|Works . Texts . Biography . Contact|
Fade to white By Jan Van Woensel
VideoChannel: Tell me something about your life and the educational background
Hamza Halloubi: I was born in Tanger, in the North of Morocco. I wasn’t a very good student in the local high school where I studied plastic arts. I needed a diploma and a visa to go to Europe. I enrolled in a visual arts school in Brussels, where I attended several studios (sculpture, silkscreen, photography, …). Besides, I spent a lot of time in the university libraries of Brussels. That is where I taught myself by autodidactic study of the writings of Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Edward Saïd, … My intellectual training thus shifted away from following practical courses and art history courses that are taught in school, towards an immersion in theoretical texts on aesthetics, philosophy, and sociology. I am a provicial autodidact that has shifted away from the institutional.
VC: When, how and why did you start filming?
HH: I began filming to record my actions and performances. I never followed courses on video or cinema. I did not know anything about the techniques of film and video. It was a great pleasure for me to start something « new », and to try something else. The taste of failure! When you’re not trained for a profession, you do it in another way. Art is no profession, so you don’t have to do things the way you’re supposed to do them!
VC: What kind of subjects do your films have?
HH: In my videos one can find concepts like: the institution, exile, solitude, melancholy. I don’t speak of these subjects in a direct manner. What interests me are the gestures and attitudes that perturb the established order. In general it is that: how a gesture of ordinary life can provoke disorder in the system.
VC: How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
HH: My videos are short reels, and I don’t film outside, in the exterior. It is in the interior that the body is formed: at home, in school, at the library, … these are the places of my films. The camera only rarely moves, the cuts and frames are minimum. It is not minimalism, it is « poverty », it is human, the innocence of the world. Like Pasolini said about cinema, it is an iconographic style that is transmitted through a fragile medium.
VC: Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
HH: I’m not a professional, I don’t care about technical equipment, what is important to me is to make beautiful images! And making beautiful images has nothing to do with the camera you use. A year ago, for example, I was at my family’s, and my sister’s son—who is barely one year old—started manipulating a book. I found his gestures very interesting. I didn’t have a camera, so I found one over there (an old VHS, used for filming family scenes). I shot with that. If I had shot with an HD camera, or a 35mm, I wouldn’t have had the same quality of images.
HH: I’m part of the generation of artists that have begun shooting when video became democratic. Everybody can make a video, distribute it, and have an audience. Today, artists have extraordinary possibilities to create films. They have more freedom to resist the machine, to liberate art. It is a pity that you only here people talking about technique instead of talking about resistance when it comes to this thing of new media!
VC: How do you finance your films?
HH: I don’t need a big budget to make a video or a film. I work with a very small team (2 to 3 persons). My ideas take into account my means from the outset. Never I would think of closing off a street to shoot a scene. I would never look for a budget to do so, I would let these people and the street be.
VC: Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team? if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
HH: I work alone.
VC: Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
HH: Sometimes a sentence that I underlined in a book puts me to work. I can build a whole work around that. I think that authors like Mohamed Choukri, Edward Said, Walter Benjamin, and Omar Khayam have helped a lot to make my videos. They helped me find personages and conditions for my videos.
VC: What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
HH: Every project is a dream for me. It proves that I continue doing and making something that is different from « commodities ». And my plans are to continue.