Contact: A festival of new experimental film and video

Contact: A festival of new experimental film and video
Author: Vallance, Andrew (6 May 2016)

Abstract

Contact: A Festival of New Experimental Film and Video, Apiary Studios, London, 6-8 May 2016. Curator.

Participating artists including George Barber, Louisa Fairclough, Nicky Hamlyn, Sally Golding, Malcolm Le Grice, Karen Mirza & Brad Butler, Matthew Noel-Tod, Heather Phillipson, Greg Pope, Lis Rhodes, Ben Rivers, Guy Sherwin & Lynn Loo, Jennet Thomas, Jennet Thomas, Andrea Zimmerman.

Contact: A Festival of New Experimental Film and Video featured 70 film, video and performance artists across three days in its venues’ three studios. Its curatorial focus combined a multiplicity of forms, in an accessible and aware manner, which brought together niche and new audiences and formed an important contribution to the contemporary condition of experimental film practices in the UK.

This independent survey, which was supported by ACE, presented single and multi-projector and performance-related works, and specially commissioned installations. To schedule the works in a relatable manner an innovative structure was initiated – the works were presented in small clusters, rather than the normative, often lengthy and formally inappropriate, short film programme format - which challenged viewing hierarchies, introduced new artists, providing the opportunity for the ‘sampling’ and discovery of unknown works. This conception was appreciated by the audience and artists alike (William Raban wrote: ‘Your programming was enlightened').

The Festival programmed established and emerging artists, from original members of the London Filmmakers Co-op to recent graduates, who showed new and untested works. These were selected in consultation with organisations such as no.w.here, collective-iz, Unconscious Archives, Nightworks and Screen Shadows. This ethos reflected the field’s and Festival’s co-operative and collaborative intent, and was emphasised by the supportive presence of many of the artists throughout its duration.

To document the event’s intentions and methodology a publication was produced, which included contextual essays, discussion pieces and all the Festival’s details (Guy Sherwin wrote: 'the brochure is simple, informative, elegant’). This also addressed its legacy through further disseminating its composition and ideas, as such collectable reference points are vital indicators of experimental film and video’s development. The Festival’s discursive structure, which celebrated the fields’ diversity and vibrancy, was enthusiastically and critically received, with each day selling-out.

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