VIDEOS ABOUT SARAH'S WORK
Sarah-Mace Dennis: working with communities.
Drafting Season: Behind the Scenes.
Moving Over the Shoreline: Behind the Scenes.
ON COLLABORATION AND THINKING ACROSS DISCIPLINES:
Your collaboration with cinematographers, other artists and choreographers has an important role in your earlier work: fashion-style shots, or the use of chiaroscuro lighting from the upstage side of the camera, make your films present a refined taste. Could you tell us something about these experiences?
'I trained in collaborative, interdisciplinary arts practice and the School of Arts, Griffith University. It was quite an experimental place, where we were taught to think across mediums, and to investigate the ways that different practices could change, or help to extend our creative ideas.
Since graduating in 2004, I have worked as an artist and director. In fact, I studied film and television at TAFE (technical college) while was I was still at high school. So I think that even from a young age I have thought quite cinematically, and this has always influenced my creative practice.
Every project I create begins from an idea and a set of images that start to play out inside my head. Because I am a filmmaker and an artist, I think I come to all areas of my practice as a kind of director of ideas. This means I come up with a concept, write it down, and then think quite spatially to imagine how characters will move through space to tell this story. Because of my interdisciplinary training, I’m always thinking across multiple cinematic layers and trying to create a balance between performance, aesthetics and narrative.'
ON SOUNDS FROM THE EMERGENT STATE AND USING MOVING IMAGES TO RECONFIGURE HISTORY:
'Queensland is so amazing in terms of music I did feel overwhelmed at first. I thought I can’t possibly tell this story myself, it’s the story of all these amazing musicians who’ve lived in this state. I wanted them to perform in the work because I wanted to acknowledge the people who’ve been working so hard and making those contributions behind the scenes.'
'The best way to tell history is by dispersing it across multiple frames, fragmenting it so that viewers are getting traces and they’re putting it back together through their own bodies, by the way they move through things or the way they connect things perceptually.'
ON THE CONVERSATIONS WITH JOE STRUMMER:
'The conversations I have with Joe Strummer in my work are definitely political in their questioning and deconstruction of the world’s present capitalist existence, but this conversation asks questions rather than provides answers. Because that has become something that is really important to my approach at the moment, to use my work to ask questions that make people think more deeply about the conditions of their world. I suppose I would describe it as a kind of gentle unfolding of ideas. And this is something that characterizes all of my work, not only as an artist, but also as a director and editor. I think I somehow have an indirect approach to storytelling. This means that events and ideas are disclosed slowly, rather than being revealed in one hit.
But it is also quite speculative. In this work I move between the formats of documentary and video art. I don’t know if it is a parody so much as it is a deconstruction of these different moving image and television styles. I suppose it is like turning the medium back on itself somehow. I think this project somehow exposes the constructed nature of all media images, hopefully in a way that allows audiences to really think about the authenticity of the information they receive.'