Barcelona Cultura

“In audio-visual creations, connecting worlds is a requirement.” Interview with Anna Oset and Tanit Plana

Anna Oset, audio-visual filmmaker and Tanit Plana, artist and photographer, are the special guests at this year’s ZIP summer workshop, jointly organised by the Museu del Disseny and Tàntagora. With them, boys and girls aged between 13 and 17 will have the opportunity to discover the audio-visual world and photography during a creation week. In the latest interview we talk to them both about their careers.

What started your calling to photography and cinema, were you influenced by a particular artist?

Tanit: My father has always been a photographer and, above all, a great enthusiast of the cinema, music, video clips (when I was a small we still hadn’t started calling it audiovisual culture), painting, comics... and at home I had access to huge libraries of vinyl records, comic books for adults, magazines of all kinds, monographs of photographers, painters, etc. I was a very curious girl and I learnt to read them from a very small age, all this iconographic wealth became one of the languages through which I have learnt how the world is encoded. Later, when I began to realise that I wanted to get into photography, the first authors who guided me and enlightened my way, those who revealed the paths to me, were: Nan Goldin, Diane Arbus and Sally Mann. Later, Rineke Dijkstra and Taryn Simon have been very important for me, at a conceptual and methodological level.

Anna: As a typical “millennial”, I became obsessed with MTV video clips, spending hours and hours watching them and observing  all their finer details, trying to understand how they created it all. I was fascinated by the choreographies, costumes, staging, etc. So, from these discoveries, and from my passion for dance, I was constantly creating and recreating video clips in my head, in the car, before getting off to sleep... so I suppose I could say, that one of my first references were the video clips from the noughties.

Anna, how does your creative process work?

A: First I start with an idea, a phrase, a word or a very clear first image. From that first idea, I begin to see both visual and other types of references, I also listen to a lot of music that transports me to that world and imaginary. From there, once I have taken in enough information and I have a clear idea of which direction I want to take, I start writing everything that comes into my head, and little by little the ideas are connected to one another through what I imagine, what I have seen and what is feasible to do. Once I have put it all in order, I like to capture it in a dossier and moodboard, where the whole idea is explained in both narrative and aesthetic levels.

What does photography and cinema allow us to explain that cannot be done through other disciplines?

A: I don’t think that photography and cinema have more tools than other disciplines to explain things, or that they can explain things that others can’t. In fact, in my opinion, all the disciplines nourish one another; they coexist and need each other. But it’s true, that for me personally, it is a means of expression with which I feel more at ease as I am able to capture all my thoughts in a visual and conceptual way. I think the power in audio-visual creations, is that different arts converge into one, and this makes the images take on great importance and conceptual sense.

Book events such as Sant Jordi or the Publishing Market boast great success. What do you think of the quality of children’s and teenagers’ literature nowadays?

A: I’m not an expert in the field, but I find that there are currently a lot more interesting proposals in children’s and teenage literature. Attractive, very diverse, more educational and inclusive proposals for youngsters.

You are the artists invited to the Museu del Disseny’s summer camp. What will you both work on with the youngsters attending the camp?

T: The workshops that I do with groups of teenagers are always linked to themes that interest me in my artistic practice. I can’t do a workshop that does not interest me or that doesn’t provide me with a space for reflection, learning and growth. Since the beginning of this year, I have become very interested in AI and I’m experimenting with it. For example, its mechanisms, its ethical limits, its aesthetics... and this is what we will do in the workshop. Get more familiar with AI in a variety of its dimensions, seeing how the world learns, and make it our own to create a manifesto.

A: In my case, we will work the creation of future worlds. Getting the youngsters to make the effort to imagine what the world will be when they are older or after many years have passed. Doing so, we can work on the creation of their own imaginaries,  getting them to reflect on the future we are offered, and thus begin to elaborate critical discourses both within and beyond the audio-visual creation.

This year’s summer camp revolves around the ‘Digital Impact’ exhibition. How do the physical and digital worlds connect in the artistic sector?

T: Enriching us. Whilst remaining critical, I like change and I tend to incorporate changes, showing an interest in new tools, languages and ways of understanding the world we inhabit. The fact is, that since the beginning of the noughties, digital technologies have changed the way we live and think. Now, with the arrival of AI it can already be foreseen that it is another great wave that will radically change the way we work, create and think. I love taking the bull by the horns and start sizing up this fact, to understand how the powers that direct it work, the objectives that it pursues and the ways in which we can direct it with a level of critical capacity. Using creation, I feel that we have the responsibility to plant a seed in young people, of wanting to learn more, not being afraid, not letting themselves be tamed and to keep questioning everything through workshops and projects.

A: For many years now, in the audio-visual industry, there has been constant communication between the physical and digital world. From films which included 3D special effects, to interactive installations in museums, artistic contexts, stage design for theatre with visual effects and interactivity, etc. I think that in today’s audio-visual creations, it is almost a requirement that we think about connecting worlds.

Ajuntament de Barcelona