Conversations Around Moving Image Istanbul 2014.

Exclusive interviews taken by Sabin Bors

In the Moving Image Series

On March 5, 2015, Moving Image art fair will open again in New York to offer its visitors a unique viewing experience and the vitality of a fair by featuring a selection of international commercial galleries and non-profit institutions presenting single-channel videos, single-channel projections, video sculptures, and other large video installations. The fair’s curatorial board includes Paula Alzugaray (independent curator, São Paulo, Brazil), Robert D. Bielecki (collector and president of the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation), Alice Gray Stites (21c Museum Director, Louisville, KY), Sylvain Levy (professor at Shanghai University, art collector specialised in Chinese Contemporary Art, DSLcollection, Paris, France), and Arja Miller (chief curator, KIASMA Museum, Helsinki, Finland).

This event takes place only six months after the fair’s edition in Istanbul, September 25-28, 2014, where anti-utopias was invited for an exclusive take on the fair and the participants. Following our conversation with Edward Winkleman and Murat Orozobekov, the co-founders of Moving Image, we discussed with some of the participants about the relevance of the Moving Image art fair and the uniqueness of video as an artistic medium: with Paula Alzugaray (independent curator, São Paulo, Brazil) and Sabine Brunckhorst (collector, Hamburg, Germany) about their perspective on the fair from a curator’s and a collector’s perspective, and with gallerists Serra Pradhan (Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY, USA), Catharine Clark (Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco, CA, USA), Barbara Polla (Galerie Analix Forever, Paris, France), Catlin Moore (Mark Moore Gallery, Culver City, CA, USA), Wagner Lungov (CENTRAL Galeria de Arte, São Paulo, Brazil), Nancy Atakan (5533, Istanbul, Turkey), Lise Li (Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai, China), Kelani Nichole (TRANSFER, Brooklyn, NY, USA), Asli Sumer (.artSümer, Istanbul, Turkey), and Feza Velicangil (Sanatorium, Istanbul, Turkey) about their perspective on the fair and video as an artistic medium.

 

Moving Image, general exhibition view. Image courtesy of Moving Image. Used here by kind permission. All rights reserved.
Moving Image, general exhibition view. Image courtesy of Moving Image. Used here by kind permission. All rights reserved.

Sabin BorsWhat were your choices for the fair and what was the decisive factor to choose these specific works? Do they reflect a broader context or did you focus your selection on specific aspects?

Paula Alzugaray: Nino Cais is a very contemporary artist, in the sense that he experiments different procedures and languages to deal with his big issue: the mediation between body and space. Paradoxically (and precisely because of that), his video pieces dialogue in a profound way with the Brazilian first generation of moving image artists. This aspect gives his work a fertile complexity, representative of the contemporary state of Brazilian art.

Sabine Brunckhorst: The works I selected share in common that they have irritating aspects and a kind of mysterious character for me, initialising and leaving open spaces for new views and thoughts. Besides this, they all have a graphic, drawing-like dimension and soundtracks that interested me. Technologia by Mounir Fatmi is a work that attracted me immediately by creating a distance unto all normal viewing habits and opening up a new space. Being less familiar with seeing arabic ornaments, this brings another interesting aspect for me. In reference to art history, it reminds me of early Len Lye works, which I appreciate very much. The rapid change of the drawings reminded me of stroboscopic effects, demanding increased attention. It also reminded me of one of Carsten Nicolai’s earlier works, Rota. Rob Carter’s Sun City relates to my interests in architecture and its history. The combination of photographic material and collage-like animation, symbols, abstraction and reality forms a narrative that can be seen under environmental, architectonical aspects, but can also be enjoyed as a surprising story. Works on abandoned places have an important place in my collection, hence my immediate interest in Allard van Hoorn’s 001 Urban Songline... The outside view on the building, then showing its emptiness inside, already brings up thoughts about the possible history of the building. The skater’s choreography, drawing lines with his board and leaving graphics on the ground, inspires new life to this space. The changing perspectives and the strong soundtrack also lead to a very special viewing rhythm.

Sabin BorsDo you think a collector’s choices might provide an alternate perspective compared to a curator’s selection? If so, in what way? What are the things you are looking for at an artwork, from a collector’s point of view?

