Geraldine Snell

14th Mar 2018

1. Hi Geri, now that you’ve settled in with your coffee (hope it’s good!), can you introduce us to your practice, interests and experiences?

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5. Do you experience the process of making as cathartic?

The coffee is splendid thank you! I guess I make videos, music and write. I feel like this question or the way I’d like to answer it actually also answers questions (5) & (6).. so in terms of my approach to making it is very cathartic; it usually starts with my writing or filming something quite spontaneously out of some sense of urgency. Whether that urgency is emotional or aesthetic – eg, writing an ‘expressive’ letter or diary vs filming the light glistening through my window in the morning – isn’t particularly important, but I’m typically working across different stages of the creative process in terms of the initial moment of expression or capturing, then weaving and juxtaposing fragments together in a more refined, considered way…


6. You make music, can you tell us about that process and how it relates to, informs or is informed by your practice?

In terms of music (6) until recently it’s been somewhat separate from my film and writing but I’ve used it sometimes in videos to sort of tie the images together or to create a more cohesive, exaggerated cinematic vibe. But I guess making quite moody, cinematic dreampop is a place where I can do something cheesy and emotional and that’s quite an escape from lame, boring art discourse. And music is being tied properly in with my current project ‘overlove’ which I’ll detail next…


2. Do you have a studio at the moment? What role does studio life play in your practice? What are you up to/working on right now?

I’ve never had a studio – besides at art school. Mostly this is financial but I do really like being alone. Think my work would often benefit from peers’ input and the dialogue I’d have in a studio environment, but in my room in London I just bought a second hand loft bed so my sleeping space is out of my workspace and I beaver away there then when I’m down here (I earn my keep teaching in Leeds 2/3 days a week), I will send a pic!


10. When Daisy recommended you to be interviewed, she mentioned that you’re due to release a multi-media novella from Dostoyevsky Wannabe in November! Do you want to talk to us about that?

In terms of what I’m working on right now this also answers question (10): so my ‘novella’ (for want of a better word, it’s just a series of letters to a distant crush over 9 months which ended up being novella length – 19k words) is called ‘overlove’ and I’d describe it as the sustained expression of a conflicted, hyper self-aware female gaze. As a work it’s quite funny and not really tongue in cheek but very knowing… Really it deals with millennial malaise, fantasy, seeking something ‘more’ online, and really it’s a cautionary tale about not necessarily chasing the rainbow or greener grass – or definitely it’s about the greater gift of self-transformation which fruitless hedonistic pursuits inevitably invite. It’s very mystical and all completely true and all the things in it – dreams that seem too poetic to be real – did happen. It was a real case of life imitating art… So now it’s written and to be published by Dost Wan in October, I’m developing an episodic online film work which both supplements the writing and takes some of the imagery further. This is the ultimate opportunity to bring hitherto disparate elements of my work – writing, video and photography, music, performance in the sense of capturing something live for the camera – together. It’s really exciting and I’m feeling incredibly inspired, it’s as if 4 years after art school my work and my vision is starting to come together and make total sense! So watch this space!


9. If you had unlimited access to resources and funding, is there a piece or project that you would like to realise?

I would make ‘overlove’ properly cinematically with actors and properly tie it in with the seasons (as it takes place Nov – June) and my native West Yorkshire landscape. I would then make more films – I will anyway, but proper proper ones rather than me filming things up close and editing it together. I’d make one which explored masculinity – maybe turning the camera on my partner Dec, brother Ants, dad etc. And really I think if I have children – which I’m warming to now I’m 26 (ha!) – I’d like to honestly, properly document/elevate motherhood and basically the magic of women but it’s probably really naïve to say that because it is the ultimate act of creation and I’m sure you’re too involved in the life of it to ‘art’ it, so to speak.

Think it’s shamefully overlooked area in art though, for obvious reasons, but given that it’s ‘something women have to do’ or not do and family/the domestic are life… prosaic… not the stuff of ‘art’ lol. Well fuck that!


3. A lot of your work references old journals, lists etc. Do you still actively journal and if so do you find yourself doing it with future artworks in mind?

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4. Just watched your most recent, ‘Not a bullet journal/ organisation hacks/to do list tips/google assistant tutorial’, you talk about a tracker for your time and structuring your evenings so as not to fall into the trap of incessant Instagram scrolling. The video made me feel a bit fizzy in my fingertips, suddenly imbued with anxious potential – and perhaps that’s because I rarely organise my time. What do you hope viewers experience when engaging with your work?

I journal a bit but not so much with artworks in mind, although I suppose ‘overlove’ is essentially diary love letters. It wasn’t my intention to make people feel anxious about how they spend their time, I just personally have a huge tendency to procrastinate or float – adrift – down infinite data streams, and whilst it’s amazing and inspiring in small doses I find it quite lack–inducing sometimes. That video actually was more of my idealised vision of limited liminal social media time, in reality I’m not that productive and obsessive. I’m just neurotic and need to minimalise/structure to eliminate an overabundance of choice, which I find paralysing – wrote about this in my dissertation actually – Maffesoli describes it as ‘pointillist time’. In terms of viewer experience I want to reach through that oversaturated digital landscape and offer an authentic, flawed, urgent voice through/across space and time, something that pierces through the veneer of everybody having fun and being happy or whatever. A voice that says – shit, I’m lonely too – and that’s ok? That sounds corny. But you know what I mean. Calvino’s Inferno of the Living or something, Auden’s Affirming Flame.


7. Who, where or what has you excited atm? – Who, where or what has you feeling concerned atm?

Living in London – my housemate Molly Palmer is also a video artist and it’s great to crit each other and reassure each other through all the self-doubt and perfectionism. Getting to go to shows and openings here is fun although often overwhelming... Also teaching art foundation and being around all these amazing students who are newly plunging into art really rubs off on me!


8. Are there any books that you find yourself coming back to time and time again, if so what are they and why?

Sculpting in Time by Tarkovsky because of its ability to discuss both aesthetics of cinema/heightening of life to art in terms of moral and bigger life things… Chris Kraus’ Video Green for how she weaves art criticism with life and captures the absurdity of everything so… dryly.


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Geraldine Snell is an artist, writer and musician living in London and working in Leeds. You can find her at geraldinesnell.com and @geraldinesnell.