Thorsten Fleisch is working on electrophotographies for Gaspar Noé’s new film Enter The Void. "It’s really a very exciting project and I think the film will be great. Responsible for the special effects, where the photos will be used eventually, is the french special effects team BUF. So I’m very positive the photos are in good hands"he said on his blog.
"Born in Koblenz, Germany in 1972, he began experimenting with super 8 film while still at highschool where he also exhibited his first film, a super 8 loop (see below).
After highschool and community service in an institution for the mentally ill he went to Marburg to study art, music and media at Phillips Universität. One year later he changed to the Städelschule in Frankfurt in order to study film with Peter Kubelka. There he started working with 16mm film.
Shortly after his studies at the Städelschule he made ‘blutrausch / bloodlust’ which not only got him a lot of attention but also the Ann Arbor Filmcoop Award.
Since 2001 Thorsten Fleisch is a member of the Board of Artistic Directors of The International Experimental Cinema Exposition (or TIE).
He received several grants among them a grant from the Filmbüro NW and a grant from the Museum of Contemporary Cinema.
For ‘Gestalt’ he received an Honorary Mention at the Prix Ars Electronica the number one festival for computer related art.
His films have been screened at film festivals wordwide including New York Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival, Milano Film Festival, Int. Film Festival Rotterdam, European Media Art Festival, Melbourne Int. Film Festival and many more.
He now lives and works in Berlin where he was also involved in organizing legendary parties with the Kachelklub. Recently he started his bimonthly Berlin podcast First We Take Berlin together with Daniel Scheimberg." (from http://fleischfilm.com/)
Thorsten, could you describe your work ?
I make experimental short films. they are literally experimental. Some prefer the term avantgarde (which I think is pretty deceiving) but I'm quite happy with the term experimental cinema as I really consider my films little visual and aural investigations. I have a theme that I'm interested in, it might be a material like for examples crystals (in my film kosmos) or something less solid and concrete like high voltage (in my film energie!), and then experiment on that theme regarding what I can get out of it with film and video technology. it is a very procedural approach meaning that I normally don't know where it will lead me in the end. I just try to find what I think looks interesting and beautiful and then when I have experimented enough I try to put the different results together in a way that makes sense to me.
Gaspar Noe has chosen to work with you on Enter the Void, when he discovered your latest movie, Energie. Could you tell us more about this fantastic video ?
It started with a long fascination I have for high voltage. I built my first tesla coil (a device that produces very long sparks which are released in the air) many years ago and always wanted to do something that rivals the sheer power of the electric discharges the tesla coil sends off. I started with exposing 16mm filmstrips with high voltage but the result was not powerful enough. when I developed my own method of creating electrophotographies (very similar but more extreme than kirlian photography) I found interesting and strong results when trying to animate those photos. so when I had made enough electrophotographies that I liked and thought would work in an animation I tried out several visual effects and illusions of movement and heavy flickering to create a very hypnotic meditation for electricity junkies like me.
What are your influences, if you have it ? Concerning Energie, do you know Tony Conrad's The Flicker and Peter Tscherkassky's works ?
I've never actually seen conrad's flicker but I read about it. I have seen kubelka's flicker film 'arnulf rainer' though which is one of the most minimal and strongest pieces of cinema. it is aesthetically and conceptually very condensed and tight. I have seen several of tscherkassky's films which I also enjoyed. of course there are brakhage's films and a lot of other filmmakers that have been highly influencial for me: dario argento, shinya tsukamoto, david cronenberg, alfred hitchcock, jean-luc godard, lucio fulci, richard kern, sergio corbucci, michael snow, luis bunuel, tobe hooper, joe d'amato, michaelangelo antonioni, ernie gehr, ed emshwiller, goh harada and so on. don't want to bore you with more namedropping. I like a lot of scifi and horror films. I think these genres are the most interesting and experimental visually. but I also like good comedies, like tati for example or south park.
Before Gaspar contacts you, did you saw his movies ?
Yes, I particular remember watching Irreversible. it took me two attempts actually. I first wanted to watch it together with my brother but than it was very aggressive in the beginning and we stopped as we were not in the mood for it. a few weeks later I watched it through and really liked it. definitly an experience you don't forget when you've seen it.
Could you talk about your projects ?
Well, apart from making films I play in a band called 'malende'. my friend david plays acoustic bass and I play guitar and sing. we play a few own songs about violent video games and a lot of cover songs from slayer to the misfits. we perform the songs in our own style which we call acoustic death. I was involved in a few theatre plays were I made some of the visuals and also in techno parties in berlin were I did the visuals together with a friend. right now together with my brother we try to establish the 'center of technology and art berlin' were we want to create projects with fancy 'virtual reality' technology. my brother is a computer scientist who for many years worked with this technology and developed his own VR lab. we'd like to now find interesting applications for it.
Many thanks to Mr Thorsten Fleisch