Vanessa Gravenor

Artist in Residency | September 2023 

Vanessa Gravenor (she/they) is an artist, filmmaker and writer working in Berlin and Hamburg, DE. She works primarily in video on the topics of entangled traumas, archives of war, and photography.

Her work has been exhibited throughout Germany, Poland, Latvia, Italy, and the US. She was shortlisted for the 13th Lichter Art Award, Frankfurt, DE and has participated in VISIO, Lo Schermo dell’arte, for young artists in film. She has held scholarships from the DAAD as a graduate student (2015-16) and a Research and Create grant from Canada Council for the Arts (2020).

Vanessa currently holds a position as an Artistic Research Assistant at HFBK-Hamburg where she is also writing her Phd.

They are currently working on a video project during their artist residency at the Centre de production DAÏMÔN.

Artist's Statement

“My artistic work explores how societies become militarized and reveals how militarization appears passively in rituals, routines, phrases, and visualities. I work as a video artist in moving image and experimental film, tracing psychic states through neuro-imaging and cybernetics. Many of my works work with archival found footage, CGI that I build myself in Blender, and historical research in the form of essay films and performance lectures. My recent works explore the mental states of anxiety, nervousness, and trauma, as developed historically during the cold war to present securitization.

My ongoing multi chapter essay film Free Recall explores legacies of secrecy from the cold war to current fears and nuclear anxieties.

While in residency at DAÎMÖN, I will be working with the collections and archives at the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum. My focus will be on Canadian Civil Defense Films created in the 50s and 60s and unpacking how civil society was brought into the cold war through these televised films. Rewinding, parsing, and breaking down this imagery, I plan to integrate filmic documentation of defensive architecture, surveillance radar systems, and analogue/contemporary espionage systems to explore the politics of fear and its impact on psychic nervous systems.”

-Vanessa Gravenor