Di Stefano, John.

*1963 in Montreal, Canada
lehrt an The National Art School, Sydney


Ausstellungen [Auswahl]:

2010 Festival du documentaire de Marseille
2010 Human Rights Film Festival, Sarajevo
2010 New Filmmakers – Anthology Film Archives, New York
2010 Documentary Edge Film Festival, New Zealand
2009 New Zealand Film Archive, Wellington (in conjunction with Blow Festival)


New Vision Award, San Francisco International Film Festival 1991

You Are Here


Date: 2009
Length: 62:00 min.
Format:  4:3
Specification: Colour, Sound


In „You are here“ beschäftigt sich der italienisch-kanadische Künstler John Di Stefano mit der Bedeutung von Zuhause und Identität in heimatlosen Zeiten. Seine Familiengeschichte lässt sich als wiederholter Verlust und Wiederaufbau des eigenen Zuhauses rekapitulieren. Über Familienfotos und Videos erkennt der Zuschauer die sich verändernde Bedeutung des Heims von Generation zu Generation. Der Künstler, ein „Immigrantensohn“, entwickelt aus dem Anderssein seine Identität als Homosexueller und entdeckt in der Heimatlosigkeit eine „Identität in Bewegung“, die das Motiv des Fliegens immer wieder hervorruft.
Die Dokumentation dient Di Stefano als Mittel, um verlorene Erinnerungen und seine Identität wiederzuerlangen. In einem Super 8-Film aus seiner Kindheit entdeckt er Anfänge seiner Homosexualität und rekonstruiert aus diesem Material das Bild seines alten Ichs, wodurch aber auch der Verlust der ehemaligen Zufriedenheit deutlich wird. Ein ähnlich retrospektives Moment taucht auf, als er im Ausland als Fremder wahrgenommen wird und merkt, was in seiner Heimat als normal galt und wer er vor langer Zeit war. In der Beschreibung der Vergangenheit spiegelt sich sein Hier und Jetzt – you are here.
Die nachdenkliche Erzählweise verleiht dem Video eine philosophische Tiefe, oszillierend zwischen Realem und Fiktivem, zwischen Ästhetik des Heimvideos und experimentellen Films sowie zwischen Mikro- und Makro-Geschichte.







► 1. Your video has been chosen among over 1700 festival entries to participate in Videonale 13. How central is the video medium to your overall artistic production? Is it complimentary to other media you use or do you work exclusively with video?


My artistic practice is situated at the intersection between the still and the moving image. I work extensively with single-channel video, but also with multi-channel and installation-based moving image, often in conjunction with audio- and photo-based work. Although I do not work exclusively in video, it is central to my artistic production and has been for 20 years. The technical and material qualities of the medium of video lend themselves to the idea-driven inquiries that my work engages with, most recently the video-essay.


► 2. Is there a particular theme, concept or problem your art addresses the most?


My recent work examines shifting concepts of home and belonging within the context of transnational migration by examining the complex construction of affiliations between ethnic, national and sexual identities. I have often worked with varied archives in order to offer a revisionist notion of history. My work attempts to explore the many narratives we create in an attempt to reconcile the personal and the social, the everyday with history.


► 3.What artists do you relate to or find significant for your own art-making?


There are very many from different fields ... a wide and varied group ranging from Harun Farocki to Willie Doherty, Vija Celmins to Cy Twombly, Olafur Eliasson to Javier Tellez, Michelangelo Antonioni to Theo Angelopoulos ...


► 4. Do you think the video medium can address social or political issues better than other art media?


In my case, video tends to offer a degree of flexibility, malleability and a variety of currencies that make it chameleon-like, giving it the ability to speak to many publics, both art-oriented and not. Due to its ubiquity, its relationship to the televisual, video is arguably the most powerful medium to address social and political issues since it's a medium that is "recognizable".


► 5.Art can be seen as a mirror that registers and reflects life or as a tool that transforms it. Which of the two positions is close to your own art-making philosophy?


I subscribe to BOTH positions and their dialectical relationship. I believe that video in particular has the immediacy and observational ability to record life unlike any other medium. In so doing, it can call attention to things with a particular authority, and potentially shift our perception of the world around us. Video has the ability to allow its audiences to see things differently and thus transform our understanding and experience of the world.


► 6. How do you understand success in an art-making career?


After 25 years as a practicing artist, my idea of success has changed many times. Success comes in many forms, some overt and easy to see, and others covert and in more subtle and discreet forms. If my work instigates and in any way contributes to discourse-in whatever from-I consider it to be a success.

► 7. What is the most difficult and the most rewarding thing about making art / being an artist?


(see answer to question No. 6)


► 8. What are your upcoming projects?


I am completing an artist-book and installation-based project based on my work in the Videonale, "You Are Here". The next project will deal with anonymity and the "post-dramatic".


► 9. What do you do when you don't make art?


I am an educator at the tertiary level, recently taking up the post of Head of Postgraduate Studies at the National Art School in Sydney. I write and am presently working on a book about video, the role of the camera and notions of belonging. I also occasionally curate.


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