The John Tusa Interviews
Transcript of the John Tusa Interview with Michal Rovner
It's the people that memorise you, continuous lines of people, trudging endlessly, hopelessly perhaps, through a bleak, bare landscape. The four walls of a gallery room are covered with this image of humanity walking to... what? Well this is only one of the abiding images created by the artist Michal Rovner . Her mainly video installations at the Israeli Pavilion were widely hailed as one of the highlights of this year's Venice Biennale, and they included a series of oval forms like scientists' petri dishes, in which human figures grouped and re-grouped as if themselves the subject of scientific experimentation. Michal Rovner is Israeli by birth, but works in New York . Her constant journeying across the Atlantic , gathering her material in Europe and Israel but creating it in New York , gives her a bi-cultural dimension that she regards as essential to her creativity. She makes her effects through multiple processing of the basic images - for example, starting with the polaroid frame of an event or place on location, re-shooting that frame in the laboratory, processing that re-shot frame, often adding colours. At the end Rovner has created an image several degrees removed from the actual reality she started with, yet retaining a haunting familiarity with it. She quotes Giacometti approvingly: 'Has the artist erased enough data?' And she doesn't only study people. The way birds swarm and turn in flocks, swimmers floating in the Dead Sea , or an unflinching study of an isolated tin house in the desert - all these have come under Michal Rovner 's intense, laser-like scrutiny.
Now you're not a photographer by training, you began life as a dancer.
I began life as a baby, actually. At some point yes I was a dancer, for a few years.
Was that important to you?
It was very important to me. I witnessed my ambition for the first time.
And you were surprised by it?
I was. I was willing to do a lot for it, as a huge effort that I was willing to take. I had that purpose that I believed in, because I was not, never a good student in, in school or, you know that kind of external evaluation or, or recognition. At that point it never was important for me, but in terms of the ambition it was more an inner stage that I placed myself.
But dancing itself wasn't sufficiently interesting to keep you involved?
Maybe I would have probably kept dancing for longer, except I had to go to the army.
Because you were...
You are an Israeli.
I am an Israeli, still, yes.
Still if you'd been really interested in dancing, you would have gone back to it after the army wouldn't you?
Probably. But you know you, it's always, you know the, the reason is some kind of a thread, and when you cut it, sometimes in a new unit of time you lose something, you lose something of that process. So I began a new process.
Then in 1977 when you were just twenty-eight, you started photographing your own farmhouse very very intensively, almost making it look like a, like a human being, like a face. What, what drove you to do that?
It started after a period of nearly two years, where I completely lost interest in taking pictures. And that object, item, you know it was for me so reduced and so dense at the same time that it contained so much for me, that I didn't even want to verbalise exactly what it was. But I just, I just knew it. And later on the actual house that I did go back to take pictures of again and again and again was another one, which was on the road somewhere in the desert.
This is a deserted Bedouin house?
It, I don't know how deserted it was but definitely did not look like it was in any interaction with any person, and from the angle that I saw it from the first time it had no doors, no windows, and it, it did look very much like an arche, archetypal house, almost like the idea of a house that you would find in a dictionary, sort of the most basic form of it. And at the same time it had a great enigma because there were no doors, no door, no windows, it, so it looked very sealed.
And it was in the middle of absolutely nothing?
Nothing, yeah, that nothing's it. For me it's sort of a very satisfying landscape, sort of if you would, if I would be given that landscape I would say that my plate is full rather than it, than empty. But one would call it, somebody else could call it nothing.
And you studied both these houses. In the case of your own house of course it had life in it because it had light coming out of windows, light coming out of doors, it looks like an animated face. In the case of the Bedouin house it has none of these things, just floats mysteriously in this extraordinary blank, or, as you say, inhabited landscape. What... what did you learn from this intensive process of looking at these two houses?
