The big innovation in the 2011 SALA Festival is the introduction of the Moving Image Project, conducted in conjunction with the Adelaide Festival Centre. Described by its curator, Karen Paris, as aiming ‘to engage directly with the public by permeating the Adelaide CBD with huge scale projections and a diverse range of cutting edge moving image artwork’, the MIP is set up in around a dozen venues.
With a festival normally about still works embracing the moving, the MIP rounds out the circle started by the Adelaide Film Festival earlier in the year when it placed moving art work in places normally reserved for still works only, the most notable of which was AES+F’s Feast of Trimalchio at the Art Gallery.
The most prominent public places carrying MIP films are the sails on the Adelaide Festival Theatre and the Rundle Street Lantern, the latter of which is much more engaging. But elsewhere, such as the Feltspace, the Bang & Olufsen Showrooms and on Saturday nights in Peel Street, smaller screens carry works from a variety of artists.
At the Artspace, above the entrance to Dunstan Playhouse, are eight works. Ray Harris’ Glitter Vomit has a youngish woman with a ring in her nose spewing forth glitter on the screen, an effect enhanced with a pile of the glitter on the floor nearby. Harris says it is about ‘the things you need to get out, emotions, repressions, things you’re afraid to say or admit, sugar coated in glitter..’
Leith Matson’s Future, Past and Present places you inside a car that observes the travel from Adelaide to Melbourne to the front, rear and both sides in very rapid time lapse photography, with one carrying occasional text such as ‘News … is it?’ and ‘Even if I thought I knew I possibly wouldn’t’ no doubt alluding to the conversations one has with oneself when immersed in such long travel.
Landscape Past by Thom Buchanan (et al), almost ubiquitous in the art world this month with him (inter alia) working also in the ADT’s acclaimed Worldhood, superimposes dusk settings of King William Street traffic viewed from Victoria Square on an isolated country landscape.
The concept of what works as ‘Moving Image’ artwork is clearly still being refined. Some of the works in the Artspace suffer for repeating sequences within them, leading a viewer to question whether the artist has just got lazy and looks to pad out the head line length through recycling or did they simply just run out of ideas. Others fail through use of third grade cameras and jerky hand held shoots that give the works a point and snap feel; the artists just got lucky with some vision and decided to dress it up and call it art.
At the core is the reality that the cinema and TV worlds have been doing moving image art for up to 100 years and high standards have already been set there. To excel, one needs to bring something new to the experience, such as AES+F do with their grand scale moving image tryptichs. Sure, not every one has access to those sorts of resources, but unlike, say painting where a canvas and some paints don’t cost that much to get one started, moving image art to work probaby does require more than rudimentary ideas and equipment.
Not subject to this criticism is Jasmin McAllister’s work Isolations 3 at the Bang Olufsen shop in Grenfell Street. Here, fingers, hands and forearms dance around in multiple and split screen modes, conjuring images that look variously like cells dividing, mystery water plants in shifting tides, geometric shapes and video game creatures. It is a most engaging work and being able to recline in the B&O lounge to watch makes it one of the best parts of the whole MIP project.
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