VestAndPage have been devoted to experimental performance-based filmmaking through which they examine the evolution from original documentation of performative acts toward complexly contextual, non-linear storytelling. They produce their film works on-site as direct and visceral performances, which are never rehearsed or staged and happen in response to often extreme environments "familiar as a dream" (London City Nights) such as Antarctica, underground cave systems, Patagonia, Kashmir or military enclaves. Stenke and Pagnes usually work alone or with a small team of collaborators and use minimal non-invasive equipment. In a constant search through a reflexive mode for new images of interior landscapes, they consider the world their studio and host. They do not go to a place to tell a story; they go to a place to find its story. This approach contains the essential discourse of decolonisation: it is the land that holds us; we never own land. All forms of oppression and abuse on persons, beings, space or objects for art’s sake is to be avoided as all are equal partakers in the co-creation.

 

Their films are outcomes of broad creative experience and research processes in which they engage in the exploration of so-called “thin places”: locations-in-between, where the veil between different temporalities, occurrences and stories is porous. To perform in these thresholds where the visible blends with the invisible, they have developed a psychogeographical method to activate memory and uncover layers of information and imagery stored in the human body, psyche, spirit, and environment.

 

VestAndPage’s works resonate philosophically with the queer and dark ecology and object-oriented ontology by Timothy Morton and the phenomenology of perception and embodied cognition studies by Merleau-Ponty. Working on performance art’s liminal, spectral and ritual nature, in their ongoing “Poetics of Relations” they apply endurance, sublimation and risk-taking with a poetic bodily approach to art practice and a focus on universal human experiences. They consider performance-based filmmaking an artistic practice that serves the body’s capacity to generate knowledge, convey meanings and shape concepts of intimate archiving, with the perceptual acting as a lens on how we view reality and the spectrum of relationships to address the social nature of representation. For them, film can delude space-time, open the unconscious as a resourceful vessel, and reveal processes and relations by linking apparently disconnected persons, objects and happenings.

Their production process involves the recollection of different elements or “shards”: a series of disconnected filmed, non-staged performance actions, poetic texts produced as stream-of-consciousness writing, foley sounds and elaborate musical soundscapes. In assembling them, these shards are placed together organically in the editing process. The new whole that is the film work aims to reveal the existing connections between these previously scattered fragments. Reduced use of digital effects such as dissolve, reverse and layering serves to unveil perceptions of realities that are not feasible in real life but that they consider elemental. Rooted in both film history and the history of performance art, VestAndPage’s aesthetic has been termed as magical realism, surrealist, hyperrealist or psychomagic. It reflects the poetics of masters such as Maya Deren, Sergei Parajanov, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Godfrey Reggio and Werner Herzog.

They also commit to film as a mnemonic archive for testimonial purposes and produce conversations and interviews with inspiring people from the arts, culture and science on existential topics.

Since 2010, they have produced three feature-length films, a silent film, a trilogy of shorts, two shorts and numerous interview series and art videos. In 2020, they published their Manifesto on performance-based filmmaking: Poetics of Relations.

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STRATA

2021/2022, Performance-based film

In caves of human prehistory, the project brings together artists and researchers from the humanities, social and geologic sciences to investigate the human body as a place that exists in continuity with the geological. Body artists illuminate concepts of deep time, past and modern human cultures through performances for the camera in caves.

Body, Geology, Ecology, Deep Time, History, Science, Documentary

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 STRATA 
 Performance-based film
 2021  / 2022
VestAndPage-Poetics-of-Relations-Manifes

Poetics of Relations

A Manifesto on Performance-Based Filmmaking

2020, Video article

 

This video article expands upon the "Poetics of Relations", the embodied research of VestAndPage, which informs their performance-based filmmaking theory and practice.

 

Embodied Practices, Film, Performance art, Manifesto, Geopsychology, Strange stranger, Hyperobjects

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Poetics of Relations
Manifesto on
Performance-Based Filmmaking

2020
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STRATA KNOWLEDGE ARCHIVE

2022, Interview series

The interviews with artists and scientists involved in VestAndPage's art film STRATA open doors to a composite, labyrinthic and mysterious dimension. In a process of memory activation, we explore layers of Deep Time, the history of humankind and the role of art therein.

Body, Geology, Ecology, Deep Time, History, Science, Documentary

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 STRATA
Knowledge Archive 

 Interview series
2022
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AMOR AND PSYCHE (In Times of Plagues) 

2020, Short film, 9'24" min

A performatic approach to the chemical, physiological, psychological and spiritual aspects of Breath. Initially conceived during Stenke's tuberculosis disease in 2019, the work has been resumed and actualized during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

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AMOR AND PSYCHE

(In Times of Plagues)

Short film
2020
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ANAM CARA –

Mirror in the Mirror

2020, Film

A collective co-created performance-based film about the concept of home by and with VestAndPage and the Anam Cara Collective. Produced during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in April and May 2020, the film is a radical contemporary fairy tale, a journey through an imaginary dwelling.

 

Home, Pandemic, History, Co-Creation, Collective

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 ANAM CARA

Mirror in the Mirror 

 Performance-based film
 2020
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Spinning, stirring, sweeping

2020Video performance

A video performance response to the 1992-performance by MARILYN ARSEM, combining layers of the historic performance archive material with actions by Verena Stenke and Sara Simeoni in 2020.

