Parallel Visions - Mad Lab Manchester

Mad Lab Manchester
Saturday 24th of September 2011
From 2pm to 7pm

36-40 Edge Street
Manchester M4 1HN

Parallel Visions
The screening comprises video works by Canadian and Mexican contemporary artists grouped under two main threads. On the one hand, the selection of video works by Canadian artists engage in a deep exploration and de-construction of the image, thus creating contemplative compositions that most of the time resists symbolic representation. Some of these works reflect on the process of observation and the construction of the image, pushing forward the question of the artist's plastic intervention of digital media.
On the other hand, the selection of works by Mexican artists mobilizes the notion of appropriation. Some of the works are single-channel videos, direct recordings of public actions and circumstantial events, while others are adaptations of video-installations and documentaries. Together, they explore places, dynamics, and characters which reconfigure both, space and social practices in Mexico City. Persistently, they investigate diverse forms or appropriation and occupation by artists, street vendors, and parking lot guys called the “viene-viene,” as they create subjective narratives and dynamics that are neither official not underground, but forms of coexistence that are central to revert social and economic inequalities.
Parallel Visions thus suggests a multiplicity of perspectives which run side by side, without necessary crossing. The two programs put forward conceptual and aesthetic connections and disconnections that coincide in spatial terms―after all the artists are based in Montreal, and Mexico City, respectively―and yet respond to an inquiry on the notion of intervention that emerged after the selection of video works by Canadian artists was completed. When this same concept was formulated in relation to the work of Mexican artists, the strategies and aesthetics changed, thus activating other meanings and forms of intervention and appropriation.
Erandy Vergara. 2011

Parallel Visions is a screening of Canadian and Mexican videoworks co-curated by Erandy Vergara and Ima Picó. The selection by Canadian artists was completed during a research residency at Studio XX, in Montreal with the collaboration of Groupe Intervention Video and Perte de Signal.

Erandy Vergara is a PhD student in the Doctoral Program in Art History at McGill University. She has participated in numerous curatorial projects, among them “Curating Mexican Video Art: A Historical Survey” held at the Laboratorio Arte Alameda as part of the exhibition (Ready)Media: Towards an archeology of Media and Invention in Mexico, (2010) and has co-curated the exhibition Fake it! at Studio XX, Montreal, Canada (2010) and the video programme “Videomix: Dancing” at La Casa Encendida Gallery in Madrid, Spain (2006).

Ima Pico is a visual artist and curator based in Manchester. She undertakes curatorial projects under the name of black duck to promote the work of contemporary artists to an international audience. Projects include participation in festivals, international exchanges, exhibitions and events.

This project has been possible thanks to DIVERSITY ART FORUM:
DIVERSITY ART FORUM is an organization that supports art projects nationally and internationally. It is the diversity of the medium rather than cultural background of artists or groups that Diversity Art Forum is interested in. Diversity Art Forum aims to encourage various debates in the projects it supports.

Programme (Canada):

N’acre explores crackles and sparkles in a kind of chromatic sputter that suggests a pause in our viewing. For the video image evokes a contemplative dimension, even a form of stasis in our reception of it. As filmmaker Anthony McCall pointed out, “when we look and listen to a video or movie, we enter into the elsewhere of the animated image, and we leave our physical body behind us, rooted in the place.” Which is to say that every image is a ubiquitous device: to look at it is in some sense to be not entirely there.

N'acre - Myriam Bessette
02:18 min
At dusk, a camera pans and shuffles on a ridge between two valleys. The sounds in the valley is an envelope standing between this horizon and us.

Babayan - Frédérick A. Belzile 
Hiémal is a series of three short dance videos. Audrée Juteau and Carla Soto constructed the latter from improvisations. The camera is like a part of the dancer´s bodies. They don´t see what they are filming.

Aurélie Pedron - Hiémal
Hail the failure of urban planning
Hail the failure of urban is a possibility of creation and constraint through a visual movement as an urban dweller. Accompanying the visual movement is a text of tenets of urban practice, both sincere and ironic.

Kim Kielhofner -Hail the failure of urban planning
Stasis (video) - mountain
The process of creation and mastery of the medium are crucial to Pavitra Wickramasinghe. Accordingly, the technology used in her work is never neutral; it explores and reflects the process of making and the act of viewing. Stasis was made by taping a single long shot of a distant mountain; the camera started in tight and over 2:37 minutes it pulled back until the mountain was a tiny indistinguishable smudge in the middle of the image. After, the artist edited every single frame back to the original composition of the mountain, thus, blowing the image up as much as necessary to fill the screen. Hence, the crisp, clear image slowly dematerialize into pixels.

Pavitra Wickramasinghe - Stasis (video) - mountain
Passage, crosses, line and a fixed plan. Link is around the themes of the linearity and time that this video registers. Sound space is built while crossing the image via the line. 
In this work, Rajotte works with the planes and the confusing composition caused by the reflection of a water back; as she integrates aural and visual data, the image unfolds in a dreamlike space and time.