Sabine Brunckhorst: Alternate, no, I don’t think so. It is just a totally different thing, as I do not have the complete exhibition in mind and do not create any kind of choreography. Artworks must interest me for a long period of time, since I never sold a piece so far. Beauty or attractiveness alone are not reasons enough to buy a piece. They should disturb me. Sometimes I fall immediately in love with a piece, sometimes I really don’t like it at the beginning, but cannot get it out of my head. Then it also must fit into my collection.

Sabin BorsCan the curatorial experiment proposed by Moving Image reflect the dynamics of the international art scene?

Paula Alzugaray: Sure. This is a platform that reflects all the diversity that is being experimented all over the world, outside the main art centres. And it’s quite good to see how these experiments dialogue. As, for example, Nino Cais’ piece Untitled (Shirt) (2004) and Shaun Gladwell’s Study of Stillness and Balance (2014). It’s amazing to see how these two video performances position the body in relation to aspects of contemporary subjectivity, exploring the physical immobility. And how they do so using emblematic elements of everyday urban life: the bike and the suit.

Sabine Brunckhorst: I think it can extend the views, specially when involving private collectors who may recommend lesser known artists from their personal surroundings alongside international artists who are already presented and well-known in many countries, like Hans op de Beeck or Shaun Gladwell, and I think this combination gives a certain freshness which could be seen as dynamic.

Sabin BorsDo you think seeing these moving image based works at a fair is a social experience, similar to watching films? How relevant is the event itself, how it happens, how the work is projected and if people see it in the case of video and digital art?

Paula Alzugaray: Even though we have here video pieces that deal with storytelling (HeeWon Lee, Zeyno Pekünlü), I definitely don’t see these moving image based works as a social experience similar to watching films. A particular and substantial aspect of the pieces exposed here is their function as sensorial and perception propositions (or even experiments of time, like in Wolfgang Staehle’s piece), in which the spectator is a participative part of. I would say the video is a kind of psychological space.

Sabine Brunckhorst: No, I do not think it is a cinema-like social experience. I have previously been to two editions of the Moving Image fair before. I met some other collectors I knew, but when it came to watching the works we generally did it alone; maybe also because everybody has a different viewing tempo. But it is very important to have conversations about the works you see. Sometimes I went back to see a piece again, after somebody told me his point of view about it. The event is important, as there are not so many video specialised fairs/shows, like Videonale in Bonn or Loop in Barcelona where you see really new works. Of course, there can be overwhelming forms of presenting a piece like showing it alone in a room on a wider screen. Having several works together in a room, which may disturb each other with their soundtracks, can be annoying, but as I go there to get an overview on what is new, I just do not care too much. But for people who are not yet into this art form, it might be relevant to have a quiet viewing possibility.

Sabin BorsHow has the use of video changed in past years, in terms of an artistic practice and the use of media, from your perspective as curator and collector? What do you feel comes in the next few years?

Paula Alzugaray: Video still works as a common field among all artistic languages. It can be an interface with literature, theatre, dance, sculpture, as in Florian Japps’s piece at the fair. But, most of all, it’s a vehicle to conceptual art. Video continues to be the best way to face social structures and gender stereotypes, like in Elena Kovylina’s Equality (2014), or institutional critics, like in Gizem Karakaș’s piece Attention! Attention! (2014), where the artist depicts her dialogues with art system agents.

Sabine Brunckhorst: I feel many artists are using video as an additional format, specially when it comes to performance art, which has become much more important in the last years because video is a way to preserve and present the work. Today it is easy to watch/show works on screens or with a small beamer. The equipment you need is so much easier to handle. You can even copy works on your tablet and take them with you to show them to somebody or if you want to have a piece with you when you go on vacations. I imagine you can put works in a cloud and then present them whenever you are online. With works I buy on Sedition it is already like this.

Sabin BorsWhat are, in your opinion, the criteria in relation to what actually constitutes a quality or relevant video / digital work of art?

Paula Alzugaray: Difficult to say. So many aspects influence quality. Maybe the main is its relevance to the social and political aspects of life. And, surely, the way the artist manages to say what she/he wants, with surprise and simplicity.

