After last yearʼs initiation of Slovak participation in Other Visions, there is a second year and new excitement for whatʼs come; how surprising it will be and who will be drawn into a vision of confrontation with the Czech environment. Scepticism, which Martin Kaňuch mentioned a year ago, persists, but that does not mean there is no creative potential in Slovakia. Although the sixteen pieces counted donʼt add up to a windfall – there are still no names on the Slovak scene from the established middle-generation of visual arts – there is no need to hang oneʼs head, since a collection of young artists (up to 35 years old) has much to offer.
I decided to select the eight videos for the final round with the maim criterion being the conceptual clarity and compactness of the final work. Videos which were more like an exercise in a given topic and technique (self-portraiture, morphing, animation) were ruled out, I also ruled out too much descriptiveness or ideological emptiness, as well as attempts at a narrative genre which would better suit a different festival (for example, Brnoʼs 16). In the final selection, we find (seemingly) simple and playful videos (Chaos/Order, Calibration) and formally mature artistic concepts (A Reason to Stay, Nylon Context), poetic-meditative considerations (The Zoom World, Paradoxical Happiness 2) and space intervention (PRIVATe, With Valie).
An overview of the submitted films and the assembled series offers interesting findings, such as the predominance of female artists. Chance? Or is it an area with overfeminized culture and art behind it, as Jana Kapelová points out in her collective performance on this and its result: precarity. After all, artistic operation, the social sphere (volunteer, integrative-educational, therapeutic... (Daniela Krajčová) and identity, corporeality and body, even the virtual and non-biological (Dominika Koššová), are usually connected with the “typical female agenda”. They want to connect us with invisible nylon fibre.
“Nylon moon, (s)he repeated, but this time it only meant PROJECT. Perhaps they are inviting her to implement the final version. And even if (s)he did not... (S)he drummed on the frame, longing for a future pause and their good drafting tools. (S)he lit once more, and then, almost without a thought, looked up at the yellow sphere, the shape of all shapes.” (Jaroslava Blažková, E. F.)
Other Visions (SK) 2017 – I
block of experimental ﬁlms / 2016 – 2017 / Slovakia / 73 min.
Krajina zoomu / The Zoom World
Director: Martin Zlievsky / 2017 / 14 min.
By shooting and enlarging the surface of objects, Antonioni s film character – Thomas, the photographer, – attempted more than a half century ago to discover what was hidden beneath them. Magnification revealed some secrets but at the same time it made things even more unclear. Analogue magnification with its characteristic grain noise was replaced by digital macro lenses with geometric computer pixels. Such is the landscape of Martin Zlievsky which, in the eyes of the viewer, flows like an electronic binary river or rain, and rotates and changes into mysterious geometric shapes.
S Valie / With Valie
Director: Dominika Koššová / 2016 / 34 min.
Who does not know the Austrian visual artist Valie EXPORT and her body configurations from the 1970s, in which she copied parts of urban architecture with her body? Dominika Koššová, as a „google user“, uses selected figures and liberates them from their original feminist context (a pliable female body subordinate to a mainly male-dominated public space) and through them examines the Internet interface. The video is part of a free triptych: With Marina (Abramović) and With Bruce (Nauman).
Paradoxical Happiness 2
Director: Milan Mazúr / 2017 / 9 min.
The author continues to look for paradoxical forms of happiness. He mixes his favourite shots of an F1 depot, simulated crushes with test dummies and wild beasts. At the same time he looks at tense, seemingly dangerous situations purely aesthetically. He puts them into a dream structure among sleeping or relaxed people. Meditatively slowed-down scenes appear to emerge from the stratosphere and evoke familiar scenes – from Warhol (Car Crash) and Marker (Ramp), through Kubrick (2001: Space Odyssey) and Cronenberg (Crash) to Trier (Melancholia).
Nylonové súvislosti / Nylon Context
Director: Jana Kapelová / 2017 / 16 min.
What is it like to live with art students and art historians? No, this is not a new part of a favourite TV series. Jana Kapelová focuses on institutional criticism (for example the video installation Kunsthalle – A Summary Report on the State of the Institution, 2011/2012), and this time she addresses the issue of precariousness – the economic uncertainty mainly experienced by women in over-feminized, socially and financially underestimated areas of culture. As in Kunsthalle, this consists of simulated dialogues and the real statements of women-colleague shaped into the dorm of collective performance.
Other Visions (SK) 2017 – II
block of experimental ﬁlms / 2016 – 2017 / Slovakia / 70 min.
Chaos / Order
Director: Kriss Sagan / 2017 / 2 min.
How would the colour spots that Len Lye once painted directly onto a reel of film look today? Would they be like computer figures dancing to the rhythm, not of Caribbean jazz, but of electronic, atmospheric, and even hypnotic music.
PRIVÁTe / PRIVATe
Director: Dominika Koššová / 2017 / 13 min.
One apartment and several inhabitants. Community housing transposed into moving performance. Situations occur in crowded communal areas and even smaller private rooms. Where does public and private space begin and end?
Director: Andrea Uváčiková / 2017 / 3 min.
“ʻAbstronicʼ is something that Lewis Carroll would call a briefcase world. It comes from the first half of the world ʻabstractionʼ and the second half of the world ʻelectronicʼ. The letter ʻrʼ is a lucky coincidence, the hinge to both parts. The term ʻabstronicʼ was recommended to me by Albert Tomkins and conveniently implies the following fact: today, an artist is able to aestethically manifest and present the otherwise invisible events of the subatomic world, and to control and organize them through film into interesting and meaningful visual experience.” (Mary Ellen Bute, Abstronic, 1954)
Dôvod zostať / A Reason to Stay
Director: Daniela Krajčová / 2016 / 52 min.
Six stories; six intimate portraits of male and female immigrants seeking asylum in Slovakia. Daniela Krajčová has been dealing with the issue of social inclusion for a long time – based on participative activities, drawings and videos. She unfolds these stories in the form of animation, where she layers the character (their desires, hopelessness and loneliness) with the well-known urban (Bratislava) environment, creating a contrast between the inner and outer world with its façade being a difficult to overcome barrier with a complex bureaucratic system and prevailing distrust.
The selection titled Other Visions SK 2017 was originally compiled for the 16th Festival of Film Animation and Contemporary Art (December 7 – 10, Olomouc, Czech Republic). All the texts accompanying these films (including their English versions) were acquired from the catalogue of the aforementioned event, as were the words of the compiler of this selection, Eva Filová.