Unseen Art: José Ángel Gomis González presents his Medusa videos

Spanish video artist José Ángel Gomis González channels memory and lived experience to create a video project that spans 18 chapters.

by Manu Sharma Published on : Oct 26, 2020

José Ángel Gomis González was born in Madrid in 1991, but has spent most of his life in Valencia. He has studied Fine Arts, but his primary interests have always leaned towards film and video.

Much of his surreal video work explores themes of sexuality, death, dreams, family and sin. Furthermore, he is not one to shy away from making art simply for the sake of aesthetic exploration, and his oeuvre thus far takes the shape of an eclectic mix of influences and lived experience, coming together with an unmistakable visual force even at its subtlest.

Medusa Videos is a longstanding project that began as a single visual experiment by the artist. However, due to personal circumstances and backlash for the shocking nature of his work, González would come to feel disheartened, and Medusa Videos was almost left unfinished. However, as the interview below will mention, he is in a much better place now, and Medusa Videos is finally complete, and ready to be viewed in its entirety, for the first time ever.

16 mins watch Medusa Videos by José Ángel Gomis González | Medusa Videos | José Ángel Gomis González | STIRworld
Medusa Videos by José Ángel Gomis González Video: José Ángel Gomis González

1. Please talk about your general practice.

I am a huge cinephile and I have loved everything related to film and video since I was a child. My tastes are very personal and I have always been drawn to the ‘forbidden fruit’ in life. When I discover little-known film and video projects, I feel like the possibilities are endless!

I started editing photos and videos academically, and this included short, narrative films that I still make today. Then I began to give my photos too much colour, to mix photos and videos in an abstract way and I eventually discovered the glitch aesthetic along with the possibilities of melding digital and analog video. This has allowed me to express ideas that I simply cannot avoid in my work, such as nostalgia, death, sex, mental disorders, night, city living, surrealism, dreams, cyberpunk philosophy, melancholy, lies, family or sin, all from a cynical point of view. Then again, some of my works are created for the sake of aesthetics alone.

  • A still from Medusa Videos by José Ángel Gomis González| Medusa Videos | José Ángel Gomis González | STIRworld
    A still from Medusa Videos by José Ángel Gomis González Image: José Ángel Gomis González
  • A still from Medusa Videos | Medusa Videos | José Ángel Gomis González | STIRworld
    A still from Medusa Videos Image: José Ángel Gomis González

2. When and in what circumstances did you conceive this work?

While I was studying Fine Arts, I registered on Instagram (as meduzze55555) to share my glitch art and more. I saw the movie Happy End (Oldrich Lipský, 1967) during this time, which was a major inspiration for me.

Then I started the Medusa Videos project by reversing footage of a table being used by my friends, on sheer impulse alone. I liked it and made more work like this, but I got banned from Instagram, so I felt disheartened, eventually lost interest. Hence, the video work I started with the first video remained unfinished.

Years later, I am in a better place: I ended up making nine more short videos, and now feel as though my project is complete.

A still from Happy End | Happy End | Oldrich Lipský| STIRworld
A still from Happy End Image: Oldrich Lipský

3. What is the theme for the work?

The video is a collection of 18 short videos or chapters. I called them Medusa Videos, as the jellyfish is called ‘Medusa’ in Spanish. It is my favourite animal, and through this artwork, I am attaching it to my ‘worlds’. Hence, Medusa Videos is about these worlds I inhabit. It is a series of aesthetic quirks, colour experiments and emotional confessions.

I am always recording videos or taking photos, so I accumulated many beautiful moments that I never knew what to do with. Working with these snippets, I realised early on that it was very interesting to reverse the videos. Have you ever noticed that in reversed footage, human movement begins to resemble a jellyfish’s motions?

There are so many things in this video (nothing explicit, which is rare in my work) that the saga could continue indefinitely. However, it ends at chapter 18, which was made using a VHS recording of my family. Eighteen is the first year of adulthood, and served to deliver a sense of finality to the project. When I was making the other 17 chapters, I felt like a child!

: José Ángel Gomis González inside his studio | Medusa videos | José Ángel Gomis González |STIRworld
José Ángel Gomis González inside his studio Image: José Ángel Gomis González

4. What process was used to make the work?

I have a lot of editing apps, from PicsArt to Glitch! and I made the first nine videos largely through these. These apps have the option to reverse the video, edit colours and textures, overlay music, etc.

The second half of the series was made much in the same way, but through the use of Premiere Pro on my computer. The transitions between my videos are real analog glitches that have been edited, and some of the older videos were edited again to add a degree of underlying homogeneity to the work as a whole.

The music is a song I made, titled ‘La medusa’.

04 mins watch : A glimpse of González’s computer screen while editing Medusa Videos| Medusa Videos | José Ángel Gomis González | STIRworld
A glimpse of González’s computer screen while editing Medusa Videos Video: José Ángel Gomis González

5. Why do you think it has not been shown yet?

I really like this question. This artwork didn’t start off as a project, but rather simply as an experiment.

After being banned on Instagram, almost no one saw my artistic work, and I had to clean up the videos that people reported. I also deleted some Medusa videos and others that were not reported. This made me feel terrible, and didn’t help with the already difficult circumstances of my life at the time. Hence, I ended up losing interest in the project, and the work remained unfinished and largely unseen.

My life was pretty bad back then, but now I am recovering. I have got projects in mind, I have finished working on Medusa Videos, and this conversation and feature was just the inspiration I needed to finalise and compile the whole thing.

  • José Ángel Gomis González’s work station | Medusa videos | José Ángel Gomis González| STIRworld
    José Ángel Gomis González’s work station Image: José Ángel Gomis González
  • Inside the studio of José Ángel Gomis González | Medusa videos | José Ángel Gomis González| STIRworld
    Inside the studio of José Ángel Gomis González Image: José Ángel Gomis González

6. What would be the ideal (most desired) format to display the work if and when given a chance?

I haven't thought about that yet because I have never conceived my video artwork for any site beyond the internet. But it would be amazing if my narrative short films and my video art were shown on the big screen. I would be thrilled to have even a modest turnout.

José Ángel Gomis González | Medusa videos | José Ángel Gomis González| STIRworld
José Ángel Gomis González Image: José Ángel Gomis González

Unseen Art:
Curated by Rahul Kumar, STIR presents Unseen Art: an original series that features works that have never been shown publicly, created by a selection of multidisciplinary artists from across the globe.

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