TRAPP - The spacious body and its archival frame
Lost and forgotten, an ideal woman is found in the 35mm film frame. The voice of Ruth Leuwerik is stored in the archives in Berlin, Germany and revived through the artist's process of negotiating a way to liberate Ruth and, simultaneously, a piece of themselves.
The inspiration for this project arises from an old 35mm film print that appears to be a portion of the film Die Trapp-Familie, a German narrative film released in 1956. I was curious about the diverse ways to re-photograph the original 35mm film frame by using several different analogue techniques as well as hybrid methods. I started this work in Canada and continued it in the summer of 2023, as a part of the S.P.A.C.E. residency in Berlin, Germany, in collaboration with Filmexplorer’s residency.
«When a question becomes a place you reside in, everything can be thrown into question»
Project: TRAPP - The spacious body and its archival frame
I am creating a time-based installation that combines the analogue medium with three-dimensionality and projection mapping. Together with archival sound bites and re-narration, the piece manifests ideas around transfeminist liberation and counter-archival acts.
This project was created with the support of SK Arts and the S.P.A.C.E. Residency program.
The work TRAPP – the spacious body and its archival frame has been exhibited in November 2023-January 2024 at the Dunlop Art Gallery – Sherwood, Regina, Canada
Go to Gary Varro’s Essay on the exhibitionLearn more
On medium hybridity and queer expansion
When I first entered the world of analogue and experimental film, I knew nothing about form or structure. I related to it as a method of expression and a language that felt surprisingly fluent right away. The comfort of darkness, providing a birthplace for light and image, and the slow pace of discovering meanings through the images and their origin. This was all something that made sense to me, and I was glad to have finally found my medium. Then, I learned more, enhanced my techniques and immersed myself deeper. After a while, I got lost in the already existing structures of this medium and forgot how to use my own body to speak this beautiful language. Over the past few years, I have navigated my way back, and I now find myself in a space of questioning everything. Nothing is solid and firm forever, and neither is this medium. My way of speaking through it currently is to consider everything as a possibility and an expansion – an addition to the known vocabulary. My time at the Residency followed this quest as I formed new dialogues and moved between the binary divides of the analogue / digital, natural / artificial, archival / current and truth / dream while always residing in the place of “question”.
Elian Mikkola (born 1990) is a Finnish queer filmmaker and media artist currently based between Treaty 4 Regina and Tiohtià:ke, also known as Montréal, Canada. Mikkola works closely with both analogue and digital images and explores themes such as memory, spatial dependences and queer belonging. They’ve done extensive research in the field of eco-processed film since 2017. Mikkola finds motivation in challenging film traditions that the Western world and cisgender artists have dominated and approaches this critique primarily through personal archives, found footage and comedic release.
Social Media: Instagram: @elmikkola