the beginning were Chaplins movies like The
Dictator or Modern Times, which I find fantastic,
especially Modern Times, I really find it amazing, and
I still have the tape.  There are thirty seconds in
this movie where you understand what happened with the
art of the 1970s in America, or Pop Art. It's Chaplin
dreaming:  he¹s playing a guy in love with this girl
and they are starving, so they¹re dreaming.  In the
dream the man is leaving this nice, American-type
house and the wife is saying good-bye.  She is very
happy and runs after him and kisses him, dressed in a
polka dot dress like a Roy Lichtenstein painting.
When she re-enters the house, its just Pop, like the
promised life, incredible.  Subjectively, personally,
I find this the beginning of Pop Art.

HUO
Who are your other films heroes?  Films you saw over
and over again of that have influenced you.  I'm
interested in your musée imaginaire of moving images.

AS
I have to say I saw some Epstein films several times.

HUO
Also early on in Albania?

AS
No, here.  In Albania I saw fewer movies. There is a
place in Paris called La Bibliothèque du Film where
for one hundred francs a year you can go and see all
the films you wish.  I used to go there a lot my first
year in Paris, without really thinking about making
films.  I don't think I became interested in making
films by watching them.  I think it was because
somewhere I lost interest in painting, and because
video was a better way, a better medium to express
what I was feeling, my desires and what was important
to me.

HUO
Tell me about the origin of Intervista, as it really
was a chance encounter.

AS
I left Albania in 1996 and had been in Paris for one
year.  So in 1997 I went back to Albania for summer
holidays and saw my parents. They had moved into a
smaller house and asked me to sort out my things, to
go through the boxes and throw away what I didn't need
because there was not enough space. I came across this
16-mm thing in black plastic that I had never seen
before.  I later realized that it was my parents', but
they had forgotten about it.  They thought that
anything related to image, painting, photography, etc.
would have to be Anri's because he's the artist in the
family.

HUO
Great, so it was attributed it to you.

AS
I don't think they even looked at it, they just saw a
film and said "Anri", tubes of colour and said
"Anri"...  So I found this thing and that night I
looked at some of the frames and saw that it was
footage of my mother. Of course looking at it like
this was funny, I just saw it as photographs, I didn't
see the movie, so I didn't know what was happening as
the roll was quite long.  I got to see it only upon
returning to Paris after summer holidays, when I got
access to a 16-mm machine.  I realized it was an
interview with my mother, and afterward she was in a
congress with Enver Hoxha, who was dictator at the
time. That was a small surprise; I mean historically I
knew she had attended congresses so she might have met
politicians of the time.  But the thing was to see how
young she was!  She was about thirty, but when I found
it I was twenty-four and now she is fifty-three, so
thirty was much nearer to me than to her.  I found
that this image of her belonged much more to me, to my
age, to my moment, than to her age. So this was the
big surprise that moved something inside me and made
me curious to find the sound reel.  I had really hoped
to find the sound and not just the words, but as the
story turned out I couldn't find the sound so I went
to a school for deaf-mutes for help. I didn't imagine
it turning into a film at this point.  I just said,
well, I'm going back to Albania so I might as well
take a camera and shoot all this.

HUO
Whistler said, "art happens"; it's not necessarily a
prewritten program.

AS
The only thing I wrote before going there I didn't
really use. Once I found the words, I had the
subtitles. I wanted to remake this interview with my
mother, so I had prepared five questions to pose to
her, but you only find the first one in the film, as
the answer changes the following questions... But this
was the only thing I knew I was going to ask.
After doing this I had learned allot and became
interested in continuing, not the same experience or
same type of story, but continuing to learn about
making film.

HUO
What happened next in terms of genealogy?

AS
Nocturne was next. It was different. I knew I didn't
want to make a film in Albania because I wanted to try
something more challenging; somehow it's easy to find
a subject and to work in your own place. And I had the
possibility to make a 16-mm film so why not try it?
With Intervista as I said I didn't know I was making a
movie, and I didn't know how to shoot, everything just
happened like that. So after finishing the Intervista
video I wanted to make something where I could control
the image.  As I came from painting, the frame, the
composition of each scene was important to me, and I
think it came with Nocturne. Once more it is a real
story with two real characters but I could decide much
more how I wanted to film it; the image was much more
important this time.

