a conversasion with

filip anthonissen

/ Your work often talks about sadness, teenage loneliness, dreams and failure. How much of these topics is about you or/and is it a critic to contemporary social relationships?

I think it’s all about me because it’s the only point of view I’ve got. But I do feel it reflects bigger issues a lot of people can relate to.
Because my work is visually driven, it’s open for interpretation and everybody can project their own story onto it. This is an interaction between the viewer and the work, where I’m completely out of the picture. So in another way, it has nothing to do with me.

// Social platforms are usually connected to egocentrism and the need to show ourselves, but in your work doesn’t happen so much. How do you play with that paradox?

A lot of my work is about the ego, self-identification and self-suffocation. I spend a lot of time looking for the balance between embracing the ego and transcending it. I feel the ego in a survival mechanism, concepts like jealousy and wanting to be the best, wanting to be seen and wanting to be successful (whatever that means) come from our primal need to stay alive and to procreate. But I feel when you make art, you shouldn’t be in that state. Because it weights you down and dampers your creative energy. So although a lot of my work is about the ego, when I make it I try not to be in there so much.

/// What’s the meaning of Image, owned by you or not, in your artistic research? We were thinking about the reference to Pinocchio in your work, “a real boy” at the exhibition Vacation Spot in Gent (Gouvernement, Ghent).

I like the use of highly saturated images (or sounds) that are embedded in our collective consciousness. They become a kind of symbols, modern hieroglyphs, representing deeper ideas and metaphors. I don’t like to overly explain the underlying concepts of my work, but by using these symbols they give a point of reference. Even though it’s still open for interpretation and most of the time used with a bit of irony.

//// When do you feel the need to bring to reality your virtual work? What’s the role of devices and different mediums in that?

I want to viewer to have an immersive experience. Video by itself already does this, through the combination of audio, image and movement. But I like to push it further, where the viewer feels submerged in an alternate reality. I also like the process of building things. Going away from my computer and physically creating is a nice change of pace.

///// What are you working on right now?

I just finished a virtual reality video, which was quite stressful because of the long render times and tight deadline. But I do want to explore more into the medium, and maybe make a bigger work. It definitely hits the mark as an immersive experience.