CAMBERWELL CAMEO: Experiencing light and water with Vic von Poser
MA Visual Arts: Fine Art Digital international student Victoria von Poser or Vic takes over our blog to talk about her transition from TV editor to Fine Art student, her practice and current research into light.
From the first time I visited London as a child I wished to experience the city as a resident. I think it is very important for artistic development to have an experience outside your comfort zone, preferably immersed in another culture.
My professional career started with a degree in Communication and Multimedia in São Paulo, Brazil. I had the slightly naive dream of making movies, being a director and communicating through the traditional moving image. After graduating I took a specific course in film production and started working in the field as a TV programme editor. The childhood plans to continue my studies abroad were postponed, and those of being financially successful and building a formal career gained momentum. I got involved in a lot of projects and dedicated myself for hours, days and months in jobs that I had no real passion for. After some time I found the traditional communication model of video and the routine in the agency didn’t satisfy me any longer.
I mustered some courage and I resumed contact with my inner child, I started to draw again and looked for other ways to communicate, assuming what I always was: an artist. I resigned from my formal work and after a few months without knowing where to go, I remembered my naive dream and went back to school. I am not an expert in drawing, painting or sculpting, I work with light and images in movement in the form of videos, performances or installations. Many of the master’s degrees in Fine Arts that I researched had a traditional artistic conception which didn’t relate with my practice. It was at Camberwell that I found a course that fitted with my identity. The MA Visual Arts: Fine Art Digital course embraces technology in contemporary art, understanding it as a tool for new concepts and artistic languages.
Through my research and artistic practice I discuss concepts such as memory, time and perception from personal narratives with the blend of digital techniques and the use of natural elements. Video is still my favorite tool and I tend to add it with other approaches like programming and interactivity. I consider myself as an intuitive artist who often solves ideas in practice. I understand my creative process as continuous because I am always trying new paths, my artwork is part of something unfinished. I understand my body of work as the pursuit of a language of its own, like the South African artist William Kentridge – who begins a new work without a closed idea and seeks to express the constant active thinking. I find solutions in practice, experiencing with the elements, understanding the effects and perceiving them on me.
My current research is related to light. At the end of last year I performed an experiment with light projected under mirrors and water. I was surprised when I realised that by dropping water on the mirrors the light escaped into light rays beyond the limits of the projection. When the natural element was added to the traditional technology, the projected image was broken into random and free movements. The base projection are images from the contre-plongée (low angled shot) view of the trees around my childhood home in São Paulo, trees that accompanied my growth, growing with me.
I presented ‘Azul#2’ (Blue#2) a video from this experiment at Camberwell’s Raum Gallery’s Pop-Up Show in November.At the time of the presentation of the work I understood the importance of my present body as an artist mediating the elements. On a recent return trip to my hometown for Christmas, I had the opportunity to present the work as it was originally conceived, as a performance, a live experience. I presented the ‘Experiencia: Azul#2’ (Blue#2 Experiment) at the Tomie Ohtake Institute in São Paulo as part of the research group MOLA. The result was better than I expected, the room was full and within 10 minutes I managed to orchestrate the water and the lights that danced on their own under the mirror, presenting their luminous dance to the audience. The original soundtrack for this moment was composed and presented live by my great friend and partner Herbert Baioco.
I’ve returned to London, but unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to present the work here yet, I intend to do it soon – I am open to invitations! After this experience, I would like to go deeper into the research of light combined with natural elements, specifically the relation between light and water.
My path at Camberwell has been very useful, besides meeting people from all over the world and being able to exchange experiences, references and artistic perceptions, I have had the opportunity to focus and deepen my own questions and practices. I often value formal professional work more than my own projects. For me to be able to stop and focus in my reflection and practice, building my voice as an artist is very important.
As part of the course we are advised to keep an updated blog, recording of our creative process. With the obligation of constantly reflecting on my practice and publishing it online is helping me establish a confidence in myself as an artist. The course for me is more than a place or time of study, but rather a moment of pondering over deep questions – I can say that it is a process of self-knowledge as an artist and the construction and appreciation of my own voice.
Regarding the use of light in art, besides the works by American artist James Turrell and the German artist Otto Piene, I’m inspired by ‘Dream Machine’ by French artist Brion Gysin and his experiences with the light beyond the visual field, reverberating inside the viewer. Moreover, the Brazilian artists Luiz Duva, Regina Silveira and the duo Mirella Brandi and MuepEtmo influence me with their work in perception of light in a very sensitive and careful way – placing light as the central focus of their work, and not in a supporting role.
When I was little I had the opportunity to see the ‘Nymphéas’ (Water Lilies) by Impressionist artist Monet. This touched me immensely – it was the first moment that I felt the power of art, reverberating beyond the vision and embracing other senses. I feel that even though I don’t work in paint, the Impressionists still influence me – it might be the colours, or the abstract elements used by them, it makes me excited to continue experimenting.
I still feel inspired by my surroundings wherever I go, nature and her simple drawings and movements inspire me and I want to pay homage to her, respecting her, because my art is in the sensitive.
In the coming months I intend to continue with the research and practical experiments relating light and water. In addition to the creation of a new piece I plan to present the ‘Experiencia: Azul#2’ here in London, and attend shows and events to showcase my artwork. Professionally I still work with video editing and photography, and I intend to work more in this field, possibly get some work as an artist as well.