William Kentridge, drawing for Stereoscope,
the Artists: William Kentridge
1: Your works appear very labor
intensive. How long did it take you to create Stereoscope? Can you talk a
little bit about the significance of your laborious process and how you
maintain momentum and focus?
work is very labour intensive. Stereoscope took 9 months to make - with
some breaks for travel and exhibitions during that period. It takes a long
time because there is no script or storyboard - the ideas are worked out
in the making. In the construction of Stereoscope, most of the first four
months work had to be abandoned.
Momentum - because the work is so slow, unless one works fast and
intensely, the project would never get finished. So one has to begin each
day running. Making the film is about
finding the focus, finding what the film is about. If the film had been
storyboarded, it would be difficult to maintain focus; but because it is
thought out as it is done, that becomes part of the subject.
2: The music in Stereoscope is very
striking. Was it composed specifically for the work? If so, were you
involved in that process?
Philip Miller, a South African composer, wrote the music for the film. He
has written music for four of my films. His involvement comes at quite an
early stage - after a couple of months, when there are a few minutes of
rushes to look at, we sit look at them at an editing table, with different
pieces of music - anything from Monteverdi to jazz - and try to understand
the musical grammar of the film. From then on we work closely, and the
music becomes more and more precise as the film nears completion.
3: Are the recurring elements (like
the cat and the blue line, etc.) in your work symbolic of something? They
seemed meaningful, but I wasn't sure of what.
the cat and blue line. I never start with a meaning, so cannot tell you
what the cat symbolises, if anything - I simply knew that I needed a cat
at that moment of the film. Blue lines are simply a literal drawing of
different lines of communication in the film.
4: Why did you choose to use
a split screen in some parts of the video?
on! The film is called Stereoscope, a machine which needs two separate
images to make one three-dimensional view. Any more clues needed?
5: Was Stereoscope
inspired by specific events in South African history?
specific events in SA history. The section of chaos in the city towards
the end of the film contains images from newspapers and TV from the weeks
in which I was working on that part - police beating students in Jakarta,
Indonesia; riots outside banks in Moscow, Russia; rebels being thrown over
a bridge, and then shot at in the river below, Kinshasa, Congo; someone
picking up rubble to throw at a building - US embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
But of course the images are all of Johannesburg.
Kentridge's CI:99/00 page
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