I, I don't think I tried to learn anything about that house first of all, and there is something important here to say that when you're bringing in a subject matter I, I think the subject matter is never the item for me. It's talking about birds or people or a house. It is more that kind of action of, of going back to something and re-examining it. It is that intense look at something, it is that kind of monogamy, if you would say, in taking something out, selecting something to be occupied with for a very long time. To me that is the way I work. I understood from that point that this is the way I would be working and also I, I find it so a very important journey, no matter what the subject matter is.
Is that a kind of obsessive look? It has to be. If you are photographing, as you were, that Bedouin house over the period of two years, it's certainly single-minded. The question is, is it obsessive as well? And even if it's obsessive does that matter?
I, I don't think it's obsessive because it's my will, it's not some kind of force that is dominating you. It is a, it is very intense mode of operation. It is doing something sort of unstoppable, unstoppably, you know that you don't feel you should be reasonable and stop with this house, and I move to another house or move to another person, and why to go there. And that question of, of being reasonable about something and how much time is enough to be dealing with something until it's enough, and when do you know that you've reached that point? And those Bedouins would come riding on horses, they would look at me and they would say 'majnuna' which means in Arabic the crazy, crazy. They said I was a crazy woman. That was so interesting for me that there was no way where I could relay my viewpoint over it, my reality to them. We had such a different realities in the same place you know, it...
In fact did you ever try to have a conversation with them beyond that to explain what you were doing, or did it really not, not matter that you couldn't communicate what you were doing?
I tried, even just for my own safety I tried. I came with a camera, I did look like a strange detective, and I said to them you know I keep taking pictures, I keep looking at this house because did you notice, I asked, when you come here that every time it looks the... it looks different. And they said what do you mean, and I said look at the shadow now and if you come in the afternoon it won't be here, and then it would get flat. And then suddenly it would blend with the sky. But in the morning it will come out again. And, and it's completely sealed, and they said no there is a door on the other side, and I said yes but I'm not looking at the other side. That other side, for now it doesn't exist for me because I, I have selected it out.
And did the Bedouin at all understand that the house looked different at different times of day and in different seasons of the year, or this will... or is this not terms of their terms of reference?
No it was not in their vocabulary, at all you know my, my action. I think they just got used to me.
Now your own farm is also in a fairly bare part of the country - I think it's called the valley of Ayalon , and you said that this is...
I wished it would be more bare.
You want it even more bare, yes.
I wished it would be more.
So what does the desert, what does the bareness do to and for you?
I always find that there is a lot of unnecessary jitters going on, everywhere. You know I, looking always to a situation where I can you know either start with nothing or concentrate on something better. It could be noisewise, it could be visuallywise, where I am, I'm really trying to get to something very basic without too much stuff around.
You strip away what you start with to something far more basic and fundamental?
Yes but it could be doing that with a lot, with a lot of items you know sometimes. I use a lot of valuables to do that.
Just before we get there, I think I would like you to say something about this crucial time in your life when you came to New York, you came because I think you were buying books for the photographic organistion you, you founded, and you came to New York and you fell in love with the place, but not in the way that most people do but in a much deeper way than that. What was it about New York that grabbed you?
Ah, that it was different than Israel . And don't think I don't like Israel either, but it was, it was another, it, it was a very intense place. I like intense things. It was like the opposite of the desert for me. I realise that it's a place that, that does like ambition and does like people's dreams, you know it is place that people stand out rather than wanting them to blend in with the group and so on you know.
And was that what you felt existed in Israel ?
It was a very, you know it was a very amplified place, it had a lot of energy. But I, I wouldn't say that I fell in love with New York . I came to New York because one day I was sitting on my back stairs in the farmhouse looking at the field, and I had an image of myself in New York doing very large objects on very large buildings, and that's really, that together with the film 'Taxi Driver' which I, I adored at that point, and together with a marriage that were falling part, is why I came to New York.
But of course you never left Israel did you? You have this twin centre life, and after all you specifically said that you had to leave Israel to become an artist, but in fact you go there to collect a lot of the material for your work.
