Film & Moving Image Residencies 2017: Aaron Zeghers


Aaron’s Work:


About Aaron’s practice:

Zeghers works primarily as an experimental filmmaker, utilizing analog formats, in-camera effects, various types of animation and other experimental techniques to create his films and expanded cinema performances. Zeghers’ films have screened at festivals and venues around the world including International Film Festival Rotterdam, Festival du nouveau cinéma, DOXA Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival and New York’s Mono No Aware. In the past two years Zeghers has toured widely with his work, performing his expanded cinema performances in Rotterdam, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Chicago, Vancouver, Toronto and more. His latest experimental animation ‘Everything Turns…’ premiered and an expanded performance at International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Aaron’s thoughts before the residency:

I grew up in rural Manitoba, just a few miles from the edge of the “Manitoba desert” (typically known as the Carberry Desert or the Spirit Sands). Growing up this was our playground, for exploring, swimming, camping, bonfires, picnics, etc. It will be interesting for me to contrast these familiar ideas and images of home to this very foreign environment.

I am also very interested in mythologies, and of course the desert is full of myth and legend and lore. From biblical tales to Hollywood (Lawrence of Arabia), to independent cinema (El Topo) to my fellow Canadian experimental filmmakers (Frank Cole’s ‘Life Without Death’, Tara Long’s ‘350 MYA’), the desert is rife symbolism. I’m interested in exploring this symbolism and mythology in historical and popular culture, as well as reflecting on my own ideas of this place as both a symbol of stagnation as well as an opportunity – for me personally – for solace and growth.

Finally, I’m very interested in the deep history of the region (dating back to 400,000 BC, according to one discovery made). This breadth of history is something you really can’t reproduce in North America. Considering the present as a mere sliver of time, and imagining the vast desert at one point teaming with life, early humanoids, long extinct animals or perhaps even underwater. This contemplation of this natural evolution, this passing of time, I’m sure will be influential.

To illustrate all of this I hope to use the experimental techniques on 16mm I have developed in the past to create images that reflect the ideas expressed above. Specifically I hope to experiment with open-exposure photography at dusk/dawn or by fire light, in addition to all sorts of other experimental techniques. At this point I would also consider bringing along an archive of still or moving images of the desert to use as found footage or to double expose onto other images shot in Morocco. Anyhow, there are just some initial ideas, and I’m sure many more will develop during my time there.