Peter Tscherkassky is an Austrian avant-garde filmmaker who currently works exclusively with found footage. All of his work is done with film and heavily edited in the darkroom, rather than relying on technological modes. Tscherkassky not only presents beautiful and haunting images, but also forces the audience to rethink the traditional conception of film and film narrative.
Early life Peter Tscherkassky was born October 3, 1958 in Vienna, Austria. He attended the Primary School in Mistelbach from 1965 - 1969 and Jesuit boarding school from 1969 - 1975 in Vienna. He attended BORG (high school) Mistelbach and graduated in June 1977. From 1977 - 1979 Tscherkassky studied journalism and political science as well as philosophy at the University of Vienna. His first encounter with avant-garde film was in January 1978 when he attended a five-day lecture series by P. Adams Sitney at the Austrian Film Museum.
Film career Tscherkassky began filming in 1979 when he acquired Super-8 equipment and before the end of the year he had scripted and started of the shooting of Kreuzritter. Throughout his career he conceived numerous film festivals including “The Light of Periphery – Austrian Avant-Garde Film 1957–1988” (1988), “Im Off der Geschichte” (1990), “Found Footage – Filme aus gefundenem Material” (1991), and “Unknown Territories – The American Independent Film” (1992). He was also the founding member of the newly Austria Filmmakers Cooperative which began in 1982 and resigned from his position there in 1993. His most recent work Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in the series 'Quinzaine des réalisateurs.'
In parallel, he started in 1984 a curatorial work with presentation of the two-part program “überBlick – Super-8-Filme aus Österreich” at Kutscherhaus, Berlin. From 1987 to 1991 he curated programs and retrospectives of Austrian avant-garde film in Berlin, Lucerne, Lisbon, Karlsruhe, Skövde (Sweden), Hannover, Strasbourg, Budapest, Warsaw and Kremsir (CSFR). He conceived and curated with Martin Arnold in 1990 the symposium and festival “Im Off der Geschichte” at the Stadtkino Wien (avant-garde films from the UK, Germany and Austria) and in 1993, the retrospective “Austrian Avant-Garde Film from Kubelka to the Present“ in Berlin, among other exhibitions. He edited the book “Peter Kubelka” with Gabriele Jutz in 1995.
From 1989 to 2002, he taught artistic filmmaking at the Linz University of Arts and Industrial Design. Since 1998 he teaches “Audiovisual Communication/Film” at the Vienna University of Applied Art. The common point of his diverse production dwells in the structural critic of the conventions that rule narrative cinema.