The tawny Owl
2019, experimental film, 9:41 min
In the first episode of the series "Characteristics of Nature" Radan produces a kind of educational video, which explains to us the tawny owl and its habitat, but also the cultural significance of the bird as a "bird of death". Although stylistically close to conventional nature films, the video tilts into a seemingly surreal sequence in which the focus on the studied species is repeatedly distracted by elements that are clearly not part of the image. The continuously digitally produced video is on the one hand "documentary" constructed - in its artistic structure, however, strangely idiosyncratic. It moves closer to the unpredictable dynamics of nature than it may seem superficially.
Porzellan, glaced, 35x27x11cm
You Said: "Sacrifices Must Be Made". Radan also works with modifications of body languages that, depending on the context, run empty and change their meanings. In a series of porcelain figures, this aspect of his work is shown for the first time from a momentary standstill.
The combination of roughly modeled silhouettes and fragile shimmering material makes the statuettes appear from a single cast and at the same time like mysterious excavations from archaic times.
The models are based on photogrammetry of avatars, which were recorded in the computer game Counter Strike, after following them as an invisible observer for a long time until the bodys collapses to the ground by fatal shots.
In their new plastic form, the slumped bodies elude a clear assignment to digital contexts and first-person shooter games. They are reminiscent of depictions of wounded warriors and abstract acts, of studies of everyday actions or even a Pietà. Their shapeless contours reflect a brief moment of virtual vulnerability - before the player in question can "respawn" his avatar and the game continues.
This water gives back no Images
2017, 3-channel video installation, 6:12 min, loop
A soft rustle and shimmering light surrounds chirping birds, which remain hidden in an atmosphere that is at once meditative and permeated by the noises of technical interference. Amidst the computer game’s lushly tropical landscape, an avatar moves past thin palm trees bending in the wind. Wading in the water to bathe, the figure seems to dissolve.
Simultaneously set into motion and deformed by the momentum of the waves, its contours merge with its reflection, just like the tree canopies above.
In the middle of the film, an embedded black and white recording of one of Nina Simone’s performances suddenly appears like a foreign object. It operates like an image interference in the otherwise consistent computer game-aesthetic of the video, as if it had come from a “real” outside that nevertheless appears no less surreal than everything else. In the song’s lyrics, the reflection of water—or water that denies reflection—also plays a central role.
As a medium for self-examination and self-reflection that can initiate the transition between different identities, water gives us life, but it can also submerge and drown us. Through the associative connection between water as the natural foundation for our existence and digital media as the second nature that “flows” around us, Radan confronts us with the open question of our possible identities in a globalized and digitalized world.
In This water gives back no images, Radan harnesses the malleability of digital data by modifying the landscapes, figures and gestures from the repertoire of the computer game Grand Theft Auto.
He thereby shifts the focus to the interchangeability of digital textures, which enables playful experimentation. At the same time, Radan points to the homogeneity of all digital forms that transform from pure surfaces into carriers of circulating images and identities.
The avatar’s appearance alternates between pale white and dull and metallic. It lacks a distinctly recognizable texture that would lend it a sense of tangibility and material resistance against the water’s reflection.
In the space between the three projection surfaces, the images are always both in front of and behind us. By projecting on three surfaces that cannot be viewed at once, the installation prompts us to constantly look around, as if to revise our momentary perspectives, reorienting them to consider others and ourselves, before we lose ourselves in the mantles of potential future identities.
Prophecy of an ridiculous avatar
2017, experimental film, 5:20min
This short rotoscoped film uses images from virtual reality, found on platforms like YouTube or when playing computer games. Picture by picture, individual sequences are “traced” and thereby transformed into delicate yet dynamic line drawings. The suggestions of violence and pornography, self-staging and voyeurism, which are ubiquitous on video portals or image boards, in computer games and on social media, seem diluted but paradoxically concentrated at the same time. Dislocated from their online context, these drawings, which span the playful to the brutal, literally define and lend focus to episodes, observations and patterns of behavior that have been put on display. In this manner, they are more open to interpretation, but also more unsettling.
