Steve Cairns, the associate curator for the new ICA exhibition celebrating moving image presents his top six highlights
The LUX/ICA Biennial of Moving Images is a four-day celebration of contemporary artists' moving images at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. The biennial hosts a high-profile series of chaired panel discussions, in association with Film London Artists' Moving Image Network (FLAMIN), exploring current issues in contemporary artists' moving image practice, alongside a two-day Student Symposium co-produced by the students of the LUX/Central Saint-Martins MRes Art: Moving Image course, which will enable UK-based MA and PhD students to present their research into ideas around ‘On Failure’ and ‘Contemporary Currents’ within artists’ moving image practice. Over 80 artists have participated in the Biennial to provide unique cinema events and performance commissions as well as a series of talks and panel discussions, running parallel to a 5-day Artists’ School and a 2-day Curating Course as well as a Live Journal which will feature commentary, analysis and reportage on the biennial.
Steven Cairns, the Associate Curator of Artists’ Film and Moving Image at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and coordinator of the LUX/ICA Biennial of Moving Images, talks to Dazed about his top six picks of the biennial.
1. Roberto Rossellini, The Machine that Kills Bad People (La Macchina ammazzacattivi), 1952
This rarely screened classic will be shown as part of the biennial’s launch event: a revival of Little Stabs at Happiness, the legendary music and film club presented by Mark Webber at the ICA from 1997 to 2000. Screened alongside early experimental 16mm films and followed by music from original Little Stabs DJs, Rossellini’s film kicks off a night not to be missed.
2. Nine Films by Luther Price, curated by Thomas Beard & Ed Halter
A profile on American experimental filmmaker Luther Price, presented by Thomas Beard & Ed Halter, the founders and directors of Light Industry, Brooklyn’s ground-breaking venue for film and electronic art. By manipulating found footage – whether by painting, scraping, burying or otherwise – Price creates unique handmade prints often altered to the extent of struggling through the projector, as if playing out the end of film itself.
3. Jennifer West, Naked Deep Creek Hot Springs Film (16mm film neg soaked in lithium hot springs water, Jack Daniels and pot - exposed with flashlights - skinnydipping by Karen Liebowitz, Benjamon Britton & Jwest), 2007, 16mm film negative transferred to digital video
Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer West’s work has variably been described as ‘sexy’, ‘whimsical’ and ‘a wild blend of synaesthetic experience’. Screened as part of Michelle Cotton’s programme On the Custom of Wearing Clothes, Naked Deep Creek Hot Springs Film was made with film stock of the artist skinny-dipping with two friends, which has been marinated in whiskey then exposed with flashlights.
4. Matthias Fritsch, We, Technoviking, 2010, found footage video
In 2000 Fritsch produced a short video of an aggressive, muscular dancer at the Fuckparade, the alternative Berlin Love Parade, and put it online where it received more than 30,000,000 hits. Several hundred so-called tribute videos, in which fans re-enact the scene and post the resulting clips on YouTube, eventually began to circulate. In 2010 Fritsch appropriated a selection of these films and edited them together as We, Technoviking.
5. Claire Hooper, Eris: The Path of ER, 2012, performance
London-based Claire Hooper’s new performance Eris: The Path of ER treads a fine line between classical theatre, docu-fiction and soap drama. The performance features a cast of narrators who animate a large video backdrop in the ICA Theatre, while Grime MC Lioness and musician Beatrice Dillon provide a unique live soundtrack, composed for the performance.
6. Spartacus Chetwynd, Call of the Wild, 2007, 16mm
Turner-prize nominated Spartacus Chetwynd’s 16 mm film Call of the Wild, was shot on the Isle of Lewis, with a cast of pattern cutters and knitters from Edinburgh. The film juxtaposes scenes of the wilderness with those of city life, set to an intense vocal soundtrack.
ICA, London: Thursday 24th May - Sunday 27th May