Sensuous, hedonistic, aggressive, intriguing, the piece references gay porn-star turned suspected murderer Luka Magnotta who infamously recorded himself dismembering, eating and violating the body of a Chinese exchange student in Canada before posting parts of his victim to members of parliament. The actual video of the killing was released online before its enforced removal. This video by Matt Lambert is released today on 1.4.
Can you tell us about the background to the project and the wider context of the film – it references the Luka Magnotta case right?
The film is a promo or trailer of sorts for Swedish artist Thomas Bo Nilsson who’s presenting an immersive theater installation called MEAT at Schaubühne Berlin.
The point of departure for the installation is Luka Magnotta, the Canadian porn actor and alleged murderer, accused of killing and dismembering a young man. Luka was apprehended in 2012 in an internet cafe in Berlin and is said to have created a wide spectrum of online identities, rumor being that he had over 70 active Facebook accounts.
MEAT is inspired by Luka, as well as his self-created alter egos, resulting in a 240 hour long interactive installation. An intact and hermetic, yet fragmented urban landscape is open for ten days and nights non-stop for the audience to explore. Over 60 actors are performing and living in the 600 sqm installation which can be visited at any time, and followed on the live online broadcast of the installation.
I wrote this vignette jumping off from Thomas’ existing ideas, but the scene itself does not exist in the play nor does my lead (in the flesh).
How does this project sit alongside your more pure documentary work? How did you go about casting in comparison to your other films?
This film expands upon documentary projects and elevates them to a more theatrical and formal visual language. Of the documentary work I’ve done, there are always moments of re-enactment, stylization and heightening of reality. This film was scripted, but also created dynamic characters that allowed me to work like shooting a documentary in order to capture more honest between-set actions. All my recent work has been different ratios of this approach.
Casting is often friends or people I’ve found interesting and knew I wanted to work with at some point. The approach is a gut thing and based on a relationship whether it’s a musician, actor, model or documentary subject.
Sound design is always an integral part of your aesthetic. How would you describe the relation between sound and image in your work?
Sound design has always acted as one of the key driving/narrative forces in my work. It gives an unseen subtext and gives images a context that can often be contradictory, yet viscerally enhancing what you see. On this project I worked with LOTIC for the first time and tried to build a soundscape that was less literal and synced as previous work. It’s looser in execution, but I feel an evolution in intuition and soul.
A lot has been made of the sexual content in your films – or rather it’s open depiction and exploration of teenage sexual identity. Why does sex hold such interest for you? Or rather why do you return to this theme across your body of work?
My personal film and photography work has often been a way for me to explore themes that I didn’t have means or language to deconstruct and communicate when I was stuck in it 10 years ago.
Violence was also a big part of my earlier personal work and revisiting these primal and intimidating parts of my past has prompted conversations for others to engage with their pasts in the same ways.
As I started to move on from the subject, I became fascinated by how rapidly notions of identity and sexuality are changing in an exponentially evolving virtual consciousness. There’s a purity, arrogance, fragmented and erratic way that youth magnifies social and cultural issues that hasn’t gotten boring yet.
My PROFILE series was what lead Thomas Bo Nilsson to want to collaborate with me on his promo film and so the cycle and re-exploration with new input and collaborators moved this into production.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m starting to develop my first feature film project, working on several music videos and planning a photo exhibition in Berlin.
A promo film for Thomas Bo Nilsson’s upcoming performance at Schaubühne Berlin
A Film By
Thomas Bo Nilsson
Production Company: Stink Berlin
Executive Producer @ Stink: Nils Schwemer
Producer @ Stink: Jannis Birsner
Producer @ Thomas Bo Nilsson: Borghildur Indriðadóttir
DOP: Cezary Zacharewicz
Editor: Andi Pek
Telecine: Arri Berlin
Colorist: Nico Hauter
Producer: Julia Dobler
Sound Design: Lotic
Production Designer: Julian Eicke
Costume: Larissa Bechtold
Hair / Make Up: Jana Kalgajeva
Hair /Make Up: Assistant Arita Varzinska
Gaffer: Beda Mulzer
Camera / Light Assistant: Richard Kranzin
Base / Talent Manager: Olga Thorarensen
Set Runner: Kathrin Mergel
Talent Runner: Danielle Fagen
Runner: Beni Mangelsdorf
Driver: Glenn Crossley, Dóra Gísladóttir, Cecilia Hellsing