The Research Labs in EYE on Art on 16 May provide scope for a new generation of curators and artists to hone their skills. In these Research Labs, students from different art academies and universities put together a programme involving their own work and films (including remixes) from EYE’s collection. The Research Labs do not follow a strict format and often result in a cultural crossover between film and other art forms. On 16 May EYE will award a prize for the two best projects in collaboration with Heineken H41.
Jury: Mark-Paul Meyer, Eye film senior curator, Tessa Janssen, Eye producer & Edith van der Heijde, Eye experimental film distributor.
Wardrobe exhibition space h 17.00-23.00, Sentient Chandelier by Robin by Creij
Fabric suspended in steel frame, sensors, computer animations, digitally processed film footage, digital beamer, stereo boxes.
Robin van Creij (1991) is doing his final exam on both St. Joost as VjAcademy this year, as a video animation designer and VJ.
Exploring the rich film archive of EYE, Robin van Creij was in for a surprise. Most of the archive consists of thoroughly indexed, labeled, complete films. It is perfectly clear who made it, and what it’s about. Buried, however beneath all this well catalogued order, is a layer of rough hidden gems. Fragments from films long forgotten and lost. Usually, the conservators have no choice but to discard them eventually. But sometimes the fragments are just too special and are saved in the Bits and Pieces collection.
In this VJ installation, Robin van Creij makes these Bits and Pieces shine once again. They no longer need further context, a story or an explanation as they become a part of a decorative piece of furniture. The installation is an irregular sculpture of bits and pieces of material, onto which the film fragments are projected. This interactive ‘chandelier’ generates and reflects projections of the lost and found footage. The behaviour of people nearby is picked up by sensors and translated into the display of certain fragments and an array of special effects to transform their appearance.
Usually during a concert, a VJ’s audience has limited and only indirect influence on the projections. In the best case scenario, the expression of their mood is observed by the VJ and taken into account in the evolving vibe of his live show. In classic cinema interactivity is even practically zero. At home however, Netflix gives the viewer full control over the second-by-second replay of an enormous library of cinema. In this project that level of interactivity -now with Bits and Pieces of cinema content transformed to VJ content- is brought to the same livingroom. The viewer becomes the VJ and creates his personal esthetic VJ experience.
cinema 2, h 17.30, University of Amsterdam Research Lab: The Extended City Symphony
Expressing the experience of urban life, the ‘city symphony’ of the 1920s has become emblematic for modernity. Today, with Manovich speaking of ‘database cinema’, it has gained currency again, as it provides a symphonic model to deal with heterogeneous images. Meaning arises through syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations, while images themselves serve as meta-texts reflecting upon mediated society. This programme extrapolates these curatorial dimensions, taking the idea of database cinema to research Eye’s actual film archive. The programme presents integral short films – avant-garde, amateur, fiction, advertising – across times and places. The result is a day in the life of an imaginary cinematic city existing in the archive. The symphonic and archival multitude is amplified by this programme being an experiment in collaboration between fourteen curators: Nicholas Avedisian-Cohen, Vincent Baptist, Alexandra Beddall, Zsombor Bobák, Nele Koos, Matthias Nothnagel, Niamh O’Donnell, Mia Pepler, Lisa Rückwardt, Merlin van Schaik, Rick Vrouwenvelder, Susan Warmenhoven, Julia Witcher, Leonie Woodfin.
Introduction by Niamh O’Donnell & Rick Vrouwenvelder
Instead of presenting the city waking up, marking a clear beginning of the day, as in the classical city symphony, the morning is rather the extension and ending of the night.
Diepte, 5’43”, 1933, Frans Dupont (35mm, silent)
Convalescing, 2000, 2’40”, Barbara Meter (35mm, silent)
Ahrend: Heel wat onder één dak, 2’42”, 1962, Piet van Moock (35mm)
Extended elaboration on “Morning”
Intermezzo – Sonification of Midden op de weg by Jim Wraith
At noon, all is still possible, within an indeterminate catharsis, marked by aimlesness and passive abundance. Noon is a hypothetical mid-point, a moment of brightness. However, 12am is not truly when the sun is highest. Is it the lie of symmetry and temporal order, in which cinematic noon unfolds and descends equilibrium?
De dag die droomt, 8’, 2006-2007, Bernard Lier (dig., silent)
Midden op de weg, 3’, 1991, René Hazekamp (35mm, silent)
Vakantieopnamen Afrika, 6’, 1925, Adolf Bargeboer (8mm, dig. transfer, silent)
Extended elaboration on “Noon”
Afternoon is enduring. Waiting for the next thing to come, one may physically break from city life, but psychologically one cannot escape its restlessness. Subjectivity is heightened when time gets stretched and looped.
