Nikki Schuster, based in Berlin, works as an experimental animated film artist and sound designer. In 2001, she founded her animated film label “Fiesfilm”. In her films she mixes conventional stop-action with 2D computer technology. Her award-winning films have been screened at numerous international film festivals such as the 2016 Anifilm Třeboň (Best Non-narrative and Experimental Film), the 2017 Tricky Women (Best Austrian Animated Film) and the Crossing Europe Linz 2019 (Innovative Award), as well as in exhibitions. In addition to producing her own films, she also works in motion design for theater, television and for installation exhibitions and conducts workshops for animated filmmaking. She received artistic scholarships to work in Paris and Buenos Aires (2010), in Taipei (2012), in Cochabamba, Bolivia (2014), in Mexico City (2015, 2016, 2017), La Habana, Cuba (2018) and Kooshk Residency Tehran (2019). For more information you can check her website from the link below:
Interview with Nikki Schuster
- Would you please introduce yourself?
I’m Nikki Schuster, born in Steyr, Austria 1974. I studied at University of applied Art in Vienna and changed to Berlin in 1999, where i still live. I am an animation film artist and sound designer, I produce my own short films and and work as a freelancer.
- Please briefly explain your works and tell us in what art medium do you work in?
I do experimental animation films and mix conventional stop-motion with 2D computer technology. Material structures affect the digital collage. For the sound design i sample noises created with the animated materials. Most of my films are animated with collected items in nature or in cities. Since 2010 i work on a film series called “Recyclers”, where i animated collected waste items from different cities, so far from Paris, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Taipei and Mexico City.
- Please explain your project in Iran? How did you develop it and what material you have been using? Also please tell us a little bit about your work experience in Tehran?
Tehran is the focus of my next “Recyclers” film production. I spend 30 days in Tehran in the Kooshk residency. My task was to collect waste items from the streets, record urban sounds and take photo-series of the urbanity. Every day i walked for hours in different parts of Tehran in order to collect this material. The city for me became an experimental field itself. I explored its structures and its characteristics. I just followed my instinct: turned left or right or just sit down and waited what would happen. My equipment I have with me is very basic: a small photo camera, a portable audio recorder and a plastic bag for the waste.
In the beginning it was quite hard for me to take photos of the urbanity. I dont speak the language and quite often i would have liked to explain the people, why i am taking photos of a hole in the floor, their gas pipeline or old wooden door. But after a while i got more and more courage and just focused on my work. Everyone was very friendly to me and curious.
- Have you ever been in an art residency before? If yes, please tell us about your experience there and about the way you think art residencies can have influence on artist’s career?
I have been to a lot of art in residency. For my work it is very essential to have a quite space in order to concentrate on my work. Art Residencies have mostly a very familiar atmosphere, which gives me the feeling i am home. This is very important for me, as my work itself is very lonely. And it is very helpful to have assistance, what is mostly provided from residencies. In the end normally there is an exhibition, which opens you the dialog with other artist or curators and gives opportunities for future projects or presentations.
- What was your experience with Kooshk and what do you think about it?
My experience with Kooshk was wonderful! I had a lot of help and assistance for my research, so i could start my project immediately. I felt at home from the first day on and could focus very well here.