HUO
Less improvisation, less chance, less randomness...

AS
Improvisation remained, with the young military man
for example, as until the end I didn't know if he
would even come or if he would let me film him. And
improvisation comes sometimes from constraints, for
example the fact that I could shoot only his hands, or
his legs, not his face. This was a constraint that
pushed me toward improvisation. Afterward I did a
documentary on a French artist's exhibition in Tirana
where the subject could be much more ordinary. I found
it very difficult to make something out of an
exhibition.  What was interesting for me was to have
the French artist going to Albania, his works
confronting another context, people there visiting the
exhibition, people who I know, who were my professors
and sometimes references at the time. Now me being
between these two things: him and them. It seemed much
like an art history fairy-tale.

HUO
With Intervista you reconstituted a missing voice so
to speak, and Nocturne is nearly the opposite, a weird
sort of loss of voice, or inability or resistance to
communicate which you can also see in your Uomoduomo.
It starts in Nocturne with the fact that the two
protagonists do not meet, and continues in Uomodomo
where in the end there remains no one to communicate,
which is sort of Thomas Bernhard or Samuel
Beckett-like solitude or silence.

AS
In Intervista I am showing the story as it happens to
me: what you see is what I saw. In Nocturne that's not
it:  what you see is what I show. Intervista is more
personal and could be very dangerous politically, all
this dealing with the past and the truth and so on,
but if you don't believe the story at least you can
believe the character, who in this case was my mother,
and I think there it works. But to believe the story
of this young military guy?!  I don't show him, I
don't prepare the story, I don't search for him; he is
just there from the beginning, and he becomes
credible.

HUO
How did you meet him?

AS
I arrived in Tourcoing, a small town in the north of
France where the Fresnoy school is, and I was trying
to meet people because I knew nobody. And as I told
you before I wanted to make a film in France, and the
only possibility was to make the film there where I
was living, so I needed to meet people, to meet
stories, to understand a little bit where I was to be
living. It was very strange; by night for example it
was very strange because the streets are so empty.

HUO
There also reigns a sort of sadness; it's sort of a
depressed place.

AS
However the people are very interesting and very nice.
 A friend of mine introduced me to two people.  The
guy with the fish told me so many incredible things
among these fish, and the way he talks about them is
very subtle.

HUO
Who is he?  Is he an artist?

AS
He worked in cinema making decors, where he earned
quite and bit and did quite well.  He was in high
demand, but stopped that line of work and decided to
live with the fish because he found he was becoming
too professional. He used to work in Paris.

HUO
The film is about two forms of refusal to communicate.
There is a desire for dialogue but at the same time a
refusal to communicate.

AS
When people see this film they say "Oh my god this is
interesting, those people are so crazy", but I don't
think those people are crazy at all. You can see they
like to speak, they would like to have a dialogue, but
at the same time don't feel easy speaking with
everyone, and don't fit well within the community
where they live. In the rushes he said something
interesting; when he came back from this war, it was
impossible for him to wear jeans because he was used
to military dress, so the first two months he still
wore military clothes. Ordinary conversation, "ça va
ta femme? how is your wife? etc." seemed alien to him
as he was accustomed to talking about war, the
snipers, the dead people. There were no wives or
family relations in their discussions. But when people
see the film, not everybody believes in this story,
and I can tell you not everyone would believe his
story if you told it at the dinner table. What helped
me to make this film is that I believed in his story.
We spent a lot of time together and I also told him
stories I knew from Albania that were violent, maybe
not that violent but where someone died in the end.
You can't take and not give.
And the voice thing is true; it's very important to
Uomoduomo that there is no sound, because it makes you
wonder if even the image will crash in a minute.

HUO
No image no cry

AS
(laughs)

HUO
It s also interesting in terms of the electronic
billboards in Seoul to which you recently consented,
and them having no sound, due to the car culture there
(whereas in Tokyo the billboards have sound).  Seoul
has a kind of Blade Runner or apocalyptic
technological futuristic ambiance that has become the
present with all of these electronic billboards or
video screens in the streets, but at the same time
it's very interesting that their silence brings them
back to low-tech or Charlie Chaplin.

AS
Driving by you can also see the different
possibilities of having the sound, for example on your
car radio, but what makes it so interesting is that
there is a final choice made to have no sound.  In my
rushes there is sound, but after Seoul I had to decide
what would happen with the video, and decided not to
include the sound anymore.

