Anna Rowson Japaridze
Working between San Francisco, Tbilisi and London
Documentary Film & Video M.F.A.
Stanford University | 2019 - 21
Fine Art B.A.
Goldsmiths, University of London | 2015 - 18
Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
Camberwell College of Arts | 2014-15
Travel Research Grant | Stanford's CREES | 2020
BAFTA LA Scholarship | 2019
Theodore & Frances Geballe Fellowship in Fine Arts | 2019
Inside the cavernous hollows of ant colonies, there are a number of interchangeable tasks that are required to maintain the survival of the whole. How is it that, in the absence of any singular figure of authority, these ants are so capable of distributing this labor between themselves effectively?
Research has found that ants exude a task-specific odor that reveals the mode of labor they are presently involved in. Each ant, merely by taking a sniff of their fellow workers' sector of activity, can conclude where their energies are best placed for the wellbeing of all. It’s less easy to figure this out in human societies, and especially so for those who feel inclined towards the practice of documentary. If humans could read each others scent, it would smell alarmingly, overwhelmingly, as though the majority were absorbed in one or another form of documentary. if I were an ant, my first reaction would surely be that we didn’t need another one of those in that activity.
We all have an eye in our pocket; more eyes collecting more data than could ever hope to be returned by an attentive gaze. Almost everyone now has the tools with which to assemble the archives and the curated evidence of their own existence. Alongside that, I feel like there’s been a backslide into retrospection. When we contort our lives towards the anticipation of a retrospective past, the future is already a foregone conclusion; the derivative of a past that was never consciously lived in the first place.
What, then, can be the social function of the documentarian, in this world of inverted eyes, of the enthusiastic, global, incentivised surveillance of the self? Don’t we need anti-documents, documents that burn themselves when signed, documents that un-write and deliver us back to the refuge of our unwitnessed, un-extrapolated selves?
Documentary feeds on shadows; it is fascinated by the enclaves where intimacy dwells. As multiplicity wanes and motorways assimilate landscapes, these vestiges of privacy are becoming increasingly difficult to sustain.
We have reached the point where we need to talk about survival. We need to talk about what our roles will be, and how we can best distribute them.
I wonder what documentary means in the age of extinction. Perhaps there’s a more acute sense in which we feel that everything might be happening as if for the last time.
As one of those human beings who is predisposed towards this practice, I am perplexed and yet committed to finding a way to distinguish value in the contribution of my activity.
More than ever, I feel that documentary needs to be a craft that envisions the threads of another kind of reality — of a transformation that is, however faintly, already whispering in our present.
I aspire towards a cinema that is founded on the principle that we are connected not by the things we share, but by the differences that form the very basis of our contact. A cinema that respects these differences and understands them as the basis for our commonality.
NON assimilative cinema. A cinema of half-rhymes.