Kiron Hussain
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Kiron Hussain

Slick Horsing, Kiron Hussain

Slick Horsing, Kiron Hussain

We caught up with Kiron Hussain – winner of the Animate Projects Award for Best Experimental Film at this year’s London Short Film Festival – seeking enlightenment on the inspiration behind Slick Horsing…

You’re currently studying Fine Art at Newcastle – how would you describe your art practice? Have you made any other films during your time there or going by your artreview profile, are you more of a painter by trade?

It all [my work; paint, video, etc,] plays on self contradiction. I try to create beautiful aberrations. I want the viewer’s flesh to creep and heart to lift in the same moment – if you wondered what all of the flashing is about [in Slick Horsing]; I was after a sort of refreshingly disturbing experience… just too pretty to be horrific… paradoxical yes, and possibly the vaguest most pie in the sky modus operandi in the history of film ideas, but it eventually came to be somewhere close to what I wanted.

I come at painting and film in the same way, straight-backed and improvisational [planless nutjob], with the same smudgy back-of-the-brain entities goggling forth out of the dark and manifesting themselves in my work. I just say I’m an artist and it saves the necessity for distinctions [which aren't my strong point].

So, where did the inspiration for Slick Horsing come from? Can you shed some light on the trinity of mankind, girlkind and beastkind…

Shedding light is what I’m best at not doing – the “the trinity of schoolboy terror” [...mankind, girlkind, beastkind...] is a tiny bit of poetry I used to represent childhood fears; I’ll remain a purist of a certain sort by not elaborating beyond that. It’s down to your interpretation.

Slick Horsing seems to me to have elements of the nightmarish lighting and colours of a David Lynch film – are there any filmmakers that particularly inspire you and inspired this work?

Don’t get me wrong, Lynch is a near perfect creature with a gorgeously odd brain [and gets ever so slightly stranger still from the hairline upwards] but I couldn’t honestly say I was directly influenced by him… though, yes he’s inspirational and just maybe there’s a small crossover artistically. I wanted to make a delicate, vivid, unusual piece of art, and consciously all I can reference as an influence is the flickering bulb in my bathroom.

Of course I do actively admire a great number of painters and filmakers, there are several in particular who have been swilling around my head these past months: the directors Ritwik Ghatak [gangly alcoholic, intellectual vagrant and arthouse mega-genius], Shuji Terayama [what Avant-Garde theatre could be on screen – it's happened in Japan] and Alejandro Jodorowsky [drenched in cult hero status, at the cartoonish end of art films, I love him]… and painters Sidney Nolan [a pillar box headed Ned Kelly scorched to charcoal black trots about in an utterly wonked-out Outback... that's my best attempt at an explanation], Goya [effortless master of the grim and brilliant] and the writer GK Chesterton [a Great British hero of immaculate perversity].

I’ve also been watching a lot of Ren & Stimpy, which has compelled me to try to develop a jarring kind of closeup called the Stimpy Cut – I suppose you’d need to see it.

There’s a real 50s Pulp Fiction meets fashion magazine photo shoot feel to the imagery of the film – where did you source the images for the film?

An explicit answer to that question has been smothered by hours of image manipulation – splicing different parts together, an eyeball here, a cuff link there – untangling the mess is beyond me. Also quite a lot of it has been hand painted, and I very much like the idea of keeping people in the dark over which parts are. And your comparison to the aesthetic of 50s Pulp and fashion photography – I love both and agree entirely.

Did you create the unsettling soundtrack yourself? Or do you ever collaborate on your work?

I have a one-track mind, and Slick Horsing was my first film [I do find it difficult using the word film; it's more like just a 90 second shard of strangeness] so there was no question I would revert to type and manipulate every last detail [including the 'unsettling soundtrack'] – you’ll notice the credits are just my name flashed up for three seconds [didn't take long to make that part].

How did you find the experience of showing your work in a film festival setting?

The LSFF seems to have been infiltrated by a tendril of the contemporary art scene, which reassured me I was right at home. I screened two films at two separate events and was delirious throughout both.

What’s next for you? Will there be more films in the future?

I’m working on one right now, scrabbling together the script as I go from a fragmented car crash of a novella I splurged out a while back. Six months ago I was wondering whether I could even make a proper short film, now I’m wondering if I’ll be able to piece together a coherent screenplay. Not entirely sure I’d back myself but the result should at the very least be weird; that being the bare minimum constant in my work; weirdness.