I remember that point in time where I felt I should make a decision, and I said I am actually living here for so many years, I am actually having my centre of my life in New York . And then I sort of looked at, back at Israel with some kind of sentiments you know, some kind of longing, and there I, after a few minutes of you know going downhill emotionwise, I said to myself wait a minute, why do I have to make this decision like this, why do I have to decide this or that? I am, I do have both places. I might have other places in my life, I... At that point I decided that I will just keep more places to my map, in term, instead of excluding one over the other.
Yes of course, because you do go and you shoot your videos sometimes in Rumania and sometimes in Russia . But one question occurs to me and I... Well it's this - I'm not aware that you have ever done any work, whether of your photoprints or videos, in and about American subjects. Is that right?
I don't think my work is about Israeli subjects either, and in fact there is a very good example of my work overhanging here in New York at the Chase Manhattan Bank. This work, the footage, I filmed partly, people, anonymous people formed the window of my loft in New York as they were walking, crossing the street, and then I filmed people who I brought especially to the landscape to work with them, in the desert in Israel in the summertime. So there was that, you know, act of, of creating a thread of those two realities that were, you know, very very different.
Okay, so point taken, some of the images did come from New York , but overwhelmingly you either find images or you place the images in Israel , Rumania , Russia .
But I did a lot of work in New York also when I filmed the television, the news, television, at the time of the war in the Gulf, and it is, to me that kind of televised image is very much a part of the landscape of being here.
That's a comment on living in the United States .
I, I think so, that the televised image is something that you live with, is your, your, very much your inner space...
That's fair enough, and I...
...you know, landscape.
I'd like to get you to say something about how you made that series, which was during Gulf War One. You were here, your family were in Israel , in considerable danger of course, and then you started photographing the images of the war on the television screen. Just briefly describe what the process then was from photographing the images to the finished result.
You know I'm using different processes, whatever comes to hand, and it's never systematic, and it's not really about that either. I'm not... The one thing maybe why people would talk about the fact that I re-photograph something or whatever, there is a strategy of removing something away from its identity, its locality, or specificness, and that kind of desire to record and erase at the same time that I would say is a consistent manner. But in terms of the war in the Gulf, in terms of the process, what was interesting for me is that in the same moment where you know I was watching how a building or a place would be bombed, and it was at the same moment I would take a polaroid of it. It was on television then, falling apart, deteriorating. I was watching it as it fell apart, as it become, became from, from some kind of a structure to a pile of dust rather. And at the same time in my polaroid it became from a white surface with no image, to something which contained an image. So it, that, that was to me interesting processwise.
Yes, what seems to be interesting is that the degree of distance that you achieve from the original image to the image which you then present to the viewing world, there are sometimes four processes, maybe five, maybe six, and this as a position adopted by an artist towards reality seems to me to be terribly interesting. So yes of course...
...the process, anybody can do it, but what the process represents is terribly important.
You're right, and I think the key word that you use that I would select from what you said is that aspect of distance, is that that desire to look at something from a distance rather, without necessarily, without being cold about it or without being careless or without necessarily feeling that it cannot get to you or you can disclaim responsibility over it, but seeing it from a distance, just to maybe get a better view of it.
Well I think that's absolutely right because you have one particular print, shall we call it, of a soldier holding up his hands and surrendering. You don't know what nation the soldier is, you don't really know where it is, but that image of the hands held high in surrender is the universal experience of everybody who has surrendered in, in a war. So you're right, it absolutely is not a, a cold image, and I suppose that's the interesting thing about your work, that by taking things out of it, as it were taking the specificity out of it, you actually make it universal. Just as an Israeli citizen, have people ever said that your view, your detached view, is rather shocking, almost unpatriotic?
No I never had that. A few times some, I mean some artists said that the work is not political enough, and you know then comes the question what is political. And I think if you're communicating something to people, only mean a certain reality. And the people you know in the world at this time period, it is impossible actually to cut off the set of associations that one would have at this time, and even if you present something, for instance ... work, a sculpture, you know, which that kind of tilted curve, where if you stand next to it you know you could talk about it some kind of metaphysical experience, but someone else could take that and talk about what some force is that has to do with a political statement, you know and they, there always is that possible aspect. Just my work is maybe not a fair balanced as some people would like it to be.
