19 Mag An interview with Dina Yanni, director of “The Dark, Debra”
Dina Yanni is a video artist and researcher whose work is heavily influenced by popular culture and its politics, digital image manipulation, and critical theory.
Through compilation and analysis of existing footage, experimental editing and/or data corruption, Yanni strives to reveal, reevaluate and reframe power structures discovered in the original materials. She is also a political scientist and publishes theory-based writing around the very same themes that inform her video work: the study of power structures behind visual representations and possibilities for counter-narratives. Dina Yanni holds a PhD in Political Science and an MA in Film Production. Her work has been exhibited at experimental film and video art festivals internationally.
The way you used editing disrupts the power structures proper to traditional cinema. Please tell us about the possible political theoretical implication sought through this operation.
Many academic disciplines – first and foremost Cultural studies – view pop culture texts such as films as encrypted power structures. They are shaped by systems of oppression and spaces of resistance. Remixing films in the tradition of détournement means transforming pop culture texts and experimenting directly with mainstream images of race, class or gender. The proposition of more diverse and affirming images can radically change the way we think about these texts.
Just as every film genre has its milestones, experimental editing counts the names of great masters and innovators. Which directors have influenced you the most?
I just published an excerpt of my current work in development, called „Boys! Boys! Boys!“. It elaborates on the queer subtexts in the Elvis movies and explores the original narrative minus the women. It’s a piece of fan art that simultaneously pays homage and is critical of the source material.