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Split Festival Quick Report

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I'm in Split, Croatia for the Split Festival of New Film. This is the eleventh season. You might call this, "the little festival that could." It's not as well known as the E.M.A.F or V.I.P.E.R or the other film and media festivals around Europe. Split does have a habit of taking chances. Branko Karabatic, the festival head states that he started the festival with three other friends. They named it the festival of "New Film" as a riff off "Expanded Cinema" ala Gene Youngblood and Exploded Cinema which is a term used in Amsterdam to talk about "Media Art."


I saw a terrific Mini retrospective of videos by a British artist named, George Barber. The kicker was a piece down in 1985 where he samples a 1970's Paul Newman film.He sets up a repeat system of image loops to a heavy metal dance beat. Way ahead of it's time it's called Absence of Satan.

The "New Media" exhibition is housed in a raw unfinished modern concrete building. The installations are perfect. All the installations are running smoothly and I haven't heard a tech complaint from anyone. There are artists from the Netherlands, France,Romania, Russia, as well as the U.S and the U.K.

The M.T.A.A installation for 1 Year Performance Video looks really good on a small flat screen.
The Michael Wirth projection piece, the Holzer Machine commands an atrium/clerestory that holds the space in just the right way. Indeed, the placement and amount of space afforded each work is really special. The raw concrete amps up the exhibition giving an post-industrial backdrop.

There's a wonderful interactive sound art piece by Edwin Van Der Heide from the Netherlands. This is a work that uses the cheapo high intensity reflector lamps in a noveau Art Povera installation form. I liked it just with the flickering lights in the bare concrete room. In addition one is giving a sensor box with earphones that reacts to the lights and generates a series of tones. It's actually fun and mysterious.

Boris du Boullay has a still portrait in which a pixel is replaced by a plane pixel every day. This piece has been going on since Sept. 22, 2004. He calculates it will be all white in 54 years. The title of the piece is, I Disappear. I like these sort of neo- conceptual works that extend conceptual art into the digital realm.

Lena Von Lapschina from Russia did a three screen projection piece in the ruins of the Peristyle of Diocletian's tomb. It's called trance Siberia and has Russian trance music soundtrack. The videos are slice of life in Russia taken from or referencing the Trans-Siberian Railrod. It looks somewhat like Eisenstein in the here and now.

I really liked the virtual object/ animation/ machine/ thing made by Calin Man from Romania. It's a sort of Kurt Schwitters machine thing that keeps evolving and changing. It's antecedent is in DaDa. Imagine if Duchamp actually built the Bride Machine what it would look like and you get some notion of this piece.

Also in the new media section:

Sonia Cillari
Peter Greenaway
Michael Takeo Magruder
Szirtas Anras -