Nathaniel Dorsky: An Interview

Video Data Bank

2000 | 01:00:00 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Video

Collection: On Art and Artists, Interviews, Single Titles

Tags: Film or Videomaking, Interview, VDB Interviews

Nathaniel Dorsky’s films are precise articulations of cinematic qualities: the surprise of an edit, the composition of framing, and the flash of the image. Dubbed the “filmmaker’s filmmaker”, Dorsky’s work captures the fleeting moments of everyday life in its poetic chaos in such films as Pneuma (1976-82), Triste (1974-96), Alaya (1976-87), and Variations (1992-98). Using a spring-wound Bolex and 16mm reversal stock film, Dorsky’s films operate in the realm of the purely visual.

In his contribution to the On Art and Artists interview series, Nathaniel Dorsky (b.1943) begins by discussing his childhood love of the John Ford film Stagecoach and its influence upon his decision to make films while attending Antioch College. Describing the affinity he developed for work operating at the intersection of film materiality and personal language, Dorsky explains how he developed his philosophy of the “devotional film” and the “microcosmic viewer.”   Dorsky likens his practice to Buddhist sculpture, referring to himself as a “Japanese poet continuing aspects of the ethos of the Marxist revolution.” In the interview, the artist describes his use of the screen as an “altarpiece for the image” and emphasizes his use of editing to create works which “harmoniously coalesce.”

-- Kyle Riley

Interview conducted by Jeffrey Skoller in May 2000, edited in 2014.

Pricing Information

Additional Formats/Uses
Request an Exhibition Quote Request an Archival Quote

Please contact or visit with any questions about the license types listed here.