The Experiment SJ.Ramir 'Journeys' Curated by Lorenzo Gattorno and Peter Buntaine
"The theme I explore in my video work is that of 'journeys' - both physical and metaphysical. These journeys are dramatized in my work by the movement of anonymous, silhouetted figures through isolated landscapes - alluding to both the isolation of the individual, and isolation of place. Visual distortion in the footage is created by the enhancement of pixels, through the use of custom-made lens filters that are used 'in camera' to produce hazy, distorted images - suggestive of emotional states connected with isolation.
The journeys made by these silhouetted figures can represent many things; a search for personal identity, nationhood or community. Often structures or houses appear in the distance, and are used as metaphors to represent mankind/society (and the offerings of society; from collective philosophy, values, morals, through to religion) and memories and needs. The figures approach, explore, and ultimately depart these structures. The final act of the figures leaving the structures and walking away represents an absolute rejection of what is being offered by mankind/society. It is crucial in my video work that for these wandering figures, no destination or resolution is ever reached, as this reaffirms that the very act and motivation of journeys is about an un-sated longing/quest/desire/need." SJ.Ramir
Man Alone SJ. Ramir, 2006, 4 min. A lone, shapeless figure sets out on a journey. The mysterious spectre travels through a series of distorted, impressionistic landscapes to an unspecified destination. A sense of bleakness and isolation underscores the narrative.
Departure SJ. Ramir, 2007, 3 min. In his short video piece Departure, SJ.Ramir explores both emotional and geographical landscapes of isolation. Using visual distortion as a tool, and accompanied by uneasy soundtracks, Ramir creates a world where emptiness and mystery permeate from each frame.
Our Voices Are Mute SJ. Ramir, 2008, 5 min. In Our Voices Are Mute, anonymous silhouettes move slowly through visually distorted landscapes, confronting symbolic images that challenge the viewer's idea of 'journeys'; what they are, and how they affect us.
Disquiet SJ.Ramir, 2011, 8 min. Disquiet follows the movement of an anonymous figure through remote and desolate geographical environments to examine metaphysical journeys that are made through landscapes within the mind.
*Produced with the funding from the Independent Filmmakers Fund, Creative New Zealand.
Remote SJ.Ramir, 2012, 42 min Remote, the latest film from SJ.Ramir, is a dialogue-free account of existential minimalism that follows the journey of an unnamed woman as she treks across the empty expanse of giant desert-like sand dunes towards a distant coastline. Comprising of numerous long takes, Remote offers a meditative vision - exploring the physical landscape as a metaphysical state, and drawing on the journey of the film's protagonist as a metaphor for spiritual journeys made across terrain within the human mind.
*Produced with the funding from Creative New Zealand
SJ.Ramir was born in Auckland, New Zealand, 1971 and currently lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. Originally trained as a photographer, SJ.Ramir later moved to digital video - shooting scenes of lone figures moving across remote and isolated geographical landscapes. His work is primarily concerned with exploring the concept of journeys - both physical and metaphysical.
His video art has been exhibited at public and commercial galleries worldwide, including; the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Japan, City Gallery Wellington, The Australian Centre of Photography, Sydney, Orexart Gallery, New Zealand, Dianne Tanzer Gallery, Melbourne, ASU Media Art Center, Arizona, USA, Alsager Gallery, United Kingdom. For two consecutive years (2008 and 2009) he was a recipient of the Screen Innovation Production Fund, New Zealand. His moving image work has also been screened at some of the world's most prestigious film festivals; including the Venice International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen.
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