Biennale of Moving Images
Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève
by Yann Chateigne
YC: For the Biennale de l'Image en Mouvement, you are about to show Exquisite Corpse, a film work that you recently did about the Los Angeles River. The film was shot along the course of the river, from its point of origin in the San Fernando Valley to its terminus at the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, you encountered diverse landscapes, and animals and humans that live in and around it. As a Los Angeles resident yourself, why did you choose this specific river? Is there a particular reason, a particular moment or event, that led you to take this natural element as a subject? What was your original aim as you prepared for this "river movie"?
KT: Back in 2003 I had a studio that was a block away from the river, so I drove over it regularly but never really thought to look down. My current studio is also just blocks from the river, but in the intervening years gentrification has transformed the area. Interest in the Los Angeles River has skyrocketed, and parcels along that part of the river are being fought over by developers who feel they've discovered the last great frontier of L.A. real estate. The river is in a constant state of flux, changing faster than anyone can document. Since filming, the landmark 6th Street Bridge downtown has been completely demolished and the rubble carted away. You can see half of it still standing in one scene of my film, and it's fully intact in the next. When I was invited to propose an artwork for the city of Los Angeles, I decided to site the work in the public park that sits on the river halfway between my old studio and my new one, and decided to make a film that would trace the river at this particular juncture in its evolution. I entered with a sense that I would just picture whatever I found, and wanted to make something in which that spirit of discovery would carry over into the resulting film.