HUO
How did you meet Uomoduomo?

AS
I was in Milan, where I actually went to work on
another project that would take more time, and would
go every day to the Duomo. I saw this man there twice,
but I always had the camera with me, a small camera
like yours, I had to be discreet.  It's very difficult
because everybody is like this [makes a gesture] and
because in the cathedral there is a part where
everyone can enter and sit but you must be careful
because people may be praying. Everybody is facing the
front of the church, like the Uomoduomo, so it's very
difficult because I had to be facing the people to
film him.

HUO
Did he realize you were shooting him?

AS
No.

HUO
Was he there every day?

AS
I saw him twice, two days in the five days I was
there.

HUO
There are strange people that inhabit public spaces.
Since I live near Stalingrad, whenever I take an train
or a plane (I catch the RER) I always pass by the Gare
du Nord, and there is one woman who is permanently
standing at the corner there by the pharmacy, everyday
from 6:30-7:00 am to midnight, every day, even if it
is snowing or raining. It's really scary.


AS
And there is also a woman in Les Halles, a black
woman; you see her when you go in through the main
entrance where you by tickets.  She spends her entire
day cleaning the glass there.

HUO
Shes not employed to do the work?

AS
No, and it's open place, public glass, it's not her
property, but still she has a strong relationship of
belonging with it. She is like your character. I
remember seeing her there four years ago when I came
to Paris and she is still there now.

HUO
There is also this person that used to be in at Cafe
Carette at Trocadero who was waiting for this
appointment who never arrived.  She would sit at the
table all day long, occasionally walking out and
asking if the appointment had arrived.  The first time
you didn't notice anything unusual, you would just
think she is waiting for an appointment, and then you
realize it's a loop kind of thing.  That's why I
thought Uomoduomo was Beckett like.

AS
And you know Beckett was one of the most fashionable
and popular playwrights in Albania in the 1990s.  The
first plays you had right after the communist and
socialist plays were Beckett and Ionesco.


HUO
Once communism was gone...

AS
Beckett came in.
I think it has a lot to do with this waiting for
something.

HUO
So in a sense you would agree that Uomoduomo has a
Beckett undercurrent?

AS
Yes, there is at least a feeling like this.

HUO
What is your unrealised project? This is the one
question I ask in every interview: is there any
project that is too utopian or too microscopic or too
big to be built, or that you have too long forgotten?

AS
For the moment I have several projects I would like to
realize, but I dont know which will be the unlucky
one. There is a project we had in Albania ten years
ago which we loved and which we never realized. In
Albania there are 600,000 bunkers. They are
everywhere: on the land, in the mountains, in the
villages, in the towns...  it looks like an
attraction. So with friends from the Academy of Fine
Arts at the time we painted three or four.  We enjoyed
it, but it was expensive to buy the colours, so we
dreamed up a project to find sponsors in Europe or the
States to help us.  We would paint a bunker, make a
very good photo of it and sell it to a family abroad,
and call it "this family's bunker".  The family would
pay just enough to buy the colour to paint another
bunker. There are 600,000 of them but we still
believed we could start it; we wanted to do it but
never did.

HUO
Having 600,000 families or individuals making a
donation would cover all the bunkers in Albania.

AS
It was about finding people to adopt a bunker -- each
would cost around 200 or 300 FF in paint. We asked
ourselves how they should be painted. Should we paint
them so that one could see them from a plane or should
we paint them in a way so that people passing by would
see them?  It was difficult to choose, because if you
want to make them pleasing to people passing by in the
fields or the streets you have to use lots of colours.

HUO
At the same time there is the idea that the whole
country would become a painting. This leads me to
another question in terms of cities.  In previous
discussions you told me allot about Tirana, it's urban
structure and tissue and how it works and so on. We
have also talked about Lille, and now the interview is
taking place in Paris. Could you talk about these
migrations and how cities have influenced the way you
work?  And about Tirana as an urban space, and Paris
as an urban space...  in how far Paris may have
changed the way you work. This could then lead in to
your telling me about your current projects in Paris.