Nelly-Ève Rajotte’ - Link
Anoxi | La synthèse
Theorists of digital art have discussed the similarity of precinematic and postcinematic practices (such as early chronophotograhy and Quicktime video clips). The abstractions created by Robin Dupuis, such as Anoxi, can be understood as examining this connection in an aesthetic manner, but following and creating new forms and rhythms with the possibilities of the digital instrument. In Anoxi the elements in the picture are melting into new forms, separating and coming together in continuous transformation and variation. 
Mika Taanila, Avanto, Helsinki

Robin Dupuis - Anoxi | La synthèse

Programme (Mexico):

Occupation (Ocupación) 
Ocupación is an action arising from the occupation of space for vehicular traffic, using the body, understood as a carrier and noise generator. The main idea is to walk instead of taking a car, taking into advantage of traffic congestion in cities. To perform the action was developed a portable kit with a choice of 7 different car horns. A control on the arm is used to activate of the devices. On an area of heavy congestion such as downtown Mexico, the artist’s action creates tension among car drivers, who are forced to slow down as she occupies a vital space that can get them a few meters closer to their destinies.

Marcela Armas - Occupation
La Raza (From the series 3 Line) 
Zapata and La Raza are two works from the series Three Line, a DVD exploring the subway line running through Mexico City’s north (Indios Verdes station) to south (Universidad station). As most of the Three Line stations are named after key events of Mexican History, Bruno Varela uses it to reflect on its fractures and unofficial histories. La Raza station is located at the intersection of Vallejo avenue and Insurgents avenue, and it is named after a monument devoted to the Aztec race (Monumento a la Raza). Varela’s video, however, refers to “la raza” in its popular meaning, which refers to the Mexican people, as supported by film footage of Mexico de mi corazon (1963), on a scene where the main characters interpret popular song “Soy puro mexicano.” Zapata, on the other hand, mixes found images and film footage of the 1952 movie Viva Zapata!, starring Marlon Brando as the Mexican revolutionary who led a rebellion against dictator Porfirio Diaz, Emiliano Zapata. Central to these works is the notion of appropriation, as all material is downloaded from the internet: movies, documentaries, amateur videos, and recordings are recycled and re-used to critically explore the current meaning of national symbols, and its appropriation in the production of an alien cultural product.

Bruno Varela - La raza
Zapata (From the series 3 Line)
Bruno Varela - Zapata
Heyyoulistentome (¿si o no papi?) 
This work involves a street characters commonly known as “viene-viene” (a squeegee), who cleans car windows at red lights to earn a living, and also arbitrarily appropriates parking places on the street, charging drivers for parking on “their” places. From an idle and childish dynamic (like smacking a friend with a cleaning rag), this video goes deeper into an ominous scenario that poses questions about our existence, particularly inside the complex, violent and confusing relationships existing between the different social structures of Mexican culture. To mention a few: What is it behind the apparent simulation of leisure and debauchery? Where are the limits between joking and excess? It is important to point out the implicit relationship that exists among these characters, and the artist as a participant on this dynamic, revealing a complicity between the lines that cannot be stated but that inevitably gives way to desire.

Yellow Capitalism - Abel Carranza  (Capitalismo Amarillo - Abel Carranza) 
The production of certain goods and devices in Mexico City, render ideals regarding democratic and empowering access to technology as the very means of challenging dominant narratives coming from technologically-driven societies. This documentary focuses on Abel Carranza, member of the “Fantastic Twins,” a team devoted to the production of speakers-backpacks used by subway vendors. This work is part of Izquierdo’s project Yellow capitalism (Capitalismo amarillo), which critically addresses capitalists conditions of production and consumption, along its failures and contradictions. An important part of this project has been devoted to researching the Mexican black market: its products, its producers, as well as its strategies of production and distribution of pirate merchandise.

Jota Izquierdo - Capitalismo amarillo - Abel Carranza
Iván Edeza
Typography (Tipografía) 
Typography offers a journey through marginalized neighbourhoods, in which “sonideros” and popular bands (most commonly cumbia, norteño, and rock) have taken over empty walls to promote their events. On white walls painted with lime, the colourful fonts mix with graffiti and messages of the community have become the landmark of Mexico City's frontiers.

Iván Edeza - Tipografía
Tianguis II 
05:15 min
This video is a constant play on perspective and duplicity; a double image of a tour of a street market’s empty stalls. Despite the emptiness of the type of commodities available in these portable structures there is an attempt to compare these means of illegal distribution with the omnipresence of TV transmission antennae in the city’s life. The aim is to juxtapose one means of distribution with another. These markets have also been documented from the air, resorting to a biological metaphor of the infection of the state’s body.

Melanie Smith/ Rafael Ortega - Tianguis II



Azucena Losana
Ultra-vision (2005)
On this documentary Elba tells her story as the leader of a music band composed by blind musicians. Everyday, they perform at public squares, parks and subway stations in Mexico City's downtown.

Azucena Losana - Ultravision

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