The isolated gestures, disassociated from their facial expressions, are set to sounds that range from muffled to violent—as if the tones originated from the deepest “subconscious” of online unreality. Offensive self-staging on social networks and images of aggression, as they circulate on certain sites or involuntarily land online, encounter and merge with one another. In the process, they suggest that the staging of violence and the violence of (self-)staging in the fight for attention perhaps have more to do with one another than we would like to accept in our everyday lives online.
In between Identities
2015, experimental film, 8:50min
In between Identities originated from a game mod in which the artist manipulated disoriented, half-naked avatars that wander around darkened cityscapes in bathing suits, fur coats, or with slices of cucumber over their eyes. They function as shell-like proxies for players, appearing at once strangely massive and empty within the sometimes crude aesthetic of the computer game
The computer game offers a fascinating realm of possibility, that both despite and because of its very specifications and preconfigurations continually offers room for improvisation and intuition. Within the circumscribed, programmed space, the freedom arises to undermine the “actual” purpose of the game. In abandoning the script and storyboard, new narratives and choreography can be orchestrated with the remaining elements.
Here, the avatars seem to have their own lives in the grey zone between the player’s identity and that of the character played. The collapse of meaningful connections leaves behind a void that can be understood both as a free space outside of everyday routines as well as a space lacking in the means for making personal connections. As observers, we experience ourselves as voyeuristic participants in the game and plunge into its dreamlike atmosphere of shifting realities and identities.
Whatever you do
2015, Musikclip, 3min
„Auch die Menschen sondern Unmenschliches ab. In gewissen hellsichtigen Stunden lässt das mechanische Aussehen ihrer Gesten, ihre sinnlose Pantomime alles um sie herum stumpfsinnig erscheinen. Ein Mensch spricht hinter einer Glaswand ins Telefon; man hört ihn nicht, man sieht nur sein sinnloses Mienenspiel: man fragt sich, warum er lebt.
Auch dieses Unbehagen vor der Unmenschlichkeit des Menschen selbst, dieser unberechenbare Sturz vor dem Bilde dessen, was wir sind, dieser Ekel, wie ein Autor unserer Tage es nennt, ist das Absurde. Und auch der Fremde, der uns in gewissen Augenblicken in einem Spiegel begegnet, der vertraute und doch beunruhigende Bruder, den wir auf unseren Fotografen wiederfinden, ist das Absurde.“
Albert Camus „Der Mythos des Sisyphos“ (1942)
Met my wife
2012, experimental film, 3min
Prof. Dr. Jelle de Boer is a geologist who met his wife as she was leaning against a rock face in the hot sun, and she was stunning. Before an impressive landscape, de Boer uses the words that Radan puts into his mouth to tell this plausible story, and also how it could have unfolded very differently.
For Frau kennengelernt, Radan placed a camera before a television, muted the sound on the geology documentary that was playing and “synchronized” it with the scientist’s lecture. As he improvises his own narration of the images, Radan is repeatedly audibly surprised by unexpected gestures and cuts. The result is a surprisingly synchronous story of a felicitous first meeting that lies somewhere between romance, poetry, and absurdity.
As an early video experiment, Frau kennengelernt already addresses several themes central to Aleksandar Radan’s work: his fascination with the live moment, which the artist then compels to react spontaneously, as well as the precise observation of body language, the meaning of which changes according to context, and which runs dry, but can always be refilled with the unexpected.
Aleksandar Radan was born in Offenbach am Main in 1988.
He has been studying art at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach since 2010.
His work is concerned with digital media and the fact that we are continually lagging behind. This notion of “lagging behind” may be understood on a metaphorical level.
However, it also finds direct expression in the artist’s marked interest both in body language that is influenced by technologies and mass-media communications as well as avatars and images in virtual spaces.
