VerniXage

September, 9 – 12, 2011
different venues, Milan

Vernixage, a new film series dedicated to the intersection of film with video art, will be presented into the Milano Film Festival. The latter is gaining importance thanks to more and more video artists using a more formal narrative voice and structure that moves closer to that used in films.

In the last few years, thanks to advancements in technology and the lowered costs of film equipment, the gap between big-budget productions and independent ones has slowly been bridged.

The aim of Milano Film Festival is to provide an audience to these forms of expression and an opportunity to think about possible developments in this genre of film. By gathering filmmakers and screening artists works Vernixage, curated by Davide Giannella, hopes to generate new fields of research and investigation.

Among the others artists (Alterazioni Video, Yuri Ancarani, Francesco Fei, Lech Majewsk, Nathaniel Mellors, Marinella Senatore) Armin Linke will show his new film “Alps”. According to the words of the author:

“Alpi is the result of seven years of research on contemporary perceptions of the landscape of the Alps, juxtaposing places and situations across all eight bordering nations and spanning the territories of four languages. In the film, the Alps are encountered like an island that is connected to various global transformations. We undertook many journeys in the alpine region, which, ironically, led us as far as Dubai. The film shows the Alps as a key location, owing to its delicacy and environmental importance, where one can observe and study the complexity of social, economic, and political relationships. In the Europe of today, the Alps are a hotbed for modernity and its illusions.”

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Postcards from Oberhausen #4

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Last day. I’ve abandoned the international competition in favor of a LUX screening that featured the Otolith Group’s languorous sci-fi essay Hydra Decapita (2010).

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And before heading to the Festival Bar to hear the Institut für Feinmotorik performance, I ended the Kurzfilmtage with the final MuVi International screening. Innovations, punch-lines and virtuosity abounded, but if I were the jury, these would be my top three:

1. Heathen Child (Grinderman), dir. John Hillcoat, 2010

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Postcards from Oberhausen #3

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

One of the perks of the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival is that all of its screenings (with the exception of the ingenious vintage music-video chill-out zone that is the Cinema-in-a-Box) take place within a single multiplex. This multiplex – the recently renovated Lichtburg Theater – also contains a selectively stocked pop-up video store, while the guest office and the Festival Space lecture hall are just across the street, at a walking distance of about ten seconds. Particularly exciting, therefore, is not only the fact that such circumscription makes it unusually easy to speak with attending filmmakers, programmers, curators, but also that one of the Lichtburg screens is entirely dedicated to showcasing the collections of various artists’ film and video archives from across the globe. Today, I discovered the Tokyo-based MIACA, saw an Art Basel selection of experimental Japanese films from the 1950s, and went to watch the work and hear the opinions of John Smith-recommended Grzegorz Krolikiewicz in person.

Of the seven works in the MIACA (Moving Image Archive of Contemporary Art) program, six appeared in some way underwritten by extrasensory perception, a kind of language-less, borderless communication mediated through collective imaginaries (Adrian Wong’s Happy Birthday, 2008) and mournings (Chen Hangfeng’s Three Minutes, 2008), or through Telepathy (Mai Yamashita, Naoto Kobayashi, 2009) pure and simple.

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Postcards from Oberhausen #1

1. Friday, May 6th, 2011

The first installment in the Shooting Animals: A Brief History of Animal Film program, curated by Cord Richelmann and Marcel Schwierin, was (to this pescatarian’s delight and frequent guilt) something like an impassioned plea for the ethical treatment of animals – a depressing, but never preachy, succession of anthropotistical curiosities from various corners of the globe, including a French fur showroom (an Éclair Journal from 1913), hippo hunting in “in the negro village” (Germany, 1914), and a “car-fishing” Chevrolet ad from the US (1936). The indictment, initially implicit and nuanced precisely by the appearance of the violence in the context of primitive or at least archaic needs and customs, assumed more conscious tones with the pairing, towards the end of the program, of the politely accusatory essay Swallows on a Spit (Schwalben am Spiess, Bernhard and Michael Grzimek, 1958) and Peter Kubelka’s 1966 masterpiece Unsere Afrikareise:

Grown necessarily more reflexive with the years, the filmic consideration of violence against animals reveals, in these pieces, also the element of cultural hypocrisy that subtends our unfailing self-justification in that regard. (more…)