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VideoZone2
The second Video Zone Biennial., Tel Aviv, 2004
[a.k.a videozone 2 or Video Zone 2]

The following are a few of the screening programs:
// If you would like to update us with more info click here //

Program 10

Trips and Taps
Sergio Edelstein and Doron Solomons

The background of the tension between a tourist and a scientist, the possibility of describing a journey, a visit, or a sojourn elsewhere, close by as it may be is being examined.
The journey's direction is not only outwards, but also (actually) inwards and sideward, or even out of necessity, the theme constitutes an obstacle to the journey itself. (Doron Solomons)

 

Program 11

Sonic Vision
Kathleen Forde

Sonic Vision features recent music videos and experimental 16mm films from the 1930s onward. The selected pieces fuse music and moving images into a seamlessly integrated medium, and share an aesthetic that evokes the synesthetic experience of seeing rhythm and sound.
Since the arrival of the ubiquitous MTV in the 1980s, moving image artists have continually experimented with music video as an outlet for artistic expression. Sonic Vision presents one of the contemporary creative uses of music video via a compilation of works that renders the beat visually. Thus, the videos reflect a transdisciplinary model that traverses the tradition of video as a mere backdrop for a song.
For musicians and visual artists, recent technology expanded the potential for overhauling the established parameters of previously independent disciplines. This technology enables the translation of all electronic media, sound or image, into the zeros and ones of a code.
Yet the synergistic relationship between music and image clearly did not begin with MTV or the development of digital tools. The artistic interest in the sound-vision relationship has existed for well over three hundred years. Certainly, in time-based arts, this genre developed primarily by experimental filmmakers long before any of the current software existed or MTV was a household name. Consequently, it becomes apparent that this conceptual paradigm is likely to play an important role in the field of time-based arts for many years, if not centuries, to come.
I would like to thank the following people, whose hard work and collaborative spirit made possible the materialization of Sonic Vision: Michelle Silva, Dominic Angerame, Larry Cuba and Steve Dye.
Kathleen Forde originally organized this screening for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's 7th Art series in May 2004.

 

Program 12

Electric Earth:
Film & Video from Britain (program 1)

Mark Beasley and Colin Ledwith

n the early 1980s artist Rodney Graham expressed a neurotic dislike of cinema. Neurotic in the sense that as the dominant art form of the Twentieth Century, cinematic authors could "claim to effect a much larger audience in a deeper way." The implication was that as a "visual artist" Graham felt he was "involved in something a little too rarefied, elitist and out-of-date." Twenty years on and artistic relations with the moving image are in the process of redefinition. As I write, Matthew Barney's Cremaster series is top of the bill at the local cinema, and user friendly film-editing programmes sit comfortably on the computer desk-top.
The current situation (at least in the UK) could be said in part to stem from technological advance. The advent of affordable PC's and compatible editing equipment has seen the bedroom become the production studio for a new generation of film and video makers. Hundreds of pounds rather than thousands are all it now takes to satisfactorily unite sound and vision. Digital video allows artists to craft their vision of the world from home. The ability to shoot ad infinitum at low cost, erase and rewind, has resulted in a mini-revolution in cultural production.
Electric Earth is a portrait of filmmaking to the extent that it reflects certain shifts within a broader culture, from the rise of the pop video to the renewed interest in the documentary format. The exhibition equally reflects the accelerated blurring of disciplinary boundaries. The investigative spirit of the documentary collides with the music video, while the non-linear film utilizes the giddy pace of the skate-promo. Unravelling the multitude of images that slide through our consciousness on a daily basis, artists have chosen to adapt existing forms as means for intellectual and emotional exchange. Activity that gives scant regard to the bankrupt philosophy of "Knowing one's place." Is this what the first punk-poet Rimbaud forecast in the lines, "Rumblings and Visions! Departure into new affection and new sound!"? Rather than drown under a sea of manufactured ideas, it is perhaps an attempt to re-order the fit of the world, to muddy the waters and occupy previously privileged territories.
Removed from the need to sell product, the music video has been reconfigured as a contemporary narrative device. Arriving in the mind long before the visual settles on the retina, music cuts through the red tape of communication. It is an expansive and rich language that can be as referential and descriptive of the world as visual imagery. A recent spate of documentaries released on the big screen, notably Stacy Peralta's documentary epic Dogtown and Z boys (2002), and director Nick Broomfield's diffident style, have exploded the fragile construct of the "objective documentary." The influence of filmmakers such as Chris Marker and Patrick Keiller is also evident in the encyclopaediacal desire to make connections between people, places and practices. Rather than studio bound performance to camera, artists have chosen to present "real life" histories on-screen. Yet, perceived reality is constantly checked from supermarket shelf stackers, skateboarders, city workers and gallery assistants to the life of psychoanalyst R.D. Laing. Removed from the need for objective truth, lives are complicated and skewed in an attempt to define new relations to given situations. The documentary in this sense is never straightforward. Many of the works re-sample former texts, a technique that finds its parallel within music culture. Artists are jumping directly to root influences and stretching taught the content of the original. Connecting, as Greil Marcus suggests in Lipstick Traces, the "echoes" of the past with the conversation of today. This is a generation at ease with the flick of the remote control, adept at receiving and transmitting visual non-sequitors. In this sense Electric Earth reflects the role of the artist as a mediator or editor of existing visual signs. Simply put, it is the desire to shift the focus of discussion one foot to the left or right of the main picture.
Mark Beasley

