[-empyre-] Starting the First Week / Valente and Ziyalan

Peter Valente p.valente.film at gmail.com
Wed Nov 2 01:33:53 AEDT 2016

Peter Valente's Introductory Statement

>From 2010 to 2013 I made 60 short films, ranging from 3 sec to 45 minutes.
They were all shot on a small point and shoot canon camera. I submitted
about half of them to Anthology Film Archives in NY, 24 of which were
accepted and shown. In making these films, I sought to undercut the
authoritarian gaze of the camera. For example, I walked on the streets of
Hoboken with a camera at arm’s length, shaking it while pointing it
different directions. This resulted in a film that was shown, called,
“Shaking the Glass.” I tied a camera to a long string and swung it around a
room, lightly banging it into objects and throwing it on the couch. I put a
microphone in my throat and created a soundtrack. I filmed pornographic
images from a TV at close range blurring the images so you couldn’t make
out the bodies except for the sounds. I’ve aimed the camera at myself and
shook it while I was moving. I’ve filmed gang members, former drug addicts,
and homeless people at considerable risk to myself. For me the camera was a
physical extension of my body. My demands of it were extreme; I went
through several cameras during this time. I often didn’t know at all what
the result would be until I looked at the images after filming. In my
films, I turned the focus away from the hieratic gaze of the camera and
towards the physical body; in this I never felt I was in control and never
submitted to what Hollywood or the University expects of a filmmaker. Why
have we turned away from integrating the body in filmmaking and the arts,
foregoing physicality, in favor of intellectuality and the authoritative

My photographs are, like my films, a reaction to the polished veneer of so
many images we see in the media or online or in magazines, as if the glossy
clarity of an image were somehow the measure of its truth. Indeed,
advertising has, in its way, kept up with advances in the avant-garde over
the past 50 years, but still there is an air of perfection, of studied
experimentation, aided by Photoshop etc., in the most experimental work.
Instead my photos are dirty, out of focus, scratched, sometimes drenched
with color, even gaudy or lurid, sloppy or imperfect, and they exist in a
world where pleasure is more important than respectability; where ecstasy
is achieved when one is least in control. My use of the computer is minimal
and I do not use any advanced programs in editing my images. Often they are
not edited at all (

I am interested in the marvelous, in the sudden feeling of wonder; I think
of those primitive tapestries that Renoir talks about and also about silent
films (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKCrOLcDbjE ). I’ve never felt the
need to upgrade to blu-ray, which promises an image so clear that the
simulation of reality is taken for the real thing. I have never used the
computer for special effects and the editing of my films was minimal. Art
is not Life. Anyway, I’d take the films of Georges Méliès over the latest
elaborate fantasy out of Hollywood.

Peter Valente

On Tue, Nov 1, 2016 at 10:12 AM, Murat Nemet-Nejat <muratnn at gmail.com>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Let us open the November, 2016 discussions focusing on images. Outside
> dreams, the creation of images always involves a tool—a finger, chalk, a
> pencil, a camera, a computer, etc.—i.e. technology. Creating an image (or
> copying), what is a human being trying to do? Is he or she trying to
> recapture the purity of dreams—as the herds of animals inside a cave's
> walls—or is he or she trying to turn the image itself into a weapon of
> suppression, convention and control.
> Our two guests this week, MUSTAFA ZIYALAN and PETER VALENTE, are poets,
> science fiction writers, critics, translators, photographers, film makers.
> IThey are friends whom I have known for year. As a Turkish poet, Ziyalan
> had significant input in my developing a new poetics, Eda, while preparing *Eda:
> An Anthology of Contemporary Turkish Poetry*. In the late 1990's in my
> essay *The Peripheral Space of Photography*, I state that the invention
> of the camera obscura lens in the 19th century has revolutionized the
> nature of art ever since because what is in front of the lens is never
> under the total control of the lens (or the photographer). The subject (the
> mother lode of image dreams) is liberated, that the photograph(er) must
> somehow fail to create a true image. Valente knows this fact about the
> camera lens in his bones.
> This week Ziyalan and Valente will discuss their struggles with their
> cameras creating their images. I invite everyone on the list to join the
> discussions.
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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