History, Crafts, Storytelling, Feminism, Magic, Mythology

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Spinning, Stirring,

Sweeping

 Video
 2020
CollectiveSignatures-ph.LorenzaCini-web-

SIGNUM

2018, Short film, 33 min.

A quest for real and imaginary signs – words and poetry to be revealed, composed and transcoded by the same geological strata from which they emerge. In search for expressions, languages to speak and connections to be made beyond what words can name.

 

Performance, Semiotics, Nature, Geology, Ecology, Strange stranger

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SIGNUM 
 Performance-based film
 2018
VestAndPage_Plantain.Spitzwegerich_Veren

Plantain

[Spitzwegerich] 

2018, Film, 90 min

www.plantain-themovie.de

Starting from their personal German family story, VestAndPage embarked in May 2015 on a month-long performance walk from Germany through Poland to the Russian region of Kaliningrad, to perform and film on the location of true events of post-WWII displacements. In 7 episodes, the resulting feature-length art film questions oblivion through a series of poetic moving images. 

Art, Biography, History, Philosophy, War

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 Plantain 
 [Spitzwegerich] 
 Feature film based on a month-long performance walk 
 2018 
VestAndPage_Topolino_Film_Perito.Moreno.

Topolino

A Globetrotter's Fairy Tale 

2014, Silent film, 56 min.

Topolino is lost, lonesome and nostalgic, on his journey to extraordinary places. In a search for the myths that surround them, he entangles himself in failures and encounters first of all himself and his stereotypes. Shot at Mount Sodom, the Negev Desert, the Dead Sea, the Bosporus, Tuscany, the Chinese Wall, Glacier Perito Moreno, and Antarctica. 

Adventure, Art, Comedy, Drama, Family

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 Topolino 
 A Globetrotter's Fairy Tale 
 Performance-based film 
2014 ongoing
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sin∞fin

Performances at the Core of the Looking-Glass 

2012, Trilogy episode short, 45'42" min 

Produced in Antarctica, the concluding episode short of the sin∞fin trilogy engages through narratives on the comprehensive spheres of nature and the universe. The trilogy of art films of collaborative performances in epic locations around the world teeters between the real and the visionary and is amplified by unfamiliar environments.

 

DVD VOD | www.sinfin-themovie.de

Biography, Documentary, Drama, Ecology, Science, Philosophy

 

More Info > 

 sin∞fin 
Performances at the Core of the Looking-Glass
 Performance-based film 
 2012 
VestAndPage_sin.fin.The.Movie_India_2011

sin∞fin

Performances at the Holy Centre 

2011, Trilogy episode short, 37'14" min 

Produced in Northern India and Kashmir, the second episode short of the sin∞fin trilogy highlights the sphere of society and religion. The trilogy of art films of collaborative performances in epic locations around the world teeters between the real and the visionary and is amplified by unfamiliar environments.

 

DVD | VOD | www.sinfin-themovie.de​ 

Biography, Documentary, Drama, Ecology, Science, Philosophy 

 

More Info >

 sin∞fin 
 Performances at the Holy Centre 
 Performance-based film 
 2011 
VestAndPage_sin.fin.The.Movie_Patagonia_

sin∞fin

Performances at the End of the World 

2010, Trilogy episode short, 38'52" min

Produced in Chilean Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, the first episode short of the sin∞fin trilogy focuses on the inner sphere of microcosm and the intimate domain of the individual and the couple. The trilogy of art films of collaborative performances in epic locations around the world teeters between the real and the visionary and is amplified by unfamiliar environments.

 

DVD | VOD  |  www.sinfin-themovie.de​ 

Biography, Documentary, Drama, Ecology, Science, Philosophy

 More Info > 

 sin∞fin 
 Performances at the End of the World
 Performance-based film 
 2010 
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Panta Rhei – Tracing History 

2011, Video, 6'47" min 

A video poem about trust in change.

 

Travel, Dao, Philosophy

 

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 Panta Rhei
Tracing History

 Video 
 2011 
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Decameron 

2009, Video, 12'44" min 

(producer, writer, director, editor, performer) 

A video poem in seven chapters about the question of existence. Shot in 2009 at the Tuscan village of Certaldo, the birthplace of Decameron-author Boccaccio, who shelters his protagonists in a secluded villa outside Florence in order to escape the Black Death, which was afflicting the city in 1348.

 

Biography, History, Literature, Philosophy

 

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De-Cameron
 Video 
 2009 
VestAndPage_COLONIZE_Stenke_2009_edited.

Crossing 

2009, Video, 4'05" min 

A journey through isolation and reflection with pathogens as mnemonics of Deep Time.

Biology, Biography, Poetry, Philosophy

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 Colonize
 Video 
 2009 
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Crossing 

2009, Video, 2'51" min

On a street corner that looks paved like a chessboard, people wander anonymously in opposing directions. They join each other and separate along two intersecting lines on the road, appearing and disappearing as if they echo the impermanence of life. There is a moment in which they double in perfect harmony, but direct communication is inexistent.

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 Crossing 
 Video 
 2009