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curated by Piotr Krajewski

list of works:

This program was completed for Video Zone1st International Video Art Biennial held in Tel Aviv in November 2002. This event was examined the topic of "peripherial video" and the reference of this program to the periphery is apparent.
The fact that most authors come from the countries of the so called "Deep Europe" is not the only reason here. The selection criteria did not comprise biographies or the authors' countries of origin. These artists move along their own paths in both the world and art. In the former as well as in the latter, they manage to find the modus of synchronous existence in the centre and in the periphery using some multilevel method.

We like the rhetorics of the new media, we are constantly moved by its slogans and aphorisms like that coined by McKenzie Wark: "We no longer have roots, we have aerials." Today, this classic sentence mysteriously belongs to the periphery. Thanks to that it says more about the variations between the centre and the periphery, the future and the past. Holding on to the symbolics they introduced, I would like to provide a selection of works that do have "roots" and "aerials."

Within the difference between the periphery and the centre there is the attitude towards time and memory. The centres turn to the future. The present brings the future here. The future is its hope, fuel, the source of ideas and energy, whereas memory and the past are the matter circulated in the province. Hopes, feelings, resentiments and conflicts have their roots in the past. The border dividing the present from the past is faded, inconsistent, sometimes full of dangerous complications. What is the past then? – appealing to William Faulkner who expressed the essence of the province and the periphery in the most complete way: "The past is never death. It's not even past."

Peter Weibel announced in the early 90’s that "Video-art is dead." Now, several years later, when we still associate with new video works, I wish to ask the following question: What is video today, after its own "death?" What is it, when it has lost its position in the main stream of the new media transformation? If a media revolution is still occuring at some place, it is in different areas. Video-art has lost its revolutionary power of announcing artistic and social changes which was so important in the past. Teams of innovators and activists moved to other areas long ago. The area of research and hopes for the new media moved towards the networked, connective, interactive.... possibly further.

Video-art has become peripheral. So what is the hope for this abandoned area? Is this significant shift from the centre of changes to the periphery an evident announcement of the inevitable forthcoming "death?" One thing is certain – both activism and the domination of technological thinking are retreating. The amazement at the potential of the tool and the social role it might play has terminated. This favours the perception of the works for themselves without admiring the technology that created them and without considering their social mission.

When technology and activism escape, the artist becomes the main figure.
Individual works emanate primarily with their own virtues.

This selection of works consists of two parts marked off with titles: " – video is a medium accompanied with another medium or interprets meanings brought by another medium, even if they are to be guessed. Much is going on in the areas of collective memory, between notions and symbols, in the personal struggle with the past or patterns of the omnipresent forged iconosphere.

VARIANTS adds differences in relation to the technological dimension of the works. When no prevailing directions and binding tendencies are present, there is no conflict between what is current and what is already going out of fashion. The nuances of attitudes become more distinct.

Both parts of the works emanate primarily with the individual expression of the authors with its potential of world description and the reference to the history of the medium as well as with a certain choice of its technological potential. These relationships which tend to be subtle at times also hold space for the uncertainty of our own fragile efforts to interpret them.


Z mojego okna [From my window]
Jozef Robakowski (Poland)
b/w, film & video, 20:00, 1978-1999
production: Jozef Robakowski/Exchange Gallery 2000
Language: English version

I have been working on this film since 1978, when I started living in a flat situated in the so-called Manhattan in the center of Lodz. From time to time I would "look out" of my kitchen window with a film or video camera at a huge square which became the hero of my "notebook." In spite of me constant changes and various social and political events kept taking place in this square. I was also interested in the everyday lives of the people who had something to do with the square. Today twenty years have gone by since I shot the first frames of that film. The time accumulated on film became the protagonist of my venture. In 1998 the City Authorities decided to build an international hotel in our beautiful square. Its construction is currently under way. Now the view from my window encompasses only a fragment of the hotel wall. In 1999 I decided to end those film chronicles.

Souvenirs [Memories]
Renata Poljak (Croatia/France)
color, 7:30, 1999
Text, sound, appearance: Renata Poljak
Camera: Guy Bauza
Editing: Guy Bauza, Marek Walcerz
Production: E.R.B.A.N., Nantes, France
Language: Croatian with French subtitles

The video's main subject is the father's figure in the private and public, political sense. Artist is writing and rewriting the words Tito, Tata, ("Daddy" in English) obsessively. Similarities of these worlds, both in acoustic and visual ways are pushing the artist to repeat the action over and over again. Acoustic quality turns into a mantra-like, repetitive sequence whose sound covers the words' content. Rhythmic repetition of sound and gesture of writing down the words Tito and Tata, turns the words into sound material for a pop song on which the artist is dancing.

Sprechen Sie Deutsch? [Do You speak German?]
Alexander Vereschak and Margarita Zinets (Ukraine)
b/w, film footage/video, 12:00, 1998
Language: basic German/English

Sprechen sie Deutsch was created on the basis of footage from original educational film created by studio Bawaria Film in 1970. In this work we became interested in the possibility to look at the object from different point of view and to try to comprehend the material without focusing on the educational aspects of film. We preserved original dialogues, however some parts of the film replaced one another in the process of editing, thus shifting accents in the content. As a result our initial object revealed itself in different mode and we allowed one of the previously invisible layers to come to the surface.

True Story. Version Love
Dusan Zahoranski (Slovakia)
color, 3:50, 2001/2002
Editing: D. Zahoranski, R. Klik, M.Lacena
Realized with the support of the Department of visual arts and intermedia in Kosice and VŠMU in Bratislava.
Language: Slovak/Hungarian/Polish/Russian with English subtitles

Video movie True Story was part of the project for Gallery Cik-Cak Center, Bratislava. Using two minutes long sequence of the popular TV series J.A.G I have created a several new content versions of the same story. My point was to disturb certainty with which media product is served to a public in various countries. In this case it is a TV program with a clear military propaganda impact.

