30/11/08

PIXXELPOINT 2008 / FOR GOD'S SAKE! start up

Kulturni Dom Nova Gorica (Slovenia) is pleased to announce the 9th International New Media Art Festival Pixxelpoint, that will open at the Nova Gorica City Gallery (Mestna galerija Nova Gorica) on December 5, 2008, at 8.00 PM. The festival will run from December 5 to December 12, 2008. (full program)
Pixxelpoint is one of the most successful and renowned festivals of new media art in Slovenia and also abroad. Its purpose is firstly, to bring the information technology and new media art closer to the general public, and secondly, to raise awareness about a different potential to use computer among the young.


FOR GOD'S SAKE!

This year's edition of the festival focus on the theme “FOR GOD'S SAKE! How the media change the way we imagine / represent / honour / curse the divinity”, suggested by the Italian art critic, teacher and curator Domenico Quaranta. In his words, “contemporary artistic projects have often raised such issues as technological fetishism, the oracular nature of the internet, the fideistic attitude we have towards the media and the evangelizing bent of those who produce them. This art often takes a critical approach, but also looks for an authentic vehicle of spirituality in the media. Taking this as its theme, Pixxelpoint 2008 addresses saints and heretics alike, showing projects which explore the relationship between media and spirituality at a key point in human history, a time of civilization clashes and neocon upsurges, apocalyptic nightmares and hopes for a new enlightenment.”
Among the works, distributed between the two spaces of Mestna Galerija Nova Gorica and Galerija Tir in Mostovna, the ones selected through the international call for artists are presented together with the ones proposed by internationally renown artists invited to take part in the exhibition. As in the previous editions, the festival program involves panels, workshops, musical events and the screening of a movie. The events will take place on both the sides of the border between Italy and Slovenia: together with Mostovna, Associazione Lucide and Dams – Università di Udine, located in Gorizia, have been involved. They will produce Pixxelmusic, a parallel festival that will run from December 10 to 12, 2008.


THE EXHIBITION

The exhibition, distributed between Nova Gorica and Mostovna, is the result of a difficult process of selection of the more than 110 applications arrived this year; a selection that should take into account not just the quality of the proposals, but also their ability to embody the suggested theme in a different way, and to integrate effectively the projects shown by the invited artists. The exhibition consists of 30 works by 30 different artists. Among them, etoy's Mission Eternity project, described as a “digital cult of the dead”; the network of meditating computers set up by the German artists Ute Hörner & Mathias Antlfinger; the Empathy Box by the Italian collective Io/cose, which helps building a spiritual community based on the sharing of pain; the anti-institutional, new media rituality suggested by Otherehto; Martin Conrads and Ingo Gerken's conceptual work, an interrogation on the ritual use of communication technologies; and then Gazira Babeli and Patrick Lichty's video-installation 7UP, a research on the meaning of an avatar life, and Janez Janša's remake of Koyaanisqatsi, which uses Google Earth as a source. The video screening, situated in the Galerija Tir in Mostovna, collects all the videos on show at the festival, putting together some brand new works with recent “classics” such as Negativland's The Mashin' of the Christ (2004) and Eddo Stern's Deathstar (2004) , an exploration of the relationship between religion and violence.

Below, the complete list of all the participating artists:

ALTERAZIONI VIDEO (Italy); GAZIRA BABELI & PATRICK LICHTY (Italy / USA); BridA / JURIJ PAVLICA, TOM KERŠEVAN, SENDI MANGO (Slovenia); MARTIN BUTLER (Netherlands); MARTIN CONRADS & INGO GERKEN (Germany); BRYANT DAMERON (USA); ETOY (Switzerland / International); UTE HÖRNER & MATHIAS ANTLFINGER (Germany); IO/COSE (Italia); JANEZ JANŠA (Slovenia); JAŠA (Slovenia); MARKUS KISON (Germany); CLEMENS KOGLER & KARO SZMIT (Austria); OLIVER LARIC (Germany); LES LIENS INVISIBLES (Italy); KEVIN LOGAN (USA); MANU LUKSCH (UK); MOLLEINDUSTRIA (Italy); PETROS MORIS (Italy); NEGATIVLAND (USA); OTHEREHTO (Cyberspace); PASH (Germany); CRISTIANO POIAN & PAOLO TONON (Italy); SECOND FRONT (Second Life / International); DANA SEDEROWSKY (Sweden); GULI SILBERSTEIN (Israel); ALAN SONDHEIM (USA); EDDO STERN (USA).
from curator's presentation:
A little bit of self promotion (please forgive me for that - more thoughtful contributions will come soon, hopefully!) On November 24, Spawn of the Surreal was featured on the blog artcareer.net, in a "100 Must-See Art Blogs" list. The list itself is a wonderful resource for art surfers...

And now, the thing that has kept me away from this page for weeks ;-) On December 5th, 2008 the 9th International New Media Art Festival Pixxelpoint will open at the Nova Gorica City Gallery (Mestna galerija Nova Gorica). As the curator of this year's edition, I suggested the festival's theme and curated the exhibition. You can find the press release below. Among many other things, the exhibition features 7UP, a brand new work by Gazira Babeli and Patrick Lichty; The Absolutely Last (and Final) Supper, one of the first ground-breaking performances by Second Front; and Havingfunhead, a pre-Second Life avatar study by Alan Sondheim.
7UP is a series of 12 micro-performances set in the virtual world of Second Life and captured on video. In actual fact, as often happens in performance art, the video is freed from its subordinate role of mere “documentation” and becomes the real object of the artists’ observations. This sits perfectly with the nature of performance art in virtual worlds, which are perceived by those who operate in them as settings for real action, and by those who merely passively observe them as a flow of moving images on a screen. The minimal nature of the action, combined with the repetition generated by the loop, makes these works into little animated paintings. It is no coincidence that the artists explicitly refer to Renaissance portals decorated with panels that tell a story. The story told by 7UP is that of two projected identities (avatars) that seem to have acquired independence: the absurd, boring and slightly vacuous life of two demigods who, when their wirepullers are away, get together to try and find a way – an entirely inhuman (or rather superhuman) way - of passing the time. They sit immobile in a cell, under a clock that measures time standing still, or retreat to a tiny desert island, where they go endlessly round the same palm tree. Or they become statues in a crypt full of Mickey Mouse skulls, or live out the American dream of life on the road, until they run up against the papier-mâché and polygon scenery...
The Absolutely Last (and Final) Supper is a re-enactment of Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper, and was described by the authors as a “Da Vinci Code tableaux for the 21st Century”. The work challenges the popularity of masterpieces which holds sway in Second Life, packed as it is with reproductions of famous paintings and sculptures. Yet, profaning the painting with an improbable punk twist, they obviously profane the sacred history in the same time. Thus, at least, if we look at the members of Second Front, vomiting wine and bread on the sacred table, as mere alter-egos of real people. But if we look at them as the semi-gods they are, everything becomes clear: they are just playing with one of their peers, and using all the freedom that their status gives them.
In January 2007, this video was embedded as a backdrop for Second Front's Art's Birthday performance that was streamed live into the Western Front in Vancouver. A video here.
Alan says about Havingfunhead: “Havingfunhead was produced at the Virtual Environments Laboratory at West Virginia University, using avatar head modeling software. I've always felt very uncomfortable with the piece, because of its abjection and what it seems to say about human relationships. The head is wounded, filled with 'junk,' and possibly female. The piece is an allegory of war and the objectification of war. The voice that is speaking does not represent my point of view, but just the opposite; it's a piece of horror...” A video here.Other works that may be interesting for this blog readers will come soon.

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