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SHOW AND TELL #31: Daphne Rosenthal

Daphne Rosenthal is a visual artist who lives and works in Amsterdam (BFA Gerrit Rietveld Academie, 2008) and has strong ties with Los Angeles, where she received a MFA from Calarts (2014). She has shown work in galleries, festivals and museums throughout Europe and the US, such as the Tate Modern and the Wende Museum in LA. Daphne builds sets from tiny materials that have outspoken characteristics. They are colourful, tactile, fragile, but strong. When these objects are placed outside of their functional domain, their role is lost and they are fit for a part in one of her films. She’s coming to Alchemy to present her film Imitation in our It’s My (Private) Life programme.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A long walk with no particular destination.

2. What lies at the heart of your own desire to make films?
Curiosity.

3. What are the first things you do in developing a film idea in response to a subject?
The subject of a film is not a starting point nor a goal for me: I build chaotic luscious sets out of materials I collect and make. They are my playground which I visit with my camera on a daily basis in my studio. They guide me to experiences that are non verbal, but sensory. Only later in the process a certain atmosphere arises or a theme occurs.

4. What’s your favourite film and why?
My focus constantly changes, but the ones that seem to stick around:
All About Eve by Joseph L Mankiewicz, Jeanne d’Arc by Carl Dreyer, Swing Time by George Stevens with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Cleo de 5 à 7 by Agnes Varda, Imitation of Life by Douglas Sirk, if only for its magnificent opening scene.

5. Choose 1, 2 or 3 of your all-time favourite music tracks!
It’s easier to say what I’ve been listening a lot to lately:

Ballaké Sissoko
Dory Previn- Beware of young girls
Suicide- Ghost Rider
George Michael- A different corner

For the last two months I have been listening to the podcast You must remember this by Karina Longworth every single day.

6. From your favourite poem – could you give us a few lines that mean something to you?
I don’t read poetry that often. The short unfinished story The Burrow by Kafka must be read (like a poem).

7. If you were to die and come back as a person, animal or a thing, what would it be?
A cat or a smile

8. What is your greatest extravagance?
Extravagance is in the eye of the beholder. I drink a lot of tea…

9. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
The island of Texel and its two beachcombers museums, bowerbirds, velvet, homemade bread, Jenever, road side shrines in India, a cup of tea. What I find interesting is that people get wild from all sorts of different things. My 9 months old baby for instance is very much into broccoli, large suitcases, our bedroom curtain and clapping hands.

10. What is your final word?
I don’t know