In my journeys around east Europe (Czech, Poland, Hungary) I was surprised how the media might be colonized by the same ideological power. The only difference was the voice speaking the words of a famous actor in native languages.

I have changed the position and turn the role of the percipient to a creator. I have created new verbal content and together with my friends actors we have translated it to a languages used in region of Slovakia. They helped me then to rerecord dialogues of the main heroes so they look like original TV series.

Later I have shot video-material in natural surroundings - living rooms so the result is collage of the different living spaces and languages. It might be an example of how different or similar the interpretations might be. Depending on distance we keep or, the opposite - we lose from view a very strong medium of the information technologies.

So Far So Good
Anderas Gedin (Sweden)
color, 4:30, 2002
Camera: Henrik von Sydow
Editing: Venia Video
Credits: Index
Language: English

A man is telling a silent movie to a blind boy while eating pizza.

Atomic Love
Piotr Wyrzykowski (Poland/Ukraine) with Iliya Chichkan (Ukraine)
color, 4:45, 2002

A couple of lovers on their pursuit for extreme experience go to Chernobyl. In the closed area, on the contaminated ground, they make atomic love at the x-ray(te) of 50-120 micro Roentgen per hour.

Oliver Pietsch (Germany)
color, 10:00, 2000

You need a camera. A cheap one will do just fine. A tripod, a pin, some adhesive tape, balloons, and maybe someone to help you a little. Use the tape to fix the pin to the camera's lens. Blow up the balloons and disperse them in a room of your choice. Now put the camera on the tripod and carry the whole thing upside down. Before you start shooting you should practice a little.


St.Petersburg out/under control
Dimitry Vilensky (Russia/Germany) and Tsaplya Egorova (Russia)
b/w, 22.30, 2001
Languague: no sound, no subtitles, live English comments by artist during the projection

Action realized within the non-commercial program at the 2001 Art Moscow Fair with the support of General Satellite corporation.

Petersburg Out/Under Control was shot with a surveillance camera. All of the characters in the film are artists, art critics and other Petersburg personalities who were put into the game situation "life under observation." The film consists of various vignettes, each of which is a personal message from the artists about themselves and their work.

Maxim Tyminko (Byelorussia/Germany)
color, 8:00, 1998
participants of the conversation: Andrey Dureyko, Anton Slunchenko, Lyosha Terehov, Maxim Tyminko
Sound: PUKst & TM
Language: English subtitles

This is a conversation between four friends, who seem somewhat uncertain about whether to believe all this moon travel business. Does the fact that one of their compatriots apparently was the first one in the space make things more credible? has he actually been there? or he was only on the TV... it is even rumored that the Americans never actually landed on the moon, that it was all a hoax, fabricated with the help of Hollywood...

We see their heads in close-up like jerkily animated still photographs against a revolving horizon of dull high-rise apartment buildings. We can't hear their voices, but there are subtitles (in Russian) and "supertitles" (in English) so we can learn what is being said in this intriguing conversation that was recorded on 26 of July, 1997. Then again, who is to say that is true?

NEzõPont [Viewpoint]
Anita Sarosi (Hungary)
color, 9:00, 2001
music: Barnab·s Dukay

"We are like the flow of the white waters
Like their quickly disappearing foam
Or like the dreams of a slumberers
Or the running shadows of the dream."

Pavel Braila (Moldova/the Netherlands)
color, stereo, 7:55, 2002
camera: Vadim Hancu, Radu Zara
editing: Pavel Braila

In 105/7 the viewers can observe how an ordinary night journey became a cinematic manifest in relation to 'travel' and its constant, perpetual and repetitive process, and as well in this video you can observe the direct beam into time and space.

Digging the Channel (part 1)
Sandra Sterle (Croatia/Netherlands) with Julia Szabo (U.S.A.)
color, 2:10 , 2001
Language: English

The video, made in single shot, registered a simple action performed by the artists in the interior space. The camera, with unfocused lens positioned on the table, captures two similarly dressed female figures. Due to the position of the camera, only the bodies are visible. The figures start to move in front of the camera, playing a game of showing and making faces, as children are usually acting. The action followed by Sterle's narration of a recent event, not spared of exhibitionistic and infantile elements, is related to a short shocking encounter they have experienced together. They were supposed to work together on the project in Sterle's hometown. While conceiving the future work in the local park, they got interrupted by a male exhibitionist. At the same time, while evocing this recent event, Sterle also talks about the past of the city she left years ago. The story is panopticon of fragments, joined by the taped action and it deals with different levels of particular identities. [Ania Devic]

Super Natural
Anita Malmquist (Sweden)
color, 13:00, 2000
production: Filmform, Sweden

IR-thermography creates pictures of events unseen by the naked eye as heat loss, or the transference of heat between individuals and surroundings.

The film contains a spectrum of colors, where white represent the hottest parts and black the coolest, and doesn't show anything of the visible light.

The video shows a group of people swimming in a river apparently unconscious of an eager voice calling out that "dinner is ready."

The work is a part of a larger video installation with two video projections and one small monitor.

Bardzo nam sie podoba [We like it a lot]
Azorro Group (Poland)
color, 7:30, 2001
Production: Azorro
Language: Polish with English subtitles

A group tour trough Warsaw' s contemporary art galleries; a fruitful insight into a critical discourse about criteria of art evaluation.

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