Julian Rosefeldt and Cate Blanchett talk about Manifesto

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Good morning! This is the first interview related to the American promotion of Manifesto, and, if I’m not very wrong, this is also one of the first interviews where Cate Blanchett shares a comment on the project. Read a few extracts below, for the full interview visit The New York Times. Enjoy!

Cate Blanchett Morphs a Dozen Times in ‘Manifesto’

Most people probably wouldn’t rush to read a lot of philosophical declarations by artists from the past century. But if those statements — known historically as manifestoes — were delivered by the actress Cate Blanchett, playing distinctly different characters, audiences might be more likely to pay attention.

At least that was the thinking of the artist and filmmaker Julian Rosefeldt in his creation of “Manifesto.” A collage of 20th-century artistic pronouncements, reinterpreted as poetic monologues on screen by Ms. Blanchett, his installation will have its North American premiere at the Park Avenue Armory, starting Dec. 7.

Mr. Rosefeldt and Ms. Blanchett met in Berlin during the 2010 opening of an exhibition of his work in the Berlinische Galerie. They were introduced by their mutual friends, the theater directors Thomas Ostermeier and Tobias Veit.

“I like working with people that I find interesting, whatever their discipline,” Ms. Blanchett said in a telephone interview. “I’m very visually inspired, so I’m constantly looking to artists, whether they’re working in film or paper or clay.”

Mr. Rosefeldt and Ms. Blanchett expressed an interest in working together, but it was only two years later — during his research for another project — that Mr. Rosefeldt came across the artist manifestoes. “The one thing I knew beforehand was, I wanted her to be many personae,” he said. “And when I read all those beautiful and poetic texts, presumptuous and yet prophetic, I imagined her incorporating all these ideas.”

Together, Mr. Rosefeldt and Ms. Blanchett narrowed down the number of characters. “We spent the weekend working out which manifestoes were most dynamic,” she said. “We sat and read them aloud — they’re incredibly rhythmic.”

“Context is so much about meaning,” she added. “Out of context, what do they mean? What do they mean now? When you see it as a multichannel work, the words become incredibly important. You move in and out of their orbit. They have a hypnotic effect, and hopefully, you lose yourself in them.”

Mr. Rosefeldt said Ms. Blanchett was able to inhabit the many different characters and to infuse their words with significance. “She’s almost like a mixture of a scientist and an artist — she’s really researching the human condition all the time,” Mr. Rosefeldt said. “The way she approaches characters, it’s not just wanting to say, ‘How does this person feel?’ She wants to understand the sociological and psychological aspects of each character.”

The two worked within the tight time frame “of a telenovela,” Mr. Rosefeldt said: just two days for prep and 11 days with Ms. Blanchett on the set.

“I couldn’t imagine having done this with anybody else,” he said. “It’s amazing what she delivered from day to day — another character becoming the manifesto. She’s not re-enacting them or reading them; she is the manifesto.”