Robin Minard «On and Between»

Doku | 2017 | Luxembourg | Skript, Regie, Kamera & Postproduktion

While shooting this short documentary with Robin Minard and Tim Helbig I had a lot of time to think about what it means to be a cameraman. The first challenge on location is always making myself disappear. This means hoping that the protagonist will ignore you and your camera and then, finally, forget you entirely. The scenes I capture when I’ve disappeared are those moments that look and feel natural to the audience.

It’s in these very moments that I find myself wondering—while holding my lens and microphone mere centimeters away from someone’s nose—why it is that this person is going about his or her business without once looking into the camera (and in so doing ruining the shot).

Mastering the Disappearing-Trick has less to do with magic and more to do with chemistry—whether the people you are filming like you or at least respect you for the work you are doing. Another factor is time. The more time you spend with your protagonist, the more time he or she has to get used to you just being there. Finally there is a factor that the great photographer Eric Chenal taught me: Instinct. Your protagonist’s instinct. Never approach someone from behind—always make sure the person you are watching through the lens knows where you are. Otherwise this person is bound to become nervous and irritated. In short: Our instinct tells us that people who sneak around are dangerous. So, in essence, the key to successful disappearing is actually staying in sight.

The creation of Robin’s art work, the sound installation «On and Between», took Robin and his assistant Tim Helbig five full days. For hours I would watch them tape speakers and wire cables to the white columns of the Philharmonie in Luxembourg. The tiniest sounds would quietly echo through the vast space.

Due to the complexity of the art work, progress was slow. This is what gave me enough time to gradually disappear. The atmosphere Robin created while making the installation and the way time itself felt between the marvelous columns, is what I wanted to capture in this short film.

Here’s the Philharmonie’s official text about «On and Between»: The Canadian sound artist Robin Minard transforms the signature pillars of Philharmonie Luxembourg into a sound installation. With hundreds of small speakers, he creates within the foyer an intimate space of delicate sounds that make the architecture of the Philharmonie audible while simultaneously reinventing it.

The documentary was presented at the entrance of the installation. (Last 2 photos by Alain Bianco)