DCP, colour, stereo, 29 min, 2014
Tatjana is a 93 years old painter who is slowly losing her eyesight. She tries to adapt to a changing landscape that is becoming more challenging with each day. Even though her world gets shrouded with shadows, the painter in her tries to figure out the different layers of colours that are left in it. Christiana Perschon creates her film while observing how the eyes of Tatjana reshape the world that she has known all her life. Thus the two women become like partners while each working on their own creative projects. The world once again becomes an uncharted territory where hands and eyes are the primary tools in order to get the process of experience going again. But light and darkness do not battle each other this time: they gaze at each other in silent astonishment. (Giona A. Nazzaro, Visions du Réel 2014)
Film by Christiana Perschon with Tatjana Gamerith
Concept, Director, Camera, Sound, Editor, Producer: Christiana Perschon
Colour Grading: Florian Hirschmann
Sound Mix: Peter Utvary (Waveland Tonstudio)
Supported by innovative film austria & Lower Austria
Distributed by Light Cone, Paris; Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre
* World Premiere competition section of the VISIONS DU REEL in Nyon 2014
* Winner Best Austrian Short Film, VIS Vienna Independent Shorts 2014
Audio-visual notes on the encounter with 93 year old painter Tatjana, who is losing her eyesight. Gestures gently observed through the tips of her hair interfere with thoughts about the sense of time and a dreamlike reality. Moving images follow the painter's alignment relying more than ever on her experienced hand and imagination and exploring sensory perception beyond seeing.
Noema is the remembrance of my encounter with 93 year old painter Tatjana Gamerith. By the time I get to know her, she is struggling with the loss of her eyesight. No longer able to concentrate her vision on a single point, she draws her lines intuitively and with routine. This challenging experience doesn’t stop her from painting but encourages her to explore different ways within her artistic work. Sensory perceptions shift. Her impaired sight intensifies her sense of touch. Her blind spot becomes my focus. I’m searching for a way to translate this into moving images, to create an immediacy in my pictorial language that goes beyond seeing. In this process, my camera is a visual tool that enables tactile perceptions. I use my vision as though it was a sense of touch. Touching becomes the metaphor for the process of seeing. I’m following the idea of a way of looking where the eyes themselves function as organs of touch, gliding along the image surface. Haptic visuality allows a closer contact to the body, blurring the distinction between the observing and observed subject.
Noema is a kind of memory and an imagination describing a personal encounter through the eye of the camera. Does observing bring me closer or does it establish distance? How do I approach a subject with my camera? I gently apply blurring and reflections to avoid a penetrating gaze: Gestures embody life experience, hand shadows play with water drops, tips of hair merge into grass contours, sunlight is entangled in wooden cracks. Close-ups of painting hands and images of the painter's residence are the visible coordinates when creating and dissolving closeness and distance. The voice of my protagonist mostly appears bodiless and off-camera while my camera eye searches for details. Her language creates the sound to the film. I use the camera as a visual tool. The image frame that I choose is the time slot that opens up for Tatjana's hand to leave its trace on the image. I rely on my intuition in those moments when the painter's gesture and my camera lens get in touch. The camera focuses on the canvas where seconds later fingertips smear smudges of colour. We share the same image surface. This tactile way of looking leaves the actual image frame. The edges of the representable and the imagined are blurred. Visions of dream and reality interfere with each other. They don't refer to a certain significance but appear as tactile markings on the surface of the image. Reality emerges through the interaction of two perspectives that share a visual sensitivity while shooting. (Director's Note)