Maxim Zhestkov “RECURSION”
Q&A with Maxim Zhestkov
by Igor Sordokhonov, with help from Lilian Darmono, Bran Dougherty-Johnson, Lauren Indovina, Brian Gossett and Sofia Radnabazarova.
In your words, who is Maxim Zhestkov? Could you shortly summarize your background?
When I was 7 years old me and friend of mine used to sit at the table littered with papers and paint without stopping…
I was lucky – in my case the brightness of magic only grows.
Admission to university means I had to make a choice. That was difficult. I had no idea what to choose – architecture, industrial design or graphic…
What were you hoping to achieve with Recursion?
Recursion is too abstract for discussion.
Why always black and white?
Black and white are the most distant from each other’s points.
Please tell us about your process – how does you sketch out your ideas? Is there a linear structure to his process, or is it more experimental?
The process always has clear edges of structure and relatively transparent middle where sudden discoveries could appear during the work process.
I draw a lot of hand sketches and visual scripts and I always plan projects for the year ahead. Making a queue.
How important is for you to stick to a narrative structure from start to finish? Is there room to deviate?
The original idea is important, of course. But given the level of abstraction that permeates all my previous works it’s hard to judge on the variances.
In the words of Sergei Eisenstein after the junction of 2 frames you get their product, not their sum. The universe has 3 coordinates but there are new dimensions revealed in the perception!
The attention to detail in your work is staggering, so much so that I seem to always find another level of interest every time I look at the examples of work I have. Are you as meticulous in the rest of your life as you are in your work?
I think I am. Although it’s quite difficult to understand where’s the line between my life and my work. It seems to me I live in my projects most of the time.
What are the things that interested you the most, currently, as a director?
In fact, I’m interested in too many things but they are all intertwined with fiction.
Has you ever considered making a narrative short? Something in the sci-fi genre?
The idea of the short film is my main aim now. Abstract elements are a fabulous tool.
Most of all I would like to work with the stories because ambience and abstract visual changes are valuable for me now!
Overloaded with work, dealing with stresses, how do you handle it?
I am fond of reading books about director of photography’s art or something related.
So what is your creative formula? What inspires and motivates you?
Probably the most important motivator is the possibility to grow into large projects in the future. Possibility to do music videos and even one day there will be a movie.
How long did this latest project take you?
RECURSION took a total of approximately 3 months, but was extended for six months beacause it was interrupted by other projects. It was very distracting.
When you work on something that is very important you should not allow external stimuli.
You wrote the music to Recursion by yourself, isn’t it? Why?
Yes, I did. I decided that the film could be entirely mine only if it is mine from beginning to end.
And what music is in your player now?
Autechre – d-sho qub.
How do you think is there a difference between your everyday life and the creative one?
If there is such a difference – it means one of them is an extra. And you need to get rid of it urgently.
How important for you is an audience? Do you usually imagine some conditional spectator in front of you when you create your work?
When I’m working on a project I do it for myself at first. Maybe it’s like therapy.
Which criteria helps you judge the success of a project?
As soon as I finishing my project I did not look at it about half a year. And then i can look at it as for the first time. The project is succeeded if i have a feeling “what a pity that I did not do this work”.
What do you do to pay the bills?
I don’t make money. I make art.
Sometimes I do freelance but it’s not what I want to do all my life.
What are your plans for the future?
This year I am going to make a few personal films. I already have scripts and storyboards.
I want to make a music video for my favorite musicians.
In general, I would like to engage in serious projects… probably to work with a team of enthusiastic people.
I was thinking to relocate someday… I think about Los Angeles. I am sure there are many interesting things… but all this is too abstract for now.