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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Amber Thibault at 5:07PM   |  2 comments
Kingdom by the Sea

Blog post written by Amber Thibault, Cinema and Photography ’15, FLEFF Intern, Lewiston, Maine

Interviewing Anne Spalter, artist of the the Sky of Dubai, was an incredibly insightful experience. In my previous blog I talked about her work and in some ways I was correct in my analysis. However, as I expected there were certain nuances of her work I missed. 


What theme were you going for with the piece?

"All of my work is about modern landscapes and the Dubai landscape is super modern. It's basically all high rises. I think they are building a park now but when I was there, there was no greenery. It's like a science fiction environment so it really appealed to me."


Why does the modern landscape appeal to you so much?

"When people think of the landscape they have a sort of nostalgic, romantic version of the landscape - they edit out the technological things in it. I am fascinated with those things. When you're driving and you see the grass and the cows and the trees I would be looking at the telephone poles and the water towers and the radio towers and all the weird technological stuff in the landscape. One of the best things anyone's said about my work is that they see the landscape differently now when they drive through it that they see those elements more."


How did you get interested in the kaleidoscope effect?

"I was invited to Dubai two years ago and we [her husband and herself] were part of a cultural exchange weekend and my husband promised them the gift of artwork as a thank you. At the time I was doing a traditional western 3D perspective and drawing representationally and I thought 'Oh if going to involved the country I should bring something less representational, more patterned.'

I used my drawings, I scanned them into the computer and I began to play with them and started using the kaleidoscopic pattern and I really like them. I love islamic artwork so that was the beginning of it and I made a portfolio of prints to the head of the media there and he loved them."


Was the helicopter ride part of your cultural experience?

"I went two years in a row, the first year I wasn't making the video work and I just went on the tour and I thought it was very cool and the second year I was like oh this is perfect I'm gonna videotape from the helicopter. I'm there with all these super rich executives and I elbowed my way through the crowd so I could sit near the window of the helicopter. I was like, "No I have to be here."

I put my camera up against the window and I found out, which I didn't remember from the first time, that the helicopter windows are tinted blue. I tried color correcting for it but I ended up really liking it so I went with the blue. It makes it feel like it's sort of underwater almost, like other worldly feeling and you're in the sky...


It just seemed to fit the feeling of the piece."


Part two of my interview with Anne Spalter coming soon. In the mean time:

What does modern landscape mean to you and how do you feel about the modern landscape we live in today?


Thanks for this interview, Amber and thanks for sharing the history of the project, Anne. It's so nice to see a fresh take on images of this part of the world.

I agree. There is so much negativity in news and mass media about the Middle East. I loved this appreciation for the area of Dubai.

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