Video Did What?

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Published August 19, 2009

Did the advent of television really lead to the breakdown of conversation and communities? Is that the life you’re currently leading? The co-curators of the VideoKills festival are putting conventional wisdom to the test with their first International Video Art Film festival. Berlin-based British artist Tiphaine Shipman, along with her Australian and American co-curators Emma Pike and JJ Hurvich, have created an open-submission platform for video art through the Video Kills event/party that they host each month at Lucas Carrieri Art Gallery in Mitte. This month, they crank up their program’s reach by moving it to Stattbad, Wedding’s 2,000 square-meter early nineteenth-century swimming complex turned exhibition space.  There, they are offering 40 video artists selected from over 500 international submissions a place to exhibit video art, video installations, interactive video projects and live video-audio performances. They are also launching a simultaneous Skype remote symposium series,  where international scholars and video artists will lecture and participate in panel discussions about art and technology.

Despite all this nifty use of technology, the most compelling aspect of the program is good old-fashioned community. The five-day festival’s entire €500 budget will be funded by the €10 submission fee each artist will pay, plus a little contributed out of the curators’ own pockets. All of the artists’ works are being displayed with along with their email addresses and VideoKills will take no cut from potential sales. “The ethos is not about the money,” explains Shipman, a video artist and local nightlife-light. “It is all about the good-will of everyone who donated time, talent and equipment. It’s amazing how much stuff we were able to get for free. It’s a very Factory Records type of model. We’ll promote you and we expect nothing back but a really good event.” (LEFT: TIPHAINE SHIPMAN. PHOTO BY MAXIME BALLESTEROS)

“I feel like a nerd talking so much about community and helping artists,” Shipman goes on to say. “Who knew art would be such a care-profession. But really we do care. We want artists in Berlin to have an answer when someone asks them where they are showing next.” In fact, some of the works even offer viewers a chance to participate. Alongside a “Marshmallow suicide,” Caitlin Berrigan’s video of herself wriggling and devouring a massive marshmallow the shore of a lake at dusk, there are interactive pieces such as Tomo Yuki Yago’s video installation of people counting from 0-123.5 seconds that restarts when a sensor cues the presence of a potential participant, and a video box where people can play music inside and have their performances screened on a series of TVs scattered throughout the space. So switch on, log on or just drop in.

VideoKills’ First International Video Art Film Festival begins tonight at 7 PM with a pre-party. Stattbad is located at Gerichtstr. 65, Berlin.