LOOP Festival 2016: Where video art and cinema meet
Barcelona turns into a moving image hotspot again for over three weeks with the 14th edition of LOOP, a festival dedicated to video art. Since 2003, it has provided a platform for both emerging and well-known international video artists to get together, with curated exhibitions taking place around the Catalan capital. Not only is it an event exhibiting high-quality video art, but also hosts workshops and other art events related to the moving image; as is the case again this year, with LOOP featuring over 400 artworks, 58 exhibition projects and 28 activities carried out through a budget of 77,000 euros. In this year's Festival, which is titled 'Faraway, so close', the main themes are 'Beyond the Black Box' and 'Back to the Black Box', exploring the connection between cinema and video art.
Barcelona (CNA).- LOOP Barcelona takes over well-known venues like the MACBA, the Picasso Museum and the National Museum of Catalonia, but also 42 other venues, including galleries, cafes and art community spaces. The video art event is divided into three main sections: LOOP Festival, LOOP Fair and LOOP Studies. The first one, the festival, happens in different art spaces around the city, and celebrates video art with exhibitions, performances and screenings. The LOOP Fair, exhibiting works in the rooms of the Hotel Catalunya Ramblas, is a new and fresh way to present an art fair and challenges the traditional ways of doing it. The Studies project, new to the festival, offers an innovative platform for talks, meetings, workshops and spaces for professional encounters and shared discussion for everyone interested.
This year's LOOP will have a special interest in the connection between cinema and video art. Artistic Director of LOOP, Conrado Uribe, points out that the soil is very fertile now since it is shared by filmmakers who have a different approach to the moving image depending on whether their backgrounds are in cinema or video art.
The themes of this year are "Beyond the Black Box" and "Back to the Black Box". Uribe says that the idea of the first theme is to "challenge the traditional logic of the black box, delving into the tensions between the bi-dimensionality of projections, filming devices as a nexus between space and time, and performance practices that activate images in movement".
The second topic, and connected to the first, focuses on the communicative, expositional and dialogical values of cinematographic spaces and "emphasises the state of aesthetic experience and contemplative immersion fostered by the black box". The title of this year's edition, 'Faraway, so close', refers to German director Wim Wenders' film from 1993, which is about the distance and proximity of artists who share the same medium but are disjointed by market reasons and cultural differences.
Versatile activities around video art
The Premi Discovery 2016 exhibition, under the theme 'Faraway, so close', brings together the works of the Discovery Award finalists at the old Estrella Damm factory. The Discovery Award is an open-call competition for international video artists, and works from the ten finalists were chosen by a jury to be exhibited at LOOP, along with the work that got most votes on the Discovery Award online channel. The winner of the award, Igor Simic, was announced at the opening of the exhibition on the 12th of May. The works can be seen at the old factory until the 10th of June.
Malcolm Le Grice is seen as one of the most influential characters in British modernist cinema and performance, and is one of the leading avant-garde filmmakers of today. At the MACBA, two of this filmmaker's projections and live performances, 'Horror film 1' (1971) and 'Threshold' (1972) can be seen on the 4th of June.
Hito Steyerl, one of the most critically acclaimed video artists of today, will give a presentation on video games, virtual simulations and the "generative fiction of autonomy" at the Fundació Antoni Tápes on the 8th of June.
From the 2nd to the 5th of June, the LOOP Fair takes over the Hotel Catalunya Ramblas. The Fair shows a work in each room of the hotel, which makes the experience a unique one and different from other art fairs.
One of the cinematic highlights of this year's Festival has been the Spanish premiere of "Arabian Nights", a trilogy by Portuguese director Miguel Gomes, which was screened during the first weekend of the Festival. The trilogy was shown in the Directors' Fortnight section of the Cannes Film Festival in 2015, as well as in the Wavelengths section of the 2015 Toronto Film Festival. Besides this, it was chosen as the Portuguese entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Oscars. Another highlight was the premiere of 'Wonders' by Carles Congost at the opening of the Festival. It won the second edition of the Video Production Prize promoted by the Xarxa de Centres d'Arts Visuals de Catalunya/The Network of Visual Art Centres of Catalonia, Arts Santa Monica and LOOP Barcelona.