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The second Video Zone Biennial., Tel Aviv, 2004
[a.k.a videozone 2 or Video Zone 2]

The following are a few of the screening programs:
// If you would like to update us with more info click here //

Program 01
Embracing Exile -
Jewish Themes in Experimental Film and Video 1956-2003

Part 1: Family
Andrew Ingall

Exile is a state of homelessness-enforced or self-imposed. It may also reflect the sense of not belonging to a particular lineage, place, or belief. Jews in particular have a profound experience with displacement. Events in 20th century history-above all the Holocaust and the misery of Jewish life as dhimmi under Moslem rule-reinforce the Diaspora experience as dark, bitter, and interminable. Despite arguments that a full Jewish life can only be experienced living in Eretz Yisrael, Jewish culture has flourished in Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas since the Babylonian Exile. A longing for "home" has generated immense creativity in scholarship, literature, and art. Examples include the Talmud, medieval poetry of the Golden Age of Spain, Hasidism in Eastern Europe, and early 20th century American Yiddish Theater.
Today, in a post-Zionist world, exilic tendencies remain in the art and culture of Diaspora Jews and are demonstrated by the work of the fourteen experimental film and video makers featuring in this program. Using a diverse range of formats (Super-8, 16mm, 35mm, analog and digital video), these artists explore themes such as family bonds, relationships to the urban landscape, and metaphysical issues such as ontology and theology.
Films and videos in Part One are organized around the theme of family-a home base from which to flee and return. Families offer a generous yerusha (inheritance) of love, neurosis, pain, memory, and myth. Sandi DuBowski and Susan Mogul reinvent gender roles and go so far as to reject circumscribed family traditions. Gail Mentlik, Chana Pollack, Abraham Ravett, and Jessica Shokrian offer loving yet somber tributes to their elders. From a decidedly different sensibility, Neil Goldberg and Ilene Segalove depict their families with a healthy dose of humor.
Part Two of the program is divided into two sections: The first-"Urban Eden"-is a collection of works that examine the pleasure and pain of city life. Despite economic challenges, artists and other "rootless cosmopolitans" embrace the city's energy, creativity, and diversity. Neil Goldberg's Hallelujah Anyway No. 2 and Shalom Gorewitz's Levinas in Yorkville demonstrate the resilience of urbanites living and working under stressful conditions. Inspired by another exiled Jewish philosopher, Walter Benjamin, Jem Cohen strolls the city streets, capturing images and stories with his camera. The metropolis is a refuge for exiles, immigrants, and other outsiders who use the urban landscape as a laboratory to test new ideas, identities, and lifestyles.
The second section - "Mysteries and Abstractions" - delves into illumination and obscurity, dreams and ghosts, mourning and loss. Filmmakers Wallace Berman, Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, and Phil Solomon share an interest in both metaphysical and material aspects of light and darkness. According to Lurianic kabbalah, the universe was born through the process of tzimtzum-contraction and concealment. Whether responding to theological displacement or existential alienation, these artists-like the kabbalists-choose to withdraw from society in order to create.
We, their audience, gather as a community to experience their inner worlds.

Program 02
Reality Revised
Sergio Edelstein and Doron Solomons
Nine different ways of looking at the usually quite grim reality and history in a funny, cynical, morbid, parodical, documentary and at times rather hallucinatory manner. But it turns out that reality itself always tends to be more hallucinatory than we might expect. (Doron Solomons)

