Having just shot the photographic series 'Carnal Cerberus' featuring dark & disturbing images exploring the themes of sexuality in the digital era, Berlin-based filmmaker Matt Lambert presents them here on Dazed Digital for the first time alongside an interview about his haunting film projects. Besides his work for various creative agencies such as Friend, Lambert also takes care of film/video for the London-based multi-disciplinary collective run by Harry Malt and Chris Bianchi - Bare Bones.
I don't feel my work is all that dark. It more possesses a lack of light and colour, creating reductionist imagery that can often convey a narrative in a much more refined way
Inspired by the nocturnal existence of life on the road in Berlin and his past experiences in LA and London, his unique style focuses around abstract night time imagery, capturing the state that exists between reality, sobriety and dreams.
Dazed Digital: What are the common threads that run through all your work?
Matt Lambert: Dreams. Isolation. Transition. Innocence. Sexuality. Time. Perception.
DD: What is it about the medium of film that provides the best platform for your creative ideas?
Matt Lambert: A lot of my ideas would translate quite well as stills too - frames evoking an impressionistic intrigue of their own. However, when dealing with themes like transition and the intimacy of a subject; movement and subtle changes in bodies and faces add another layer of depth to the narrative. In addition, controlling the speed in which people consume images and the sounds they hear in parallel is an aspect of film I really enjoy. Sound has been one of my favourite parts of the process, working closely with long-time collaborator Ben Lukas Boysen as well as David Kamp on Fickmacshinen and Terressa Tate on We Who Are Young Are Old.
DD: Your work tends to be quite dark, where do you draw your inspirations from?
Matt Lambert: I grew up in LA on Punk Rock. Its teeth, tone and angst are ever present in everything I do. The aesthetic and intuitive process of the work I do with Bare Bones continues to echo the fucked-up and photocopied texture of the gig fliers and albums that littered my walls as a teenager. Even in my more polished work, I try to keep a darkness and grit to the images and scenes overall.
I then overdosed on German Expressionist Cinema and countless contemporary painters and photographers whom I connected to for one reason or another. Saying all that, I don't feel my work is all that dark. It more possesses a lack of light and colour, creating reductionist imagery that can often convey a narrative in a much more refined way. The simplification of subjects gives the viewer a chance to study scenes under a sort of microscope.
DD: Where did this interest come from and are there any particular themes you are interested in exploring at the moment?
Matt Lambert: I'm continuing to explore the ones as mentioned. As most of us out there, I'm also always trying to tackle themes from my youth - to work through fears, confusion, dreams, fears, etc. The aforementioned inspirations seemed to align with these subjects on a visceral level for me more than anything else.
Most recently my inspiration is coming from the nocturnal existence of life on the road and in Berlin. Much of the stuff in development is trying to capture the perceived light that exists somewhere between that reality, sobriety and dreams. These are the times when the most primal qualities in people can rise to the surface and it's this intimacy that I often try to re-create and capture when shooting subjects.
Process as a subject has also become a big focus lately - often independent of the final product. I'm really interested in creating situations in which people physically go through authentic, emotional transformations on-screen. This is often when working with amateurs and friends and in the nude - to work with someone who's being shot for the first time and to witness them shedding their virgin inhibitions.
DD: Who would be your dream person/people to shoot a film for or with?
Matt Lambert: I'm always up for collaborations with musicians, fashion designers, artists, performers, etc. Off the top of my head: Build No System, Theo Adams, Slayer, Soap and Skin, Anika, Ron Athey, Death Grips, The Tiger Lillies, OFF!, Danny Brown, Matthew Stone, Mugler, Mel Agace's 'Destricted 2' if it ever happens, Butoh Masters, Kokon To Zai, These New Puritans, The Gypsy kids who perform in the Berlin U-Bahn, porn stars, Liturgy, Alexander Binder, teen garage crust punk bands, Tom Waits, GG Allin's ghost and anyone who will trust me and go along for the ride.
There are also a lot of friends and people I've met along the way whom I've never gotten the chance to collaborate with, but would love to some day. These folks include: Lucy McRae, Micki Pelerano, Simone Rocha, Labanna Babalon, Light Asylum, Champagne Valentine, Don't Shoot The Messengers, Travis Jeppesen, Mikhail Karikis, Black Cracker, Modern Witch, Jonathan Caouette and Susanne Sachse.
DD: What are you working on now? What's next?
Matt Lambert: I'm gearing up for a pretty busy season with Bare Bones. We've got a show in Amsterdam next week and in London on April 13th at The Neu Gallery. I'm in pre-production on a music video dyptic for King Dude with one of my Berlin collaborators, xorzyzt and in post on a video I recently shot for Gio Black Peter in NYC. On the side, I've also been doing lots of live-visuals lately, most recently working with the monthly Berlin parties, PURGE (put on by Gucci Goth, xorzyzt & Tom Ass) and GEGEN.
Next up, I'm continuing to develop stories that incorporate the fragmented moments that most my work has captured - trying to build more context to balance their abstraction. One specific project is one that explore the transient and malleable nature of gender and sexuality through the lens of surrealism and fantasy in a short film. Lastly, I'm holding on a project I started last year with MiniVegas called @xxxanima. It's a dynamic data/picture visualization of tweets that consumes and mutates user-generated pornographic content giving birth to an organism that represents our digital-erotic-collective consciousness. If anyone wants to help fund its completion, give me a shout!