Sabine Brunckhorst: The work should be thought as video/digital work and should not be a documentation. For me, it is still a visual art form even when it also has a lot to do with sound and installation. My criteria is that every film still must be interesting to see, as if it was a photographic work.

Sabin BorsCan video and digital art today reflect the challenges posed by the awakening of social creativity and social concerns in a more profound way compared to other artistic media or practices?

Paula Alzugaray: I think so, maybe because of its permeability to other languages, as I mentioned before.

Sabin BorsHow does one collect a moving image based work of art?

Sabine Brunckhorst: My collection is based in our private apartment. I do not have a special showroom. So if you buy a digital art piece, you get a certificate, a master and a DVD or stick; very easy to keep, even if you do not have much space. As I said, today you have a wide range of small beamers, flat screens, tablets, or computer screens available, so it can be a quite room saving form of collecting.

Jonathan Monaghan / Curator’s Office (Washington DC, USA). Image courtesy of Moving Image. Used here by kind permission. All rights reserved.
Jonathan Monaghan / Curator’s Office (Washington DC, USA). Image courtesy of Moving Image. Used here by kind permission. All rights reserved.

Sabin Bors: What is it that you find attractive about Moving Image and the Istanbul edition in particular?

Serra Pradhan / Marianne Boesky Gallery: The format encourages collectors to experience the video works at their own pace, outside of the more frenetic environment of a standard art fair and without a dealer hovering over you. Participating in the Istanbul edition of Moving Image appealed to us because on a prior visit to Turkey, we found Turkish collectors very open to video and other media.

Catharine Clark / Catharine Clark Gallery: Since my gallery has showcased time based media in the gallery since its inception in 1991, I am attracted to participating in a fair that focuses on video, so Moving Image is a good forum for the artists I represent, whose work takes the form of video. I was last in Istanbul in 1989, and the city has changed a lot, particularly relative to contemporary art. Over the years I have followed some of the developments in the Turkish art scene, and I would like to be involved and participate in the wider conversation about contemporary art that includes awareness and engagement with artists whose practices are in other countries, like Turkey. Many years ago I had the opportunity to show the work of Turkish video artist Kutlag Ataman, which gave me further entrée into the concerns of at least one Turkish artist’s mind, and inspired me to want to learn more about the art community in Turkey in general and in Istanbul in particular.

Barbara Polla / Galerie Analix Forever: This is a video only art fair and video does deserve that special attention. Istanbul is a vibrant place in every respect and in contemporary art particularly – and video! Moving Image Istanbul is an utopia…

Catlin Moore / Mark Moore Gallery: Moving Image is the only art fair that exclusively focuses on video art. For us, this is extremely important, as a number of our program artists are working in this medium, but do not always benefit from being included in the traditional art fair booth. Guests of other fairs we participate in oftentimes do not allocate enough time to properly focus on a video work in a busy fair setting, and it feels as if the works get lost in the chaos of the event. In Moving Image’s hands, each guest is greeted with the appropriate setting and context in which these works operate best and thrive. Additionally, Moving Image provides thoughtful programming in each edition that addresses how this genre of art is evolving in commercial, global, and technological capacities – all of which are central (and larger) issues to us as gallerists. Istanbul was appealing because it is a completely new, untapped audience for our gallery. I have read quite a bit of material about how the city embraces video art, and since we have participated in several other iterations of Moving Image, I was eager for the opportunity to expand our visibility in this region.

Wagner Lungov / CENTRAL Galeria de Arte: I have been interested in the Turkish art market due to many similar aspects when compared to Brazil, and found Moving Image to be a good opportunity to come over and get to know some of its actors, whether collectors, artists or other gallerists. A good surprise that I was not counting on, is the possibilities it offers to interact with other gallerists from all around the world.