AS
When I came to France I spent the first two years
mostly in Paris, so Lille is not a town in which I
really lived: I slept allot in Lille but I didn't
spend a lot of time there.
Paris and Tirana:  the most interesting thing for me,
and I can really just keep this to myself, is the big
sensation I get arriving in one city from the other. I
spend six or eight months in Paris and just one month
in Tirana, or one year in Paris and two weeks in
Tirana, all this just to have this big sensation of
one day when the plane is landing, the day I arrive at
home in Tirana and the first day I'm walking down the
street...  you have all these eight months of Paris
clashing with these three weeks of Tirana, but knowing
that these three weeks in Tirana are not alone because
it's really twenty-four years of Tirana coming back.
What's interesting is to see what is in the minority
now -- is it Paris or is it Tirana?

HUO
In terms of language.

AS
In terms of language it's very interesting.  Lots of
things are still easier to say in Albanian, others are
easier to write in English, and other things to say or
to write in French. Very often when I¹m writing for
myself I begin in Albanian, continue in English and
end up in French.  It depends on what I'm saying and
wh
ich period it concerns.  For example, if I write
about something that happened fifteen years ago it's
much easier in Albanian. If I write down an idea that
concerns me now or that I've had in the last few years
it's probable I will write it in French, but there are
no rules.

HUO
I always have the feeling that when I'm in Paris I
must speak English, as to live in Paris and speak
French entails a risk of assuming a new identity.
Already going from my native German to English I was
always afraid of this necessity to give up identity,
or to make fluid identity (to leave German and to
enter French). So it's this idea of permanently
escaping identity. Speaking English in Paris or French
in London suits me better than speaking French in
Paris.

AS
This is a right idea, although most of the time I
speak french when in Paris because it's difficult to
speak English with people.  When I came to Paris four
years ago I didn't speak French and it was very
difficult to make friends.

HUO
Paris has changed in these regards since the arrival
of Internet....

AS
Yes, but meanwhile I have changed quicker because I
learned French
(laughs).
Where is Tirana or where is Paris?  We often forget
that a city is always linked to its geography, at the
base of a mountain or on either side of a river.  You
forget about this when you live in a town, at least I
do because I so seldom leave the Paris to go to the
provinces, and although I know Albania better, lately
when I go to Tirana I rarely go out to the villages. I
go Tirana-plane-Paris, Paris-plane-Tirana, so I forget
the relation it has with the rural landscape, with the
people living in villages.  I accept to live through
cities but at the same time I think it's not right at
all, so I can't give you any good ideas, because allot
of what goes into making a city comes from outside the
city, something I don't know very well.

HUO
An inside-outside flux?  Countryside-city relation?

AS
Yes. Ten years ago Tirana had 300,000 inhabitants and
now it has about 800,000, nearly three times more.

HUO
That's similar to an Asian condition; that's like
China.

AS
And all this because people came from the north and
from the south into Tirana.  This changes a city and
the way people use the city:  the preferences, which
streets, which squares are used by which inhabitants,
who is spending lots of time in this other square...,
dividing the city in different communities.

HUO
Your work in Tirana has been largely biographical.
What about Paris?
Does the city enter your work?  I'm trying to
determine in how far the site or the city affects your
work, ... lead to your new portraits?

AS
I've never filmed in Paris, it's incredible.

HUO
I saw you film in Seoul, but I never saw you film in
Paris.

AS
And Byrek was filmed in Brussels.

HUO
Could you speak about Byrek?  It begins with a recipe,
no?

AS
My grandmother sent me a letter in March of this year
in which she is preoccupied with my health. She wanted
me to eat better, to cook for myself and not to rely
on sandwiches and the like. So she sent me this recipe
for Byrek, but it's incredibly difficult to make this
thing, as you see in the video.  So, because I can
never make Byrek myself, my reaction was to make a
video about making Byrek. In fact my first reaction
was to write text, which you see projected like a
slide, where I remember everything relating to Byrek
and my grandmother. Writing the text I realized also
how weird this Byrek story was, because normally when
you make Byrek you take a bowl of flour and water and
it can become very big.  But my family's Byrek
developed in the opposite direction over time:  in the
beginning we were five, so it was big like this, then
my sister left and it became smaller, now my
grandmother is too old so she can't do it anymore.
What you see in the film is an old Albanian woman
making the same recipe in the same traditional way,
but in Brussels.  It made no sense to go to Tirana as
my grandmother can't make it anymore, so rather than
going all the way to Tirana it was easier for me to
find this woman in Brussels.

