Christian Bazant-Hegemark - Radical Empathy Interview

Early this July, I had the pleasure of interviewing the talented Christian Bazant-Hegemark. I found all of his work unique but I was specifically fascinated by his recently submitted pieces for the Radical Empathy submissions: Let it Come Out, 2019 and Butterfly, 2021. Let it Come Out was an experimental short story, while Butterfly was an artistic piece. In this interview, we go more in-depth on these pieces and what inspired Christian.

 

Christian:

Hello, Nox.

Nox:

Hello and thank you for joining me. My first question for you is: What restrictions do you have to overcome in your artistic work? If you have any, that is.

Christian:

It’s a good question. I guess ultimately there are always limits in your head, right? So, I think the most important challenge to solve is to simply show up. Maybe once you show up in the studio, then everything can happen. If you don’t, no progress can be made.

Nox:

Okay. That’s for sure an obstacle for many artists. How does this [answer], or in general, any of your works that you have, including the ones that you submitted for the Radical Empathy open call of wendy.network or ones from your page, how does your work or your works connect to the world? If they do.

Christian:

Well, I think that they’re deeply connected to the world because they are the result of my relationship with the world. They are based on my curiosity, but also my empathy. And maybe, I don’t know, everyone has some different sorts of resonance relationships within the world towards people or objects or ideas. And I think this is essentially what guides my own resonance relationships within the world. And then some of them might turn into drawings or paintings. And then of course, sometimes specific people have their own resonance to one of these books and then it continues. So I would say that most artists, or maybe most creative people, even outside of fine arts, are systems that reflect upon and then manifest as a result.

Nox:

Something like that I’ve noticed would probably be from the Butterfly piece. Would that be an example of that?

Christian:

Yes, exactly. Linda Sharrock. This is essentially a portrait. And everyone understands that this is a portrait, but the aesthetics are not directly taken from the physical world. They are the result of that digital process, but still, everyone who could know Linda Sharrock today could understand that this is her. 

 

Nox:

And how much do they reflect the world?

 

Christian:

They reflect individuals of the world. I don’t know how strong it relates to the world or how strong people can relate to my artwork, but what I can say is that the reason why I make artworks is so that people can find resonance with the work.

Nox:

Yeah. I can definitely relate to that. Wanting people to find resonance with the work, that is. I can only imagine what your current work cycle is.

Christian:

Right now I’m in between work cycles. I’ve worked the first half of the year on producing a very large museum solo exhibition. And at the same time, I also created a 200 page book on that exhibition. So I was really super busy with this. And since then, I still have to teach and I’m involved in different projects. And so I have a little bit of time for me to reflect and to conceptualize the next projects, but they have not yet been done. So I’m setting the stage for the next two years essentially.

Nox:

My last question is about your piece, Let it Come Out, which you submitted for our Radical Empathy open call. How did this experimental piece come to you? Or what inspired you about it?

Christian:

Well, so, this happened in 2019 and before that, I met Linda Sharrock and her partner, Mario Gaston. I met him a couple of times and started to record these visits. I knew I would want to make a short film, a short documentary about them, but it was a very unusual set up because Linda doesn’t speak anymore because of the stroke that she had. You cannot conduct an interview with her. So instead of talking to her, I talked to Mario. And she understands everything. You talk to the other person [Mario] who sits behind her and he’s the one who answers, but of course, he’s giving his answers and she cannot answer.

 

The only things that she can say is: yes, no, one cigarette. It’s those four words. And so I knew that I wanted to try to create a video portrait, not one in oil or not a drawing of the video portrait, but I also knew that I wanted to make it visually very different. I didn’t want anyone to see them flat. I didn’t want to see their faces, and I wanted to have it kind of float above reality. And so I was experimenting with video and image algorithms because I used to be a programmer. I have to develop image obstructions, and then I changed the software so that I could actually also process video. Then, I experimented. At one point I thought, yeah, this is actually really nice because it’s an algorithm that takes each image and then looks at all the edges and contours that are in there and then does something very specific.

 

So it creates a lot of white space. The human brain, of course–it works perfectly to see humans. You don’t need a lot of lines, but because of that, you always see this is Linda, this is a human being. Somebody who moves from left to right. At the same time, you will never hear her talking. You only hear her singing because she can still sing. Because it’s different. The brain hemispheres, although cannot talk, maybe you can still sing depending on where the stroke hit you, whether it’s in the left or the right hemisphere. And for her, she still thinks that she still tours, but she cannot talk. So it’s Mario talks and it is very veered, unusual aesthetic, that reflects this very weird and unusual situation that they’re in.

Nox:

It seems like you put in a lot of work into this piece and I really liked it.

 

Christian:

That was a lot. Thank you. Thanks for talking to me about it. It means a lot to me.

Nox:

Thank you so much for joining me.

 

This interview provided a lot of information–about making short films and the inspiration behind these two pieces. I never heard of Linda Sharrock until this interview and after watching the short film and hearing from Christian how his pieces are reflections of resonated relationships, I can understand why he chose Linda Sharrock.

Art, Interview, Magazine, wendy.network

Art, Interview, Magazine, wendy.network

Art, Magazine, wendy.network