 

Program 13

Embracing Exile -
Jewish Themes in Experimental Film and Video 1956-2003
Part 2: Urban Eden & Mysteries and Abstraction

Andrew Ingall

Exile is a state of homelessness-enforced or self-imposed. It may also reflect the sense of not belonging to a particular lineage, place, or belief. Jews in particular have a profound experience with displacement. Events in 20th century history-above all the Holocaust and the misery of Jewish life as dhimmi under Moslem rule-reinforce the Diaspora experience as dark, bitter, and interminable. Despite arguments that a full Jewish life can only be experienced living in Eretz Yisrael, Jewish culture has flourished in Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas since the Babylonian Exile. A longing for "home" has generated immense creativity in scholarship, literature, and art. Examples include the Talmud, medieval poetry of the Golden Age of Spain, Hasidism in Eastern Europe, and early 20th century American Yiddish Theater.
Today, in a post-Zionist world, exilic tendencies remain in the art and culture of Diaspora Jews and are demonstrated by the work of the fourteen experimental film and video makers featuring in this program. Using a diverse range of formats (Super-8, 16mm, 35mm, analog and digital video), these artists explore themes such as family bonds, relationships to the urban landscape, and metaphysical issues such as ontology and theology.
Films and videos in Part One are organized around the theme of family-a home base from which to flee and return. Families offer a generous yerusha (inheritance) of love, neurosis, pain, memory, and myth. Sandi DuBowski and Susan Mogul reinvent gender roles and go so far as to reject circumscribed family traditions. Gail Mentlik, Chana Pollack, Abraham Ravett, and Jessica Shokrian offer loving yet somber tributes to their elders. From a decidedly different sensibility, Neil Goldberg and Ilene Segalove depict their families with a healthy dose of humor.
Part Two of the program is divided into two sections: The first-"Urban Eden"-is a collection of works that examine the pleasure and pain of city life. Despite economic challenges, artists and other "rootless cosmopolitans" embrace the city's energy, creativity, and diversity. Neil Goldberg's Hallelujah Anyway No. 2 and Shalom Gorewitz's Levinas in Yorkville demonstrate the resilience of urbanites living and working under stressful conditions. Inspired by another exiled Jewish philosopher, Walter Benjamin, Jem Cohen strolls the city streets, capturing images and stories with his camera. The metropolis is a refuge for exiles, immigrants, and other outsiders who use the urban landscape as a laboratory to test new ideas, identities, and lifestyles.
The second section - "Mysteries and Abstractions" - delves into illumination and obscurity, dreams and ghosts, mourning and loss. Filmmakers Wallace Berman, Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, and Phil Solomon share an interest in both metaphysical and material aspects of light and darkness. According to Lurianic kabbalah, the universe was born through the process of tzimtzum-contraction and concealment. Whether responding to theological displacement or existential alienation, these artists-like the kabbalists-choose to withdraw from society in order to create.
We, their audience, gather as a community to experience their inner worlds.