Meshes of the Afternoon, 1943, 14’, Maya Deren & Alexander Hammid (35mm, silent)
Extenden elaboration on “Afternoon”
Dissociated from work, evening is a moment of ‘self-improvement’. However, within neo-liberal economy, leisure activities serve to keep production going on, 24/7. This rationale actually causes an acceleration of activities.
The Case of The Spiral Staircase, 1981, 3’, Jacques Verbeek, Karin Wiertz (35mm)
- Una Tipica Storia Italiana [Campari], 2’16”, 1950s, Starfilm (dig. transfer)
- Are You a Mackeson Type?: Juggler [Mackeson Stout], 1954-1956, 27”, Jan Coolen, Ton van der Meyde (Joop Geesink’s Dollywood) (dig. transfer)
- Famous Cities of Europe Filmed in Cinemascope: Brussels [Peter Stuyvesant], 1’54”, 1958, Starfilm (dig. transfer)
- Are You a Mackeson Type?: Kop van Jut [Mackeson Stout], 1954-1956, 27”, Jan Coolen, Ton van der Meyde (Joop Geesink’s Dollywood) (dig. transfer)
- Leef met plezier: Bowling Alley [Pall Mall – Sigaretten], 1’05”, 1962, Starfilm (dig. transfer)
Hotel Nachtclub, 2011, 3’, Arianne Olthaar (dig. transfer)
Extended elaboration on “Evening”
While the night is a peaceful time for sleep and dreams, it is also full of intensity and danger. It is a time of contrasts – light and darkness, good and bad, noise and quiet. It turns out that a city full of life, energy and people can also be the loneliest place on earth.
Birth: Of het verlangen naar een wit gestreken overhemd, 1993, 12’, Noud Heerkens (35mm)
Extended elaboration on “Night”
cinema 2, h 19.30, University of Leiden Research Lab: Expectations of the Cinematic Space
Nowadays, with the arrival and quickly establishing streaming platforms such as Netflix and/or Amazon Prime as well as television, although quite compromised itself, the cinema as film viewing space is threatened more than ever. This topic has been discussed several times over the last years. Since the film program will be screened in an actual film theatre and the EYE Filmmuseum serves as a cinema, the program wants to celebrate the cinema as an actual space that was created for the sole purpose of watching films. The former Cineac in Reguliersbreestraat in Amsterdam will be the departing point for this program: once constructed as a filmtheater in 1934, the Cineac became a space that served a multitude of different purposes over the years since its inauguration until it became a casino. It is not only a metonym for the demise of the cinematic space in Amsterdam but also on a national as well as international level. Consequently, the film program will reflect on the Cineac with a self-made film remix about its history. Simultaneously, the screened films will invite the viewer to look at the cinematic space and its idea from a historical perspective and after that, will move to more abstract point of views which will make it possible to think about the actual physical space in rather temporal and spatial terms. This way, the audience can question what they expect individually from the cinema as a space and how their personal expectation is intrinsically tied to the future of the cinematic space.
Ernst Servaes work features several short films about Arthème. In the film chosen for the program Arthème wants to become a film operator. This artwork serves as a historical perspective on the cinematic space and offers some comical relief but also highlights with what initial idea the cinematic space was founded: to allow people to see films since they had no other way of seeing them. Since the film is silent it will be accompanied by Ringo Maurer on the piano playing ragtime music; a style that was typical for that time.
Marco Pando is interested in crossing the boundaries between his place of origin, South America, and Europe, his place of residence, in order to build an intercultural bridge between the two. His work in this program shows the facade of twelve cinemas in Lima. The cinemas in the film featured in this program are drawn with carbon which was used for the production of the 35mmm of the projector light in the 50s and 60s. This way, the films connects its own materiality with the depicted images, recycling material for which nowadays there is no use anymore. Pando’s reference is a historical perspective of something that has been but should not be forgotten.
Dutch artist Michiel van Bakel has made several films, videos as a well as sculptures. His work uses very technical approaches from the fields of photography, video and digital techniques while simultaneously emphasizing the environment and people featured in his films. Such is the case with Ozymandias, the film chosen for this program that is a metaphor for the passage of time. The film emphasizes the role of time and how space reacts to the impact time has on it. Therefore the question: how does the cinematic space react to the temporal development imposed on it? How does time affect the expectations of the audience?
The work of Austrian Billy Roisz focuses mostly on the relation between what can be seen in the image in relation to the sound accompanying the image. This way she brings into the question the effect both aspects of film have on each other and how they are interrelated. In Darkroom, Roisz plays with the idea of the cinema as a place immersed in the dark. It is an abstract take on the concept of the cinematic space and makes the viewer ask him/herself how the idea of darkness is connected to his/her expectations of the physical space of the cinema.
