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Anabela Zigova
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Williamsburg


ARTIST STATEMENT: As writer, director, and producer, artist Anabela Zigova creates films that examine possibilities of narrative, documentary, psychology, and visual stereotypes. Anabela Zigova explores film narrative as a separate language with its own syntax. She sees in film language mainly a potential to create emotional experience complicated by individual perceptions. At the same time, because of its inherent complexity, filmmaking as process sustains levels on which a fine art medium can easily speculate; the sheer difficulty of actually making a film entails serious confrontation with real economic, social and political issues. And by the very nature of the casting, the film medium automatically brings up “uncomfortable” questions of ethnicity and class… So in constructing her current films, separate layers of Anabela Zigova’s work draw on extensive collaboration. The film is based on texts, socio-political research and structured authorship as well as subjective notes and preparatory drawings. Her work with both actors and social activists aims to be unconstrained and it proposes an open format that cultivates its own visual language from within.

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Film tracks Brooklyn-born Miguel Ortiz who ostensibly is following Lora Rakoczi, an Eastern-European who just moved into his now-gentrifying neighborhood. Miguel, a young man struggling to abandon his gang ties, is not trailing Lora after all. This trompe l'oeil of the moving image is the aesthetic and ethical core of the film, which resonates with internalized prejudices that conflict with what is “real.” As socioeconomic classes morph and collide, the demarcation of the inner city is more psychological than physical. When Miguel observes a motionless body, given his condition of struggle and survival, he sees death. By contrast, Lora and her middle-class friends “play dead” and are “slumming” in a metaphorical sense. For this film project, the process is as important as the product, and in the amalgam, what results is an emerging genre of shared authorship. The project relies on a range of disciplinary studies (urban development, post-colonial theory, criminology) and media (Internet, drawings, workshops). Unlike a traditional linear project, driven by a script that forces an imagined reality, this project is authored by its very subjects and its audience. The formative, iterative process examines the visual language behind loaded terms like “the ghetto” and “privilege.” These analytical exercises embody the true definition of dialogue and participation – and yield an exciting stretch in current boundaries of filmaking. Zigova is born and raised in former Czechoslovakia and her work is tied her personal history of isolation and then post-Communist nationalism. Her work also reveals how Eastern-Europeans settle in low-income areas of Brooklyn and insert their “post-totalitarian” and "New Europe" point of view and sensibility onto the context of NYC. Through Miguel and Lora, we are challenged to debunk divisive old world cultural models and imagine a post-colonial world of self-determination and interconnectedness.

Melancholia says: Follow Me." is a 05:00 min. 16mm Black & White film transfered to video. In the film there is a woman being followed by an anonymous looking individual. We first see the woman, moving fast, close ups of her anxious face, then the stalker that we can't identify for the face is covered by hood and scarf... All of the body is camouflaged by heavy and dirty clothes. That visually recalls inner city garb... As the film continues it gets confusing: soon, though, we understand that the stalker and followed woman are the same person. "Melancholia says: Follow Me." is observing the city and the anxiety in psychological terms and a purely introspective way: the originater of the terror is hiding in the persona of the victim... The "dissolve" of identity between the followed woman and the stalker may point out the common female angst of being followed and murdered by an unknown anonymous individual... At the same time it unveils a deeper fear: it turns back to us. It points out that the unknown and feared is inside of us... In short, "Melancholia says: Follow Me." finds touch-points in everyday life. "Melancholia says: Follow Me." visually relates femininity and the inner city violence. "Melancholia says: Follow Me." is a state of mind, it affects the viewer emotionally and viscerally rather than rationally.


647 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217


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