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Davor Sanvincenti

Maja and Reuben Fowkes: Could you tell us more about the background of the found footage that is the starting point for Undefined Wilderness? How did you find it? Where was it shot? Who is the character in the film?

Davor Sanvincenti: The 57 film frames, folded and damaged, were found on the bottom of a wooden box containing a 16mm projector I bought from Germany in 2013. After making a digital scan, showing the content of the image, I started research into its provenance, but still today I have not found any information about its origins. The 16mm projector is from 1961 and the only visible trace on the film strip is “52 – Ferrania”, which implies that this film-copy was made by an Italian film manufacturing company, which ceased its activities by the end of 2009. The research is ongoing, and I’m waiting for news from the archival and restoration lab.

MRF: In the complementing film we see a mountain landscape, is it important to know where it was shot, or is it a more general representation of wilderness?

DS: As in the case of all the other recorded landscapes present in the work, the mountain has no name or place. It represents a narrative counterpoint to the unknown walker, a land scenography which is there, present and untouched for centuries.

MRF: You work a lot with unique moments of perceiving and experiencing natural places, why did you choose these particular times and locations to make the Polaroid photos in the installation? How important is the direct experience of nature for your practice?

DS: In my artistic practice, as can be seen in the trilogy of works Invisible Landscapes, the 16mm film Le lever du jour sur l’ocean and the interactive sound installation Ø, direct sensed experience within nature, its phenomena, structures and logic is of great importance as a necessary presence in order to extend consciousness. The three Polaroid photos in the installation represent a possible day, referencing Walden’s natural surroundings - from dawn (on the lake shore), passing through the day (white forest) and ending on sunset view from a cliff observatory (the lake is visible in the distance). The pictures were taken in completely different countries, with thousands of kilometres of distance in between, but still, along with their specific visual signature, they are breathing as one. The visitor is exposed to an imaginary walk in nature, accepting the scenario as feasible. The choice and the wish to use an instant camera, to limit it to just one picture per day, come also as a technological limitation (no zoom lens) which provokes and pushes the need to walk (sometimes for hours) till the place which corresponds to the imagined picture is reached. The image that is arrived at is a result of the absorption of stimuli during the journey, while the immediate reaction shows itself as pure, unpredictable and unique.

MRF: Henry David Thoreau starts his essay on Walking by making equivalence between Nature, and freedom and wildness; how connected are the notions of freedom and wilderness for you? Can walking be an act of civil disobedience?

DS: Freedom for Nature exists in her pure Wildness, without human presence. As part of Nature, the freedom of humans lies in the right to choose to maintain an absolute respect for their surroundings. Wildness is here in order to direct humans to reflect upon the condition of freedom in the vastest sense.

MRF: Is it possible to walk today without ecological awareness?

DS: Quite impossible, impossible to be not aware of how nature (even the known landscapes we “visit” repeatedly) changed during time, awareness of the subtle loss of the surrounding biosphere and our participation in these processes. This has become evident after several decades of sensitive observation of nature.

Davor Sanvincenti, Undefined Wilderness, video still, The Walker, found footage, 20”, 2014.

Davor Sanvincenti (born 1979) is a multimedia artist from Croatia, also known by monikers such as Messmatik and Gurtjo Ningmor. He is specifically interested in the field of audiovisual research and anthropology of visual culture, particularly focused on the conditions and forms of human senses and perceptions. His artistic practice takes shape in a variety of media – film and video, photography, physical light and sound installations and live media performances. His work plays with the concept of illusion, exploring the possible boundaries of perception and the construction of experience. Davor Sanvincenti’s work has been exhibited and presented internationally, including festivals Rencontres Internationales (Paris, Berlin, Madrid), LOOP (Barcelona), 25FPS (Zagreb), World Film Festival (Bangkok), VideoEX (Zurich), CineMed (Montpellier) and venues including Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Lincoln Center (New York), MoCA Zagreb, Joanneum Museum (Graz), NIU (Barcelona), HB Galerie (Rotterdam), La Triennale (Milano), MoCA Vojvodina (Novi Sad), Filmoteca EspaÒola (Madrid), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin). He is the 2010 recipient of the Radoslav Putar Award for the best Croatian artist under 35. His physical video installation 1001 takes part in the AV collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb.



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