Astrid van Nimwegen is a Dutch artist who explores in many of her works the Dutch landscape. Her films often offer contemplative long shots of nature that give the viewer the possibility to observe not only the depicted images but moreover to engage cinematographically with what is shown on the screen. Garagedoors gives the viewer the impression of being in a (film) theatre.
Arthème Opérateur by Ernest Servaes, 1913, 6:50 min.
Servaes’s film shows Arthème who wants to become a film operator and tries to project a film in a cinema. Comical action arises when he is unable to do so and the people, obviously expecting to see moving images in the cinema, are starting to get upset.
The End of Cinema by Marco Pando, 2008, 6:10 min.
A homage of the Peruvian artist Pando to the cinemas of Lima built in the 50s and 60s. This silent film shows the facades of twelve cinemas that today are empty and deserted, ruins of their former grandeur. One cinema is painted only to collapse again and give way to another cinema.
Lethal Industry by Fabian Philippo, 2017, 17 min.
A film remix by Fabian Philippo that comprises of fragments from the EYE’s film archive as well as his own footage. Taking one of the former news cinema’s named Cineac as a case study, the film explores the building’s original function, its obsolescence and various reinterpretations. While jumping back and forth in time, it offers an historical perspective and additionally ponders on the building’s possible future.
Ozymandias by Michiel van Bakel, 2008, 1:53 min.
Van Bakel’s film shows two shots; both different in space in time. Time is altered and speeded up. This way time continues but the space stays the same, apparently. A clock is ticking at a central station while a constant flow of people is coming and leaving; a motorway full of cars while the day passes altered until it gets dark. Time seems unimpressed by the environment and the people inhabiting it while the latter two react to the the passage of time.
Darkroom by Billy Roisz, 2014, 13 min.
Complete darkness, eventually interrupted by casual flashlights revealing random details of the space: pipes, a Ficus-tree or a row of seats. Where are we? In the cinema or in a factory? Are the objects shown part of the on-screen space or part of a projected film on-screen?
Garagedoors Astrid van Nimwegen, 2013, 7:33 min.
A garage door is opening slowly revealing the framed image of a Dutch landscape. The only noises are natural ones: the wind, goose, etc. until the door/curtain closes again. The film consists in three acts, each one of them ending with a closing garage door leaving the viewer in complete darkness and making us aware of being tied to a seat in the cinematic darkness.
cinema 2, h 21.30, VjAcademy Research Lab: Innerspace
VjAcademy, located in Amsterdam, is the first dedicated postgraduate school for live video performers and video artists, also known as VJs. This young profession combines visual arts and stage arts by creating fluid semi-virtual words on screens around live stages and the performers thereon. Its best known form is the visual complement to electronic DJ acts at concerts and festivals.
Five VjAcademy students will contribute to Research Lab this year with their actual final exam performances. Their collection of performances ‘Innerspace’ uses visuals to synchronize what’s inside the spectator’s mind with their own mental world.
The students’ works use the EYE collection as starting points and are inspired by two powerful currents in today’s video art. The first current focuses on novel algorithms, which create perfect synchronicity between moving images and sound. Those associations are explored in works by Ginna Mora and Robin van Creij. The second current proposes immersive experiences, ways to erase the physical here-and-now and replacement of the reality with a virtual space through projection (to be experienced in works by Serina Giesbers and Henk Nijman).
Furthermore, we observe that themes touching on the natural world and works involving spectator-video interactivity resonate strongly with current generations of VJs, as will be seen in the projects by Nienke Mink, Robin Creij and Ginna Mora.
The Box by Serina Giesbers
Cardboard and wood, computer animations, digitally processed film footage, digital beamers, stereo boxes.
Serina Giesbers (1991) works as a 3D-artist and VJ. She’s interested in combining innovative 3D-software and hardware with traditional filmed imagery.
Inside The Box a sculpture is imprisoned, aching for freedom, longing to break its boundaries. A confrontation is inevitable, as these boundaries don’t intend to let anything pass just like that. Unwielding gatekeepers, these physical limitations are intent on keeping their treasure inside, and are willing to go all-out in the upcoming struggle.
The Box is a cube situated in one of the corners of the exhibition space. Projections reveal both the nature of the The Box, and what’s inside. The fight between inside and outside is visualised in an array of optical illusions and effects. Once the sculpture inside succeeds in breaking out, it rips apart its boundaries and manifest itself all over the wall in an intense audiovisual cry of triumph.
An intense and new experience is also what Serina Giesbers aims to offer the audience. She likes the idea that such experiences have dualistic nature: they exist only in a brief moment, yet they may leave a lasting impression. While looking for such experiences, are we trying to discover and explore our own world? Or are we trying to go beyond and to break free of our physical cage?
