2010 VestAndPage inspired a new experimental and ecological performance-based film production method. Theirs are complexly layered film works that move in the realms of magic realism, through which they examine the evolution from original documentation of performative acts toward contextual, non-linear storytelling. Their films are produced on-site as direct and visceral performances, which are not rehearsed or staged and happen in response to extreme environments. Stenke and Pagnes usually work alone or with a small team of collaborators and use minimal non-invasive equipment. In a constant search through a reflexive mode for new images of interior landscapes, they consider the world the studio and host: they do not go to a place to tell a story – they go to a place to find its story. To perform in these thresholds where the visible blends with the invisible, they have developed a psychogeographical method to activate memory and uncover layers of information and imagery stored in the human body, psyche, spirit, and non-human environment. Since then, they have produced three feature-length films, a silent film, a trilogy of shorts, two shorts and numerous interview series and art videos. In 2020, they published “Poetics of Relations: Manifesto on Performance-Based Filmmaking”.
VestAndPage’s first film trilogy, “sin∞fin”, presents three medium-length art films of collaborative performances in epic locations worldwide. Teetering between the real and the visionary, these films feature the artists undertaking surreal and ephemeral acts. Amplified by the unfamiliar environments, the performances reflect on universal human experiences such as altruism, partnership and the transient nature of existence. Episode #1, “Performances at the End of the World,” set in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego (2010), thematically focuses on the microcosm and intimate domain of the individual and the couple. Episode #2, “Performances at the Holy Centre,” located in Uttarakhand, Delhi & Kashmir (2011), highlights the topic of society and religion. The concluding episode, “Performances at the Core of the Looking-Glass,” filmed in Antarctica (2012), engages through narratives on nature and the universe with the macrocosm. The artists’ actions evolve in direct response to the surroundings in which they find themselves. The camera records what possible spectators would view, yet the movie is not a documentary. Instead, the works are pieced together organically, forming an autonomous story generated through the process of making it to be read by each viewer in a personal way.