this issue contains
>> Interview: William Kentridge
>> The Legend of Two Islands: Pierre Huyghe
>> Game with Reality: Art and Theater
>> On Stage: Art, Space and Orchestration

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Shooting for "A Journey That Wasn't", Central Park, October 2005
©Copyright Cheryl Kaplan 2005. All rights reserved.

Of course in New York you’re using animatronic penguins. Are you becoming like Maurizio Cattelan?

PH: More and more. The penguins in Central Park are a translation. I went to Antarctica for a month on a sailboat on the hypothesis that there was a new island with white penguins. The show in Central Park is a double negative of this journey and is being shot in darkness. The ice rink will be covered in black.

This is the third film you’re making with the director of photography Maryse Alberti. Maryse, how is it to shoot art based films vs. feature films?

MARYSE ALBERTI: There are rules for feature films and documentaries. With artists, you have to forget everything you’ve learned, except for your F-stops.

How long were you able to shoot in Antarctica at one time?

MA: Five or ten minutes. I had to dry my eyes and warm my hands. We were constantly de-fogging the camera. At the start of the trip, we ended up in a storm with 30-foot waves. The Tara 5, our boat, was the equivalent for me of working with Martin Scorsese . It was a 100 feet made of steel for scientific journeys. You can understand how Shackleton’s wooden boat was crushed. We were caught in a terrible storm before we got to Antarctica; there, the water was flat. When we finally got out of it, we put yellow safety suits on. They’re like being in a bag of rubber. If you fall in the water, you have five minutes to survive. But standing on the ice, the sky and ground are nearly the same color. The snow creates a filter; in the distance you see a line of seals that look like a Japanese painting. I often climbed the 60-foot mast to shoot from there.

Shooting for "A Journey That Wasn't", Central Park, October 2005
©Copyright Cheryl Kaplan 2005. All rights reserved.

PH: We went a month without refueling. If someone is going to die, they’ll die. We took a doctor, but we hit a storm and there wasn’t a plan. We were searching for this island, knowing roughly where it was. The storm was 11.5 on the scale. 12 is a hurricane. We drifted for two days. We had no other option, otherwise the boat would have been damaged. There were hills and valleys of water; we were trapped for four days in a block of ice. You can go out of the boat, but the boat’s moving.

How long did it take you to find the Albino penguins?

MA: Pierre didn’t know if we would find them. The captain had seen a penguin on an island that’s an abandoned Chilean base with orange and black buildings. Argentina also has a base there and the British have a helipad. Penguins are very noisy and smelly. We wrangled that poor animal to this sci-fi base and filmed it.

PH: The ice brought us in a direction that was good because we discovered another island with the penguins. We searched all month. They were about two and a half feet high. When we found them, we didn’t move. They came out at night.

Shooting for "A Journey That Wasn't", Central Park, October 2005
©Copyright Cheryl Kaplan 2005. All rights reserved.

Are you shooting at night in Central Park in their honor?

PH: Exactly, though it’s nearly always night in Antarctica.

Pierre, your earlier installation L’Expedition involved an ice sculpture of a boat. Is A Journey That Wasn’t an extension of that project?

PH: Yes, and three years later I went to Antarctica and now I’m doing this project in the ice rink.

Pierre Huyghe, Third Memory, 1999
©Copyright Pierre Huyghe 2004. All rights reserved

Your film "Third Memory" (1999) documents John Woytowicz’s famous bank robbery from 1972 during Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign, which could be seen live, so to speak, on television. Woytowicz needed the money to finance his boyfriend’s sex change operation. In 1975, this story became the material for Sidney Lumet’s Hollywood classic "Dog Day Afternoon", in which Al Pacino plays the bank robber. In your film Third Memory, the bank robber supports John Woytowicz, gives him back the identity he was robbed of through television and film. The same goes for Lucie Dolene from your film "Blanche-Neige Lucie" (Snow White Lucie) from 1997. She was the French voice for Disney’s "Snow White". In both cases, the media appropriated an identity. In This is Not a Time for Dreaming, the puppet piece you directed as a reference to the Le Corbusier building on the Harvard University campus, the marionettes embody Le Corbusier, John Harvard, and even yourself.

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