Fatima Lasay on Wed, 17 Oct 2001 22:32:39 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> DMF2001: Borderless Art

DMF2001: Borderless Art
By Fatima Lasay

MANILA, Philippines - As the United States launched the air attacks
October 7 in Afghanistan, I had just welcomed three foreign guests at the
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for the Digital Media Festival
2001 (DMF2001). I greeted Japanese film and video artist Takahiko Iimura
and his art coordinator Kazuyo Yasuda at the Philippine Airlines
Centennial Airport Terminal and fineArt forum's (fAf) editor-in-chief
Nisar Keshvani from Singapore at the NAIA Terminal 1. As I saw their faces
for the first time, I affirmed that art (and not war) is borderless.

Our first stop was my mother's home to meet with members of my family,
then a quick visit to the Festival venue, the Corredor Gallery of the
University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts (UPCFA). As Kazuyo
handed me prints of Taka's installation video and CD-ROM works to be
mounted in the gallery, and as Taka sat before the iMac and started
clicking on the mouse, I grew to believe more in the calming and unifying
power of being passionate of a gift that bridges cultures.

Monday October 8, DMF2001 opened with ribbon-cutting ceremonies headed by
UP Diliman Chancellor Emerlinda Roman with UPCFA Dean Virginia B. Dandan,
Taka, Nisar and myself. Artists' Talks with Jim Ayson, Ben Razon, Al
Manrique and Lionel Valdellon followed, covering topics from digital
photography, digital art to electronic music. Tuesday's highlights were
fineArt forum's Travelling Screening Program, Nisar's lecture, Taka's
video, film and work on CD-ROM, lunch with the college executive board, a
workshop-demo on non-linear video editing, and a night at the UP Film
Center to see "The Harp of Burma" and meet with the Japanese ambassador to
the Philippines.

Wednesday, Ronnie Millevo conducted the DMF2001 Flash workshop, and we
moved on to Manila for the Metropolitan Museum, the Cultural Center of the
Philippines and the GSIS Museum. We passed by the US Embassy and saw the
protest rally, experienced heavy traffic, saw the slum areas, the street
children, the high rise buildings, the shopping malls; we had Starbucks
coffee, Chinese food, local buffet dinner, Lebanese lunch; while in the
morning papers it's always the war offshore, the conflict down south,
anthrax, the political and economic crisis. It is easy to feel how swiftly
and mindlessly the world moves around us and it is even easier to become
trapped into its roundabout journey, to sit hypnotized as if in front of
the screen watching a (very bad) movie. Then some of us snap out of that
trance and live in a borderless world that respects and actively bridges
cultures with the purpose of making life better through art.

Thursday and Friday of DMF2001 were devoted to videos - outstanding videos
by mostly young artists from all across the globe. We screened Multimedia
Art Asia Pacific's "Oil Friction" and "Excess" videos from China and
Australia; a second look at fAf's one-hour program from Malaysia, New
Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Philippines, France, Taiwan and USA; we
also looked at artists' videos sent in from Romania, Greece, USA, and
Australia.  Throughout the Thursday screenings in the dimmed Corredor
Gallery, the movement and scenes in Margaret Roberts' "Cook East Cook
West" installation video seemed constantly to serve as our window to the
fast moving outside world.

The screenings, especially the fAf Screening Program which focused on rich
cultural digital content, reinvigorated enthusiasm in video art at the
University and encouraged many young video artists to pursue excellence in
their work. With technical assistance from Computer Devices Corporation, I
am currently working on a modernization plan for the video art elective
course with Prof. Benjie Cabangis, aiming to acquire funding for new and
better equipment for digital video editing in UPCFA. We all have our
fingers crossed.

Also throughout the event, computers served artists' CD-ROMs and websites
from Brazil, Argentina, Germany, USA, Estonia, Australia, Hong Kong,
Philippines, Romania, Slovenia, Thailand, Canada and Japan. Experimental
and electronic music from Japan and Gavin Prior's Lachrymal of Ireland
played in the background.

Audience favorites include Australian Michelle Glaser, Andrew Hutchison
and Marie-Louise Xavier's CD-ROM-based interactive narrative "Juvenate"
which transformed the hand's movement on the mouse into a healing touch on
the screen images. German Wilfried Agricola de Cologne's "Moving Picture
Collection" also sparked special interest particularly the
piece"Divisionistic Approach"; and Brazilian Wilton Azevedo's
"Interpoesia"  (with Philadelpho Menezes) introduced the new reading and
authorship involved in interpoetry while Palm Poetry Reading, the UPCFA
students' entry to the 2nd Interpoetry Exhibition in Brazil, also
presented in DMF2001, actively participated in the exchange of new ideas
in the digital poetry genre. The portrait and the music in French Gustavo
Kortsarz's "Vanarsky / Toporgraphie" digital video also brought eyes and
ears to attention.

The CD-ROM based works and Taka's migration from film and video to CD-ROM
(spanning over 35 years of dedicated work from analog to digital media)  
also served as challenge and inspiration to a number of video and
filmmakers here. The possibilities of creating interactive work from film
and video content provided the catalyst for getting more artists involved
in interactive and digital technologies.

In DMF2001, we had also worked closely with the UP Computer Center through
their director Prof. Roel Ocampo and the Diliman Network (DilNet) which
provided fast and uninterrupted internet connection and live streaming

I am currently "de-stressing" myself, writing emails and postcards to all
who helped in DMF2001, preparing to send out catalogs to all the artists
involved in the event, putting the event aftermath little by little into
the DMF2001 website. All the stress and hard work has been worth it and
art has proven again to be a weapon for peace never comparable nor to be
traded for bombs or a lackadaisical weekend watching CNN. And we move on
to DMF2002 ...

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo@bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime@bbs.thing.net