Portrait of Dutch artist family and kinetic sculpture
“The List” June 25th 2011 by Sean Welsh
Jarred Alterman, director of the documentary Convento, takes me round the tie-in exhibition at Teviot Row House, full of the kinetic sculptures by Christiaan Zwanikken that populate Alterman’s dreamlike film. Passing a gang of creepy, animated and ululating palm leaves, we head upstairs to a cyborg hare that shares its perspective on art (a response to Joseph Beuys’ How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare). Elsewhere in the room, Zwanikken is setting up for an improvised musical performance to follow the UK premiere, which Altermann later claims will feature ‘a local snake charmer’ playing the musical saw. Two goat skulls atop an odd contraption butt heads and a small mechanical man wrestles enigmatically with his hands tethered to the sky. It’s all an excellent accompaniment for Alterman’s film, which has proven to be one of the quiet and thoroughly deserved hits of the festival. I spoke with Alterman to try to unravel some of the mysteries of his film.