Nancy Atakan / 5533: Video work done at 5533 has always resulted from a process and as an exploration into a questioning of issues relevant to current work in progress. In 2008, for the opening at 5533, with the help of two people working at that time as student assistants, Didem Yazıcı and Hanife Ölmez, we made two videos, Neighbors I and II. Our third video was an interview with IMC’s architect, Doğan Tekeli. When Murat Orozokekov asked to preview our video work, we initially showed newly edited versions of these to him. Then in the summer, he asked to visit 5533. Before his arrival, we chose to complete Any Questions? This video resulted from work presently in progress at 5533, a collaboration with Özge Ersoy, Merve Ünsal, Ali Taktık, and Özden Demir. Why did we complete a new project? Firstly, Murat gave us his time and came to visit our space. Secondly, we thought that if Moving Images believed in 5533 enough to give us a booth in their event, then we wanted to show a new video.

Lise Li / Vanguard Gallery: We work with many young artists who create videos and animations, so a professional video art fair is the proper way to promote their works and is also good to promote us as a gallery working together with new media artists. We have no idea about Istanbul and only know this fair, which takes place in Istanbul, so we try to do our best.

Kelani Nichole / TRANSFER: This is TRANSFER’s third time presenting as part of Moving Image – I believe the fair is a powerful driving force in the collection and exposure of contemporary moving image work. So much of our program fits in that cannon, from the 3D rendered video and software-based pieces of Rick Silva to the mesmerizing animated GIFs of Lorna Mills, and of course the high-definition looped moving images from Rollin Leonard, the fair is right in line with so much of the work TRANSFER is developing. Also the fair is a very sustainable and accessible format, none of the anxiety of hanging and staffing a booth, and of course, the move into new and exotic locations such as Istanbul activates untapped international possibilities for TRANSFER as a young gallery. The most rewarding part of each fair is the expanding network of international galleries, artists, writers, institutions and collectors we establish with each iteration.

Asli Sumer / .artSümer: I believe it will bring a new vibe to the art scene here. Video art is exhibited but not appreciated as it should. It will work the muscles and hopefully leave a positive impression on viewers.

Feza Velicangil / Sanatorium: What I like is that Moving Image focuses only on video/digital art. It is kind of a positive discrimination and it is good because I always think that video/digital art is a bit underrated and being left aside. Comparing Istanbul in terms of the arts with the fair’s previous locations like New York and London, Istanbul has a long way to go; but we think that Moving Image could be a motivator that points to the potential of the city.

Sue de Beer / Marianne Boesky Gallery (New York, NY, USA). Image courtesy of Moving Image. Used here by kind permission. All rights reserved.
Sue de Beer / Marianne Boesky Gallery (New York, NY, USA). Image courtesy of Moving Image. Used here by kind permission. All rights reserved.

Sabin BorsWhat is different about selling video/digital artworks compared to other artistic mediums?

Serra Pradhan / Marianne Boesky Gallery: Video requires a level of patience and concentration, and because of the nature of our contemporary world, it can be difficult for collectors to commit the time to the work, even if they would like to do so. Additionally, collectors sometimes feel that they must have the exact environment to show the video in its optimal viewing conditions, but that may not be practical in a domestic setting. We have found most artists are flexible with the home viewing experience, but have specific parameters when the work is publicly exhibited. We have also had artists who have adapted their work so that it can be installed outdoors or in other special locations.

Catharine Clark / Catharine Clark Gallery: Not as much is different as one would think, though the education around what the custodial relationship is between the collector and the work is often more necessary than it is for work that is analog (painting, sculpture, photography, drawing). Since the delivery systems for media work are always changing, collectors (artists and their gallerists) have to be very clear about what the specific requirements are for the presentation of their work once collected. The question always has to be asked, is the work dependent on a particular screen or size or delivery system or can it be transferred to a different platform, for example. For every work and every artist the answers differ a little. Being really clear about what the artist needs for his/her work to be shown in the highest and best circumstances is important to clarify and establish from the outset. It is particularly important with collecting institutions so that the artists’ wishes for their work are respected when it is represented in a museum context. There are other tough questions, like what is it that a collector is actually purchasing. In general, the answer is unfettered access to the artwork (so platforms change, delivery systems change, but the collector should still be allowed access to the visual imagery, the artwork). The rules around how that happens must be conveyed from the outset. For example, we often provided a contract between the artist and the collector defining the way the work can be shown and offering the possibility of temporarily suspending copyright in order for an artwork to be transferred from one delivery system, say DVD, to another, like a hard drive.