 

 

Program 14

Body Vision
Part 2: Urban Eden & Mysteries and Abstraction

Marcel Odenbach

I have in my possession a book from 1962, entitled: Westafrikanische Impressionen. The book consists of texts by African poets and images of Africa created by German artists. The impact of the liberation euphoria is felt throughout the book.
The early 1960s political and cultural optimism and conciliatory mood are faithfully reflected in this book. This short-lived period was soon forgotten due to later dictatorial, belligerent and postcolonial developments that for years now have been confronting us only with images of wretchedness.
The introduction to this book ends with a quotation of Heinrich Heine that had been as relevant in 1962, nearly 150 years after it was written, as it is today, more than 40 years later: "Ein Zeitalter, wenn es neue Ideen bekommt, bekommt auch neue Augen" (An age, whenever it gets new ideas, also gets new eyes). This phrase may well represent the vision of the artists I've selected for this program.
In fact, this quasi autobiographical comment was meant to open the original text I had started writing at an early stage of my work on this project, upon receiving an invitation to curate an African video program for VideZone 2. But already during the artists and works' selection, it seemed to me that classification based on geographical criteria is both problematic and limiting. Basic questions had arisen, such as what is Africa, who is an African, etc.. And than, the artists' reaction ruled out the option of a "purely African" selection and reinforced my initial skepticism.
But what can you do with half a program? You can try to salvage it. One option was to display the experience accumulated in the thematization process, which seemed to me substantial enough and representative of many artistic insights. Identity questions play a significant role in art discourse, especially in light of the growing globalization.
The works for my "African program," came from artists with whom I've had previous working relations, be it as a teacher or a colleague. Thus I've used their reactions as a stylistic tool, and removed the "geographical" limitation. Africa, after all, could be anywhere and everywhere. Therefore, a purely African program became a mixed German-African friendship program in more than one sense: stretching between a real Grassman from Cameroon and a real Bavarian from Germany, a real German-Chinese from Peru and a real Kenyan living in Germany.
However, even a subjective and totally personal selection may have a center of gravity. We are talking, on the one hand, about young artists who have arisen my interest over the years, and, on the other hand, about works that left an indelible impression in my mind.
The resulting selection is not the fruit of a far-fetched compromise, but rather a program that makes perfect sense to me, even though, admittedly, some of its contexts became clear to me only in retrospect.
All participating artists employ similar methods. The works, the short as well as the long ones, the German as well as the African ones, were all born of the same thought: they conceive art and video as a means for self-reflection and as an opportunity for addressing critically their environment. All of the videos use an almost poetical language, they tell a story, be it a one-movement-long story, or one based on complex cinematic editing models. None of them deal with the medium itself, or indulge in formalistic games, and the content is always the underlying condition for visualization.
Although some of the works are very complex, their simplicity is captivating. They are extremely personal, often resembling diary entries. The body and performative thinking, namely body language, play a major role in almost all of them. Most of the artists use the body as a mirror for posing political, social, gender and ethnographic questions. Many of them are preoccupied, still or again, with (their own) emancipation, or (their own) recognition, and not only as artists: What does it mean to be of a certain origin? What is the meaning of cultural heritage? What does society expect of you? Many create memory-works that trace the past and frequently portray everday objects as icons.
Ingrid Mwagni wonders: must the African always have a pleasant voice, or uninhibited sexuality? David Zink Yi wonders: Must the Chinese always be a good cook, is the German always poetical, why is the African always endowed with a sense of rhythm? Mawuli wonders: What is freedom, and what does slavery mean to me? Achilleka wonders: Could only people with black skin be considered as African, or also those with white skin, and what if one of my legs is black and the other - white? Goddy Leye hits himself, but cannot escape from himself, his reflection disappears. These questions and the way they are posed create the connection to my 1960s African book, and naturally bring to mind Frantz Fanon and the title of his famous book, Black Skin, White Mask, which is still utterly relevant, and not only to those artists.
It is not by accident that Michaela Schweigert chose to make her work in Hoyerswerde. This town epitomizes the East German socialist planned economy and xenophobia. The 1992 images of burning objects thrown at the windows of refugee apartments, and of the people shouting and applauding at the sight of the houses and their dwellers in flames are unforgettable. With this applause ringing in our ears, we can move on to the work of M?ller and Girardet: Here people applaud from various galleries: Why, to whom, what for - we do not know. It could be the applause at the end of a concert of Nikolaus Steglich. This last work is delightful, nevertheless it makes the applaus and my program sound a bit ominous and threatening.
The artists too may conceive of their origins, first and foremost, as a limitation, and perceive themselves as prisoners of prejudice, while seeing their environment as a cage (Mwangi), a box (Afatsiawo), a portrait (Leye), skin (Zink Yi), an appartment block (Schweigert), an automat (Steglich), or a stage (Muler).
But one can break out of limitations, one can free oneself from things and challenge them. The artists I've selected see their work as presenting a possibility for developing consciousness and creative utopias, and by no means as an illusion. Since new eyes also see in an age new ideas.
Marcel Odenbach, 2004