Yes, well it's certainly not neutral, and it seems to me that it's not reaching for a conventional idea. Some people might produce anti-war images, and the message would be all war is dreadful. You're certainly not doing that. I think you are showing, by being universal, how painful the experience of war is.
I think I'm not presenting some kind of conclusion to the people I'm showing my work to. I'm rather inviting them to, to come in and experience something, which hopefully would present some questions to them, you know questions to them about their own viewpoint or their own stand. Even the names that I had for my, my installation at Venice was by itself a question, you know against order, question mark, against this order, question mark, and you know it's, it's something that has to do with of course humanity that is displayed there, and the whole question of when is order less humanistic than you would like it to be, or when this order threatens humanity or to what degree you would like to participate in that. Yeah I'm, I'm not an illustrator.
Are you a different person when you're in Israel ? Are you a different artist when you're in Israel from when you are working in New York , or are you always the same artist?
I think I recognise myself as the same person, going from place to place.
But you behave differently then?
I appear... I appear different, you know outside. I, I translate myself when I come to America , languagewise and you know sometimes I be, would behave differently. But I think inside me the experience is not, it's not very very different, except I, I would, you know I do relate to things in Israel different than to things in America.
What is your routine, your work routine, when you are on your farm in Israel ?
My work routine there or here or everywhere is that I work all the time. It is, my work routine is that I, I work almost all the time, it means every day, it means seven days a week, even if there is a holiday or whatever.
What time do you get up though? Do you not get up at...
Six o'clock in the morning.
Whether you're in Israel or in New York ?
But which do you prefer? Do you feel happier when you wake up at six o'clock in the desert?
I definitely like to wake up in the field, of course, than to wake up on the seventh floor of a building. I never like to be high anyway. I always like to be close to the ground, to the earth, I always like to touch the earth, I like to smell it, I like to see people creating something that is very very real, has a very real dimension you know when I wake up in the morning.
So what are the compensations in New York when you don't have any of those satisfactions?
You know the first class that I had in the Academy of Art in Israel , the professor walked in. It was Professor Ormer who is now the Director of Television. He walked in with a very severe face, he stood by the podium and said: "The biggest fear of an artist is to be misinterpreted, and that the work will be shown in the wrong context". There was a long pause, and he said it in English, in Jerusalem . And I had no idea that there was anything like fear connected with art at this point. And he was quoting Rothko .
Mark Rothko ?
Mark Rothko , yeah. And later on I understood how important it is really for an artist to be shown in the right context, to have your work being taken seriously, to have your work being looked at with respect. And I think that this, this is why I needed New York . I needed New York to sort of find a house, a place, for my work, which I, I believed in already then, I believed that I have something to say that I would like it to be, to be kept in a serious environment.
And this is also where your early ambition has also shown itself, the ambition that you've discovered in yourself as a young dancer is still there, when it comes to getting recognition for yourself as an artist.
I think we all want to get recognition for what we do. I think it's a, it's a healthy desire, because we are always communicating, you're always in, in dialogue with other people. And I, I definitely am not that person that would be happy to know that I'm dying and somebody will discover my work under my bed and one day they will say this was dismissed. You know I don't want to be dismissed, I, I would like to interact while I'm here, and to take, you know to use all that potential to even say more in a, in a larger way and to use all, all I can have, and all I can use, to make it better.
The two big works which I want to say, get you to say something about - one called 'Time Left' where this extraordinary room exists, where apparent generations of silhouetted matchstick people shuffle off round and round in an endless circuit, and some people say this is about the holocaust, some people just a dance of death, some people the journey through life, and I'm certainly not going to ask you what your interpretation is. But I would be interested to know where the idea for something like this came from, what is the meta idea which made you produce this was. Where did it come from?
