He simply carried his camera around with him, adopting ‘the world as my set and people as my actors’. In the late 1960s and for most of the 1970s he lived in the Chelsea Hotel in New York with his wife, Susan Hoffmann, who was known to him and most others as ‘Viva’, the name that Andy Warhol had given her.
Michel Auder says that his films ‘describe the world as he sees it’. He uses the camera to transcribe events and conversations but also to record what he sees from his apartment window or on television or in a book or magazine.
Michel Auder will be live on stage at Videoart at Midnight to perform a kind of spontaneous presentation of his oeuvre which comprises more than 200 films.
According to his friend Jonas Mekas, the Lithuanian-American director and pioneer of American avant-garde cinema, Auder really only chronicles what he wants to chronicle, and thereby juxtaposes things that occupy him, without educating, informing, banging any political drums or passing any specific social comment. He is someone who loves to watch, and to keep a record of what he has seen. It is impossible not to speak of an element of voyeurism in some of his pieces. But it is also important to clearly define where the boundary lies between voyeurism and unbiased observation of our surroundings, both things and people. Auder looks, and those viewing his films are compelled to look with him, fixing their gaze on the object of his interest and taking it as their own, becoming implicated. Between documenting reality and storytelling, Auder sets off to search for new narrative modes. Being fully aware of the normative order of existing genres and narrative strategies of film, Auder follows none of the sets of regulations that are firmly imposed on the visual field generated by the film industry, television and commerce — or at least, he does not follow them slavishly, but asserts his freedom to remain idiosyncratic as he battles through streams of images. His decisions with regard to the treatment of the visual material are taken within a framework discreetly coloured by his personal experience while making the film.