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Interview with Veronika Gerhard > Artist - Berlin
Tara Herbst
 
 
kazumi

Tara: For your own films, do you think that it is possible that they could circulate on the level of media representation?

Veronika: Oh yes, I think that is very important. It's about that process of inserting yourself into a frame which is considered as a restricted area, you know, and it's a necessary act of trespass. As an artist or filmmaker who is dealing with politics or alternative styles of narration, which is political too, you always have to fight for your place, you have to say: this is who I am, this is what I do and these are my concerns. It's tougher than just trying to find money or funding for the work.
But I always think that everything that is catchy can enter the realm of representative media, films that combine an entertaining narrative and a political agency for example, because in that sphere entertainment rules. I think it is necessary that the boundaries that have been set, the presets in terms of 'this is representative media - this is the underground film sector' have to be broadened and we have to be included.
Many times I feel a strong dislike coming up though and I still have to face that I would rather prefer not to operate on a representative level and I feel inappropriate and displaced. That is something that I also try to overcome.

Tara: If your work really could be absorbed, what about money and fame?

Veronika: In that case I hope it comes with it.
I think money can be important to allow you to spend your time self-directed, but at the same time money or the lack of money doesn't work necessarily as a restrictive authoritarian device for me. I am constantly dealing with a lack of money and it was always like that, no matter how much I earn. So I might as well live with little money. I know many people that travel and produce with very little money all the time.

Tara: If there would be a critical mass you could have both at the same time. Do you see a critical mass at the moment?

Veronika: Of course there is a critical mass. When you look around,
each and every one is quite critical or in a critical state and critical because of that …at least almost every one that I know. There is that mass that is in constant crisis, that is the mass for which I produce.

Tara: Concerning this dilemma, the choice between an inner compulsion and an outer ego-boost, what would you say, your situation at the moment…

Veronika: I'm trying to hold the balance. I also always felt that unrestricted ego-boosting is a sign of bad taste.

Tara: Concerning a transformative practise. Could you imagine the struggle for change in something other than a guilt ridden masochist way?

Veronika Gerhard > Artist - Berlin

Veronika: Yeah, in a transgressive glamorous way!

Tara: And do you think that every struggle over power has to be organized around issues of identities?

Veronika: No. I think these days it is pretty clear that subjectivity, identity and agency are temporal constructions and in actual experience they can be quickly left behind. I think that people with very different identitarian backgrounds and issues can join themselves together temporarily and build very powerful groups of agency.
Tara: So how would you define the political? Where do you see possibilities for yourself to invest into the political?

Veronika: I think it is always possible to turn your face towards things as they exist now.
To produce counter narratives on film or in other media is one method. The formulation of one's own version of reality can be a very empowering method in that way that one's self-representation is entering the mainstream and thereby participates in the present symbolic, economic and political realities.

Tara: Communities, they are at the same time a threat and a promise, do you feel being part of communities?

Veronika: My communal awareness is not very developed but I have a strong community of friends in Berlin and in many other places. Also I'm part of a community of people in my house of which over 80 percent have a diasporic background, a micro-society in the Zentrum Kreuzberg at Kottbusser Tor. We share experiences and make a film together; they invited me to join in. But I'm in and out of communities all the time.

Tara: And other communities you belong to, they are based on other things than love?

Veronika: On sympathy and shared likes and ideals.

Tara: What do you think how could we avoid static power structures within communities or limits we were talking about?

Veronika: I think it is very necessary to face one's own limits, and it is also important to keep in mind one 's own capacity to modify these limits.
 

 

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