Program 03
Video as Reflection:
Video Art from Japan

Masayuki Kawai

Reflect: 1 Throw back. 2 show an image of. 3 correspond in appearance or effect to. 4-a show or bring. 4-b bring discredit on. 5-a mediate on. 5-b consider, remind oneself. (Oxford Dictionary)<
Reflection has several meanings. re- means return or repetition, as well as opposition. Flect is flex, meaning bend or transform. Therefore, reflection means swirling in repetition back to the original state with transformation. On the other hand, it also means being opposite to and objectifying its repetition from a distance, within its whirlpool, and considering it, or toward it.
By the way, what is video? Video is electronic imaging, a representation of electronic information. Electronic information exists and appears as an image only when it is represented. Primarily, this representation is not an aesthetic one, but because in present society it fulfills a role much like currency or commodities, it is not limited to images on TV or computers. Hence, in the widest meaning, our world is electronic representation. The different modes of representation of electronic information encompass our lifestyle completely, from the movement of a needle on a voltage gauge to the mechanical binary language of computer programming, cityscapes, and even our minds.
Through the abundance and repetitiveness of electronic information representation, it has become one with the actual form of representation. This fixation between electronic representation and the mode of representation ties in with a certain ideological structure. This is the first meaning of the Video as Reflection compilation.
Our world, as an electronic representation, swirls at the speed, penetrability and flexibility of an electron. A new consciousness is distilled, where the form and meaning serve to broaden our evaluation of the world. Escaping into fantasy cannot attain this focal point; reality must be grasped fundamentally to view "the present in history". Self-reflection is thus generated in our media society.
Consequently, video art is positioned as the political contributor making the global situation of media society relative in history, and provoking criticism against it, from inside it. This is the second meaning of this compilation, and is the raison d'etre of video as art.
Video art as self-reflection has a history of some four decades. In Japan it began in the late 1960s. Since then, led by some utterly perceptive figures, Japanese video art has evolved to integrate theory, criticism, creativity and political practice, incorporating criticism, inquisitiveness, and the innovation of an aesthetic language. It is a philosophy, a social movement and an artistic form of creativity.
This flow of Japanese video art is different from today's popular Japanese consumerist images, including hyper futuristic animations, gang movies, pornographic fantasies, or lost identities of a young generation. Rumination on the media society instigated by video art is undoubtedly the essential part of Japanese visual art in the electronic age. Far from the superficiality of media culture overwhelmed by information capitalism, critical reflection underlies media culture, linking the present to history. While trendy images are reformed and consumed immediately, high-quality video art is soon to be recognized internationally as the contemporary form of art. Moreover, the young generation of artists further expands the theory, creativity and activity founded on these grounds.
Video as Reflection begins by presenting works by founding pioneer Japanese video artists. In the works that follow, younger generation video artists continue to question electronic image representation, but their interest now lies on its usage and effect, and not its form (what the video does, not what the video is). The explored hypothesis is that by means of reflection, video art can serve as an essential tool of criticism, towards media globalism.


Program 04
Artangel: Douglas Gordon
Feature Film

James Lingwood

Artangel has pioneered a new way of collaborating with artists and engaging audiences in an ambitious series of highly successful commissions since the early 1990s. We've created a reputation for producing work that people really want to see and for which they often travel miles to experience.
This commitment to the production of powerful new ideas by exceptional artists has been at the forefront of changing attitudes and growing expectations amongst both artists and audiences.
By producing the best art, in the best possible conditions, Artangel has become part of the cultural debate, both in the UK and abroad. A pathfinder in the process of achieving a deeper understanding of the world. Which is what art always offers those willing to take up the challenge.
Beyond the white walls of the gallery, the black box of the theatre or the darkened interior of the cinema, there are other forms of expression where the relationship between artist and place is of primary importance. This is a relationship which Artangel actively explores in events where context and content are often indistinguishable. An artist's response to the qualities and conditions of a particular place is central to the development of a project. And finding the right place is an integral part of the commissioning process we undertake.


Program 05
Italian Landscape
Cristina Perrella

The videos collected in Paesaggio italiano, represent the cutting edge of Italian production of the past three years. In their structure and material, messages and styles they differ completely from each other. What they have in common is a strong feeling for narration, often used to tell something about our country, to render an atmosphere, to depict characters or places that are somehow deeply Italian. Some of their stories have a cinema-like pathos (Galegati, di Martino, Spadoni), or a magical, mysterious flavour, which seems to slow down and suspend the natural flow of things (Rossi, Benassi, Senatore), whereas others have the imperfection and truth of a documentary style (Mangano), or the humour and unpredictability of peasant tale (Favaretto). Aside from the aesthetic of a low-fi video, these artists face up narration respectful of the moving image grammar, without concealing in any way the specific features of the means they use. Working on the image immediacy is not enough. They often look at cinema, not only exploiting the appeal of a 16 or even 35 mm film (Galegati, di Martino, Spadoni, Rossi), but also referring directly, reverently or subversively, to specific cultural and stylistic passages of its history. The epic of Sergio Leone's westerns turn is feminized by Carola Spadoni, Sicily is portrayed through the neo-realistic eye of Domenico Mangano, echoes of Pasolini can be found in Betta Benassi's work, and a mix of Antonioni's silent urban deserts and Jarmush's odd dialogues in R? di Martino's black and white short film.
Wavering between tradition and innovation, the videos in the program reconfigure Italianess with vitality and sensibility, daring to express the romance of a familiar landscape, which is, first and foremost, a human landscape.


