The Canadian video artist's newest project is almost like a virtual tour of The Twilight Zone.
Canadian video artist Sabrina Ratté is off to a great start this year. One-half of avant-garde audiovisual electronic outfit, Le Révélateur, alongside multi-instrumentalist Roger Tellier-Craig, Ratté has already produced some of the year's most inventive video art to date, and received commendations from the likes of SPIN, Rhizome, and more.
Her newest piece, Visites Possibles, takes the viewer on a tour through an enigmatic virtual gallery, sort of like if Google's Art Project allowed you to explore The Twilight Zone.
We spoke with the artist about her process, upcoming projects, and the hazy blob creatures that have started showing up in her work.VISITES POSSIBLES from Sabrina Ratté on Vimeo.
The Creators Project: Your newest work for Computers Club presents a side-scrolling journey through a virtual hallway, replete with synthesized corridors and haunting, amorphous apparitions. Can you explain the title, Visites Possibles?
Sabrina Ratté: Visites Possibles is a title that I found before I started to work on this video. I liked the way it suggested the potential for future voyages towards unimagined/unseen destinations. The word "Visite," referring more to the action of traveling or wandering rather than the arrival to a final destination is also an idea that I explore in many of my video works.
As it started taking form, the title came back to me and seemed perfectly appropriate. Each window that opens and closes in the video is just a glimpse of a whole world existing behind it. The fact that the windows open only a short amount of time leaves space for imagining what these places could be. We could see these as visits into potential videos/virtual spaces that could have been, or that could be in the future. Finally, Visites Possibles is most likely to be the introduction to a series where I'll be exploring other potential spaces.
While I wont ask you to reveal your compositing secrets, I will ask about your process. Can you describe it, from inspiration to execution?
Over the last few years, I've been experimenting a lot with a LZX modular video synthesizer. This immensely powerful tool demands constant practice, almost a daily discipline for me, as I did not initially have any knowledge in electricity or modular systems. That's how I gathered a lot of great images, stored on (many) hard drives and waiting to be used.
Visites Possibles really started to exist when I got interested in creating architectural shapes with the analog signals, instead of abstract textures and such. That's how I started building the space in which we travel in Visites Possibles. The embedded landscapes were taken from the video bank I accumulated through the years.
I finally did a "collage" (or we could say a bit of "bricolage?") of all the elements using an editing software.Longueurs d'ondes from Sabrina Ratté on Vimeo. The "entities" seem to visit from a fourth-dimensional plane; we only see them in warped, fleeting fragments. Where do they come from?
The "entities" are from a very mysterious place. I have no idea how they found their way inside my video, but here they are, and they seem to enjoy themselves very much. So I figured I'd let them visit... More seriously, I hope to continue exploring the idea of entities in the future, as I developed a special affection for them through the making of this video.
The piece is as auditory as it is a visual experience. Can you speak to us about the nature of the collaboration with your Le Revelateur colleague, Roger Tellier-Craig?
Roger has composed all the soundtracks to my videos so far, and through this time, we've tried many different approaches to combining music and sound. With Visites Possibles, we developed a totally new technique, which I think is the beginning of whole new approach: Roger produced a lot of sounds that didn't make the cut for his album, or that are the results of experiments.
He gave me a temporary sound bank, from which I picked the most appropriate sounds for my images. It helped me to create the structure of Visites Possibles, and then it became a template for the [final] sound. I would say it's one of our best collaborations so far.TIM HECKER / BLACK REFRACTION from Sabrina Ratté on Vimeo.
I'd agree. What else are you working on? Le Révélateur will release a new album this spring, so I'm working on a video for the first single. We are also planning a tour on the West Coast and in Europe for the fall. I'm about to start working on a new video series for Yoshi Sodeoka's video label Undervolt & Co, another video for an online distributor of digital art, and in between I'll be working on my Visites Possibles series for Computers Club.
I'll be doing live visuals for a contemporary dance show here in Montreal, entitled Moving in This World, in the Spring. Finally, in a few weeks I'll be going to the Ann Harbor Film Festival to present two videos, The Land Behind and the video I made for Tim Hecker, Black Refraction. I'll also be doing live video projection for a concert with Robert AA Lowe.