While this writer was in France, we got the chance to chat with the filmmaker/animator, Camille Henrot. The Parisian's wacky, surrealist sensibilities have been behind such music videos as Principles of Geometry's “A Mountain for President”, Joakim's “Lonely Hearts,” and many more.
With a slew of exhibits and installations in the works or coming up in 2009, though, Henrot has made it clear that she doesn't specialize only in the music video world. Read on as pick the artist's brain a little.
Can you bring me up to speed with what you are working on at the moment?
I am working on my next exhibition which will be a solo show at Kamel Mennour gallery in March, 2009 based around a film I shot in Cairo, Egypt at the archeological site Saquara.
The whole exhibition will be about the present as what we have kept and what we have buried of the past, and what will remain of the present as we build the future, the relationships between what we call a “developed country” and an “underdeveloped country,” this idea of historical evolution as a motor for society…
I am also working on an adaptation of the installation “Choral Karaoke” that I did with Joakim for the Nuit Blanche [a Parisian art festival], for an event that will take place in Brazil.
What draws you to animation and video?
I have always drawn a lot so when I went to ENSAD (Ecole National des Arts Decoratif) in Paris, I knew I wanted to study animation because I could learn new techniques but keep drawing, too. Later, I became interested in mixing real images with animation because for me fantasy and reality, sensuality and rationality, are always synchronous. Doing music videos was a way to recreate the freedom of ambition that cinema had at its beginnings (with for example the french “avant garde” of Jean Epstein, Abel Gance, Germaine Dulac, Fernand Leger).
Have you or which music videos have you worked on?
The first one was “Hey Bonus!” for the band Octet (Diamondtraxx). Then I did several music videos for French singers Ben Ricour (Warner) [and] Bastien Lallement (Tot Ou Tard).
And lately I did the video for Joakim's “Lonely Hearts” from the album Monsters And Silly Songs. It is made up of edits from different wedding films… it was very interesting to do and I also did the video for “A Mountain For President” for Principles Of Geometry (Tigersushi). We just put a video camera on the handlebars of a motorbike riding around a mountain road very fast as the sun rose, then simple colored basic geometric shapes emerge in a subliminal fashion from the center of the image, disturbing the sensation of space and speed and reminding the viewer of the two dimensional nature of the image.
Who is someone you respect and would like to work with on a project?
I'd like to work on a project with David Byrne; I've always liked his music and also when i saw his installation “Playing The Building” in N.Y. in August I was amazed.
Any plans for the U.S.?
Yes―making a science fiction film in Hollywood!
I'd love to do some projects in the U.S. Like a lot of people around the world, American culture in cinema, music, and art has had a great influence on me, especially American experimental cinema (Anger, Warhol, Mekas).
What is in the works for Camille Henrot in 2009?
Solo show at Kamel Mennour in March.
A solo show at Centre d'Art Le Lait in Albi in the south of France in May (lasting all summer).
A commissioned work of photography and video about the “double culture” in France for the French Ministry of Culture.
And I will be showing Choral Karaoke in Curitiba, Florianópolis and Porto Alegre in Brazil.