HUO
But it's not Paris; it's Brussels, that's interesting.
 Why do you think you never filmed in Paris?

AS
I don't know.  Maybe it's related to the language
thing. I can more or less understand my place in
Tirana and in Albania and relate it to my identity.
Then there are places like Milan or Brussels where
I've never lived, just spent a few days, and in one
day I can construct my own space and time there
without finding an identity related to the town.  In
Italy I speak English, I can't speak Italian, but in
France I speak French -- I am trying to construct some
kind of identity here, which is difficult and not
clear at all, and which makes it difficult to shoot
here.

HUO
Unless you would speak English.

AS
Maybe if start speaking English I can start filming in
Paris.  I'm sure it has something to do with this, is
related to language, but I would like to think it over
and find a better way to explain it. Going out with a
camera in Seoul is much easier to me than going out
with a camera in Paris or Tirana because the
involvement in the last case is much deeper.

HUO
You mentioned doing a diary in New York.

AS
I've never been to New York, and I received this prize
that enables me to go and use material there and to
rent a car and everything.  But to go to New York is
complicated, and takes time to get a visa and so on.
You always go somewhere because you have an idea:
either you go there and you find it or ... I mean it's
difficult to go somewhere you've never been where you
know so few people and to go there with an idea.  I
just want to use this possibility of 100 meters of
film and three days of car rental and two days of
editing but I have no idea what to do there.

Lots of Albanians of my age went to the States to
study, and to them New York was a city to begin a new
life, full of challenges, full of wishes. The only
idea that occurs to me for the moment is to go there
and write wishes on small pieces of paper and just
hide them in buildings. This is something I used to do
when I was a small child, six or seven years old:
write a name on a piece of paper that I found
somewhere that I thought would bring me luck, and hide
it. The name was "Abalabala". It was easy to hide
things in Tirana because buildings were decrepit and
full of holes, perfect for hiding things.  But I
imagine New York to be like what I see in post cards:
I have the impression the buildings are so flat and
well built; it must be difficult to hide things.

HUO
It could be about this paradox.

AS
You could have this (same) wish on a piece of paper
and you don't know where to hide it.

HUO
Yoko Ono did a " Wish Tree " in the 1960s.

AS
I don't know this piece. Are they written wishes?

HUO
Yes, hung on a tree.  But this is more exposing them
than hiding them. The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem of
course has to do with hiding things.

AS
I have never seen it, but my mother was there six
months ago and said she put wishes inside for each
member of the family.  But I don't know how it's done
there; do you write them on a piece of paper?

HUO
Yes, then you either fold it or roll it...

AS
... and you hide it.  It would be incredible to go and
see what happens to the written wish.  Anyway, this
was just a small idea of mine for going to New York
and using the materials.  I could go to New York for
one week and just hide the wishes, or I could also
think about returning later to see if they are still
there and what happened to them.  At the same time
it's difficult for me; I don't know what I'd wish!  I
was speaking about this yesterday with Caroline and
Nathanaël, that wishes and desires are difficult to
find.

HUO
When Jonas Mekas arrived in New York, he wrote, " I
had nowhere to go, just started filming a sort of
diary". Are people like Mekas or Van der Keken
important for you?

AS
In the first film I saw by Mekas, he was filming snow
in a park or I don't know where, and I think it was
later in the film he said he kept filming and filming
in New York and suddenly he realized that looking at
the rushes nobody could say this was filmed in New
York. He realized that what he was filming in New York
was similar to Lithuania. Without knowing it he was
trying to find a little bit of Lithuania in New York,
and was filming something that no one could identify
as New York.

HUO
The audience expects to see Mekas in New York finding
Lithuania in New York, the same with Vanderquaken in
Amsterdam, a kind of city loop.

AS
In Amsterdam I saw an Ulay exhibition, and there were
these photographs in the market. Did you see them?

HUO
Yes.

AS
It also makes me think about this film Amsterdam
Global Village.

HUO
Are there any other important or burning issue we
haven't spoken about?

AS
I will have to think later about why I haven't filmed
in Paris...  This was something constructive we talked
about. For me it's much more interesting because now I
have to find an answer.
Until now in this Paris & me thing there was no
camera, so no image... no sound.... no cry...

HUO
"No Paris No Cry"

AS
I think it's not "No Paris No Cry", it's "Paris No Cry".





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