It's very hard to detect where idea come from. It's this idea just showed up, you know. But I was looking to the direction of something like that. I went to Russia , I said I'd like to hire fifty people in the age of fifty, I would like them to come tomorrow morning to that hill, and I'll be there at this time. And while I was on the way I started to think what I'm going to do with all these fifty people.
You didn't know beforehand?
Not for sure. I had sketches, I had ideas, I mean I... No, not so clearly, but I knew that I would know what to do with it once I have it.
When you say sketches, do you mean sketches that you had drawn out, storyboard?
Yes I made, yes I had a little notebook, you know the size of a hand, I had a little notebook and I started to draw some ideas that I would like to collect. And I knew that once I would have that, the reality that was going to appear there. While, while I would have had, I will have all of that, that you know in the course of the work there will be more and more ideas coming. But already on the way, in the, in the car, I had that idea of, of, of you know, I was thinking about that real, really it is something that has to do of course with the group dynamic. And what is the most key element that you would describe is the group, group act that would differentiate between individual to a group, and it would be probably the gesture of giving hands to each other.
Because they hold one another these people don't they?
They did hold hands, all of them. And there I, and then it all came one after the other, very very fast, the whole idea developed as I would like it to be lines and lines and lines of people just walking endlessly. And then I said I would like it to myself, I would like to create a wallpaper like that. And then I would like it to be like a wallpaper, like a tappet you know, but then I, I wanted it also to move. So I'd like it to move. And then I, I said I would actually like it to move endlessly. And you know from that point of... And on it was just to make it happen but...
Sorry, now did you know all that before you started shooting, or did you discover that when you were shooting?
No I knew that on the way to the shooting. I decided it. But, you know the one decision that came up later on, after I was shooting, was that I would go to another place and do the same thing, and then go to another place and do the same thing, with a group of people.
But that in the finished product you would not be able to tell the difference between one location and another?
Yes, and maybe even it's just all from one location or whatever. It really doesn't matter. But for me at that point in time - and I don't think that I need that any more now - but at that point in time there was something about collecting different materials from different places and, and putting it into a similar situation, that you would completely not be able to track down and there will be the common denominator would take over you know what separates these from those.
So the work in the laboratory afterwards was, in this case, in the case of time left, it was realising your, your vision of the piece?
For it... The work was ra... in an editing room, and in the editing room and while projecting it, the one other very important stage was that I've decided to, to transfer it to a scale of a text. They could have stayed large, they could have had faces, they could have been more, more pers, persona there, you know in each one of the images, each one of the figures. And already they had a lot of weight you know because of their age and what they went through in life. It was already in their vol..?.. which... But I, I wanted to reduce it to a scale of a text, I want, wanted it to appear like a text, and this...
Yes, each figure was only a matter of a few inches high.
Yes, and that's in a, a, some kind of a, you know a sub-text. The text is a sub-text of my work, has been for, for a while.
You know also with that work data, that is on... You know there is that item of scripts, screening scripts...
Humanity and writing, the human body and the written form, thinking and expression - it's as fundamental as the, as, as that?
That and, and the fact that there is that kind of text that repeats and repeats itself, you know the text. You know there is a movement going on but there is a great deal of sense of, of repetition also.
Are you in danger of giving the impression that you are dehumanising these people?
MICHAL ROVNER : I, I was asked that, you know it's definitely a viewpoint that one could choose to, or would, could have you know. Whatever you think the work is, is, is completely or, you know be my guest. I, I think that, you know when you talk about dehumanisation and humanisation, I think there is a, a tremendously great concern going on for details, for information. People are so much busy and I would due that word 'obsessed' with information and data and, and so on and on, and, and I, I think sometimes to the degree that they lose the human connection to something, if you talk about that, or touch or concern even. And they're, they stay with that all that kind of listing and listing and that, all that filing system going on of, you know the specificness.
That's a central paradox, I guess of, of your work, that is that the more you take away from the specific nature of the object, the more you make us be aware that they're not just uniform stick people, they are individuals.
I suppose so. Something like this, the less you see the more you see, if you wish to say.