Barbara Polla / Galerie Analix Forever: Many collectors are still worried about the copies, about how to store and how to show video work, while specialised video collectors are extremely well informed. The world of video collectors is very passionate, but still a small one.

Catlin Moore / Mark Moore Gallery: Like any work of art, it depends completely on the goals and interests of the collector. Usually, video works require a slightly more ambitious collector in that they do not always have a tangible object to gratify him/her right away. Some collectors are intimidated by this idea, while others are attracted to it. Museums – in particular – have really come to welcome video art in their collections because it can be easily shared, traveled, archived, and stored; it doesn’t come with the logistical issues that, say, a large sculpture might. Similarly to works on paper or photography, archival considerations must also be given to video – as it is somewhat reliant on technology in order to access and experience it, and as we know, this is ever-changing. Most video artists that I have worked with have given great consideration to this, and have a “10-year-plan” and in some cases, a “100-year-plan” for their work. The other large consideration is the risk of reproduction; we are selling these as unique or limited objects that can typically be replicated more easily than a painting might be. This is a conversation we have with every artist before pricing their work – as sometimes, the idea of infinite “shareability” is conceptually relevant to their work. It is certainly a more complex media to work with in a commercial sense, but what we gain from its malleable nature is very exciting.

Wagner Lungov / CENTRAL Galeria de Arte: Every artwork is about an invitation to experience something. But the experience a video provides has more to do, in important ways, with music or home videos. It requires a certain equipment that is not part of the artwork (most of the times) and a time flow that is defined by the artist and is supposed to be accepted by the viewer. While music or feature films are popular and very suitable to a social gathering with friends of family, video art is far more personal and subject to dislikes, rejection or, more often, indifference. That is a problem that does not affect visual arts in general due to the very low “investment” one makes just glancing for a fraction of a second, if he wants to disconnect that quickly for whatever reason. The artefact is just standing there, or hanged on the wall, and does not claim any attention beyond what the viewer wants to dedicate to it. Buying video demands more dedication, more effort from the collector, and he knows as well that it is harder to share with others what he has bought and appreciates. For me, those are the main setbacks for this media. Besides that, there is an extremely rich vocabulary of moving images built in the last decades available to artists to tell their stories. After more than a century of cinema, a long history of television and now the flood of web based videos, camera angles, focus, camera movements, depth of field and all the syntax of moving images is fully captured and decoded by experienced eyes.

Nancy Atakan / 5533: 5533 is not a gallery, but a non-profit artist initiative. 5533 is not an official entity. Özge has often referred to 5533 as a type of parasite since the neighbouring company managed by Kazım Inal furnishes our electricity, Internet connection, telephone, etc. For seven years, 5533 has functioned with the support of volunteer curators. Adnan Yıldız worked with us when 5533 was only an idea. Marcus Graf worked with us during the founding years before Nazlı Gürlek, Filiz Avunduk and currently Özge Ersoy took over as volunteer curator. 5533 emphasises interaction, discussion, sharing, collaboration, and experimentation. Our aim has never been to sell or produce something to be sold, but when artists and curators come together, when intense interaction and art related research and work takes place, there are always by-products. Therefore, placing a monetary value on the video work shown in this event generated hours of debate. Since 5533’s opening, local and international people and groups have given freely of their time and expertise without expecting monetary reimbursement. How do we account for everyone’s contribution? In the past years, we have always functioned on a very low, often non-existent budget. This year we have been fortunate to receive support from SAHA. While we are in no way against the idea of selling video/digital artwork, the idea of the process of valuation in itself is a concept that again merits significant questioning. For us, this questioning is an ongoing process.

Lise Li / Vanguard Gallery: It’s not easy, very limited collectors can accept this genre.

Kelani Nichole / TRANSFER: Most of the work TRANSFER places with collectors faces the same challenges – educating people about emerging practices and digital formats is a huge part of what we do for works entering the market. A conscious move away from the scarcity of rigid objects is something the art market is still warming up to. The large majority of our works are mediated, and in fact we are even starting to treat traditional rigid formats such as digital prints as mediated objects, instead placing emphasis on the digital file that constitutes the original work.

Asli Sumer / .artSümer: I do not find it “different” in terms of selling.

