New York Video Festival 2005
The program for Scanners: The 2005 New York Video Festival has been posted and it's always interesting to see how far off the beaten path the annual selections are. Armond White is back again with yet another rumination on pop music and pop culture, this time explored through the medium of music videos. Another seemingly perennial installment, Game Engine - an eye-popping showcase of the latest trends in computer animation - is noticeably absent from this year's slate, replaced instead by something intriguingly called Metagraphics: Freeing Form from Function which, in theory, sounds like a natural evolution of rendering virtual images.
The ones I look forward most to seeing are Yang Ban Xi: The Eight Model Works and the collection of video works by photographer Robert Frank. The former is an examination of a hybrid Peking opera and propaganda theatrical performance pieces developed during Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s. For the latter, I had only seen one of the short videos being presented in the Frank anthology, Paper Route, which was something in the vein of an Abbas Kiarostami-like driver/passenger nomadic confessional. While it did not reflect the aesthetic level of his photographs, it was still an interesting meditation on the modern-day orality of communal history, set in desolate, winter wonderland of Nova Scotia.
This year's "pushing the bounds of art" selections are on the Japanese pink film industry which, although I'm curious about from a film history point of view, I'm also dreading. The capstone is the U.S. premiere of The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai aka Horny Home Tutor: Teacher's Love Juice (the title alone is chagrining). Earlier questionable selections in the series have included featuring actual home (and home-made) videos and surveillance tapes, as well as gallery artists expanding their repertoire - often with limited success, such as the indescribably appalling creations of Mike Kelley - into video works. Suffice it to say, "radical" can sometimes be a euphemism for excremental and disposable. Thankfully, there is another series of Japanese video programs on tap: the Cop Festival anthologies, which includes Kiyoshi Kurosawa's The Spiritual Cop.
It should make for another interesting extended weekend at NYVF.