Yes. But you clearly get a huge satisfaction from this. I mean we've talked about distancing, we've talked about objectivity, we've talked about stripping away detail, and this is clearly and absolutely central part of your view of life.
It is that you get to see something else. It, you never give up something if, as long as your eyes are open, and you are looking, your visibility is not going to be taken away from you, and you just see something else. You just get to see another layer of it. You know it's just shifting from one layer to another layer.
(OVERLAP) Are you an optimistic or a pessimist as a person?
You know I'm not there, I'm neither nor. I'm neither nor. I'm very interested to be alive, and I'm very curious about it, and I'm very glad that I'm able to, to create and to communicate something, and hope that it would make a good effect you know, would make something good... And, but I don't have that built in you know conclusion that things are going to go wrong or they are going to go right. I think that it's probably both, both. But I, I, I think that things are very fragile, life is very fragile, and the, one cannot be, in a way to be optimistic or pessimistic is a little bit to take a stand of believing in something without you know make, making sure that it would be okay.
You're prepared to take the risk that it will be one or the other?
No I, I, I rather not be optimistic and sit with my leg up and not do anything about something, or be optimistic and say it's going to all go to hell anyway. I, you know, at least in, in what I... you know I, I have to say, in my work I, I would say be aware, it's fragile, you know think about it, let's look at it again.
Are you lonely as an artist?
You mean as an artist or as a person?
Well as a person who is an artist he said. I sense...
I'm alone. I don't know if I'm lonely. I am single, you know I'm a single person, I'm a single person.
Yeah but that, that doesn't define whether a person is lonely or not, either way.
I don't feel lonely. I feel alone but I, I think... I have some people that I, you know there is that, how many people... You know I remember that class, you know in philosophy where this teacher was talking about Wittgenstein you know.
Yeah it was. I mean I remember it visually, the way student, the whole what he did with his hands and so on, and he talked you know, the subject was body and soul and body and mind, whatever, and he talked about Wittgenstein saying, and if I tell you I'm sad, it's what I remember, okay. And you say you are sad. How do you know that when you say you are sad or I know you, I'm sad, we talk about the same thing? After all, you know, we, we cannot even go and look inside. It's a little bit like if I would have a matchbox and I would tell you I have a bug inside, and you'll say you have a bug, and how, how do we know that? And, and you know there is that question of, of, of reality, you know what do you see and what do I see. And that is something that to me is, is always very fascinating and I've been aware of it from very very early on, that I might experience something else entirely that, than someone who stand next to it, me, that's...
Ah, yes I just, I think that would be a definition of isolation or loneliness. I mean it's neither good nor bad, it's just a, indeed if that is how you see things...
Yes I think loneliness is a bit, loneliness is a bit grim look of something. It's something...
And we're not supposed to be lonely in this sociable world.
But I do feel a, I feel a loneness, a loneness, I feel a lot of the time.
Is that a good or a bad thing for your work?
MICHAL ROVNER : It is very necessary, it's completely necessary. I, I create a situation of that even. You know I, I, I re... you know I could have immersed myself with a lot of people all the time. In fact I'm, I'm doing a, a very major effort to, to stay, keep myself isolated, you know, so that I can, I can be fully in those spaces from which I, I'm coming up with this work. You know I, I don't need to be, to experience it fully, I don't want to dilute it with somebody else as this experience or reality, but sometimes I need that reality or experience. For vacation I went to a monastery of silent nuns, rather than to go to... I mean, I don't know, the Bahamas , to be on the beach with a lot of people, or, you see that's the choice I would make.
Yes so this is clearly a condition of your feeling that you can be creative.
In your last exhibition, at the Venice Biennale, there's another very interesting work, which I mentioned at the beginning, of these scientific petri dishes, and you're looking down on them and you see figures and groups of figures forming and re-forming and moving around, and clearly putting human beings in scientific dishes invites the idea that humanity is being experimented with, or humanity's experimenting with itself. Now again without pushing you towards being specific in a way that you may not want to be, clearly some sense about humanity and experimentation must have driven this.
