Veronica Rouby

Waldensamkeit, 2019

An exercise in transforming a space through use of filmic techniques, Waldeinsamkeit explores the feeling of being overcome by nature - at once serene and overwhelming, sublime and devastating. The title is a German term which describes the intangible feeling of being alone in the woods.

This was a collaborative project with Belle Winner.

Q&A with Veronica Rouby

Q. Could you tell us about any current projects that you are working on?

A. Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent closure of campus, the nature of our school productions has changed pretty drastically. I and two group members are in the early stages of planning a new production, under new parameters: without school equipment or hired cast or crew, we are to create a short film which makes comment on ‘viral’ media. And we also may not be able to meet in person, which means potentially using only methods such as video calls, screen capture, and self-taping to tell the story.

Q. Describe your project in its current state and what you’d like it’s final outcome to be.

A. We are currently in the early stages of pre-production. I am someone who enjoys the challenge of limitations, and I would like to see the ones we currently have in place working in our film’s favour to create a film that will speak to things that our regular scripted work cannot.

Q. How did you reach the conceptualization of your current project?

A. Because we are limited to the kinds of technology we have access to in our rooms, there is the potential to make comment on these technologies as modes of communication, image-making, and surveillance. This idea is what has kept me going forward.

Q. Are there any artists that have inspired this work? If so, why?

A. I just recently came across the film Former Cult Member Hears Music for the First Time directed by Kristoffer Borgli and found it fascinating because it uses the format of the “content farm” documentaries we see on Facebook and YouTube and subverts it in a very clever way. I am also reminded of the short film This House Has People in It, directed by Alan Resnick for Adult Swim, which depicts similarly absurd events, as well as making use of surveillance camera footage in a way that distinguishes itself from the Paranormal Activity formula, while also paying homage to it. This is something I’m taking note of as we go on to working in alternative “hands-off” forms of filmography such as phone cameras, webcams, and screen capture.

Q. Describe any challenges you have faced and any solutions that you have found to be helpful in the creative process.

A. The biggest challenge I’ve had to face in the film program in general, specifically coming from photography, is the sharing of roles. In photography, you have to do everything yourself, from conception to execution – which has its positives and negatives, but what I loved most about that was that it afforded complete expression without compromise. I can explore whatever ridiculous idea is in my head, and work to realize it, even if I’m figuring it out as I go along. With film, things have to be more pre-planned; you have to determine if your ideas are ‘feasible’ before you can try to follow through with them, and they must be communicated to and accepted by a group of more or less random people who may not necessarily share your same tastes. I also find it difficult to assert myself in groups, especially as I am often surrounded by more self-assured, extraverted people who are more than happy to take charge. Funnily enough, I think this situation, and communicating solely through text, has helped me to assert myself and express my ideas more freely, as I can think through my words and provide examples of inspiration – as opposed to communication in person where my words falter.

Q. Have you had any success in getting your work out into the world? Do you have suggestions for other artists?

A. Haha, not much luck there, I’m afraid. I’ve gotten some work into small (mostly student) exhibitions and film festivals, and to that I can say that if you have made a film, photograph, or other piece of art, there is definitely some sort of exhibition out there that will display it – as long as you fit their niche. I.e. Is it shot on 16mm? Smartphone? Does it speak to issues of gender, race, sexuality, etc.? Is it a genre film? Once you’ve made the work, you can do some thinking about what kinds of niches it could fit into and work from there.