For local multimedia artist Johann Rashid, night time is his time.
Drawn towards working with film, video, performance, music and sculpture, Rashid’s practice is a smoky room, full of dark magic, illusion and an elusive flirtation with what’s beyond. Coming from RMIT’s Fine Arts and Swinburne’s Multimedia strands, each piece of creative work resonates dreamlike motifs, stepping feverishly between conditions and tensions.While working as a director for a variety of cinema outlets, Rashid also finds time to pursue his passions in music, releasing both video and tracks under his three monikers Eastlink, Home Travel and Promise Land.
In 2012 Rashid completed his first feature film ‘Autonomy And Deliberation‘, showcasing a cult mockumentary that followed Australian punk band The UV Race with the heart-warming insight of contemporary ‘rock life’ (and yes, they’re working on a sequel). Adding to his list of work, Rashid has also curated and showcased a variety of work across the years, including the showcasing of his film ‘Killing My Sister Who Now Is The King’ at Perth’s Institute of Contemporary Art; his collaboration work with legendary film and sound artist Philip Brophy on the film ‘The Man Who Folded Himself‘; and recent feature documentary ‘Sunshine Soup’ with Misha Hollenbach and NY label RVNG intl.
How did you get involved with film practice?
I always used to make little films. My brother gave me his old Hi8 camera, with the condition that I had to make one movie per week – ha ha ha. I made films and skateboarding videos. Everyday that red light was on.
Your work explores illusive moments and lingers on that pressure. Is there a certain interest you have in tension and how it’s communicated in artistic mediums?
I find those illusive moments in the inner landscape I like to explore, the tension between that and the outside. The inner provides a prism through which I see and interpret my environment.
There’s a sense of moodiness in your choice of lighting and tonal palettes. What draws you to night sequences and rich colours?
I like wandering around at night time. I like that I can’t see into the far distance and I hope something is lurking in the dark. I think because my ideas happen at night, it follows that I make the decision to shoot then too. Also, you get consistent control of light and mood.
Under your music moniker Promise Land, the clip for ‘Recall’ was shot on 16mm film. Have you always been attracted to film and the properties it serves?
Absolutely. A lot of my practice involves film and its manipulation as a medium. Process and patience is fun for me: shooting, developing, telecine. The restrictions of analogue shooting help focus the work, and the unpredictable beauty of a physical medium is exciting.
Do you have a favorite music video, film, track or publication right now?
I’m in a motel in LA at the moment, in-between shoots. As I travel back and forth from my motel to the diner for cheap coffee, trying to write ideas and concepts for the next film, all I can think about is John Fante’s ‘Ask The Dust’. It’s a special read.
What would be your ideal dream shoot? Do you have any directors you want to collaborate with, national or international?
The most important thing is a good crew and people that believe in the project, and have confidence working with you. I have built many creative relationships over the years, growing with other people, from writers to producers, shooters etc. My dream shoot is shooting dreams, always working with these people again to build on concepts and ideas thrown around over time.
As someone who creates in different mediums, what’s one music video, film or record that changed your personal creative direction?
Nouveau Roman films like Alan Resnais and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s ‘Last Year In Marienbad.’ But that’s only one film I’m inspired by. I like stories that unfold like floating enigmas, and explore themselves like a moebius strip, in terms of character and action. My work always changes though, and references so much more than one source. A film I watched all through my 20s has been ‘The Princess Bride’. I’d come home wasted after working days at the bar Revolver and watch it on VHS over and over.