November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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On Location-LA/Ginger Liu

1907-silvia_de_gennaro-joie_de_vivre-press

Silvia de Gennaro, Joie de Vivre*********

Enrico Tomaselli, Francesca Fini

and V. G. Venugopal

speak with Ginger Liu

100×100=900

 

The Project 100×100=900 celebrates the 50th anniversary in 2013 of Video Art. One hundred video artists from around the world are invited to participate; each will produce a video artwork inspired by one of the previous 100 years, with an international exhibit to follow. 

Contributing editor Ginger Liu spoke with Enrico Tomaselli, the project director and some of the artists in the show, including V. G. Venugopal and Francesca Fini.

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Enrico Tomaselli

 

GL) What is the 9 Hundred project?

ET) 100×100=900 Project is a special program launched by ‘Magmart | video under volcano’, international videoart festival, to celebrate the 50th of videoart. The birth of this art is conventionally established on 1963, when artist Nam June Paik realized and exhitibed a video installation in Germany.

GL) How did you choose the 100 videoartists?

ET) The videoartists have been chosen between the selected artists of the previous edition of Magmart. Some of them have been chosen just by their artistic approach, the ‘profoundness’ that can be seen in the artworks… Others have been chosen to include the max diversity of cultures and ‘techniques’.

GL) Could the artist choose their year?

 ET) I matched artists and years randomly. In this way the work will be more ‘intriguing’ and bracing for artists.

GL) How has videoart evolved in the last 50 years?

 ET) There are two fundamental turning points in this evolution and one follows the other. Along its first phase, videoart worked mainly on videotape. It was very close to experimental cinema; the first turning point was the rise of digital videocameras that allowed a wide diffusion of production means and opened new perspectives. New approaches to art by video followed, such as video dance, video poetry and videomapping.

GL) Who are your inspirations, past and present?

ET) My personal ‘guru’ is unquestionably Bill Viola. I see in his video artworks an extraordinary talent to blend video technique and ‘pictorial’ representation.

GL) When and where do you hope to show the work?

ET) We are currently establishing a partnership program, but we have always achieved some agreements that allow to show the project in Italy, Argentina, China, United States, Greece, Russia, Spain, Peru, Colombia, Cyprus and Armenia. We are waiting to complete other agreements for Iran, Brazil, India, United Kingdom and Germany and we are always open to finding new collaborations. The full list is periodically uploaded on the project website. All the shows will be placed between April and December this year.

GL) I’m sure it’s difficult to pick a handful of videoart work that represents the vision of the 9 Hundred project but in the limited space we have and if you had a gun to your head…

ET) The idea base of the project is that to evolve, it is necessary to understand what  past must be once and for all archived. In this sense, to call 100 videoartists to interpret anyone a year of the past century. Besides to constitute a really global narration of 1900s, represent an attempt to process the past, not by coincidence to artists and not by coincidence videoartists. The moving image (cinema, television, web) is one of characterising elements of 1900s.

GL) What is the future of videoart?

ET) Videoart has a great and relevant future and art has been so intimately close to languages of contemporary, at their ‘grammar and syntax’. And the progressive switchover to digital of any expressive form by images, render always more subtle the wall that separate the artistic use of medium by all other uses. In this sense, videoart can reasonably be considered like any art form more inner at XXI century.

GL) How can videoart fans access the work and learn more about the 9 Hundred project?

We are planning a wide range of shows around the world. We’ll publish on our website the calendar of shows and will signal the artists that will go at each screening too. When the public show program ends all the videos will be available on the website. In the next month, we’ll publish a catalogue, purchasable in digital and printed format. Currently it is possible to contribute at 100×100=900 project, at http://www.kapipal.com/9hundred_project;

Enrico Tomaselli, Magmart Festival Art Director
www.magmart.ithttp://www.9hundred.org/

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Francesca Fini

 

GL) What is the 9 Hundred project and how did you become involved?

FF) 9 Hundred is a very original  videoart project involving 100 international video artists. To each one of them has been assigned a year of 19th century that they have to interpret through their art. I’ve been contacted directly by Enrico Tomaselli, art director of the project.

GL) Explain your work and the work you have produced for 9 Hundred?