For this installation Serina Giesbers uses the VJ technique of 3D projection mapping. It’s a clever way to employ geometry and knowledge of optical depth perception to seemingly change the surface of e.g. buildings or stage objects. Colors and textures can be manipulated in the blink of an eye, but even the entire shape of the structure can seem to change and move. Or escape!
Control of the Animal Kingdom by Nienke Mink
Digitally processed wildlife recordings, live music and video performance, projection with digital beamer.
Nienke Mink (1990) loves to mix many media approaches and techniques and is a true allrounder.
In her project, Nienke Mink wants to reinvent the way we watch wildlife documentaries. After a journey to South Africa, she found that traditional documentaries lacked something essential as compared to real nature: the unexpected. It’s linear narrative based structure has become rigid and predictable. Using VJ improvisation techniques, Nienke invites us to a more realistic, unscripted experience.
For this she is teaming up with DJ/composer/producer YNDIAN, creating a live audiovisual
performance. She’s going to remix the wildlife footage she filmed during her journey in South Africa with matching EYE archive video samples. Abstract computer graphics will challenge the organic nature of the imagery during this performance. The same contrast is found in the electronic music by YNDIAN, which incorporates the sounds of traditional African music.
This approach not only disrupts the format of the documentary, but also of VJ-ing. Wildlife
documentaries imply an experience convention that is close to cinema: the viewer sits down and spends thirty minutes or more in focussed attention watching a linear narrative. The music score, regardless of its quality, is very much secondary. This is in sharp contrast with the usual VJ experience: music first, no linear narrative, no focussed attention of the audience on the images.
What happens if you set both senses on equal footing attention-wise? A dangerous journey into the unknown for both artists is about to start: are you going to join them?
Between Nothing and Nothing by Henk Nijman
Computer animations, digitally processed film footage, music track, projection with digital beamer.
Audio by Julian Theelen and Ivo Statinski.
Henk Nijman (‘Shurly’, 1983) works in Zutphen as a motion designer and VJ. His projects are centered around abstract, often vibrantly colored 3D-animations. In this project he combines his obsession for both abstract and cosmological space.
Between Nothing and Nothing is all about perspective. Can you be or mean something, anything of substance in the perspective of the vastness of time and space? To find out, Henk Nijman wants to immerse the audience in a hallucinating visualisation of the birth and death of the cosmos. The piece is a journey through time in abstract computer generated images entwined with parts of EYE’s Bits & Pieces collection.
It starts in a totally dark room in which one senses nothing at all except for one’s own being. No sound, no light, just darkness. From this darkness a sound will be slowly penetrating the ears, and while one may wonder what it could be, a tiny touch of light enters the room. The slowly increasing sounds are accompanied by ever intensifying colors. The two appear to be intimately connected.
What are these sounds, what is the meaning behind these colors? The visitor will be guided, in an extraordinary way, both through sound- and lightwaves, from barren primordial nothingness to a time far in the future where nothing is left, with in between: pure imagination!
Biological visual music by Ginna Mora
Computer animated illustrations, digitally processed film footage, synced live music and video performance, projection with digital beamer
Ginna Mora (1981), also known as ‘Synaesthesik’, is a graphic designer and visual artist who got her name in the Argentinian VJ scene in 2009. During her Master studies in Communication, she was focused examining the synesthesia phenomenon and the function of the visual stimuli in the multi-sensory experience of electronic music performances. She finds that in an era when the image is the protagonist, and the people seek deeper stimuli, the mission of Vjs should be to generate a synesthetic state in the public.
Biological visual music explores the Synesthesia phenomenon through the music of techno producer ‘Biological’ and the translation of his music into moving images.
Three visual approaches together define the style of ‘Biological’: Microorganisms, Geometry and Technology. Organic and geometric compositions will dance on the screen in constant transmutation. The content is created with an amalgam of different audiovisual techniques and sources: motion graphics, EYE archive film (‘Daphnia’ and ‘Malaria’), and compositions made in a visual programming environment. Ginna Mora uses a combination of DJ and VJ software to merge music and visuals into one composition, finding elements that both languages (music/visual) share, together creating a synchronized stimulation of ears and eyes. During the performance, the images are triggered in real time using Resolume, modulated and altered with effects by midi events sent through OSC from Ableton live.
Ginna will in person give an explanation of the synaesthesia phenomenon and analyze some of the codes that Music and Visual expression have in common, such as harmony, rhythm, frequency, silence. These elements allow her to create a visual interpretation that is more deeply connected to the music, creating deeper experiences for the audience.
cinema 2, h 23.00 – Award ceremony.