Feza Velicangil / Sanatorium: What I mentioned above about being underrated and left aside is not valid only about exhibiting but also in terms of sales. Compared to other mediums, video and digital art is definitely harder to sell in Istanbul. The difference is that it appeals to a very limited number of collectors and the potential new collectors need to be convinced about the fact that video is an art form.

Wolfgang Staehle / Postmasters (New York, NY, USA). Image courtesy of Moving Image. Used here by kind permission. All rights reserved.
Wolfgang Staehle / Postmasters (New York, NY, USA). Image courtesy of Moving Image. Used here by kind permission. All rights reserved.

Sabin BorsDo you think seeing these moving image based works in a fair is a social experience, similar to watching films? How relevant is the event itself, how it happens, how the work is projected and if people see it in the case of video and digital art?

Serra Pradhan / Marianne Boesky Gallery: I think the answer depends on the work itself. Like any medium, it can be a more solo experience or a shared one. While the event itself can impact the viewing experience, it should not override the work itself. Unless, of course, the “spectacle” is a part of the work.

Catharine Clark / Catharine Clark Gallery: I am not sure I understand this question entirely. Seeing media work presented within the parameters that an artist feels is the best way for it to be seen is important to respect. Not all single-channel works, for example, are best seen on a screen. Not all single-channel works are best experienced in groups or alone. There is a lot of variation, which makes putting together a moving image fair difficult. The engagement with an art work is both a private experience and a social one. The private moment is between the collector and the experience s/he is having of the work. The social experience is the sharing the artist does of their work with the viewer and the subsequent sharing of that experience with others. Art is inherently social in some way because it requires a viewer to complete its “job.” I think Picasso said something along those lines.

Barbara Polla / Galerie Analix Forever: I would like the moving images of art videos to be first of all an artistic experience, before being a social experience. But isn’t any artistic experience also a social one? Three years ago, I have started in Paris a bimonthly evening of video projections, each time on a different theme, called VIDEO FOREVER, which aims to promote video art. These regular events now have their fans, and it has become a “social” event as well as an event promoting the integration of the most edgy aspects of video within the history of art, thanks to the outstanding regular contributions of art critic and historian Paul Ardenne.

Catlin Moore / Mark Moore Gallery: I think the viewing experience is a very integral part of the work – hence our previous concerns about traditional art fairs. For example, the difference between seeing Allison Schulnik’s Forest on my laptop monitor versus the theatre screen at the Hammer Museum was monumental: they became two different works with two very different moods. This is what many artists find alluring about video – it is mercurial in the best sense, and can be dramatic or surprising in ways that they may not have initially considered. Similarly, having a video in one’s home will always feel different than a museum space – it feels more intimate, and personal; I think video collectors enjoy this about the works they own as much as they enjoy lending it to an institution that can house hundreds of viewers.

Wagner Lungov / CENTRAL Galeria de Arte: An art collector, like an artist, is somebody who uses art to make a statement. It is important for both to show and share their discourse articulated through the choices they made. Then, of course, seeing moving images is a social experience. It is a tougher one compared to paintings, for instance. Is my visitor enjoying it as I do? Am I bothering them? Is this video too lengthy for the occasion? Should I advance it a bit? Video art has a tendency of forming “ghettos” and clubs, with people sharing the same tastes and preferences as a strategy to overcome those risks. Very often, collectors share their videos by just describing them to friends or visitors rather than showing them. The description is interactive, it can be shortened or extended by cutting or adding details. They can share their views or personal comments, hear the others and more easily bond with their interlocutors building up a nice feeling of common understanding. Description was and continues to be a powerful way to share art, specially with new technologies, like it was for oil painting in the fifteenth century, for instance.

Nancy Atakan / 5533: No, the experience is not like watching a film. The presentation of video art is extremely important. Most video artists have a preference for each piece as to how it must be shown, but ideal situations are not always the reality. Some works need to be projected in a dark large space. Some are installations. Some need to be shown on flat screens. Some need intimate environments. Some are better in a public domain like Vimeo. For some the sound is more important while in others it is the aesthetics or flow of images. Video artists are aware of the various venues in which their work may be shown. When Ali Kazma showed his videos at the Turkish pavilion at the Venice Biennial, the experience was quite different from when he showed his work to a small group for discussion at 5533. At one time, 5533 stored Kurye Video’s archive. With the help of Mert Sahbaz, viewers could explore the archive and view films on a small monitor in our space. This was a very different experience from showing the individual videos in a gallery, institution, museum, or art fair environment.

