We were totally floored (and a little dizzy) after seeing Callum Cooper’s short Full Circle for the fashion label Klezinski. Featuring jump-roping models, the viewers perspective is fixed to a swinging camera from floor to sky to floor to sky in a feat of home-made engineering and an effective, 360 degree look at the clothes. We talked to Callum about his custom apparatus, where this technology is going next and the difference between art films and his statically shot – though no less dynamic – regular films.
What can you tell us about the technology you’ve created for this film?
This film Full Circle is an offshoot of a body of fine art work that I have been developing over the past few years. I have been designing/making/welding sculptures for the moving image: it is essentially a series of custom built apparatuses that are used to reveal perspectives that are uncanny. Initially I was interested only in the resulting films but I began to realise that the sculptural object and it’s actions were of equal importance and interest as well. With this series I also wanted to construct a situation where the sculptures create the video by moving in prescribed patterns. This means that the editing choices of each film are decided as I am constructing the sculpture rather than through hours hunched over the computer in post.
How did the Full Circle film come about and how did you go about adapting the existing technology for the commercial brief?
Well, I have managed to avoid working much in advertising and this film was thankfully nothing like the ‘adapting’ filmmakers do for a commercial brief.
I was contacted by one of the designers from Klezinski, I liked his ethical standpoint: fashion that is handcrafted, ethically sourced and bespoke, and as I had a week free to shoot I agreed. So in short, they took care of the clothes and I took care of the film (in collaboration with sound designer John Kassab). It was a very clean and simple production process, very similar to my own when I make a piece without an invitation. I then uploaded the video and went overseas. 4 days later when I got back online, the film had been watched by more people than live in the town that I was born! That’s the great thing about releasing projects online, the direct connection to people and the world.
Your website is split between “artist” and “filmmaker” – is it as simple a divide as “experimental” and “narrative?”
That is a good question, I think the split is more in the intention of the outcome. Usually I ask a pragmatic question: what is the best platform for this idea to be presented. Currently the divide for me is making linear films for a cinema audience and non linear artworks for a gallery audience. I don’t currently have a problem with a split but it is a common conversation at art galleries, film festivals and my family reunions.
Would you consider combining the two?
Certainly, I am writing some of the techniques from the artworks into my narrative and documentary films. I am trying to slot them in only when they help to drive the story and narrative of the film… can’t really have cameras flying about for no reason.
What are you working on next?
This month I am lucky enough to be at an arts residency. I’m in New York finishing off a few more of these sculptures for the moving image and will post some online soon. One is currently being exhibited in London and the other here in New York. I am also excited to get back to develop a new media project with digital producer Ana Tiquia. It explores the issues surrounding biodiversity of food crops drawing upon plant collections in the UK and in Australia, this will be released as an app. On top of this, I have a draft due for my debut feature as well as launching (in late April) Ardent Film Trust, an organisation committed to the production of and investment in issue-led media.
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