7 February - 6 March 2016
Rosa Aiello was born in Hamilton, Canada.
She currently studies at Städelschule
Rosa currently lives and works in Frankfurt.
Conversation between Matt Wright and Rosa Aiello.
Matt Wright: [Clatter] [Inaudible]?
Rosa Aiello: Yes, definitely. Is the wall dividing one room from the next, or the lives of our protagonists from the lives of their neighbours? Did the shelf fall or was it pushed?
MW: The wall separates the sight of each other but doesn't seem to block their sounds from merging. Who are the protagonists and who are the neighbours?
RA: The neighbours, I guess you could say, are all those close by, but not inside. Those on the other side of the wall, who enter not exactly uninvited? those who enter by force are not neighbours but something more sinister, while neighbours enter by default, proximity, influence. Neighbours’ lives bleed into one another, for better or worse. About walls: I’m interested in how they separate only partially. The cardboard walls we used: the lines of sight are blocked, yes, but there’s still a good foot of sight left exposed, the bottom foot, that is. This is the horror to see the feet of the unidentified intruder as they approach. And then the suburban walls in the film: there’s muffled permeability to those cheap walls. You can hear the emotion of the argument but can’t make out the words. It’s likely that you will misapprehend the tenor of the conversation, misidentify who is the villain and who is the victim, that's the horror too.
MW: Could you reveal any other horror tactics that you've planted into the filming or editing?
RA: Something to do with paralysis of point of view. You want to turn your head to see what's following you, but you can't. Things are held longer than you can stand (a tone, a note, an angle, something unsaid, something heavier).
MW: Is there a point where these things held long enough can become bearable, or do you test comforts and leave no space that?
RA: Everyone’s thresholds of bearability are different, it has a lot to do with life experience, and social dynamics, and how the person reacts to the language of passive aggression versus aggressive aggression. For example, I don’t have a traumatic association to people raising their voices, but more quiet expressions of meanness feel deeply threatening. For you, once the unbearable sound becomes bearable, do you find it's the silence that's shocking?
MW: The argument stopping and subwoofer sounds disappearing definitely puts you on edge. When mixing these very low, heavy frequencies into your film, are you considering what influence it has on the visitors experience or how the sounds work in the gallery space?
RA: Yes, and I’m imagining what effect it would have on the characters. As much as is the audience, the characters are in various states of bearing . One character takes the world on her shoulders in the immediacy of the domestic space, another bears anxiety in a more abstract sense, and another doesn't seem even to notice. But that's the thing about a subwoofer, you don't have to notice it to feel your mood change, for soupy emotional tension to take hold.
MW: You spoke about your interest in the multiple meanings of the word Temper , like that it can mean to soften metal yet harden metal. Whilst producing the film and considering the ideas about the show, were you referring to or applying to its definitions?
RA: I want it to refer to loss of control as much as it does to restraint. The visible characters hold a lot in, the audible characters let a lot fly. I felt pulled between two poles: the wild and free feeling of letting yourself hold something for a long time v. the discipline, and the oppressive or boring endurance of making yourself hold something for a long time. Maybe related are the simultaneous diverging timescales going on. The visible characters are wound up like manic toy workers, while the voices are doing a slow melt into frustration and eternal return. But the timescales are continuous and affect each other, and hopefully result in some third sense of time.
MW: Can you cite any influences from films or text that revolve around these ideas of shifting time, altering rhythms, or any other themes that you think may feed into it all?
RA: Hitchcock is a big one. For his use of form, for how he uses the camera. Music drives the videos I want to make most of the time. I’ve gotten ideas listening to the music of Miles Davis, Mica Levy, Laurie Spiegel, Danny Elfman, as examples. And listening to all kinds of reallife drone, like two planes passing and harmonizing, or the harmony between refrigerator hum, light bulb hum, and an electric toothbrush, or the sound of wind moving through garbage cans. I love Annie Baker's plays, she's a master of long holds, and of the rhythm of everyday speech, and she's so funny. Samuel Beckett helps me understand how to appreciate words for their rhythm, hypnotic, bumbling, poetic. For a long time I couldn't understand the actual words in the neighbours’ argument at all, but it was so musical, the cadences of their speech got into my head like a song.