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Immobilite: Interview with artist Mark Amerika

What do you hope the impact of making a film like Immobilit e will be?

I hope that it first creates a new kind of hybrid form that is part visual art, part literature, and of course part filmmaking. Given all of the big shifts we are seeing in the way people experience their art these days, especially with portable and networked technology, I hope it changes the way we see different media and audiences converging and that it enables us to both transport and be transported by the work. Or maybe I mean "trance-ported?"

Shooting Immobilit e on a cell phone (Mark Amerika)

Why did you want to use a cell phone as the means of recording and telling your story?

Because a) it was easy, and b) the quality was actually quite good but just low-tech enough to make a difference, and c) I am really interested in experimenting with the camera as a prosthesis, I mean literally, like the way eyeglasses help us see or an artificial limb might help us walk, I was thinking of the micro-camera as part of my body. At times it felt like I was holding my eyes in my hand.

Tell me a little about your use of subtitles in the film?

The subtitles in all of the works in the Foreign Film Series serve a literary and philosophical purpose. If you watch a film like Godard's Alphaville, and read the subtitles, all of a sudden you are reading philosophy while watching images. But in the case of foreign films, the subtitles we read are usually translated dialogue or voice-over, right? In my work, the subtitles are actual "characters." They are inside someone's head and we are thinking along with them as we watch the images. We are, in a word, reading. Or even mind-reading.

How did making Immobilit e change you or change your views on filmmaking?

It convinced me that if you are passionate about inventing a new kind of cinematic hybrid that plays with sound art, literature/philosophy, video art, and the history of underground filmmaking, you can do it. You can do it with a Flip, a mobile phone, a monster HD camera, a web cam, whatever -- it can be done. And with the distribution and networking potential of Web 2.0, art can now be more easily accessible than ever before.

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