MICHAL ROVNER : I think it has to, to do for me with the intense, an intense look at something, like a scientist would look at something. It is an intense look at, at something to, to maybe examine it or to maybe be able to read something, you know by looking at it again and again, read something about its mode of operation you would say. You know reality for me is always has been material that I'm using, you know and inspired by. There's a great concern going on with, with, with petri dishes, with cultural dishes. You know there is the, the, you know biotechnology, there is biological weapons, there is a, all these new diseases - SARS and AIDS - and you know people are constantly even examining their own body structure by going to all these you know various doctors to see what's going on there, you know germs and, and so on and on. But there is a, that act of putting something in those familiar dishes in which one would examine something, and offer a look from above, from high above, from a distance, at, at humanity, if you want to say, or group dynamic, that is, is really what, what the work is about. Of course it has those other links to references and you know many many possible associations, but I have, it, it is, in a way it is a, another coherent event staged with my work, except it's a bit more...
...you know, it's just a very concentrated space that I created which is very small and, and dense and, and there is, but there is all the item, elements are there. You know there is the, the movement, but there is no narrative, there is no deve, development, there is no advancement, and there is, you know those actually various situations which offer what would look like some kind of a pattern that you could also read like some kind of a maybe text that you might want to decipher or not.
You said once the ambiguity of my work - and there's certainly plenty of ambiguity in that last work, in the petri dishes - the ambiguity of my work is not a lack of opinion. Does that give us an idea of the contrast, or the tension, between the sort of rationality of your basic understanding but then the distance that you place between your rationality and the final work that you present to the audience?
MICHAL ROVNER : It is ambi, ambiguous to the degree that it is not giving specific details or conclusion or direction of how one should read it. But I think it is at the same time it's a, it's a text you could say that is a, it's placing itself in, not all over the place you know in, in such a confined paradigms, and there's quite a stretch that I would, would ask someone to do with their viewpoint. I, all I'm offering is another look at something, another viewpoint at something. But that thing is not just anything, it is very specifically, very carefully chosen, it is very very worked out, there is a very great degree of clear and time and labour put into very very specific degree of density - the scale of it, the size of it, the luminosity of it, the pacing of it. I'm very very, very very specific in my work, which appears to be very non-specific. In the making of it to the degree of the qualities, about the qualities of it I'm very very specific about...
And you want us, the viewers, to read it, because you use the word 'text' a lot, and to view it in such a way that the importance of the detail comes out. You expect us to do that amount of work?
Yeah but you know the, that, those questions that you ask would not come through when you're talking about obstruct out. You know you would not ask, you would not necessarily come up so much with that reference, and the, there is the tension that, which is what I would say, the tension between the starting point of my work, which is reality, and there was a point in time, in reality, that in a certain day and time and very specific people were taken to a specific place and were giving some kind of orders, and I've used a certain camera with a certain film, and there was a name to the cameraman even. There was a name to the kind of water I was drinking. I was wearing a very specific clothes I was wearing, because I'm a very specific actually person always. The head was very specific. You know I did want not to have any eggs in my sandwich at the day, like always I would never eat eggs you know. And I, I wanted the bread to be dark and not white, and on and on and on, many many many details going on. I did not want to have larger petri dishes and the very generic ones. I did not want to have two lamps in the room, I did not want to have regular light, I wanted to have very ge, generic floors and light and so on and on and on. But why is the work not specific enough? Because it doesn't give you all those details about the reality, about the names of the people. Why do people, why do you need all of that actually?
Oh, I'm not saying that it's not specific enough, I'm trying to tease out the nature of the process. And, and I think you have explained it by...
It is just, it's just as specific as, as it needs to be because in fact you know there is something in the, underneath it all, in the core of all of it, that is, does not need so many details, and does not need all these specifics. And that is actually much simpler than it appears to be. Not to say that it doesn't ask you a question either, but it's, it's simpler.
Michal Rovner , thank you very much.
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