Lise Li / Vanguard Gallery: I have no idea about other galleries’ works in the fair, but I think videos created by contemporary artists cannot be the same as the film you watch in the cinema. It’s just a style of art. For a normal visitor, if he or she wants to understand, they have to understand the artist’s thinking or what an artist wants to talk about, then they can enjoy the works as they enjoy other contemporary arts. For professional visitors, it can be a little easier.

Kelani Nichole / TRANSFER: The work we present generally has a very good result in a position of public viewership. Most of the moving image produced by TRANSFER artists is short duration or looped moving image that is just a few seconds in length. This type of work is very friendly to gather around and watch with others – we find this a strength both in the gallery and at environments like the fair where time is scarce. Much of the other work in the fair requires a dedicated chunk of time, and often requires a viewer to wear headphones for audio resulting in a much more personal viewership experience. We do see patrons of the fair devoting this time, and this is a great benefit because serious collectors will come back more than one day to watch all the works that draw their attention.

Asli Sumer / .artSümer: If people think it will be an experience similar to watching films, then I hope they will be pleasantly surprised.

Feza Velicangil / Sanatorium: I think so, but I do not separate videos from other mediums. Deciding to go and see any art event, talking, questioning things about it in their circles are social behaviours. The event is very relevant, especially for videos and digital art. Watching videos, in terms of art, doesn’t count first in people’s to do lists. So the event should be attractive, well organized and entertaining.

Basim Magdi / .artSümer (Istanbul, Turkey). Image courtesy of Moving Image. Used here by kind permission. All rights reserved.
Basim Magdi / .artSümer (Istanbul, Turkey). Image courtesy of Moving Image. Used here by kind permission. All rights reserved.

Sabin BorsMost video or film works have a narrative thread. It takes time to look at them. How does one deal with the motion of time during art fairs, where people are in a tireless circulation?

Serra Pradhan / Marianne Boesky Gallery: I think historically that is exactly why video has been difficult to present at art fairs and Moving Image is such a revelation.

Catharine Clark / Catharine Clark Gallery: I see that human beings are drawn to things that flicker, emit light, and move, and that they therefore are willing to give video or moving images in general more time than they might a static object. I also think that use of the medium has matured and the artists who work with the medium better understand what it can and cannot be relative to highly funded and produced commercial films. They create works that would not make for good Hollywood-type films, but are artworks rendered in motion and adhere to some sort of internal logic that is particular and only conveyable for them in that medium. I find that sometimes art fair goers are actually willing to give more time to video in an art fair setting than in the gallery. Maybe they are wanting a break from the tireless circulation?

Barbara Polla / Galerie Analix Forever: Whether narrative or not, video does require time: the narrative thread is not the essential reason for that time requirement, it’s more about the movement, the internal clock of the images, the art. The fact that video does require time is one of the reasons why I am so interested in that medium. A video that is able to catch the eye and keep the viewer still for the time of its duration is not only a work of art, it is also a work of sanity.

Wagner Lungov / CENTRAL Galeria de Arte: First seconds create a positive or negative impression and every subsequent second means a renewed agreement to continue. If the viewer definitely likes it, s/he stays and time is not a problem. If s/he doesn’t like it, s/he either lingers just enough to get the overall idea or quits immediately. One must have a clear recommendation from anybody else to insist till the end on something that looks boring or just weak. A wonderful closing for a boring film is not a good strategy, and it is a pity, if the creative idea demands it.

Nancy Atakan / 5533: This is a major problem. There is nothing worse than showing a series of video work by different artists using continual streaming back to back on a single monitor or projection wall. Each work needs to have its own space where sound can be heard without earphones… Every work needs its own monitor… its own individual space – even in a fair.

Lise Li / Vanguard Gallery: I suppose visitors come to the fair more times during the period, and I don’t think one person can finish looking at all the videos in one day, which would be very tiring and couldn’t let you enjoy the art.

