Argentinian audio-visual artist and photographer Merra Marie returns to Close-up Culture to talk about her latest project.
Q: Can you tell us about ‘Running’ and what you wanted to explore in this latest short film?
A: I wanted to explore the feeling of a person in a dreamy state who is without the capacity of running away from something.
In the audio clips I use (taken from a radio experiment by Delia Derbyshire), the people are always being chased by something and the subject can’t get away from it. The girl in Running doesn’t even run – and when she does it is in slow motion. When the audio says: “I’m running and running and running,” I show her walking in a difficult way along a branch. It’s like that feeling in a dream when you can’t run away from that ‘something’.
Q: I was particularly interested in your use of the voice clips. Can you tell us more about them and what you feel they add?
A: I actually used her experiment about “Sea” on another video – you can watch it here.
I find them extremely inspiring and wanted to give them a visual component. It is cinematographic in a way. Maybe in the future I’ll do more videos with her other experiments.
Q: Ana is always a captivating subject. Can you talk about your collaborations and what she brought to this role?
A: I met her a year ago and we connected deeply in the creative process, so we have done a lot of things together. That day [filming Running] she used me for thesis video project and I filmed her in return.
She brought her body and energy at its maximum to this video, I believe. It’s like a pictorial subject. The movements are perfect as well as her expressions.
Q: Can you talk about the shoot, the setting and the visual style of the film?
A: I shot with my DSLR camera with a 50mm lens, which is my favourite. I like low depth of field, a soft focus on the subject as well as as a reduced frame of what you see.
Running is set in a big forest. That made it easy to find beautiful locations. There’s a lot of connection between the freedom of the body and nature, so I believe it was the perfect place. I like most of my videos to have an 4:3 aspect ratio, but on this occasion I also thought it helped add to the feeling of being trapped as we’re all used to seeing wide aspect ratios.
Apart from that, I like the colours and grain of film, so I tried to imitate that. I recently bought an 8mm camera and I’m very excited to star experimenting with real film, ha!
Q: You are putting out a lot of content at the moment (I also loved ‘Rio’). How do you feel you are progressing as a filmmaker?
A: I almost quit college this past year for personal reasons – also known as mental issues – that meant I struggled to keep up with the demands put on me.
I have also had more time to connect with myself and my own creative process. I feel like everything I see or the people that surround me help me create and make myself better every day.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I’m working with photography more than with video, but we’re also planning a series of videos for my friend’s band’s new music called Srta Trueno Negro. I’m very excited about that.