We’re going to be checking out videography geniuses in the upcoming months. I got to spend time getting to know the first on this line-up, Christiaan Pretorius. Christiaan is a Pretoria-based videographer with a love for local content. I’ve actually been more aware of his involvement in Pretoria’s street photography scene, mainly because he started the Pretoria Stadstapper Fotoklap group a few years ago. It was only recently that I was guided to some of his films. His work on the installation process of the Golden Mean artwork located in Turbine Hall caught my attention. This interview is one of DYD’s funnier ones.
DYD: I want to take it back to your beginnings. What prompted you to get into videography?
Christiaan: Myself, Adam Heyns and Carel Kleynhans were trying to make it big at our school newspaper when we decided that reading is so #Goethe #Pre1900s. Adam astutely mentioned that no one reads anymore and he believes Shakespeare would have been a filmmaker, were the medium available (imagine those friggin wedding vids, jassum!). Essentially we realised that the medium is super engaging.
DYD: You choose to focus on creating a lot of local content. Why?
Christiaan: To quote Audioslave, “Be yourself it’s all that you can be, eh he…” I think to really move people (in a non-gentrification sense of the word) you have to somehow capture their internal mind cinema’s with the surreal that relates to their manifested surrounding, not the ephemeral Jersey Shores of the America’s. Big up for the ausi’s and not the OC’s. If you highlight the local flavour flav you give peoples something that they can hold onto and savour in demarcated areas outside of malls. One tends to be a more bettah narrator in your own life story, nah mean?
DYD: Tell me about your favourite video project so far.
Christiaan: Because the next question is about the Golden Mean project I will shamelessly market some other things that I was involved in. My second favouritest project was probably the First Day of Global Warming. Me, aforementioned Adam and anewmentioned Michael Stopforth made the effort of having the world flooded by creating an underwater set in Heyns’ pool. We mused about how things would be when the polar caps popped a cap in their polar asses. We submerged a whole room’s worth of furniture, thank you for your understanding tannie Fearika.
DYD: You recently posted the video for the Golden Mean artwork that was put up in Turbine Hall in Johannesburg. Can you talk me through the creation of that video?
Christiaan: I had the privilege to work with the most awesome-est-parent-ests to-be, Stefanie and Jaydon, who are more gifted than Father Christmas. I had to get into their collective craniums and dissect why the hell they wanted to create their monolithic piece of installation art. The project’s name is the Golden Mean, code name “Noah’s Ark”. Along with really getting behind the “kap van die byl”, I got to imprint some of my own cinematic auteurship. The process was intimate like a Polsmoor cell.
DYD: Some photographers see life in stills. Do you see life like this or in small videos?
Christiaan: I strike the balance by seeing life in small ADHD gifs starring Jennifer Lawrence, pre-Apple-cloud-hack, therefore more-homicidal-teens-than-teens-uncensored.
DYD: Why are timelapses such a big part of your videography style?
Christiaan: I see timelapse photography the same way I see plus-sized girls. You get more bang for your buck. More video per video, more girl per girl. Other than that the style feels like you a providing a summary to events, SparkNotes to an experience.
DYD: You’ve been part of the Pretoria creative scene for a while with movements like the Pretoria Stadstapper Fotoklap group. Do you have any comment on the scene? Is it growing? Is it great? Is it lame? What needs to change?
Christiaan: Admittedly, I have not been at the heart of the scene, but I think it’s cool. Alexander Melck has expressed his point of view that Pretoria’s creatives are the hardest workers; we dream hard. In places like Cape Town you will get mugged by the ‘cool’ all the time; Pretoria is a lot more arid and you have to generate it. MJ du Preez of Doktrine Ontwerp mentioned that no one moves to Pretoria, everybody is on their way somewhere else. He said if no one wants to take the city then he would take it. I think we are like Africa, cruising out of the 3rd World creativity to the 1st. I think Snorcity is one to watch.