Rebekah Rutkoff specialises in experimental cinema. She has written on Robert Beavers and Gregory Markopoulos. She is also an artist and writes fiction. She has just published The Irresponsible Magician. Essays and Fictions with Sémiotext(e).
1. In her autobiography, Kim Gordon reproduces a text that she wrote in the 1980s about a Sonic Youth tour and her place in the band. “I like being in a weak position and making it strong,” she said. How would you describe your position as an author and as a filmmaker or as an artist making films?
Rebekah Rutkoff I like forcing myself to locate clear forms in a vague and undifferentiated field.
2. In general, writing is a solitary experience and making films is a collective experience. Is this difference important to you?
RR The moving image work I’ve done has been solitary as well so the distinction doesn’t apply. For me the experience of loneliness depends more on the kind of writing I’m doing.
3. In an interview, the poet Lisa Robertson writes: « …as a very young reader, in the 80s, I constantly felt affronted that I could not find a point of recognition in the extreme masculinist philosophy and literature I was reading. To discover feminist thinking and writing was a recognition that gave me the will to write. That was a very relevant kind of pleasure. » Do you share her position? How did you discover feminist thinking and what difference did it make to you?
RR In the late 90s I randomly discovered a book walking through the stacks at the New York Public Library: Women Analyze Women. This became very important for me – not only in offering examples of forms of authority grounded in deep psychic and bodily experience but in making clear that there was a constellation of women doing very important work for the rest of us: guardian angels of a sort. But Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations was just as important. I’ve almost come to see them as companion volumes!
4. This question concerns the link between your artistic activity and gymnastics. What kind of exercises do you need to do in order to write or to make a film?
RR I can’t think of any I reliably need.
5. Can you describe the family tree showing your sources, resources and references in both fields?
RR It’s always shifting but some ongoing names are: Lee Krasner – Robert Beavers – H.D. – Marlon Fuentes – Marie Menken – Blaise Pascal – Renata Adler – DW Winnicott – Ludwig Wittgenstein – R.W. Emerson.
6. Are cigarettes or other kinds of addiction part of your creative process with writing or moving images?
7. Writing, like cinema, summons or awakens ghosts. Who or what haunts you?
RR Rural Ohio.