Netmage 11

International Live-Media festival
January 20/21/22, 2011 Palazzo Re Enzo – Bologna

What remains, after a decade exploring the unique constellations, the thickening and blending of the geography of sounds and moving images; after wandering through the wakes of performativity, following ancient procedures of a floating audiovisual region in the edges of systems and disciplines?

This is the direct question of this new edition of Netmage, as part of an indirect and continuing research in the field of live media. After a decade of exploration it is the time to verify the evolutions and reactions, the revolutions and delays of sounds and moving images in the age of web culture. This is the reason why the program of Netmage 11 combines, without prejudices and surmounting disciplines, the old tradition of expanded cinema and the new expression of digital images, the evolution of sounds from the minimal experimentations of digital music at the turn of the millennium to the explosion of noise of the last years.  This is also the reason why we consider Netmage, in its turn a hybrid exhibition/program that questions itself, urges and entertains as well, one of the most interesting festivals in the european panorama.

Here are some excerpts from the program:

Luke Fowler/Keith Rowe/Peter Todd (UK) – The Room

live expanded cinema and sound work
italian premiere

The Room is a generative project that sees the collaboration between two filmmakers/visual artists, Luke Fowler and Peter Todd, with musician Keith Rowe, with live music accompanying two 16mm films. The first version of The Room was presented in 2008 at the Tate Modern in London in Expanded Cinema for Rothko during the large Mark Rothko retrospective. The second presentation was held on the occasion of the Cornelius Cardew and the Freedom of Listening exhibition at CAC Bretigny, the third at the Play festival at La Casa Encendida in Madrid in 2010. Netmage 11 offers it a fourth time, configured as an unpublished work generated from previous experiences and dialogues. The Room is a collaboration among artists, a research that revolves around the entity of the stanza: previously uninhabited spaces containing the residue of human activity, of archival impressions from historical or daily events, of artistic activity, of personal effects and affects, of chance. In several cases the three have been attracted by the spaces’ specific acoustic qualities: hidden frequencies, sonic phenomena, internal voices and interferences, movements of light. Each has worked independently on the process of constructing the work: with each new presentation a new room is added, filmed by either Fowler or Todd, with a Bolex loaded with 3-minute magazines, adding interventions to the room that are adapted to the specifics of locale and context. Keith Rowe reinterprets these visual ambients live, with lengthy guitar solos. In this way, The Room takes the form of a fascinating artifice where the topography of an impossible edifice blurs its borders and passes again through historical and personal space, between the sublime and the everyday.

Luke Fowler lives in Glasgow and is known in the world of contemporary art for his earlier pictures of radical social experiments such as What You See is Where You Are At (2001) of Kingsley Hall in the ’60′s and Pilgrimage From Scattered Points (2006) of Cornelius Cardew and the Scratch Orchestra. He was among the artists in the Tate Triennial in 2006; in 2008 he won the first Jarman Award and in 2010 the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award for Museums. He has had solo shows at the Serpentine Gallery in London, IMO in Copenhagen, and Kunsthaus in Zurich. His work A Grammar for Listening (in collaboration with Eric La Casa, Lee Patterson and Toshiya Tsunda) was presented at the Rotterdam International Cinema Festival and The British Art Show 7.

Keith Rowe is a painter and guitarist. In the mid ’60′s, Rowe was one of the founders of the free improvisation group AMM, and is considered the father of electroacoustic improvisation. In his research, painting is a source of inspiration for musical performance. He plays prepared guitar with a near-surgical attitude, with a variety of techniques: laid on a table and manipulated with the body to obtain sounds that are exotic, obscure and alien; intervening with his instruments with objects (credit cards, erasers, clothespins, handheld fans, clips and various bits of trash..) and incorporating live radio transmissions, heard through the guitar strings as well as directly through amplifiers.

Peter Todd was one of the founding members of the artist-run space Ayton Basement in Newcastle Upon Tyne at the end of the ’70′s (later changed to the Basement Group, which he co-founded, and in the course of time became Projects UK, today known as Locus +). He is known for his collaborative projects, as a cinema programmer as well as an experimental cineaste.

James Ferraro (USA)
Toilet Toad T.V. Overdrive

world premiere
in collaboration with Bozar Cinema / Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, curated by Xavier Garcia Bardon

James Ferraro is without doubt the most incredible hair ever seen at Netmage in eleven years of activity. One of the strangest, as well, contradictorally coherent, adored and detested in the musical and visual panorama of the US underground. Ferraro has worked for over a year on one film, Toilet Toad T.V. Overdrive, finally presenting it at Netmage in preview. How to define what we have seen up to now, let alone his imagination in general? Perhaps hypnagogic pop, whatever the hell else? Perhaps. Even with that, we’re not sure.

James Ferraro is half of The Skaters (unforgettable live on Cinema Vampire by Roland Lethem in 2008, with Spencer Clark), possibly half of Lamborghini Crystal, and another half again solo musician who also runs New Age Tapes dealing with a variety of names (all of which best represent their musical worlds: Newage Panther Mistique, Acid Eagle, Demon Channels, Liquid Metal…) in obscure, impossible-to-find productions and disparate formats (VHS, CDr, tapes…). The opportune definition of hypnagogic pop, fruit of the inventive mind of David ‘Volcanic Tongue’ Keenan, fully embodies this, if by hypnagogic pop we think of an ambient new age schizoid and diseased, of atmospheres ranging from screams of wandering figures to stoned country songs, together with eccentricities equal to the noble musical tradition of Hanna & Barbera, silly video games, the most radical circuit bending and remnants of the primitive cut’n'mix television of travellers on acid.

Cao Guimaraes/O Grivo (BR)

european premiere

Exponents of the segment of the panorama of visual arts sensitive to the sonic register, Brasilians Cao Guimaraes/O Grivo, are invited to Netmage in collaboration with the Multiplicidade festival in Rio de Janeiro.

O Grivo is an artistic and musical project created in 1990 at Belo Horizonte by Marcos Moreira Marcos and Nelson Soares. The research of O Grivo is marked by their obsession with the utilization of unconventional objects, mechanical or electrical, domestic and modified, if not self-made, for the production of sound. At the same time, O Grivo explores the properties of sound, in the phases of its production as well as in its reproduction. O Grivo has shown its work in the form of performance (or installation) mainly in Brasil, in festivals and music eventsi, in galleries and museums and, recently, at the twenty eighth edition of the Biennale di São Paulo.

Cao Guimarães is a visual artist and cineaste, living and working in Belo Horizonte. Often his installations and films – skirting between experimental cinema and documentary – have been presented in galleries, museums, festivals and art centers at an international level, including Sundance, Cannes, Rotterdam and Locarno film festivals, and the Tate Modern in London, Reina Sofia in Madrid and the Guggenheim in New York. Guimarães observes Brasilian reality and culture with a documentarist’s eye, focused on the capacity of everyday people to reinvent themselves to survive and resolve each problem with simple, creative and efficient solutions. The gambiarra – a Brasilian noun that indicates the ability to improvise and reinvent the function of objects or elements in the face of sudden insurmountable problems – is found at the center of Guimarães’ interests, to the point that in 2008 his short film Mestres de gambiarra is dedicated to it, a work that portrays three people coming from completely different backgrounds – a neuroscientist, a prophet and a technician in a biology laboratory – faced with the banality of gambiarra.