Artist Aura Satz works across various media, including film,
sound, performance and sculpture, with a particular interest in
sound visualisation. During 2009-2010 she was artist-in-residence
at the Ear Institute, UCL, where she was able to collaborate,
amongst others, with neuroscientists and scientists studying
acoustics and hearing. This autumn, she performed at Tate Modern's
new live performance space, the Tanks.
Satz, who began making films in 2000, considers the kind of
images she creates in film to be "uniquely filmic", such that they
couldn't really exist in any other media. Although her films can,
and often do, stand alone, she likes to work in constellations,
with the films providing a starting point for other projects,
including performances, which expand and converse with the films by
providing a live soundtrack, voiceover, or visual counterpart.
Her interest in sound began about ten years ago, when she was
pregnant, and she made the piece 'Ventriloqua', using a theremin,
with her belly as the antenna. Most of her films centre around the
materiality of sound, and the inherent paradox therein, since sound
is essentially something abstract, disembodied, unstable, easily
displaced, projected, and therefore profoundly disorienting.
"Sound can be very persuasive in creating a strong sense of
presence or haunting, and by filming objects that are conduits or
traces of sound I can evoke unexpected narratives and suggest new
ways of correlating sound and image," explains Satz.
Satz, who studied art history, was inspired early on by
Byzantine discussions of iconoclasm - the destruction of religious
images - and admits that the notion of the relic, or trace which is
haunted by presence, remains a constant concern. "I get excited by
old technologies, scientific instruments and all manner of devices
that somehow shift perception and experience," she says. "I really
like objects which have a powerfully disorienting effect, and can
make you see things differently."
"It is important to me that my work remains accessible to an
uninitiated audience, not just limited to the niche of the
artworld. Even if my starting point is quite specifically literary,
art-historical or research-based, I would want the projects to have
an appeal beyond their points of reference. I try to achieve this
by creating experiences which are intriguing on a sensory,
physical, perceptual level, but which then have additional
conceptual depth and hidden dimensions for those willing to scratch
the surface and engage on a different level. I don't have an ideal
spectator in mind, but I want to provoke in my audiences a sense of
curiosity and uncertainty, providing an experience which mesmerises
but is also demanding of a more heightened state of attention and
mindful sense of perception."
Aura Satz is one of the nominees for this year's Film London
Jarman Award, the winner of which will be announced on 5 November
at the Whitechapel Gallery. A full programme of events, including
screenings, performances and talks by each of the ten shortlisted
nominees, will be held at the gallery on 3 November from
For further information, and to book a ticket, visit:
Jarman Awards website:
Aura Satz's website: http://www.iamanagram.com/
Images courtesy of the artist.