FF) I’m mainly a performance artist working also on video. I say that because in my videos the presence of the body in action is almost essential. In video performance there is a body that acts in space and time, in a sort of cinematic reworking of a piece of live art, or the image is crushed in formal abstraction and bright explosion of color. The body becomes pure energy, because those spots of bright color still arise from the electronic manipulation of the image of the body in action.

Regarding my work for 9 Hundred… we see a woman immersed in a neutral white. The woman sits in front of a television that transmits statics. But then we see something sticking out from the screen, a red woolen thread. The woman grabs the thread and pulls it; at that point the TV starts transmitting a series of images of the ’60s in America: propaganda films and old commercials, the journey of a man in space and a nuclear testing site. It ‘s like the red thread that she is now beginning to knit is the thread of time, as if in its unraveling it is unraveled the history of that period, in a web of contradictory images. The ’65 is a symbolic year that summarizes all the contradictions of the world recovered from the Second World War: there is a feverish push towards the future accompanied by hysterical terror for the present threatened by the Cold War and inflamed by the spread of the civil rights movement. So while the two superpowers challenge each other on Earth and in space, with the journey of the Soviet astronaut Aleksei Leonov and the achievements of the NASA Gemini project, while the world watches the moon with dreamy look, in the U.S. the first combat troops leave to Vietnam and the infamous Bloody Sunday is consumed, the first march from Selma to Montgomery when 600 civil rights activists were violently attacked by the police. While industrial design, fashion, art and literature are projected to futuristic scenarios, and all around ideas of freedom and equality are spreading, blind ancestral violence seems to dominate every day life. The images in the TV continue to run while the woman continues to knit as if she is some kind of divinity that weaves the plot of Time. For this reason the images end on the words of Malcolm X, which I chose as the emblematic image of a stage so intense and contradictory in human history. In 1965, Malcolm X was killed in a climate of intoxication and violence in which the highest aspirations of the human spirit seem to struggle to break free from the shackles of the lower impulses. The woman assists, inert, while the woolen thread is finished. The time is up. The images wrapped in the red woolen thread became a bandage with which she covers her eyes.

GL) How has videoart evolved in the last 50 years?

FF) Well the main thing is that in the past 50 years we have witnessed a widespread of prosumer and amateur technology. This phenomenon has made available to a larger number of people the basic instruments to express their visions and ideas through video. This possibility once was really a privilege of a few, because of the high costs of film production at any level. In particular, the digital culture has really democratized the world of filmmaking that in recent years has developed exponentially and thus the quality of the works around has reached the highest levels.

GL) Who are your inspirations, past and present (videoartists)?

FF) I madly love Vito Acconci, mainly because he was a performer like me working and experimenting – very very early – with the video and the body in action. I also love Matthew Barney and Bill Viola for their aesthetic and conceptual rigor.

GL) What is the future of videoart?

FF) I think that sky is the limit so to speak. We can see incredible things today: 3d filmic jewels, astonishing generative art, interactive cinema, graphic masterpieces from data visualization… I really cannot predict what will be the future of video art but I can say that the future of art is definitely the video.

francescafini.tumblr.com
www.francescafini.com

Fini’s video FIVE ACTIONS WITH RED GLOVES can be viewed at:

http://old.ragazine.cc/wp-admin/post.php?post=14523&action=edit

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V.G. Venugopal

GL)    What is the 9 Hundred project and how did you become involved?

VGV) 9 Hundred is a Video art project conceptualized by ‘Magmart’ to celebrate ‘50 years of Video Art’ in 2013. It involves 100 artists from various countries who will work on each year of the previous century.

I was part of the VII edition of annual Video Art Festival of Magamart last year and my video titled ‘Elusive Entity’ was one among the 31 award winning videos. It was later exhibited as Magmart selection in ‘Vuotociclo’ Video Art Show at the University Suor Orsola Benincasa of Naples, Italy and the forthcoming 5th FIVAC, International video art festival, Camaguey – Cuba 2013. Since the selection for the ‘9 Hundred’ special edition is based on the previous winners of Magmart, I was shortlisted as one of the artists.

GL)  Could you choose your particular year?

VGV) No, there was no manual selection system. It was done through an online procedure, where each artist is given a ‘username’ and password to enter a particular website link; once we login, it’ll automatically select a random year and display it.

