by Christopher Spring
On e 23rd of June (a day that will be dominated by the EU referendum) there is a screening at Fabrica Gallery of "Selected VI" showcasing work of a new wave of emerging artist filmmakers chosen by Jarman Award shortlisted artists begins a tour of Scotland, England and Wales.
In preparation for the event Christopher Spring had a quick chat with Jamie Wyld, the director of Videoclub about the event, video art and some of his favourite things about Brighton.
What is Videoclub and what is the overall purpose of the project?
videoclub is an agency dedicated to supporting and promoting artists’ film and video, and the artists who make that work. We do national and international projects, doing screenings, exhibitions, and events, presenting work at galleries, museums, cinemas and non-arts spaces, including outdoor screenings. Selected VI is a touring screening programme, which promotes artists who are early on in their careers, who are making work that is experimental and takes risks, and we tour this work to spaces across the UK that are known for showing moving image work, including Fabrica (Brighton), Whitechapel Gallery (London) and CCA Glasgow.
If you’ve never seen video art before, what is the basic difference between video art and a film?
Video art can be very similar to experimental filmmaking or even documentary, they can have very similar structures in some cases. Artists’ film and video often engages with political or personal issues, or is motivated by notions of filmic structure, or tries to experiment with it, be that through videotape, film or digital. Artists also use film and video to explore emotion, philosophy, and alternative narratives, not necessarily telling a story, it might just be images, but they can also be stories and have a very recognisable narrative form. Artists’ film and video is very diverse, much like other artforms, reflecting the diversity of individual artists and how they work.
Tell me about Selected VI, how are the artists chosen for this?
We began Selected as a way of supporting artists who are earlier on in their careers and/or who deserve greater recognition for their work. It’s a collaboration between videoclub and Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network (FLAMIN). We invite the artists who are shortlisted for the Film London Jarman Award – an award that celebrates mid-career artists for their accomplishments – to nominate artists who are earlier on in their careers who they recognise are making exciting new work. From those nominations, videoclub and FLAMIN curate a programme of work, which we feel represents the best of practice, and also has geographic, cultural and gender representation.
In the past video art has been criticised for being quite convoluted or difficult to understand, will people be able to understand if they have little understanding of conceptual art?
Yes, they will. Some of it may be a little difficult to understand, but most of the works are easy to connect to, on an emotional level or intellectually; we’ve managed to develop a programme that is quite accessible, and also which grabs you and excites, it is deeply emotional in parts, and very beautiful.
What are some of your favourite winners in previous years? And is there anyone in this year’s Selected line up that you are particularly looking forward too?
One of my favourite works is by Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt called A History of Mutual Respect, it’s a moody, dark and humorous look at lost innocence and disenchantment. I would recommend anyone take a look at this film. Last year we had a glorious film called A Rat Biting Another Rat by Anita Delaney; as the artist puts it, the work is: ‘Comprised of rapidly edited actors, objects, text and sound, the work swings between the violent and dripping, the sweet and risible.’
There are some really affective pieces in this year’s programme, for instance Women in Sink by Iris Zaki, is a series of interviews with women visiting a hair salon owned by a Christian Arab in Haifa Israel, where the women share their differences and a community of views on politics, history and love. It’s currently being sponsored by the New York Times, it’s a real masterpiece.
Finally, what is your favourite thing about Brighton?
I love Brighton’s atmosphere; the sense of tolerance, and the easy-going nature of the city. It’s not perfect, but it’s got a lot of positives. Beer and seafood on the beach on a sunny day with friends…
You can find out more about the event on the event page here: http://www.artinbrighton.co.uk/events/2016/6/23/selected-vi-at-fabrica
Or by visiting the website: http://www.videoclub.org.uk/programme/2016-programme/selected-vi/