Screencity Lab in collaboration with Interactionfield organized two temporary urban screenings in the context of Waterpieces Festival (Riga, Latvia 15-17 August 2014) that coincides with the Riga City Festival 2014 (in the program of Riga 2014 - European Capital of Culture).
City as Context Programme
The video programme "City as Context" is a selection of international short movies (live action, animation, video art) based on the concept of city as a medium and context for video content. Most of the shorts selected are specifically made for the medium of urban screen: set into the everyday life, these works should work without sound and catch the attention of a heterogeneous audience passing by.
Urban screens are one of the public outputs of the ongoing hybridization between real and virtual world and constitute a new urban expanded dimension to be experienced. This is the place for using communication technologies, video mapping, interaction strategies while testing new architectonic responsive materials.The "screencity" is a place where human relationships and the relation between citizens and the city are doubled through the augmented informational space. Through screens, the city itself becomes an active player.
The screening starts with what looks like a screen error or interferences, virtually enlarging the common experience of a normal screen to an urban dimension (Codec Lossy by Elastic Group). The focus then shifted to the noisy informational layer that covers everyday cityscapes: advertising. Thousands of messages push us to consume (Paradiseator by Ralph Kistler) and reach the ideal of beauty (Loop by Michał Socha) to be finally happy. Slogans are surronding us (More Power to you by Rob Moonen) also from politics (Election/Coverage by Chris Paul Daniels) adding more and more information to the universe of signs, symbols and icons of the city itself (Subliminal Wien by Elastic Group and I ride to the edge by Michel Klöfkorn). As an homage to the festival name, the programme continues with a collection of shorts from the Urban Tide section of Screencity Festival (Stavanger, Norway) that deals with water in the city context: a vital element for the living but at the same time it can become a threat to life, forcing populations to escape (City Distortions by Jon Kehoe, Les Baigneurs by Albert Merino and Thames by Jonas Brinker). Cities are also the background for sudden epiphanies that change all the perception of the environment around (Venice by David Gaehtgens and Passing-by by Ida Bjørken).
The screening ends coming back to the screen concept, now multiplied in Times Square (New York) where Bjork's Mutual Core video is played simultaneously in every billboards of the square.
Table of Contents
- ELASTIC Group | Codec Lossy | Italy | 3'
Codec Lossy rappresents a "videosophical" research on how the video image is perceived by the machine - the electronic eye- during the coding process: an electronic reality made of interferences, chaos and errors. Codec Lossy video stream is the mathematical formula of the image that comes out from the transcription of the individual data: the quintessence of the video signal.
- Michał Socha | Loop | Poland | 3'
Exercises, eating, exercises, eating, counting calories, look. Never ending loop of people seeking to be ideal.
- Ralph Kistler | Paradiseator | Germany | 3'
The experimental video works with nearly 500 images refering to stereotypes of paradise. The yearning associated with this allegory of a happy and carefree life is the ideal object of projection to promote consumerism in a world of experience and lifestyle. The Paradiseator is a machine that mixes all ingredients together. The supposed paradise is torn to pieces, dissected and finally reassembled in a weird way. An ambigous overstimulation with surreal images questions the creation of consumer needs and their influence on the perception of the world.
- Chris Paul Daniels | Election/Coverage | United Kingdom | 1'
An experimental observational one minute film whereby the acceleration of miles per hour in the artist's vehicle and frames per second of the video footage converge into a zoetrope like study of the 2013 presidential campaigns in Nairobi Kenya.
- ELASTIC Group | Subliminal Wien | Italy | 4'
Subliminal Vienna is an X-ray map of the subliminal layers of the Freud's city, a visionary portrait of subliminal metropolitan signs, symbols and icons as a body-citizen digital landscape. Elastic Group shows the habitual signs and symbols from nowadays (street signals, instructions, etc.) which form the map of the city, in a looped projection. These common places adopted into another subtext make as aware of how the reading of their significance has changed in time and how we often don't even notice them. The city as place where we live is filled with connections and meanings, we often don't perceive anymore. By giving attention to the signals surrounding us, we are able to perceive the space we move within in a different way. ( Emanuele Guidi, Art Curator)
- Michel Klöfkorn | I ride to the edge of the atmosphere in a half hour on my bicycle | France | 10'
- Rob Moonen | More Power to You |The Netherlands | 3'
This video was shown on public screens in Amsterdam, Toronto, Cape Town and in Kuopio (Finland). I made it in Toronto, I combined marketing slogans that dominated the city centre of Toronto with footage shot at Niagara Falls.
