Bernadette Kolonko |

Bernadette Kolonko is a film artist who works in the field of feminist perspective and currently also works as a research associate in ZHdK. She studied fine arts with a focus on photography at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig, and at the Zurich University of the Arts after her Abitur. Afterward, in 2010, she studied feature film directing and screenwriting, Bachelor and Master at the Film University Babelsberg “Konrad Wolf” and received the Deutschlandstipendium in 2016.

In our conversation with Bernadette, we briefly touched on the topic of “feminism and the male gaze”. By talking about the construction of feminine themes and desires in the cinematic image, we discussed the ways in which the feminist gaze functions in the film industry of our generation. Through our discussion we raised the following questions: How can normative views of gender and the body be altered? How can previously invisible worlds of imagination and memory be visualized in images? How can it be possible in the complex interplay of a feature film production that resistant and fluid image designs arise?

During the dialogue, Bernadette talked about her research project regarding “fluid” ways of image creating from female photographers(“fluid” in here refers to how female photographers break the binary thinking by creating their images), and briefly mentioned the difficulties of altering the male gaze: producing films requires a substantial amount of money, and products under the “male gaze” already work effectively in the marketplace and prominently profitable. On this basis, there are challenges in financing films under the “female gaze,” thus leading to a dearth of related works. (In addition, films under the “male gaze” are more understandable to the general public under current ideologies.) Bernadette emphasized the importance of encouraging “feminist attitudes” in the image industry: although images become more complex and aesthetically diverse under the “feminist gaze” in which not every question can be answered effortlessly, we should still give the public more trust in their ability to educate themselves and their drive for self-learning.

In the conversation, Bernadette also touched on her research, arguing that the process to reach a truly “fluid” image is rather lengthy, as it requires a great deal of questioning and experimentation. In her research methodology, she first observed and examined the way women are presented in her own family through family archives; Secondly, she experimented with creating images through different angles of the camera and experimented with feminist creation by using the image language of “objectivity” and “subjectivity” with women as the topics; Last but not least, she mentioned that it is essential to raise people’s awareness of feminism through images as well.