Program 06
No Cold Feelings:
Films and Videos from Scandinavia

Part 1
Anna Linder
These two programs consist of films and video works, predominately from Sweden, but also from its neighboring countries: Norway, Finland and Denmark. The films offer us a place for longing, a place for imagination. They give us a pleasurable time, but hopefully also a room for reflection and consideration.
Many people still believe that Sweden is at the forefront of equality between women and men. That is no longer the case. Violence is creeping upon us, it is attacking us. The statistics of rapes perpetrated on a week like the last one is frightening. And yet... why should we complain. Others are much worse off. We are doing pretty ok, after all. But that is no reason to give up our struggle, or to feel small and disillusioned. Several films in this selection address issues concerning violence, feminism, social criticism, homosexuality... but in a warm and humorous way. Perhaps with a song. These films do not wish to create more violence. They want to bring hope and joy. Love. A few laughs along the way. And respect for human beings.
When I was asked to curate two sections of Scandinavian film for this festival, I immediately came up with loads of ideas. At the same time, I thought that I would be able to stick to a theme. It didn't work out that way. As a matter of fact, I don't really like themes at all. They seldom work. The programs are diverse, and might seem a bit all over the place, but I'd like to think that their wide scope is also is their strength. At a certain point, some things regarding my choice of films became evident. Many of the films I've chosen use sound in a special way. Their soundscapes are abstract and experimental. Sound is important to me, as is music. A couple of the films are what I would like to call investigative films - performances, of sorts, for the camera. Several of the participating filmmakers are also performance artists. The films have been of a great inspiration to me during the two months I've spent working on the selection of films, and I hope you will get the same feeling watching them.
Films from AV-arkki's festival View04 - Festival of Finnish Media Art View04, organized by AV-arkki, Helsinki, Pirjetta Brander, Guinea Pig; Borkur Jonsson, Postalm - Postcard to Kristjan; Seppo Renvall, Woody.
Translated by Jenny Tunedal

Program 07
Take me to Portugal,
Take me to Spain

Catarina Campino and David Barrow

Take me to Spain, Take me to Portugal is a selection of artists who work with video in Spain and Portugal, two geographically close countries, although historically living quite separately for centuries. Recently that inevitable connection, that undeniable cultural affinity, has been seen in an art world where Portuguese artists work in Spain (as is the case of artist and curator Catarina Campino) and where Spanish critics and curators look towards Portugal and take great interest in its artistic production (as is the case of David Barro). Thus the curators of Take me to Portugal, Take me to Spain decided to take this collaboration one step further, choosing jointly the artists in this program and defining together the criteria for its selection. Contrary to 9 Portuguese Artists, 18 Video Works (a 126'3" sample by Miguel Wandschneider and Catarina Campino), in which a certain generation of artists in their thirties were favored, the current selection replaced the age and thematic restrictions with general contemporary feeling.
As to the screening format in a film theater, it is understood by these curators as one designed for exposure and debate rather than exhibition, since some of the works require specific spaces when installed. To resolve the problem of this "inappropriate format," between projections of the different compilations, the curators will introduce the concept behind each work or group of works presented.
In addition, the curators, as well as the artists, wish to emphasize that the geographical location of the biennial was taken unto account and that some of the works were made specifically for VideoZone taking on the political context surrounding the event.


Program 08
The Zionist Ventriloquist
A collection of video hits

Roee Rosen

The Zionist Ventriloquist brings together recent Israeli video-works based on pop, rock and other musical tunes. All of the featured works employ practices of doubled-voices, such as drag, karaoke, puppet-mastering, mash-up and dubbing. These are performances that relish the pleasures of singing and dancing, even as they bind them with parody and deception, self-contradiction and simulation. This collection, then, is both a compilation of artworks, a lopsided sequence of music clips, and an ongoing reflection on the voice as a hybrid.
The works featured stem from the energy, sexuality and speed of video clips no less than from the aspirations of gallery-geared art. In general, they shun dogmatic political stances and morose morality, favoring humor. Yet, the entire compilation speaks plenty by what it avoids: none of the works address directly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the occupation or the blatant discrimination against Israeli-Palestinian citizens. It is as if these artists, for whom a multiplicity of voices is pertinent, posit the Palestinian as the other they cannot possibly dub.
The set ends not only with the Israeli anthem, but also with the Star Spangled Banner. Its inclusion suggests the USA is as dominant in contemporary Israeli culture and politics as sovereign Zionism.
The Zionist Ventriloquist presents works by renown Israeli artists along with works by artists who are still students, as well as a couple of pieces culled from televised programs. Many of the works receive their premiere in this compilation.
Translation into English by Roee Rosen


Program 09
About Art and Other Anomalies
Sergio Edelstein and Doron Solomons

The mother (art) and the father (cinema) were never forgotten by the (step) son - video art. Here, in a sometimes hysterically hilarious compilation, the son settles the score with art and cinema in different variations through adaptation, borrowing, citation, editing and a variety of effects. (Doron Solomons)



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