- Jaykoe | City Distortions | United Kingdom | 4'
This project forms part of an ongoing investigation around power-hungry global cities and the environment. The mirrored space suggests an uninhabitable city - a flooded metropolis - or one that would have to be navigated in new ways.
- Albert Merino | Les Baigneurs | Spain | 4'
A contemporary update of the picture from Cezamme, where the idealization of a bucolic nature will be replaced through the exploita- tion of the environment characterized for a massive presence of person This piece recreates different visions about the state of the earth, staging mainstream images of environmental documentaries in a domestic format; in the way that each corner of the street contains a part of the world.
- Jonas Brinker | Thames | Germany | 3'
The movie „Thames" plays with the idea of trying to beat the tides. It can be understood as a performative gesture that is transforming landscape, which is then brought back into its primary state by nature. The performance took place in the centre of London around midnight.
- David Gaehtgens | Venezia | Germany | 5'
- Ida Warholm Bjørken | Passing By | Norway | 3'
A listed house is moving towards its new adress. It rolls forward through a neighbourhood in Old King's Road at Buran in Trondheim, Norway. The video is documentary but can also be viewed meta- forically as a lifejourney.
- Arjen De Leeuw | Act | Australia | 3'
- David Bates | Bjork In TimesSquare | USA | 4'
Streaming Museum's Nordic Outbreak is an internationally touring exhibition of over 30 Nordic moving image artworks by established and emerging contemporary Nordic artists, curated for public space. Nordic Outbreak launched on March 1, 2013 in New York City with a new version of Björk's video "Mutual Core," directed by Andrew Thomas Huang across 15 of the largest screens in Times Square's March Midnight Moment. " I am very excited about my mutual core video being shown at times square ! seems like them united screens there are going to have a go at matching the energy of the volcanoes in the video !! good luck manhattan !! " Björk
City as a Character Programme
A collection of shorts (video art, animation, live action) in which the city acts not just as a background but as a character in the story. The purpose is to show how the urban environment that surrounds us plays an important role in our way of life and shapes our thinking and perception.
The city landscape shapes human activities, facilitating or limiting them. The screening starts with a privileged point of view on Shanghai human anthill, where a camera is zooming in and out from the 34th floor of a residential complex. Every space and building has its own function and citizens seem perfectly inserted in this fixed grid (Brillant City). On the contrary, three deserted modernist buildings in Jerusalem become the theater for athletic workouts. The athletes' repetitive movements intertwine with their improbable surroundings, changing the buildings functions for their specific needs (Jerusalem Trilogy). Without the human presence and intervention, the urban landscape is losing the purpose of its existence, becoming a hostile habitat for other living creatures, where time is perceived only on small things like trees waving or a walking dog (Panopticon). Human intervention could act on a surface layer, with graffiti that modify the perception of the already existing buildings, re-animating our surroundings (Alienation); or through imagination, creating a subterranean colourful world of fascinating creatures under a depressing gray city (Waterwalls). But cities aren't just spaces or buildings, but above all the people that live in it. The screening ends with two interview-based shorts that are revealing two particular points of view on the city, taxi drivers and people with unconventional housing.
Table of Contents
- D-Fuse | Brilliant City | United Kingdom | 14'
The title refers to the location, a residential complex comprised of 25 highrises in the northern part of Shanghai, China. It is entirely shot from the 34th floor of one of the buildings and stages a peeping tom view of the city below, capturing everyday activities that can be observed from this vantage point such as training soldiers, building activity, traffic, gardening. The camera hovers above the entire panorama and focuses on details in the everyday life of this rapidly changing metropolis.
Brilliant City was originally produced during a stay in Shanghai with the British Council Artist Link Program. The footage has has been re-edit and re-mastered complete with new audio.
- Samantha Adler de Oliveira | Jerusalem Trilogy | Israel | 10'
Three deserted modernist buildings in Jerusalem become the theater for athletic workouts. The athletes' repetitive movements intertwine with their improbable surroundings, calling for a reexamination of the Holy City's meaning and relevance in a secularized world.