 

Program 15

The Other and the Same
Young Media Art from Latin America

Jose Carlos Mariategui

A central aspect of today's highly populated cities of Latin America is the desire for a western lifestyle, leading to its imitation in the hope of shifting from the status of "others" to that of the "same" in an unstable equilibrium of total subjugation. During the last decade, a new generation of media artists has emerged in Latin America with fresh proposals concerning the technological medium. The use of a global branding and communicational elements makes it impossible to classify their works as "Latin-American," since those are omnipresent in today's art world. Thus we witness the transformation of culture into a global spectacle, where video is part of a homogenizing trend, of "making one feel the same."
Fortunately, cultural distances do exist, and the regional interaction in Latin America is quite complex. From a globalist perspective, those distances pose a problem to standardization, and offer an analytic tool for assessing real situations which vary among cities, small towns and homes, and prevail even in the "diaspora."
These differences, by which identities are passed on, are reflected in today's ambivalent use of media art, from the production of and participation in a "global popular culture" to the construction of local attitudes. Consequently, there are certain differences within the new media creation in Latin America, as is indicated by some tendencies in recent works.
Some of the artists are more mainstream and mass media oriented, either with complex productions, or with minimal resources, and their primary media of reference are film and TV. Art has appropriated the postmodern language of a cinema situation, and its universe portrays ideas that range from commercial to sarcastic experimental films (cinematographic imaginary), or adopts cartoonesque methods to depict fictionalized real life.
The "units" of TV information are being shortened beyond recognition; their partiality is often confusing and bewildering. The documentary, and especially the media documentary, critically intervenes in TV dynamics, as it tries to visually reconfigure recent history in order to change our attitudes and consciousness by presenting social issues not as problems but rather as challenges.
Situations of domination and subordination are constantly switching positions. For this reason, some of the artists selected are very young and probably completely unknown to international public, while others had their works shown in Festivals internationally and are part of the mainstream. Nevertheless, in both cases they may use in their work similar practices, that emanate from the "same" influences.
Finally, a note on the participation of women in this selection: though women have been always present in video art, history tends to remember only the names of men, hopefully this equation is now changing.

 

Program 16

Electric Earth:
Film and Video from Britain
Part 2

Mark Beasley and Colin Ledwith

In the early 1980s artist Rodney Graham expressed a neurotic dislike of cinema. Neurotic in the sense that as the dominant art form of the Twentieth Century, cinematic authors could "claim to effect a much larger audience in a deeper way." The implication was that as a "visual artist" Graham felt he was "involved in something a little too rarefied, elitist and out-of-date." Twenty years on and artistic relations with the moving image are in the process of redefinition. As I write, Matthew Barney's Cremaster series is top of the bill at the local cinema, and user friendly film-editing programmes sit comfortably on the computer desk-top.
The current situation (at least in the UK) could be said in part to stem from technological advance. The advent of affordable PC's and compatible editing equipment has seen the bedroom become the production studio for a new generation of film and video makers. Hundreds of pounds rather than thousands are all it now takes to satisfactorily unite sound and vision. Digital video allows artists to craft their vision of the world from home. The ability to shoot ad infinitum at low cost, erase and rewind, has resulted in a mini-revolution in cultural production.
Electric Earth is a portrait of filmmaking to the extent that it reflects certain shifts within a broader culture, from the rise of the pop video to the renewed interest in the documentary format. The exhibition equally reflects the accelerated blurring of disciplinary boundaries. The investigative spirit of the documentary collides with the music video, while the non-linear film utilizes the giddy pace of the skate-promo. Unravelling the multitude of images that slide through our consciousness on a daily basis, artists have chosen to adapt existing forms as means for intellectual and emotional exchange. Activity that gives scant regard to the bankrupt philosophy of "Knowing one's place." Is this what the first punk-poet Rimbaud forecast in the lines, "Rumblings and Visions! Departure into new affection and new sound!"? Rather than drown under a sea of manufactured ideas, it is perhaps an attempt to re-order the fit of the world, to muddy the waters and occupy previously privileged territories.
Removed from the need to sell product, the music video has been reconfigured as a contemporary narrative device. Arriving in the mind long before the visual settles on the retina, music cuts through the red tape of communication. It is an expansive and rich language that can be as referential and descriptive of the world as visual imagery. A recent spate of documentaries released on the big screen, notably Stacy Peralta's documentary epic Dogtown and Z boys (2002), and director Nick Broomfield's diffident style, have exploded the fragile construct of the "objective documentary." The influence of filmmakers such as Chris Marker and Patrick Keiller is also evident in the encyclopaediacal desire to make connections between people, places and practices. Rather than studio bound performance to camera, artists have chosen to present "real life" histories on-screen. Yet, perceived reality is constantly checked from supermarket shelf stackers, skateboarders, city workers and gallery assistants to the life of psychoanalyst R.D. Laing. Removed from the need for objective truth, lives are complicated and skewed in an attempt to define new relations to given situations. The documentary in this sense is never straightforward. Many of the works re-sample former texts, a technique that finds its parallel within music culture. Artists are jumping directly to root influences and stretching taught the content of the original. Connecting, as Greil Marcus suggests in Lipstick Traces, the "echoes" of the past with the conversation of today. This is a generation at ease with the flick of the remote control, adept at receiving and transmitting visual non-sequitors. In this sense Electric Earth reflects the role of the artist as a mediator or editor of existing visual signs. Simply put, it is the desire to shift the focus of discussion one foot to the left or right of the main picture.
Mark Beasley