GL)  Explain your work and the work you have produced for 9 Hundred?

VGV) My recent works are attempts of a critical engagement with self imagery. It’s an experimentation using subversive strategies with the language of painting; humor and wit are part of these stances. There is a constant attempt to push the limits of representation and the use of the body with these strategies. The images are caught between complex situations and dilemmas of reality. My figuration portrays an interpretation of everyday reality and nurtures the fragile feelings of human emotions to construct meaningful imagery from the lived reality.

Basically I am an artist trained in Painting and Printmaking mediums. Since last 2-3 years I have started experimenting with the videos. Although I don’t consider myself as a full-time video artist since I am continuing my practice in Painting and Printmaking, I have been fascinated with using elements of drawing and painting in videos. So usually my videos are not completely shot in video modes. They are either a series of drawings or still photographic images converted into videos using ‘stop motion’ animation techniques.

The video I created for 9 hundred project is based on the year 1923 and it is titled as ‘INTUITIVE VOICES’ with a duration of 1:57 min.  Following is a brief synopsis:

In the quest of freedom and democracy during the earlier part of 20th century, India witnessed a transitional phase in the socio-political scenario. When the world was embracing new scientific and technological developments, India was waking up for a new wave of change.  

It was the time when Gandhi was detained and the agitation took many ups and downs; ‘Swaraj Party’ gathered steam by a group of people who sought a more aggressive approach. The voices were many, opinions varied, paths differed; yet the sense of determination and a specific destination kept everyone in a single thread.

GL)  How has videoart evolved in the last 50 years?

VGV) In general the art of the 20th century has witnessed significant change with a number of artists responding to the changing world. I feel video art has become one of the defining part of contemporary art movement in the end of 20th century and early 21st century. Artists are doing a lot of experimentations with a tremendous support of the advanced technology. It has changed the way artists work; there are many artists who use computers today to develop their works and the ‘space’ of an artist is redefined in many ways. When artists started working on ‘video performances’, one of the major transitions happened — because of all these developments, the gap between visual art and performing art has been diminished.

GL)  Who are your inspirations, past and present (videoartists)?

VGV) Since I find inspirations in many things around me and many artists in general, it’s a difficult task to select few names. But if you ask me among video artists, definitely one of my earliest inspirations is Alexander Petrov’s work ‘The Old Man and the Sea,’ which is a stop motion animation using Oil colors. Considering the amount of work gone into the creation and time it’s been produced it’s a remarkable piece of work. William Kentridge is another artist I admire a lot among the contemporary video artists.

GL)  When and where do you hope to show the work?

VGV) Magmart has already joined hands with some institutions to take the show beyond Italy. It’s really wonderful news. I hope it’ll reach a lot many people in different countries. I will also show the video within India whenever the opportunity comes up.

GL) I’m sure it’s difficult to pick a handful of videoart work that represents the vision of the 9hundred project but in the limited space we have and if you had a gun to your head…

VGV) It’s indeed difficult task at the moment; the main reason being I’m still not familiar with the   artists participating and their works. Since the process of uploading and the availability of viewing are not established I have no clue about what’s in store…! But I’m sure, the entire set of 100 videos will be able to create a strong impact in narrating a century with different perspectives and artistic viewpoints considering the political, cultural and geographical circumstances.

GL)  What is the future of videoart?

VGV) I feel with the advancement of time and progress in technology it will take more diverse changes in the years to come. Being an Indian, I think video art is still not so popular among our people. It’s also very new for us although it’s 50 years old globally. There are a handful of artists working on videos but there are hardly any artists doing only videos. For most of the artists here it’s an extended space to work and experiment. There are not much commercial aspects associated compared to Painting and Sculpture. But definitely Video Art as a medium will continue to advance with changing times.

GL) How can video art fans access the work and learn more about the 9hundred project?

VGV) I think almost all the artists must have sent their videos by now since 28th February being the deadline for submission. The details about the project and artists participating with their profiles are already put up in the website http://www.9hundred.org. I hope the online viewing of the video will be established soon. 

For more about V.G. Venugopal, visit:
http://vgvenu.blogspot.com     

 

About the interviewer:

Ginger Liu is a contributing editor to Ragazine.CC. You can read more about her in “About Us.”