Jordi Cussó is a Spanish filmmaker who focused his career on the audiovisual world about six years ago. He previously studied Audiovisual Communication, although most of the practice he got up until this moment was self-taught. He works in publicity, making from commercials to musical videos, as well as with any other project that he may find interesting. He announces, with a certain hint of longing, that he has been willing to make a long film for a while now. The definition that the Spanish RAE dictionary proposes for the verb Desire: “to aspire vehemently to the knowledge, possession or enjoyment of something”. This has served Cussó as a main cause of change when facing the conceptual part of the project.
Therefore, Jordi… what makes an element desirable?
I think it is an accumulation of factors. The concept of desire itself is ruled by an internal logic, which varies all along history. In the same way that the concept of perversion wasn’t the same in the Middle Ages as it is today. The word desire doesn’t carry the same meaning in Barcelona as it does in Ulaanbaatar … In fact; the concept of desire mutates and is ruled by historical and cultural aspects. I think that what makes an object desirable is a sum of circumstances that take place within the person and combine with their tastes and their concerns, in a certain time and place. At this point, the acquisitive power of each one will determinate their relationship with the desirable objects. The ideas of pleasure and knowledge lean out to complement this dynamic.
What is DESIRE?
In a very simple way, Desire is a visual exercise that wants to dig into the concept of desire.
Taking a look at the video, DESIRE is a piece that shows desire in the shape of a woman situated in two different but very tempting scenarios: architecture versus nature. What relationship do the objects have between one another?
I don’t think it is a project to be personalized or to be taken literally.. I don’t want to bind desire together with a specific genre either. I don’t feel comfortable with this parallelism. Desire is neither masculine nor feminine (although language tells us it is something masculine). I try to reflect on a concept through Paula. She is only the “excuse” to dive into the ideas I propose. Paula is not the desire; Paula sees herself “possessed” by the very same concept of desire. The link you establish is a point of view that comes from a very specific tradition. In a way, this contrast you point out between nature and architecture establishes the perfect frame for the story, although the filming at the Casa Castellarnau was not at all intentional (I was looking for a different sort of interiors). More than the duality between public and private space, architecture versus nature, I would underline the idea that culture always opposes nature. On the other hand, there is an aspect of space I feel is important to reflect on. I filmed at a 15th century house in Tarragona. If we practice an historical analysis, after the terrible submission of man suffered from the, by then still recent, invention of the concept of God in the middle ages, we see in the Renaissance period the first specks of individualism, that is still not considered as such, but stands out for example the idea of the artist. Desire is linked to individuals. And during those five centuries this concept has been configured differently from what it implied, for example, in the old ages. Images and objects that appear within this context suggest their own genealogy, the etymology of shapes, connected to the idea of desire they used to define. I wanted to suggest the concept of creation in a sufficiently open (even arbitrary) way, creating a link with the concept of desire that I propose. Image and sound go together to evoke a kind of genesis,that historically went through its own natural process, but was later modified and perfected by man.
There are scenes during the video that encourage desire in a direct way. What is your desire? Baroque interiors with gated doorways, pompous tromp-l’oeils and luxurious furniture? Or do you prefer natural landscapes with rich groves, freshwater springs and valuable water crystals?
I don’t want to desire anything in particular. I do in my private life, but that’s another matter. I speak about an idea, and to make it real I use a combination of elements, more or less apt, to orbit around it. Culture always implies various aspects that are inseparable at this point, one of them imposing on the other (nowadays nature is not what it used to be). They are not there to be chosen from or, in any case, it doesn’t make a difference which one you choose. It has already been a few centuries that we chose civilization/evolution over anything else.
What do shapes need to be created?
It’s an interesting question. Some time ago I read an interview to Isaac Díaz Pardo where he reflected over an etymology of shapes. And how, in a way, the position at the Real Fábrica de Sargadelos also answered to that certain concern framed into the Galician tradition. And it became one of the most interesting examples of this art/industry reasoning that has always caught my attention. The first thing you need is the hand of man. Because, obviously, there are shapes that belong to nature, that where created in spite of man, throughout centuries and by natural forces. And the second thing is a need, an excuse. Although this bond, which through history has been so important, is not so important nowadays. The utility of objects, of shapes, has also evolved with us toward a more imprecise aspect in which they lose their original value to become something else. Let’s say that the relationship object-utility is not so clear any more… I find the evolution of shapes and objects connected to the evolution of mankind to be very curious.
In various scenes you can see the main character’s hand held in the air, half open in an ascending movement. She longs for what she searches and awaits what she desires… Do you think objects are behind the desire?
I think that behind the desire there is the desire itself. There’s nothing outside of it. Desire is an idea, a concept, it is something we can talk about, and that we can think about, but can’t hold, can only be expressed through certain things, which are the objects of this desire. The objects, in a way, are victims of desire.
As we approach the end of the piece, the indecision of the main character about what decisión to take is emphatized… Without spoiling the end, what decision does she discard?
I never thought about a story in which an end was so clearly defined that was totally definite. I had imagined the story in different terms, I don’t share that rift that you talk about. The essential thing to me is that there is someone that pursues something that is never really fulfilling and pushes to this constant game, trying to reflect on the nature of what is going on. In a way, it is a plea for life, because it drives you to keep on searching, to look into what you desire. Knowledge is very linked to pleasure and curiosity, thus the movement itself to try to achieve something already takes you in a direction that opens a world of possibilities.
Interview by Javier Morelope