Michele Beck is visual artist who creates poetic combinations of video, performance, objects and sound. Her projects take the form of documentary, multi-channel audio/video installation and live performance. The form may change, but her interest in the body as a site for language and expression remains consistent. My Erotic Body is her first feature-length documentary and won Best Short Doc at the NYC Chain Film Festival. Michele’s work has been shown at venues include the Kassler Dokumentarfilm und Videofest, Recontre Internationales, The ICA in London, Galerie Chez Valentin, The Bronx Museum, The Queens Museum and PS122. She is a recipient of grants from NYFA, NYSCA, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and multiple residencies at Yaddo and the Hermitage. She is a Professor in the Department of Media Studies and Film at the New School in New York City.
What do I do best?
I am a great listener. Both in my personal and professional life, I take great joy in listening to people tell their stories.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I do my best when I go at my own pace. Multitasking and rushing through my day never seems to be fulfilling to me. I love taking it slow and being sensitive to all the details and nuances of the moment- it makes my work and my relationships rich.
What are my aspirations?
In terms of my work, my goal is to keep making art. This can get harder as you get older, but I want to keep the process fresh and my curiosity energized. In my personal life, I want to keep nurturing and building my relationships and community.
My Biggest Success?
At the moment, finishing my film My Erotic Body and being able to share it with a large audience has been my biggest success. This was my first documentary film and I made the whole film with very little money and a tiny crew. I loved meeting the women who are in the film and going through the filming and editing process. It was a wonderful experience and I am thrilled that the film inspires both women and men to appreciate the diversity and beauty of the feminine body in motion. More info at: myeroticbody.com
My Most Challenging Moment?
Every time I start a new project I feel like I am out at sea and can’t find the land. It’s challenging to begin and to be willing to go through the creative process.
Focus, focus, focus. That is what my mother used to say to me.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
I am inspired by a number of amazing visual artists such as Valie Export, Marina Abramavic´ and Louise Bourgeois. Their work explores the psychology of the body in disturbing, beautiful and risky ways. I admire their perseverance, bravery and willingness to fight for their voice, particularly at a time when the art world was male dominated.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
A couple of my favorite places are: Cappadocia, Turkey. Bisti Badlands, New Mexico. Tian Tin Buddha on Lantau Island, in Hong Kong. I started as a sculptor and the landscape of Cappadocia and Bisti remind me of my work. When I am there I feel like I am walking through one of my sculptures. Also, my sculptures were very large, so I love monumental figures like the Buddha on Lantau Island.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
I love noise-cancelling headphones. This is the only way I can work while living in the middle of New York City.
My Current Passions?
I am working on a new film about creative process where I follow two artists, the composer Sebastian Currier and the sculptor Judy Fox, from the beginning of a project to the final performance/ exhibition. I have been filming for over a year and can’t wait to start editing.