Tuce Erel talks to Kristoffer Gansing

I would like to talk a bit about your background first. How did you start to engage with the field of new media art?

How I personally started to engage with new media art has to do with my background in film studies and also in film making. Back in Sweden I studied Film Studies at a university where they also allowed students to gain practical experience.

The teacher I had back then was from the San Francisco Art Institute. He had been taught by some great American underground experimental film-makers like George Kuchar, and taught us about others, like Stan Brakhage. All these people were experimenting with the materiality of the media in the experimental cinema scene of the 1960s. For me this scene was a precursor to the media art that came later. These people really liked to cross disciplines and were reflecting about the materiality of the medium they were working in. Stan Brakhage was scratching films and pasting things onto the film material. All this new media stuff came about at the end of 1990s when I was still a student, and it was quite big at my university in Sweden. They really tried to push for new media and IT to become part of our education. And as I was doing an MA in Cultural Production, I saw this link between the previous experimental cinema that I was interested in and the new net-art, where you also had this disruptive way of telling stories that was not only about linear narration, but also about reflecting on structural issues and the significance of the materiality of the medium.