Lines Fiction: In your work you have a very clean and minimalistic vocabulary, presenting geometrical shapes, and lighting patterns. For the realisation of your animations you use computer programs developed for graphic design. How do you apply your artistic ideas using these programs?
Betina Kuntzsch: For a while I worked in film production and for TV, and I used computer programs to create perfect animations, or for touch-up. From time to time some flaws occured in the process, producing beautiful images by chance.
These flaws, artefacts, and phantom images were interesting to me. I started working with this immaterial medium that is video, keeping some kind of refractory element in mind.
Another path I choose, is to focus on reduction: I apply high-end-programs to create some very plain moving images. A short line that multiplies, and starts moving, transferring the movement to other lines in other time-delayed areas.
Even here, I play with random outcome – some results I keep, others I delete, as if I would work with pen on paper.
Sometimes I draw on a graphic tablet, using an electronic pen.
The gestural expression is important here, I can use it for a motion path. I can animate the drawing, morph it, let it disappear. I also can simulate drawings, applying a computer program that is intended for simulating snow, smoke, or fire works.
This is how PIXELZEICHNUNGEN evolved from working with the program. These are particles that move along a sine curve, the particles appear and change, and the curves may also be disturbed.
Rhythm is always important for any movement, not only the composition of a line or an image that matters, it is necessary to avoid the tendency of the computer based animation to become a screen saver that tends to be boring and obvious.
The installation of three monitors presents three movies of different duration. Being the result of a random generator, it generates over and over new combinations of the overall picture. The drawing then continuous with the cables on the floor. There is a rather wild crisscross of cables for monitors, adapter, media player, connectors. I don‘t like to hide the technique that is neccessary behind boxes. If the art is interesting, the cables become invisible.
For the piece from the series RICHTUNGEN (directions) and TAG (day) I connect the hand drawn line with a particles generator, forming structures that resemble vapor trails. Depending on the speed of the drawing process, and which properties I placed, like size, color, proper motion, and air resistance, different structures evolve that develop in different ways.
The result reminds not only of vapor stripes, but also of aquarell or chalk drawing. The movement stops at the image border.
I exposed stills of the animation on copper plates for classical gravur printing.
In these photogravures I again pick up the theme of phantom images. I‘m interested in linking media, like paper with moving image, gravure with video still and so on.
In my education – I studied book printing at the HGB Leipzig –
I worked with classical print techniques, wood printing, lithography, serigraphy, and etching.
Especially gravur printing I found interesting. There I could combine lighting, drypoint, aquatint, and computer printing.
Even though, after my diploma the computer became the most interesting tool. At the time when I made my diploma, there was not even a copy printer to find at the university. However, in the GDR sporadically could be found a graphic computers from the west. A fellow of my mother owned an Amiga that could be used for drawing with the mouse, and for choosing colors by rotation. This was my first computer animation.
At the GDR TV station a video workshop was established, at night we could use the technique for art projects – in those times there was an intermission at night for TV. Thanks to this, I could present a video with animation for my diploma, my first video piece: „ich sitz auf einem Steine“ I sit on a stone (1988), bringing together digital and analogue animation.
The musical part is interesting as well. Oneself sometimes hears clicking and other sounds where is none, while working on the piece. Maybe we complete it inwardly, and that’s a matter of habit. But working with musicians generates completely different, and surprising compositions. There is a composition with strings by a very young romanian composer, Gabriel Mălăncioiu, with my piece MESHES, live performed at the InnerSound-Festival in Bukarest, 2017.