the place of artists cinema – off and online

I have often wondered on the new opportunities and places where artists cinema is exhibited.

A most comprehensive recent overview is by irish academic, Maeve Connolly in her book The place of Artists’ Cinema: Space, Site and Screen (2009).

However, while it does detail the relatively recent rise of artists cinema in supposedly ‘non-commercial galleries, cinema entering the art market of art fairs, the rise of multiscreen video projections in the 1990s informing a broader stage of ‘publicness’ that suited institutional contexts and the opportunities of projection in public spaces (p. 214-15), what is only touched on in the final chapter, is the rise in television and reality programming. What about the explosion of opportunities that the internet now provides. Is it because the art world is uncomfortable or unengaged in this new media?

She does make some interesting observations:

  • many artists working with cinema that she discusses have worked in cities – giving them proximity to the film industry and some access to film people/equipment perhaps?
  • artists cinema works have often self-reflexively engaged with the sites or settings of the film/videos screenings/projections: the historical, cultural, architectural aspects of sites
  • witnessing and indexing have often been central to some artists cinema works
  • preoccupation by some artists to creating  ghostly phantoms – metaphor for the illusion of cinema in pubic spaces and the history of cinema
  • interest between actual event and document: ‘re-playing’ of culture and the ‘re-working’ of film cultural material
  • artists’ interest in the physical properties of the screen, projection… (or what I see as a fascination with the instruments of cinema)
  • cinema as a metaphor for work that reflects on material and immaterial labour
  • artists have often disrupted the conventions of documentary to draw attention to filmic conventions

Connolly’s final comments are interesting for those engaged in artists cinema and its site of encounter with audiences:

my research into the place of artists’ cinema responds directly to the pronounced visibility of certain forms of artists film and video over the past decade, across multiple contexts of contemporary art production and exhibition. There is some evidence to suggest that this era of high visibility may now be coming to an end. This does not mean that artists  are no longer animated by or engaged with cinema; rather it may be that the tendency to overtly and visibly stage the cinematic through projection, site or setting might be waning.”

As global internet audiences are rising so rapidly (an est. 50% of the worlds populatin is under 30 yrs and  many have participated on online networks) attention to how cinema works online is warranted

for ecocinematic works – that attempt to engage audiences in ecological concerns etc, new research would suggest that Internet audiences are responding earlier than people without the internet

Just a few graphs from MIT researcher Bill Tomlinson, 2010 Greening through IT, p31
 See also  2008 Routledge: engaging art -the next great transformation of america’s cultural life – creating online and  online art and its audiences

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