One on One with Jikke Lesterhuis: The Art of Blending Media and Nature in Silent Frequencies
Jikke Lesterhuis, a Dutch-born artist currently based in Amsterdam, brings a fresh and innovative approach to the world of multimedia art. With a penchant for experimenting with various media, including animation, field recordings, sound design, drawings, poetry, and sculptures, Jikke's work defies conventional categorization, making her a true multidisciplinary artist. Her film, "Silent Frequencies," has gained recognition as an official selection at the recent Amsterdam Independent Film Festival. In this exclusive interview, Jikke delves into her artistic journey, the challenges of her most significant film, and her vision for the future of film.
Tell us a bit about your most important film so far.
Jikke Lesterhuis (JL): "Silent Frequencies" is a unique multimedia project that blends animation, sound, and poetry in a short film. It serves as an exploration of the interaction between humanity and nature. The animation pays tribute to moss, a natural wonder often overlooked in Europe but revered in Japan. During my artist residency in Itoshima, Japan, the film emerged unexpectedly from my field recordings, research into Japanese poetry, and my own experimentation with words. This experience was pivotal and inspired a series of residencies and exhibitions. It also played a role in my decision to move to Ireland and fully dedicate myself to my art.
What were the key challenges making it?
JL: Time was the primary challenge. I simultaneously worked on the animation, sound, and text, which was quite demanding given the short timeframe. However, there was an element of fluidity to the creative process, and I didn't feel overwhelmed until the final week. A bit of time pressure can be motivating.
What’s one aspect that you’re particularly proud of?
JL: I'm most proud of successfully incorporating aspects of Japanese culture that have always fascinated me. It was essential to me that the film pays homage to Japan's unique cultural elements.
How did you get involved in filmmaking?
JL: My fascination with movement led me to filmmaking, particularly animation. The ability to create entire worlds within a defined time frame is what entices me. Film, with its combination of imagery and sound, provides a medium to express a wide array of ideas and concepts.
What new projects are you working on or are you hoping to work on in the future?
JL: I'm currently immersed in creating a stop-motion (puppet) animation, which is part of a larger project titled "The Interplay Of Living Things." This project is an extensive multidisciplinary endeavor during my long-term residency in West Cork, Ireland. In the future, I aim to explore different forms of animation and seek opportunities for creative collaborations with fellow artists.
What role do film festivals play?
JL: Film festivals are not only a platform to discover new work by fellow creators but also a means to showcase your own work. They serve as gateways to cultural and creative exchanges and are a constant source of inspiration.
What is your advice to filmmakers tackling the festival circuit?
JL: My advice is simple: keep creating. Regardless of constraints like time and budget, the act of creation is always more rewarding than stagnation.
How do you see the future of film?
JL: Film has the unique ability to unveil hidden worlds, whether they exist in someone's imagination or reality. It serves as a gateway to the unknown, offering wonder, inspiration, and new discoveries.
Which filmmaker do you admire and why?
JL: While there are numerous filmmakers who inspire me, my earliest fascination with animation was kindled by "The Snowman," a 1982 film that I could watch endlessly without growing weary. A more recent hero in my cinematic journey is Charlie Kaufman, especially through his works like "Anomalisa" and "Synecdoche, New York." His ability to create alienating and poetic films that seamlessly integrate their medium is a profound source of inspiration for my current project.
What film have you recently seen that you have admired in one way or another?
JL: "Anomalisa" by Charlie Kaufman is particularly impressive to me. The film's ability to make the dolls seem incredibly human is fascinating, blurring the lines between reality and animation. Furthermore, the film's synergy with the medium of stop motion and its specific thematic alignment showcase the importance of utilizing a medium's unique qualities to convey the narrative.