SHOW AND TELL #11: Dana Berman Duff

Dana Berman Duff works in small format film and video. She’s coming to Alchemy to present four of her Catalogue 16mm films in our It’s My (Private) Life and The Social Script programmes. Catalogue is a series of 16mm films and videos that consider the time it takes to look at desirable objects; in this case, the objects for sale in a mainstream furniture catalogue. It presents desaturated photographs of staged rooms shot and printed to resemble sets for film-noir era movies and this mediation of reality functions to increase the objects’ desirability.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being free of the need for perfection

2. What lies at the heart of your own desire to make films?
To really see

3. What are the first things you do in developing a film idea in response to a subject?
Take a bath

4. What’s your favourite film and why?
a) Most watched favorite: Agnes Varda’s Cleo de 5 a 7. Shows it’s possible to be subversive and sentimental at the same time.
b) Most life-changing film: James Benning’s 11 x 14. Courageous attempt to see in time.

5. Choose 1, 2 or 3 of your all-time favourite music tracks!
Arvo Pärt Fur Alina (I love playing it myself on the piano); The Byrds Eight Miles High

6. From your favourite poem – could you give us a few lines that mean something to you?

when center and edges are crushed together, the extremities crushed together on which the world was founded
when our souls crash together, Arab and Jew, howling our loneliness within the tribes
when the refugee child and the exile’s child re-open the blasted and forbidden city
when we who refuse to be women and men as women and men are chartered, tell our stories of solitude spent in multitude
in that world as it may be, newborn and haunted, what will solitude mean?
—Adrienne Rich

7. If you were to die and come back as a person, animal or a thing, what would it be?
Film grain being projected

8. What is your greatest extravagance?
Making movies

9. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Watching movies

10. What is your final word?