The Social Network for Innovators in Motion
Film Q & A. Daniel Belton answers questions about his film After Dürer.
Which work(s) of Dürer are you referring to specifically (is it Melencolia I)?
"Yes, the film specifically refers to Durers engraving Melencolia 1"
Why did you use the medium of film, rather than producing a staged piece?
"Film is a far more plastic or flexible medium, and it binds the visual language of dance to a pictorial space more directly aligned with the source of inspiration for the work... Here, in the film window I am able to dialogue between flat two dimensional space and 3 or 5 dimension space. Durer was fascinated with perspective and indeed demonstrated through his practice that he understood perspective like few of his contemporaries. We still today marvel at his spatial awareness and deliberations in art. I also liked the way the printed space is framed in moving image. We can more easily reflect and return to reflect on the many layered sequences in the film"
What is the function of the work’s religious connotations?
"There are references to Halos (the enlightened being), and the cross, but these for me do not hold a religious message. When genius is present, when great minds create and discover - this is in a sense the individual opening like a channel to a source energy - to spirit and to higher self. It is the merger point, or the crossing between matter and spirit. Matter is the child of spirit"
How did you intend to portray the human figure in relation to technology?
"The figure is constantly moving through and across the spatial elements. The whole image is in flux. Mathematical symbols to do with the "integrity" of an object are shown in a musical context traveling inside the five line stave which we understand as structure for pitch, and melodic phrases. This also connects at an early historical level to the neume (from Greek pneuma, meaning ‘breath’/ noun: Music (in plainsong) a note or group of notes to be sung to a single syllable - a sign indicating this). The neume is visually representative of a pixel. I have played with the correlation between the human form and the digital or artificial - in an attempt to visually and emotionally describe a journey of discovery. It is a lonely journey, and a deeply serious one. The film is full of questions. It does not try to answer, rather pose more questions and open the looking glass on Dürer's work, the magic cell (squares) and alchemy in a process as much architectural as choreographic. I have used both sophisticated digital techniques and simple puppeteering (real world) techniques to fuse line and form with dance in my film... This was a slow, intricate process"
What is the relationship between your piece and geometry/the mathematical, and could you perhaps say something about the use of space?
"At the heart of the film is Dürer's mysterious Polyhedron or Geometric Body. I focussed on this object as a key signal for meaning behind the work, and for connection into the mathematical world, and the dynamics of spatial interplay from flat to multi dimensioned volumes"
What were you trying to express through the piece (what is its key message)?
"I think that this is a question to which every viewer will have their own interpretation, and this is how I make work. I do not look to offer concrete answers, or set narratives in a linear fashion. If my work stimulates discussion, more curiosity, greater looking - then it is triggering in a way that I hope it would. The pieces are catalysts for imagination, they are many layered and intricately constructed for this purpose. With each new work, I am journeying too, as an artist"
Daniel Alexander Belton, July 2009