In conversation with Andrew Kotting

Cornerhouse Digital Reporter Liz Henry meets the director of This Our Still Life Andrew Kötting…

I first met Andrew at Cornerhouse box office. I mumbled nervously about how he went to the Slade, “my boyfriend went to the Slade….oh and hi, I’m Liz, I’ll be interviewing you”.  Putting me instantly at ease however, Andrew was open, silly and much like his films, a little beserk. My research informed me that he cared little for the ordered world, drawing inspiration from the Dadaist movement and once inserted iron filings in the shape of religious icons into his penis (what, even the Star of David?), and then drew them out again. I was instantly intrigued.

His films include highly aesthetic works of fiction, experimental documentary and travelogue and often feature his daughter Eden who suffers from a rare, life threatening syndrome and who is often cited as the driving force for Andrew’s creative ambition.  Initially intended as a personal video diary, This Our Still Life, is a tender portrayal of his life with Eden and her mother at their home in Louyre, in the Pyrenees. The house is ramshackle; there is no running water or sanitation, it is vastly remote and is being increasingly encroached upon by nature and the surrounding landscape. Yet there is an incontrovertible bliss to this existence; the surrounding landscape is undeniably beautiful and as we watch the seasons drift around the house and the family we gain a sense of serene disorientation that is heightened by Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner)’s melancholic score.

Asked what he prefered to make, fiction or documentary, Andrew professed an allegiance to neither and a love of both; “even my documentary fuses worlds that are trying to gel together and hover somewhere between the real and imagined.” Idiosyncratically, his films radiate chaos and involve some level of physical adversity which is no less evident in This Our Still Life.

“I usually struggle to sit through screenings of my own work” Andrew admitted, “but I find this really easy”. It’s clear to see why: Starting life out as a home movie and as a cathartic exercise, the film is inviting and unpretentious and was never intended for public release.  In fact, we learnt that tonight’s preview has delayed Andrew’s return to his rustic idyll in Louyre.

Eager to find out more about his involvement with Cornerhouse, I asked him about his new travelogue, Swandown. Part anti-Olympics protest, part ‘Dada performance’ and premiering at Cornerhouse’s Abandon Normal Devices (AND) festival in June 2012, the film is set to depict a feat of ‘Olympian ambition’ as Andrew, accompanied by fellow filmmaker, Iain Sinclair sets out from the coast of Hastings to Hackney in East London via the inland waterways in a swan-shaped pedalo.

In conversation with Andrew Kötting (mp3)

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