November 3, 2009. The current edition of the Performa biennial, just a few days out of the starting gate, has already produced two winners: a video by Israeli artist Guy Ben-Ner (of Moby Dick and Stealing Beauty fame - the latter reviewed here) and Icelandic artist/musician Ragnar Kjartansson, abetted by Alterazioni Video from Italy, who premiered the drolly anarchic Symphony No. 1.
I was lucky to catch both events on Monday night, as they were scheduled a scant hour apart and threatened to overlap. Fortunately there were just a few blocks separating them in the East Village, which is shaping up as ground zero for Performa 09. An embarrassment of riches is planned over the next three weeks all over the city - exhibitions, screenings, panels, musical performances, poetry readings and spoken word, alchemical experiments, pamphleteering, street interventions, dance, new media, food and fashion shows - and can be followed on the biennial website.