The stereotypical, pre-programmed gestures of digital avatars that oscillate between life-like and artificially stiff form a leitmotif in Radan’s work. Improvisational moments augment these gestures, which are manipulated through game modding. Radan primarily films live action footage in altered computer game surroundings, which the artist has deliberately altered to serve as his stage sets.
By interfering with a game’s software database, game modding enables one to rewrite the codes for a game’s visual surface textures and sounds, for example. In turn, they become artistic materials that can be manipulated. In Radan’s experimental short films, the programmed meets the improvised, and the default is confronted with the spontaneous actions of the artist—who is also the player—in a virtual environment.
Radan’s works have been featured at multiple venues, including the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and the International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen.
- Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur (CHE)
- Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg
- VIENNA SHORTS, Internationales Kurzfilmfestival, Wien (AT)
- Internationale Kurzfilmwoche, Regensburg
- Filmfest Dresden – Internationales Kurzfilmfestival
- OSTRALE at Rijeka 2020 (HRV)
- DOUBLE FEATURE Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt
- „Imitating while looking for a way out“ saasfee*Pavillon, Frankfurt
- "Back then by tomorrow", Werthalle Köln
- BIII Biennal of the Moving Image, Frankfurt
- KFFK / Kurzfilmfestival Köln
- Weekly: Film and Science, Poznan (PL)
- OSTRALE Biennale, Dresden
- Short Waves Festival, Poznan (PL)
- European Media Art Festival, Osnabrück
- interfilm Festival, Berlin
- Molodist Festival, Kiew (UKR)
- Lago Film Fest (ITA)
- Open Eyes Filmfest, Marburg
- „Things I Think I Want“, Frankfurter Kunstverein
- goEast-Festival Open Frame Award, Wiesbaden
- Goethe Media Space, Toronto (CAN)
- "Videorama“ Werkleitz, Halle
- Waterpieces Art Festival, Riga (LVA)
- Kunstfestival der Universität Guanajuato (MEX)
- Culture and Arts Project NOASS, Riga (LVA)
- Kriterion Art House Cinema, Sarajevo (HRV)
- „Hessen Choreographies“ Hessische Theatertage, Darmstadt
- International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen
- Clermont-Ferrand Festival du Court Métrage (FRA)
- Tabakalera, San Sebastian (ESP)
- Lichter Filmfest international, Frankfurt am Main
- Festival premiers plans D‘Angers (FRA)
- Film Festival Cologne, Köln
- Concorto Film Festival (ITA)
- KFFK / Kurzfilmfestival, Köln
- Animatou Festival international, Genf (CHE)
- European Media Art Festival, Osnabrück
- Festival der jungen Talente, Frankfurter Kunstverein
- Dokumentar und Video Fest, Kassel
- Filmfestival Casablanca (MAR)
- Lichter Filmfest International, Frankfurt am Main
- Dokumentar und Video Fest, Kassel
- Lichter Filmfest International, Frankfurt am Main
- "Fenster zur Straße" Werkleitz, Halle
- Fulldome Festival, Jena
- Fulldome UK, Leicester (GBR)
- BIII Biennale des bewegten Bildes, Frankfurt am Main
- 2020 DEFA-Förderpreis Animation, Filmfest Dresden
- 2020 „Short film catalogue“ German short films
- 2019 1.Jurypreis Kurzfilmfestival Köln
- 2019 „Kura and Contemporary Art Exhibition“, residency, Japan
- 2018 Best experimental Film, Lago Filmfest (ITA)
- 2017 Der Frankfurter Verein für Künstlerhilfe e.V., Stipendium
- 2017 „Open Frame Award“ goEast Festival, Wiesbaden
- 2017 Emerging Artists vol.3 „Contemporary
- Experimental Films and Video Art from Germany“
- 2017 „Short film catalogue“ German short films
- 2012 Rotary Club, Stipendium
Studio Aleksandar Radan
Ginnheimer Straße 35-37
60487 Frankfurt am Main