“THE EARTH’S VAST SURROUNDINGS ARE FULL OF MANMADE INFECTIONS… GOOD AND BAD THESE INFECTIONS HAVE VIOLATED AND TRANSFORMED OUR BODIES AND SENSES IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER… IMMUNE IS A DISCOVERY OF THE NEW ‘BODY ‘ SURVIVING ITS ENVIRONMENT FULL OF SCIENTIFIC MANIPULATION, RELIGIOUS MANIPULATION AND SOCIAL MANIPULATION…“.
Floria Sigismondi is a multi-disciplinary artist whose photography, videos, films and sculptures have had a major impact on contemporary visual culture. Six years after we released her first book Redemption, we are publishing Immune, a second collection of Sigismondi’s groundbreaking images that reflect the evolution and diversity of her recent work.
Immune features a remarkable blend of new photos including previously unreleased footage from the prize-winning video clips she has created for music acts including Christina Aguilera, the Cure, Incubus, Björk, Leonard Cohen and the Living Things. These are complimented by more personal artistic images and self-portraits.
The bizarre, otherworldly look that Sigismondi has become famous for is still clearly recognizable, but Immune also highlights the range of her creative vision. In addition to presenting classic images, the book shows work that is subtler and at times irreverently critical of current politics.
Interview with Floria Sigismondi
Published in Revolutionart issue 3
By: Nelson Medina
Images used with permission of Die Gestalten Verlag
How did you start making videos?
I was a photographer when I became interested. I was drawn to movement and sound and was sick of shooting fashion and highlighting lapels and shoes. Music video were much more a platform to express myself, evoke a feeling, a mood…say something about the world I lived in.
Where does your visual imagery come from and why the Floria’s world is so different?
My subconscious…I’m also influenced by what preoccupies me at any given moment
You have directed the best videos of Marilyn Manson and probably you have defined the look in which he became famous and also what "Antichrist
Superstar" should of been. Tell us how did you felt working with the band? How did you conceive the image concept for them?
This was a great turning point for me. I had all these ideas I was really excited about…I thought "great, there’s someone who is saying something with their song and I can be super creative with it, because I know he can pull it off." Manson was theatrical in the way of operas, which I knew a great deal about growing up surrounded by them. I remember trying to talk myself out of these crazy ideas I had…weither they would work … what people would think….but I held on tight to the initial feeling of being really excited and not listening to the doughting voice inside me… after all art is suppose to be exciting and purging of sorts. I followed my gut and it lead me all the way through. I had no idea where it would take me, but at least I know it would be honest. If people didn’t like it, that was okay, because that is how I saw things and what I felt strongly about. I really learned to trust my creative intuition.; to be bold and not water things down. I needed to convince Manson to use the dancers and to wear a bald cap but he eventually turned around and I think those things really took the video to a different level. Those things helped create this different world I wanted to paint.
I wanted to talk about a totalitarian society where people were being used. the dictator (the character Manson played) had a skin colored rubber coat that I designed where all the seems were stitched together like the skins of the people. This is how the dictator got his strength. I wanted to use medical equipment to show the restraint and power the government has on us.
Were you affected with the controversy around Manson’s image?
I was. I remember this was new…I was creating to satisfy myself and everyone went crazy. I was a bit shocke,. but I always am because it seems so surreal that my work is viewed by so many people because my creative process is so insular.
How does your creative process start when you are set to make a video ?
I listen to the song over and over again until I don’t hear it
anymore and it becomes part of my subconscious. That is when reality
starts to bend and melt away and I begin to receive images.
What are the main sources of inspiration for your work?
My life….decay….love and passion….anger….equality and destruction.
Who are the people/artists who inspires you ?
At the moment filmmakers inspire me. Fellini, Passolini, Polanski,
Tatophski, Russian animator.
What’s your favorite music, food and places to travel?
Italian, I love going back to Italy. I was born there, but left when I was 2 yrs old. I remember collecting rusted pieces of mental and drawn to anything that was old and decaying. Finally my family were able to afford to go back to Italy and I realized where my fascination stemmed from. Italy has so much History, so much of the ancient Rome
is in ruins all around you. I really think this has become who I am…the old and the new clashing together. I am interested in deconstruction in order to discover something new. I think I’m an experimentalist at heart.
Which one’s do you consider your best work of art so far?
I’m most proud of the Sigur Ros video "Untitled".
What do you consider that you still have to learn ?
a lot…I hope there is still lots to learn, creating would be so
boring…if not technically than I hope to learn more about myself
through my art. When I stop learning than it is time to die.
What will be the next steps on Floria’s career?
I am working on a couple of scripts which I will direct into feature
I remember that in 1996 were only two pages on Internet about Floria Sigismondi: Your official site and my older site talking about your work. Today we have hundreds of pages talking about your art. What do you think about this and what are your thoughts about the future of mankind being affected with all these technology?
Thank you for being one of my first supporters. I think that it is wonderful that the world has become so small and that we can be influenced by someone across the world but there is something to be said about holding a book, something more tangible than through a backlit screen. It is magical to have your work travel while you crate more…it’s like you give them life and now they become something else through the interactions of other people….if you affect someone, upset, disturb or touch someone…I think the piece takes all the reactions and makes it part of it’s self. I consider them alive. I rarely like to look back at work once I’ve completed a piece.
Tell us about your last book: "Immune" . What can fans find inside?
Where I think my first book Redemption was a look inside myself, I think Immune is a look at the outside and the world around me and how that has affected me. It is about life, war, biogenetic, and manipulated beings and some old rock and rollers for good measure.
Is there any other project that you like to share with the readers of Revolutionart?
I have just finished directing a music video for The Raconteurs, "Broken Boy Soldiers" and a Christina Aguliera video for "Hurt".