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Photography, Polaroid on Other
Size: 19.6 W x 19.6 H x 0.1 D in
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Dust Bowl Blues (Heavenly Falls) 2016, 20x24cm, Edition 2/10, digital C-Print based on a Polaroid. Certificate and signature label. Artist inventory number: 19651.02 Not mounted. Also available 20x20cm, Edition of 10, US$ 350 Stefanie Schneider interviewed by Dutch Filmmaker Willem Baptist When did you first decide to work with Polaroids? Why do Polaroids seem to be so well tuned to our (artistic) senses, perception and minds? I started using expired Polaroid film in 1996. It has the most beautiful quality and perfectly encapsulates my vision. The colors on one hand, but then the magic moment of witnessing the image appear. Time seems to stand still, and the act of watching the image develop can be shared with the people around you. It captures a moment, which becomes the past so instantly that the decay of time is even more apparent; – it gives the image a certain sentimentality. The Polaroid moment is an original every time. An artifact. Why use a medium from the past? For me, analog has always been there in the present. For the new generation, analog is interesting because it's new to them. I understand that people growing up in a digital age will wonder about its usefulness, but it's theirs to recover if they want to. When I first started working with Polaroid, it wasn't the past. It was a partially forgotten medium, but it existed nonetheless. It is mine by choice as there is no substitute for tangible beauty. Is it imperfect? The imperfect perfection in a “wabi-sabi” kind of way. Wabi-sabi (侘寂) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. 'If an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi'. 'Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.' Is the Polaroid photograph recognizable or even sometimes cliché? Absolutely! There's something cliché about the way I'm showing the American Dream. I live it myself, trying to find perfection in an imperfect world. Reaching for the horizon. The dream is broken; the cliché tumbles. There are different ways to involve an audience. You could make movies like Harmony Korine's 'Gummo' a masterpiece in my view but which would probably estrange a large part of an audience. A certain film education is a prerequisite. Or you can start with clichés, the audience then feels safe, which lures them into the depth of your world without them even knowing it or understanding where exactly they are being led to. Appealing to emotions and the sub-conscious. Normal, Change, New Normal. You continually revisit the landscape of the American West in your work. What draws you back to this scene? Southern California represents a dream to me. The contrast of Northern Germany, where I grew up, to the endless sunshine of Los Angeles was what first attracted me. The American West is my dream of choice. Wide, open spaces give perspectives that articulate emotions and desires. Isolation feeds feelings of freedom or sometimes the pondering of your past. The High Desert of 29 Palms has very clear and vivid light, which is vital. Expired Polaroid film produces 'imperfections' that I would argue mirrors the decline of the American dream. These so called 'imperfections' illustrate the reality of that dream turning into a nightmare. The disintegration of Western society. Are you playing with the temporality of the material and the value of the moment itself? The value of the moment is paramount, for it is that moment that you're trying to transform. All material is temporary, it's relative, and time is forever. Why does analog film feel more pure and intuitive? It's tangible and bright and represents a single moment. The digital moment may stay in the box (the hard drive / camera / computer etc.) forever, never to be touched, or put into a photo album, sent in a letter, or hung on a wall. Printing makes it an accomplishment. The analog world is more selective because it's real. Film is a choice. The digital worldwide clicking destroys this moment. The generation without memories due to information overload and hard drive failures. Photo albums are a thing of the past. Why does it feel this way? That's how the human instinct works. When I was a child, every picture been taken was a special moment. Analog photographic film as well as Super-8 material were expensive treasures. My family's memories were created by choosing certain moments in time. There was an effort behind the picture. The roll of film might wait months inside the camera before it was all used. From there, the film required developing, which took more time, and finally, when the photos were picked up from the shop, the memories were visited again together as a family. Who knew then, how fleeting these times were. Shared memories was a ritual. What's your philosophy behind the art of Polaroid pictures? The 'obsolete' is anything but obsolete. Things are not always as they appear, and there are hidden messages. Our memories and our dreams are under-valued. It is there that real learning and understanding begins by opening yourself to different perspectives. Who we are and where we come from is important. A Polaroid is a testimony to our existence. But our time is fading fast. What inspired you to use stop motion cinematography? My work has always resembled movie stills. I remember the first time I brought a box of Polaroids and slid them onto Susanne Vielmetter's desk (my first gallery). Instantly, it became apparent that there was a story to tell. The stories grew. It was undeniable to me, that the emerging story was where I was destined to go. I've made four short films before my latest feature film, The Girl behind the White Picket Fence. This film is 60 minutes long with over 4000 edited Polaroids. Remember that our sub-conscious fills in blanks, the parts missing from the story between photograph stills allow a deeper and more personal experience for the viewer. That is, if you surrender yourself and trust me as the director to lead you somewhere you might not have ever been before. Why do you think it is important to own art? 'We have art in order not to die of the truth' Nietzsche
Photography:Polaroid on Other
Artist Produced Limited Edition of:10
Size:19.6 W x 19.6 H x 0.1 D in
Ready to Hang:Not applicable
Packaging:Ships Rolled in a Tube
Delivery Time:Typically 5-7 business days for domestic shipments, 10-14 business days for international shipments.
Stefanie Schneider lives and works in the High Desert of California. Stefanie Schneider's scintillating situations take place in the American West. Situated on the verge of an elusive super-reality, her photographic sequences provide the ambience for loosely woven story lines and a cast of phantasmic characters. Schneider works with chemical mutations of expired Polaroid film stock. Chemical explosions of color spreading across the surfaces undermine the photograph's commitment to reality and induce her characters into trance-like dream-scapes. Like flickering sequences of old road movies Schneider's images seem to evaporate before conclusions can be made - their ephemeral reality manifesting in subtle gestures and mysterious motives. Schneider's images refuse to succumb to reality, they keep alive the confusions of dream, desire, fact, and fiction. She is currently working on the 29 PALMS, CA. 29 PALMS, CA is a feature film / art piece that explores and chronicles the dreams and fantasies of a group of individuals who live in a trailer community in the Californian desert. A defining feature of the film is the use of still images and the use of voice over. Characters talk to us / themselves / you about their ambitions, memories, hopes, fears and dreams. The film is to be shot using a mix of super 8 and 16mm film stock and Polaroid images. Certain computer-generated effects will also be used to enhance the films surreal mood and to animate its dark humor. Radha Mitchell, Marc Forster, Udo Kier, Max Sharam among others are participating in the project. Stefanie Schneider received her MFA in Communication Design at the Folkwang Schule Essen, Germany. Her work has been shown at the Museum for Photography, Braunschweig, Museum für Kommunikation, Berlin, the Institut fÃ¼r Neue Medien, Frankfurt, the Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden, Kunstverein Bielefeld, Museum für Moderne Kunst Passau, Les Rencontres d'Arles.
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