ISOLATED EXPERIMENTS-NOE KIDDER
During this period of global public health-sanctioned isolation, Millennium Film Workshop, like many other organizations has sadly had to postpone many of our planned events for the Spring season. We’ve decided to continue to showcase in the meantime, great work from great artists here on our own website, in a new weekly series we’re calling “Isolated Experiments,” accompanied by comments from the artists themselves. Sign up for our mailing list via our contact page to get email updates about new films as we post them weekly.
This week, we are featuring A Paradise of Children, a three minute film made by artist Noe Kidder.
MFW: Let’s start with your process on this film; was this something where you began with a conceptual framework, or images free-assembled over time or something else entirely?
NK: It started from more of an emotional place of love and longing, and as a creative
response to the Marcel Carne film Children of Paradise that was filmed in Paris during the Nazi occupation. I was interested in dolls, puppetry and stage sets as a place of projection for my feelings. I was also just starting to work with dance in my films.
MFW: Where does the doll in the film come from?
NK: The wood and cloth puppet was a gift from my in-laws. It was made by an Indonesian puppet maker, I don’t know the specific artist’s name unfortunately! The paper doll was made by me.
MFW: The attention paid to trees and sunlight strikes an interest dichotomy between the natural and the artificial (as represented by the puppetry ephemera). The bed is sort of an exceptional image which splits the film at the center and fits into neither category. How do you see these threads fitting together?
NK: The threads are a bit disjointed actually, like fragments of a dream remembered upon awakening. The bed is like a site where everything happens, like a stage in of itself. Nature is real, but also another dream in the world of art. There is a contrast between inside and outside, public and private, real and imagined in the film. The structure of the images is associative so though it may seem like things are left out, it is up to the viewer to create a new dream of what might have happened.
MFW: And the love and longing that motivates it, the coupling of the puppets, are those fragments of the dream as well, or is there a larger story for you connected to those feelings that they obfuscate?
NK: I think the puppets represent an unrequited love that also appears in the film Children of Paradise.
MFW: Ok last question: since you indicate these images as having originated in a kind of interior dream space, what kind of influence have you found this years isolation to have had on your process as an artist?
NK: On the whole I have had more time to myself, more time in the studio, which is positive. But I find it difficult being isolated from other artists and friends, not being comfortable to go to concerts, screenings and shows. I do find it to be a creative and reflective time though, even though it is lonely and sometimes scary. I continue to draw a lot of inspiration from nature, history and flamenco music and dance.
Noe Kidder (b.1974, Syracuse, NY) earned her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she studied experimental filmmaking with Tatsu Aoki. Noe exhibits her films internationally, most recently in Un Festival C’est Trop Court in Nice, France, with PORT ACTIF in Ghent, Belgium and the Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film Festival. She has also screens her films with Millennium Film Workshop, Anthology Film Archives, le Petit Versailles and The Film-Makers' Cooperative in New York City.