Look Closer

Ottobre 15, 2020

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In 1973 Pink Floyd released The dark side of the moon, three months later Susanne Ratschiller was born. She grew up near Innsbruck, close to nature in a rural environment with sheep as neighbours. She started playing classical piano at the age of seven and listened to Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing at twelve. At school she was an attentive and disciplined girl, in her spare time she dreamed of living adventures like a boy and continued this doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde life throughout adolescence. While her classmates thought about fashion, club nights or their future as mothers, she spent the weekends with her friends on mountain bikes.

Susanne has always been artistically inclined, but was advised to study for a serious job working nine to five. Therefore, after high school graduation in Natural Sciences, she found something in between and got her degree in Interior Design & Object Design in 1993, a few months after the release of the World Wide Web into the public domain.

In her early twenties she gained work experiences as an architectural drafting technician, as an interior designer and retail salesperson in furniture and home decoration stores, ran a kitchen store, worked in alpine huts during the weekends (to cover the mortgage for her apartment), toured Mediterranean Europe in campervan and attended her first acting class.

Her rebellion, which until then had remained silent, became evident at the change of the Millennium, when life in the mountains became tight and she moved to Florence, leaving behind what she was led to believe being the comfort zone. During the first years in Italy she earned a living in the cocktail bar of a five star hotel in the centre of the Tuscan capital, did some part time as an assistant surveyor and, at the same time, she visited another theatre class and started working (for pleasure) as a stage designer.

Two months after YouTube was founded in 2005, Susanne Ratschiller has been called as art director for a feature film, Boxing Jesus, one of the first feature films uploaded in full length on the video-sharing platform referred to before. This experience was the trigger for her to focus again on what she really liked to do. In the same year she met her husband, a psychologist and actor, during rehearsals for a play, decided to restart from scratch and moved with him to Pisa.

The following years were characterized by training and research. Susanne specialised in 3D computer graphics, rendering and video editing and collaborated with architects and graphic designers, but she always kept an eye on offers for set designer jobs. In the year 2011 she joined an Italian theatre association based in Berlin for a projectand Samoa and Tokelau travelled through time by cancelling December 30th.

In 2012 the Austrian Felix Baumgartner jumped from the stratosphere and Susanne Ratschiller received the assignment of production designer in a TV series. Through one of the actors she joined an association of independent cinema where she practised editing and, together with her husband, she participated in various video productions. A year after, the two took part of a Toto-cover band on keyboards and electric bass and they wrote their first short movie, An unlucky boy, winning a “Short Fiction Award” in a national competition. In addition to co-writing, Susanne’s tasks in that production ranged from production manager to art director, from actress to musician and from music composer to editor.

Susanne celebrated her 40th birthday with the making of a short film in competition for the “50 Hours Festival” taking part of script writing and acting, taking care of the set decoration, music and sound effects, editing and special effects. It was one of the selected short films representing Italy at the “UNICA Festival” in Piešt’any in 2014.The same year she was introduced to a Tuscan interior designer with whom she started a collaboration on projects in Russia, China and Dubai and edited her husband’s first book (link Sono nato con la camicia. Di forza.)

She was hired to edit the short film A Rose not Hurt about violence against women, a project promoted by Amnesty International in 2015, and received an “Honourable Mention” for that at the “International Short Film Festival in Montecatini”. Together with her husband she wrote the book Gli amici si vedono nel momento del bisogno, i parenti ai funerali e ai matrimoni. (“Friends are seen in time of need, relatives at funerals and weddings”) and she translated a book by a Russian photographer from English into Italian. Both books were released in 2016, when Christo with his Floating Piers let people walk on the waters of Lake Iseo.

Finally in 2017 Susanne Ratschiller decided to set up her own business. It has taken some time to collect everything she’s done in her life so far, filter out what’s suitable and ultimately connect the dots, but, as you can imagine now, she doesn’t actually care about working nine to five.

The worldwide Covid_19 lockdown in 2020 didn’t stop her either. Susanne and her husband produced several ironic short films with a psychological background in that period: Distress in the time of Coronavirus, The couple in the time of Coronavirus, Ask Facebook and Who is guilty? and ideas for new design collections came up in her mind.

Susanne Ratschiller’s eclectic work includes art, design, graphics, science, nature, psychology and music. Some creations happen while “playing” with images, others are the result of thorough research and study and still others are a flash of insight.

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