 

Program 17

Local Identities:
Neither Here nor There

Sergio Edelstein and Doron Solomons

Although we are not clear yet as to the reasons, self-portraits always fascinate us. Five (young) creators look outwards, and thus also inwards, at their intimate, at times too intimate, surroundings, at their parents, friends, lovers, ethnic group and language. (Doron Solomons)

 

Program 18:

Artangel: Jeremy Deller
The Battle of Orgreave

James Lingwood

Artangel has pioneered a new way of collaborating with artists and engaging
audiences in an ambitious series
of highly successful commissions since the early 1990s. We've created a reputation for producing work that people really want to see and for which they often travel miles to experience.
This commitment to the production of powerful new ideas by exceptional artists has been at the forefront of changing attitudes and growing expectations amongst both artists and audiences.
By producing the best art, in the best possible conditions, Artangel has become part of the cultural debate, both in the UK and abroad. A pathfinder in the process of achieving a deeper understanding of the world. Which is what art always offers those willing to take up the challenge.
Beyond the white walls of the gallery, the black box of the theatre or the darkened interior of the cinema, there are other forms of expression where the relationship between artist and place is of primary importance. This is a relationship which Artangel actively explores in events where context and content are often indistinguishable. An artist's response to the qualities and conditions of a particular place is central to the development of a project. And finding the right place is an integral part of the commissioning process we undertake.

 

Program 19:

No Cold Feelings:
Films and Videos from Scandinavia
Part 2

Anna Linder

These two programs consist of films and video works, predominately from Sweden, but also from its neighboring countries: Norway, Finland and Denmark. The films offer us a place for longing, a place for imagination. They give us a pleasurable time, but hopefully also a room for reflection and consideration.
Many people still believe that Sweden is at the forefront of equality between women and men. That is no longer the case. Violence is creeping upon us, it is attacking us. The statistics of rapes perpetrated on a week like the last one is frightening. And yet... why should we complain. Others are much worse off. We are doing pretty ok, after all. But that is no reason to give up our struggle, or to feel small and disillusioned. Several films in this selection address issues concerning violence, feminism, social criticism, homosexuality... but in a warm and humorous way. Perhaps with a song. These films do not wish to create more violence. They want to bring hope and joy. Love. A few laughs along the way. And respect for human beings.
When I was asked to curate two sections of Scandinavian film for this festival, I immediately came up with loads of ideas. At the same time, I thought that I would be able to stick to a theme. It didn't work out that way. As a matter of fact, I don't really like themes at all. They seldom work. The programs are diverse, and might seem a bit all over the place, but I'd like to think that their wide scope is also is their strength. At a certain point, some things regarding my choice of films became evident. Many of the films I've chosen use sound in a special way. Their soundscapes are abstract and experimental. Sound is important to me, as is music. A couple of the films are what I would like to call investigative films - performances, of sorts, for the camera. Several of the participating filmmakers are also performance artists. The films have been of a great inspiration to me during the two months I've spent working on the selection of films, and I hope you will get the same feeling watching them.
Films from AV-arkki's festival View04 - Festival of Finnish Media Art View04, organized by AV-arkki, Helsinki, www.av-arkki.fi: Pirjetta Brander, Guinea Pig; Borkur Jonsson, Postalm - Postcard to Kristjan; Seppo Renvall, Woody.
Translated by Jenny Tunedal.

 

 

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