Interview with Vicki Bennett

We interviewed Vicki Bennett on the production of her films The Golem, An Inanimate Matter and We Are Not Amused, produced by Animate Projects for Channel 4's Random Acts. These films were produced in 2013 and aired on Channel 4 from August 2013.


What inspired your Random Acts film?

The theme of 'Secret Monsters' was a great prompt to explore all kinds of themes of mystery and magic, my two favourite subjects! Ergo Phizmiz and I started looking into how various gods, entities and other-worldly beings had interacted with human beings, both as existing myths, legends and fables, and thought about how we could twist this to make it relevant to the present. For the Muses film it was about how people fight over ideas being their own (to put it in a modern frame: intellectual property), and take the ideas back since no one 'owns' ideas. For the Golem film we had a golem be summoned in a study of books and try and trash all the books he walks through. I didn't realise until later but this is reflected in the ongoing war over access to information, and it being hidden or made inaccessible, and also comes about at a time when our government stupidly want to close libraries.

How did you breathe life into the idea?

I made some lists of influential and popular ideas and inventions and thought about how these things could be taken away (in the Muses film) and in the golem film we thought of what texts and books could be manipulated and in what ways. We used Wikimedia for sourcing all of the images, which was great - and collaged and animated using Photoshop then Adobe After Effects.

During the making process did your film change much from the initial
idea? Were there any surprises?

The Muses film stayed much like the initial idea since it was very easy to think of what could happen to a Michelangelo painting or a Muybridge photograph set, although it was lovely seeing it all start to move! The golem film was more complicated in that we had to find a way to depict him moving through books in a smooth way, and the texts we chose needed to be manipulated both in a visually interesting way, but also needed to tell the story that the text was somehow going to takeover the golem and send him home - so it is a modern fable, that intelligence and knowledge wins!

How did you collaborate with other people on making the film?

Ergo Phizmiz and I thought up most of the ideas. Ergo made the music, I visualised the project and steered the idea in such a way that it could technically be done. I also did Photoshop and After Effects. Peter Knight did the majority of the animation and also helped give ideas and perspective on how this could come together. And Martha Moopette made the clay golem!

What motivated you to work with animation in your artistic practice in the first place?

It's how you make magical things happen that only happen in your imagination. Much like the use of collage or cut ups, you can bring things together that never would happen in other ways.