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Interview with Samira Elagoz


Creator of Cock, Cock.. Who’s There? and Craigslist Allstars

Can you introduce yourself?

I’m Samira Elagoz (1989, Helsinki), a Finnish/Egyptian artist currently based in Amsterdam. I graduated in choreography from the Amsterdam University of the Arts in spring 2016. The last three years I have meticulously explored the possibilities of intimate encounters with strangers through screens, lenses and cyberspace. I have used various internet platforms like Craigslist and Chatroulette to find everyday normal co-stars for my works.

What drives you to be creative?

Instinct, whimsy, sense of purpose

What role did theatre/dance have for you when you grew up?

Originally a country girl, I spent my formative years among stacks of dvd’s and cd’s being a fan girl – studying my gurus and even changing my personality to be more fitting to them, dreaming and acting roles in my country girl room.
ER inspired a desire to become a green coat doctor, cinematically working only the bloodiest cases, until I turned 14 and realised my math skills were not sufficient.
As my head started to spin from the vast array of future options, I’d eventually spin into a pirouette. Here started the dusty, rusty road to becoming the next big ballerina.

If you hadn’t become an artist, what would have been your profession?

I’d like to think paramedic. I have a skill of staying calm in other’s emergency situations, also I’m not easily grossed out. Though in an ideal world I’d be an astronaut. Science, space, and the relating fictions are endlessly fascinating to me.

All the encounters and stories in your documentary are real, not scripted in advance. What do you do to prepare these encounters?

Most of my preparation comes from the selection process. Before starting these meetings I had questions in mind I wanted to explore, and when selecting subjects I’d make unfounded, instinctual judgments on which stranger might provide an answer. Other than that little prep was required.
My main tool is a strong sense of empathy, so much so that I tend to emulate a person’s emotional state and attitude, even mannerisms. If someone is reserved I will follow suit, if someone is confident it immediately inspires me to be. The surroundings and how the stranger is embedded in their place also affects how I will be. So I’m just being sensitive for the moment and adaptive to situations as they occur. On a more practical note, I’ve some security considerations.

Why do you use the medium of film on the stage?

I really enjoy hopping between contexts and genres. But also, on a more personal note, I’m not a particularly comfortable performer, weaving a stage presence into the film’s polished sequences becomes far more rewarding and peaceful than carrying a live performance. I know my strengths and can play into them, but the precision, foresight and relaxation a ready-made film provides is invaluable, and ultimately where I can truly express what I want.


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