Body manipulation at its finest: Sam Cannon

Sam Cannon is an artist and a director, something not so easy to be defined. What does this mean?
It means that she focuses both in the inner and the outside of our life, exploring what does existing means, what time is, if space really define us or how we manipulate things.
But especially she talks about women, the real ones, the physical one, speaking for them through their bodies. Digital mixes with filming and repetition.
Enjoy the ride.


When do you start making art?

I started making short films when I was 9. Mostly stop animations and movies I would film with the neighborhood kids. I studied film and photography at arts middle and high schools in South Florida. I have been so in love with it for as long as I can remember.


Your works are a mix of several techniques, but what are the best you are comfortable using?

I consider what I do to be a type of collage, really. I usually shoot a mixture of stills and videos, and mix them together to create something new. While I really love working digitally, I am also beginning to explore sculpture and performance. There aren’t areas that I would consider myself comfortable, but I think to move forward and create something new you need to be uncomfortable. I try to be uncomfortable as often as possible.


Repetition is something that marks your work. Has it a particular meaning? There’s a concept behind?

I first started working with animated GIFs when I was in college. They became an important medium for me because they allowed me to work in a space that lived between photo and video. I was having a hard time identifying what I wanted to be making, and GIFs really helped me to find my own creative voice and style. That’s when my love of loops began. The challenge of creating an image that seemed to play on infinitely. I think my mind starting to think of the visuals in that context as well – the loop, and that’s when I started repeating the bodies and objects I was shooting as well.


You talk about women’s body – especially legs I see ahah! – and I was asking myself: do you think there are still taboos regarding women’s bodies?

I think there are still a lot of people who consider women’s bodies to be taboo. I think there are the same number of people who desire to look at them. I think more often than not a person who falls into the first category also falls into the second. I want to create work that explores the way we create and consume images of women’s bodies, especially on the internet.


What is feminism today?

Feminism today is the same thing it has always been – fighting for equality for the sexes. I think we’ve come a long way in regards to the way people view the term feminist and what it stands for, but we still have a long way to go.


Being woman is something that obstacle your works? Have you been not taken serious in certain occasion because of it?

When I was getting started many people just assumed I was a man (because my name is Sam) and I would receive more emails addressed to Mr. Cannon than to Ms. I wouldn’t correct them and I didn’t let it bother me, so long as when we met in person and they realized I was a woman they didn’t start treating me differently than before. Usually they didn’t. I do walk onto set many times and people assume I’m the assistant or stylist and not the photographer. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a woman, or because I am young and petite (which makes me look even younger). All that aside, I think being a woman has been an advantage more than an obstacle. It has certainly informed the work I’m making.


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