- Ignacio Masllorens | Panopticon | Argentina | 7'
The film shows several images of a completely abondoned city. Time is perceived only on small things like trees waving because of the wind, or a walking dog. Common spaces are seen in a different way. They look more abstract and unreal.
- Silvia Carpizo | Alienation | Spain | 4'
Alienation is an only one aesthetic innovation. The 2D Animation of the urban painting from mural artist ESCIF. The animated life of characters that fight to demolish their existence´s walls is a front to a city that contemplates them, but specially those which delimit the interior of their minds, of their illusions.
- Francesca Macciò and Francesca Quatraro | Waterwalls | Italy | 5'
While walking the gray streets of his city, Davide is caught in a sudden storm. And while the rain beats wildly, he is carried off on an underwater journey to discover the mysterious creatures that inhabit the vast subterranean world composed of an endless series of fascinating ecosystems.
- Daniele Baiardini, Giulia Sara Bellunato, Mauro Ciocia, Clyo Parecchini | Sottocasa - on my doorstep | Italy | 8'
An animated documentary about unconventional housing in Turin
- D-Fuse | Brief Encounters / By the Meter | United Kingdom | 10'
Taxi drivers write the grammar of the city in a way that is unique to their profession. Through knowing a city's streets and back-passages as intimately as they get to know some of their customers, they have a peculiar connection to what's going on in a city. They collect the stories of a place, tales of personal drama, of historic events, of journeys and of the shifting geographies - both physical and psychological - of the city. They know the city from the ground up, know its intimate secrets, its underside.
Films like Jim Jarmusch's Night on Earth (1991) or Michael Mann's Collateral (2004) contain stories played out in the confines of a taxi cab and the brief yet at times bizarre encounters that can happen there. While in the build-up to the spring 2011 revolution in Egypt, Cairo's taxi drivers became unwitting messengers for the coming uprising when activists took advantage of the drivers' habit to continually talk to their passengers. Hints of upcoming demonstrations dropped during mobile phone conversations were promptly picked up and spread across town by the drivers, reaching the parts of the population without internet access.
D-Fuse's ongoing project Brief Encounters/By the Meter is skirting along the line between fact and fiction in a series of open-ended impromptu interviews with taxi drivers from different cities. Recorded en route, the drivers are invited to talk about their personal history, their home town, the memorable rides they have experienced, and the poignant tales that emerge from this range from the lighthearted to the profound. Brief Encounters/By the Meter was started in 2012 during the Sound Development City summer expeditions, a series of residencies in Berlin, London and Zürich, and we are continually expanding the project and collecting new material wherever our work takes us.
With the participation of
Interactionfield (DE - IT) - Urban Media Research and Curating
Streaming Museum (USA) - Streaming Museum presents contemporary-themed exhibitions of international fine arts, pop culture and cross-disciplinary perspective to a global audience through an expanding network of screens in public spaces on 7 continents, partnering cultural and commercial centers. Since 2008 Streaming Museum's exhibitions have been viewed by millions of people in over 65 locations around the world.
The Screen City Festival (NO) - The Screen City festival is dedicated to the moving image presented in public spaces, on the city's facades, shop windows and urban venues. The program experimented with the reshaping of public space through Media Art, creative data visualizations, projection mapping and participatory urban media interventions. The program "Urban Tide" is dedicated to water - a vital element for the living, that can also become a threat to life, forcing people to escape.
CSC Experimental Cinematography Centre (IT) - CSC Experimental Cinematography Centre is one of the most important movie archives in the world and platform, that over seventy-five years has provided high standards of training for professions in the world of cinema. CSC Experimental Cinematography Centre is contributing with a selection of animated shorts from their Turin based school of animation, one of the best in the whole country.
Federation Square (AU) - The heart and soul of Melbourne, since its establishment in 2002, Federation Square became one of the world's leading moving image centers, internationally recognised for its commitment to bringing excellence and innovation in world film and digital media to Australian audiences.
Videospread (FR) - Videospread conceives, produces and distributes video art programmes and multimedia applications, dedicated to screenings in public and semi-pblic spaces. Its video art programmes are silent and put forward the power of images and their visual attraction. Taking advantage of the rapidly growing sector of urban displays, the programmes curated by Videospread question the capacity of art having a direct impact on the general viewing public and challenges the way we look at moving images.
Curating 2 video art programmes and publication of a Screencity Review issue as festival catalogue