“Dreams”, 2016, Damien Moreau. Image courtesy of the artist.
Dreams is a film you directed with artist Manuel Solano. Could you tell us the story behind this collaboration?
I met Manuel soon after I moved to Mexico City a few years ago. This short form video documents Solano’s first steps into the salty waters of the Pacific ocean after the loss of his sight, due to health complications incurred by the AIDS virus, while he recounts the events that brought him there. I knew he hadn’t been to the ocean since losing his sight and wanted to create a piece that would allow people to connect with his experience even if they could not directly relate to it.
Who is the target audience you hope to reach by capturing this unique experience?
Like all my work Dreams is intended for any audience. Generally my films ask people to question their identity and sexuality, objectively and subjectively, anyone can do this. In this particular film the audience is directed to sympathize or empathize with Manuel’s monologue. Although the viewer is positioned to listen and watch Solano’s personal experience manifest on the screen, one can’t help but identify with his expression and desire to connect with others through his story, his life. Our greatest search, the search for ‘self’, is ultimately discovered in the vulnerability and joy of others.
What do you hope people take away after viewing Dreams?
I hope that people cultivate an awareness about themselves, others and the world which they inhabit; maybe even feel inspired to share that awareness in expressions of love and compassion.
How has the city of San Francisco reacted to your work?
San Francisco found me at a crucial time of personal discovery and self-acceptance. The city, history, culture and people presented a place to experiment and play with ideas of self and identity. It was in SF that I met Kelly Lovemonster who taught me the importance of community, by generously sharing his with me, and who has since influenced me in many ways as a friend and collaborator. Without such a diverse, complex and loving place my exploration and play might have been suppressed. I’m forever grateful to the kindness, support and positivity San Francisco has provided me.
What lies on the future radar for you as an artist?
My focus now is to publicly raise enough money ($12,000) to finish my first feature film ‘Lust For Life’ – about a vampire exploring the existential dilemma of life as they yearn to find connection on the other side of death. I hope to have the money raised by mid-2017 and a release to follow shortly thereafter.
Beyond that, I’ve been writing a dramatic feature film about a future queer utopia which emerges out of the inevitable demise of the US government/nation caused by racial and political friction. The end is only the beginning in this story, as my goal here is to empower the audience, on and off screen, by envisioning a global community founded on the failures of the past and the optimistic possibility (fantasy) of our future by daring to imagine that our real strength as human beings exists in joy and unity.
About Damien Moreau:
Damien Moreau has traveled extensively and lived on the East and West coasts, Netherlands and Mexico City. He is a filmmaker and photographer whose work explores intimacy, queer bodies and identity. His focus on sex reflects his belief in the important emotional and spiritual expression sex enables and its libratory potential through experiences of jouissance.
Moreau began his career as a pornographic model and soon became interested in directing in order to create and explore his own ideas about fantasy and desire. His recent work, including the upcoming film Lust for Life, examines themes of freedom, utopianism, queer community and asociality. Turning to genres of science fiction and fantasy, Moreau continues to investigate how joy might be located and experienced in this world and one that pushes the limits of the imagination.
About the Interviewer:
Tara Chandi is SOMArts’ Communications & Gallery Events Intern. She is pursuing a Master’s in Interaction Design at the California College of the Arts. Her work is focused on designing for sustainable solutions and systemic change.