Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ
Q. As an artist what made you choose moving images?
I work mainly with moving images, but my practice is not just limited to video, it also falls into the performing arts fields and photography as well. Regarding video, it is a medium that gives me the possibility to move my studio directly on the field depending on the subject I’m working on. I don’t have a fixed space to work, and this allows me to work in a variety of spaces. I work with digital movies, so they don’t occupy big amount of space and I can carry it with me everywhere in my pocket.
I’m interested in using video because I can create complex and grand situations that will become just light projections at the end. I love the way video is, in a way, not physical.
Q. How have you evolved as an artist in this medium since you began?
I started working on video art in a very different way from the contemporary use of videos. My first videos were longer. And I used voiceovers as a narrative way to give a chronological development of the subject. In my last video I reduced the length of the footage for different reasons: Firstly, I’m not interested anymore in chronological narration but I prefer to work on the power of the image itself.
The second reason is that I understood that the spectator, unfortunately, has not much time to spend in an art visit, for lots of reasons. So I decided that if I’d like to communicate through moving image, I’d need to reduce time in favour of the construction of images.
Anyway, behind the scenes of my short movies there are very complex and long situations.
For example in the video that I’ll first present in Sunaparanta, 55, the total bonfire duration was around three-four hours of set, and the development of the project was around four months, but only one minutefifty three seconds was selected for public presentation. All the rest is a kind of secret between me and those who worked with me.
Q. Why do you choose to use artificial scenarios and recreate scenes to express your way of art?
Since I don’t have my own studio I create momentary situations that become my momentary studio. I believe that my need to create artificial and surreal scenarios is somehow a necessity linked to the lack of a fixed place to create my works of art. In the absence of this place I prefer to work with imaginaries that push the boundaries of reality and fiction. In this way my studio one day can be an empty museum, as my work titled ‘Presente’, a burned house, an aquarium of fish and marine organisms or a taxidermy study or a natural history museum.
Q. Your interest lies in exploring animal domestication as a means of human domination. Tell us more about this.
I think humans need to create a relationship with animal and nature as a way to survive in our world. We need to build the world where we’ll live. So, humans need to create an artificial environment to live. And this possibility is given by nature. Natural phenomena such as lightening, storms, hurricanes have activated in man the need for control over them, leading to the construction of the first shelters. Man does not adapt to the world but adapts the world according to
The absence of specialised bodies has put man in a situation of insufficiency with respect to the environment that welcomes him in his coming to the world, thus activating the need to make the rough world a comfortable habitat for his life. If we start looking at our morphology, we will realise that as humans, we are not biologically complete. We are born without fundamental abilities – we need to make clothes to protect ourselves from nature (the weather), to build weapons to defend ourselves. We are unable to live without culture. And our culture depends on our capacity to dominate nature. Therefore man has shaped the world by making all environments habitable. Man dominates the world.
I’m interested in why man dominates nature: for survival.
Q. Tell us a bit about the work we will get to see here at Sunaparanta?
‘55’ is a video project created for a group show in Milan, the place where I used to live in Italy. The group show was organised by Galleria Continua and the project was kindly supported by Marina Nissim, a wonderful Italian woman that collect art and support young artists.
The video-set was done in the Tuscan hills near San Gimignano, the city where Galleria Continua was born. With the help of the scenographer Alberto Favretto, we worked on the construction of a wood sculpture of four cubic meters: the shape of a house with a single door and a single window. The video was shot in the middle of the night immersing the harmonious Tuscan landscape in the dark. The original necessity of the project was in fact to investigate the bonfire as a source of light and at the same time as a destructive energy, suspending the subject in a neutral, indefinite space. The sculpture was illuminated by the same light that was destroying it. As the flames flared up, the figure became visible to the chamber but in this passage it slowly disappeared, subtracted from the same light. I hope 55 will light up a whole evening at Sunaparanta and the people there.