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Vasco Diogo

Vasco Diogo was born in Lisbon in 1970. He has a degree in Sociology by Universidade Nova de Lisboa, a master degree in social sciences by Universidade de Lisboa and a PhD in Communication Sciences by Universidade Nova de Lisboa, with the thesis: "Video: specificity, hybridity and experimentation"(scholarship by FCT, 2008).
From 2008 to 2020 he was a professor at University of Beira Interior teaching mainly cinema directing, new cinemas and experimental cinema.
After being co-founder of Projecto Teatral, works, since 1998 in performance, video art and experimental cinema around themes such as self-presentation, truth and manipulation. In experimental cinema he has won several international awards (more than 70), specially with the film: "anexperimentalviralvlog - the movie remix # !". He has shown his works in several exhibitions and festivals in Portugal, Spain, Italy, USA, Canada, India, Germany, France, Cyprus, Poland, etc.

His film Old New Age was a semi-finalist in the Best Experimental Abstraction category at Experimental Brasil 2024.

1-Can you provide us with a brief introduction to yourself and your background in the world of cinema and experimental filmmaking?

I was born in Lisbon in 1970 where I still live and work. I work in video art , experimental cinema, performance and sound art. I have a PhD in Communication Sciences about video art. In the last four years I've been working mainly on experimental animation. During thirteen years I was a cinema teacher at university. I was also an actor for a while and still work in other media such as drawing, poetry and sound art.

2-What inspired you to create "Old New Age," and how does it fit into your broader body of work in experimental cinema?

Old New Age is inspired by events, things I capture and transform by mobile photos and short mobile videos on a regular basis. It is my third experimental film using only a mobile phone to create the images. In that sense it is part of my mobile phone movies which are quite different from the rest of my work.

3-"Old New Age" is described as a comic experimental film made entirely using a mobile phone and various apps, including Artificial Intelligence. Could you share more about your creative process and how these technological tools influenced the film's aesthetic?

One main idea is that the film's aesthetic is limited by the technical possibilities of the medium. As I used only a mobile phone I tried to make the most of its own specificity and It was the first time I used AI to generate some of the images, namely the self-portraits. I have a great fascination on how limited creative possibilities may open up your imagination and instinct. Regarding AI, I only used it in this film to create a sucession of avatars of my own image.

4-The use of self-portraits in "Old New Age" connects different styles and techniques originating from mobile photography. How do these self-portraits contribute to the film's narrative or thematic exploration?

The self-portraits are the narrative link of the film. They are the uncounscious mind bringing up pieces of non related absurd images. They also show how truth and identity are a construction in this film.The direct adress of the viewer works like a confession more than a narcissistic act.

5-Your academic background includes degrees in Sociology and Communication Sciences. How have these fields influenced your approach to filmmaking and artistic expression?

They have influenced the way I conceptualize my work, understanding the union between concepts and perceptions but never forgetting a broader culture that is more open than these fields. In fact, my academic background was sometimes an obsctacle I had to overcome. However, it was in Communications Sciences that I did research on video art and experimental cinema and that was very helpful. It gave me a lot of inspiration and aesthetic knowledge on what I really wanted to do.

6-As a professor teaching cinema directing and experimental cinema, how do you balance your academic pursuits with your creative projects and artistic endeavors?

I don´t teach now for about four years and started to be an almost full-time artist. When I was a teacher I had a lot less time for my creative projects. I miss the classes, the students, learning from their works, but that also took from me some of the energy I now use for my creative work.

7-Throughout your career, you've explored themes such as self-presentation, truth, and manipulation in your works. How do these themes manifest in "Old New Age," and what messages or ideas do you hope viewers take away from the film?

Old New Age is about confusing notions of identity and reality leaving the trace of the raw manipulation that occurs. In that sense, the film itself is the message with its own set of codes and conventions. The main idea is that for the viewer it is always better to know they are experimenting a state of expanded consciouness rather than believing in an illusion.

8-Could you share some insights into the reception and recognition of your experimental films, particularly in international festivals and exhibitions?

I've shown my films in the main international experimental film festivals around the world. I'm willing to attend more festivals in the future as I rarely have the financial opportunity to go. You may check that on my website:

9-What are some of the challenges you've faced as an experimental filmmaker, and how have these challenges shaped your artistic vision and approach to filmmaking?

As experimental filmmakers we must never stop learning and sometimes we must make a pause in order to switch our main focus to something completely different, which sometimes have to do with working with new technology and how that may shape our vision of the world.

10-In your opinion, what is the role of experimental cinema in contemporary society, and how does it contribute to the broader landscape of visual arts?

Experimental cinema is the most free form of cinema and its difference is always political and challanges the status quo of mainstream cinema. That's why it now belongs to the broader landscape of visuals arts. Unfortunately, its uniqueness continues to upset a lot of closeminded people. But that's also experimental cinema strenght: to break through normative thinking and industrial ways of organising creative work.

11-Lastly, are there any upcoming projects or artistic endeavors you're currently working on or excited about sharing with your audience?

I'm now working on a sound and poetry project, electronics, texts and voice. It will be a beginner's mind project as I'm mostly interested in learning more.

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