Keren Cytter: A Q&A

Steven Cairns speaks to the artist about video production, dubbing and parody.

Steven Cairns

17 Jun 2014

The ICA's Artists’ Film Club is featuring the video works of artist and writer Keren CytterSteven Cairns, ICA Associate Curator of Artists Film and Moving Image, caught up with Cytter to talk about the production of her work for the ICA Blog. 

Steven Cairns: Vengeance: Episode 1 (2012) is the first in a series of episodic videos. I wonder if you could tell me about the influences of television on your work.  

Keren Cytter: Actually I haven’t had a television for ten years or something… it's by mistake. I’ve been trying to do something at a much higher level—a Dostoyevsky kind of thing—and it just came out like a melodrama.    

As your practice has developed, your production values have slowly crept up and your films look better and better. Your two earlier works Der Spiegel (2008) and Something Happened (2007) are from a much earlier time and are much more DIY.  

It’s a funny thing that you are saying 'DIY'. I am still one crew, even now. I am still dubbing everything and I am the camera person. It is the same thing; I just have a better camera and more awareness. In Vengeance the main difference is that it’s shot in America and things look different there.                 

I dub most of my films. Der Spiegel was dubbed because I wanted it to be flat because it is one shot. With Something Happened, the guy was not a native English speaker and it just didn't sound so good.  

In your recent film Correction (2013) there is an American-German thing going on, is that to do with you moving to New York?  

Yes, I started the script in New York but I couldn't finish it. I had planned to shoot it in America. Meanwhile I had to work on a performance in Berlin for a month, so I had to go there to finish it and shoot. But I knew it was supposed to be in English so it got stuck. When I went back to New York after I finished the rehearsals for the performance I dubbed it with two Americans, but this wasn’t a political decision.  

With Video Art Manual (2011) you made a parodic blueprint for making video artwork. Are you ridiculing everyone else or yourself?  

Both, but mostly everyone else. Why? Because I was bitter, I was bitter – no, that was not a reason. I was asked to do something for a magazine and I thought I’d make a history of video art, then I thought it would be funny to use all the styles of whatever is up and coming or down and going. Video Art Manual is what we ended up with. ■

The Artists’ Film Club featuring Keren Cytter takes place 18 Jun at 2:00 pm.

This article is posted in: Interviews

Tagged with: Keren Cytter, Steven Cairns, Video Art