Kelani Nichole / TRANSFER: This is certainly a challenge – Moving Image directors do a great job of creating comfortable space for viewership, and curate events that keep people coming back day after day to watch more of the works.

Asli Sumer / .artSümer: Seeing one or a few video works at an exhibition is what people are used to but seeing an art “fair” of video works will probably bring a whole new perspective to viewers. This experience will require patience and concentration. Viewers may be overwhelmed or disappointed by what they watch. And still, each work will require the same patience and concentration. It is an interesting endurance test I guess.

Feza Velicangil / Sanatorium: There are, of course, some exceptions but mostly in the fair areas the exhibited videos are being watched by a very small percentage of the total amount of the visitors. People generally take a look as passing by and they don’t stop to watch unless something catches their attention.

David Wojnarowicz / PPOW (New York, NY, USA). Image courtesy of Moving Image. Used here by kind permission. All rights reserved.
David Wojnarowicz / PPOW (New York, NY, USA). Image courtesy of Moving Image. Used here by kind permission. All rights reserved.

Sabin Bors: What are, in your opinion, the criteria in relation to what actually constitutes a quality or relevant video / digital work of art?

Serra Pradhan / Marianne Boesky Gallery: I don’t think video differs so much from other media and what constitutes quality. Some works are content based and others experiential. It really depends on the perspective you as the viewer bring to it. In addition to technical skill, I am always drawn to videos where I form a connection and where the media itself is necessary to realize the full impact of the work. Like In Hans Op de Beeck’s Parade, the work is a visual feast, but it is also a meditation on universal themes of mortality, such that the artist refers to this piece as a “video memento mori”, but it is also hopeful in its embracing of the journey no matter how ephemeral. In Sue de Beer’s work, I am drawn to the uncanny sensations she evokes that go beyond any narrative. The mood is unsettling and yet simultaneously relatable. Her works give form to emotions – a teenager’s restlessness, an adult’s longing for the past. Her work The Ghosts invites the viewer into intimate spaces – the recesses of someone else’s memory. I am drawn to layers and a slow reveal. It is work that cannot be taken in fully in a single glance, nor can you easily dismiss it… it stays with you and continues to germinate. It effectively uses its medium.

Catharine Clark / Catharine Clark Gallery: I use much of the same criteria I would for a static work of art. Does the work have an internal logic? Does what is being said need to be said through a time based form or could it have been better conveyed in a different form? Am I engaged with it and does it hold my attention? Is it breaking any kind of new ground with respect to its form/concept? Do the formal qualities of the work and the conceptual ones support one another?

Barbara Polla / Galerie Analix Forever: First of all, the technical ability. Artists need to learn video. Being a video artist is not a given ability. I hope that soon there will be not only school programs but whole schools teaching video. Education is a prerequisite – as in any field. Education avoids unconscious reproduction of previous work. While any use of past work is potentially interesting, it has to be acknowledged to be acceptable.

Catlin Moore / Mark Moore Gallery: I would say my criteria for “quality” video work would be the same criteria I use for any artwork or art form. It needs to elicit a conversation, provoke a response or feeling (positive or negative), and engage in some kind of aesthetic discourse. This is not to say that it needs to be “beautiful”, though there is certainly nothing wrong with beauty; but being a visual practice – aesthetics can empower the artist’s message however he/she chooses. It is important to me that this at least be addressed in the work. The video that we are featuring at Moving Image is all of these things – Shaun Gladwell demonstrates his deep appreciation of art history and aesthetics (in this case, the human form), sociopolitical concerns, and emotional confrontation all at once. It’s a deeply moving piece – no pun intended.

Wagner Lungov / CENTRAL Galeria de Arte: The same as in any other support: it must be enlightening, insightful. Art is a cognitive proccess and we must learn or rather feel something we recognize as worthy. We don’t need to be able to verbalize it. “Knowing” is something that automatically yields pleasure.

Nancy Atakan / 5533: Every video has to be judged individually in respect to the artist’s other work, place in art history, and its social, political and cultural references. It is important that the person/people making the judgment be knowledgeable and professional.

Lise Li / Vanguard Gallery: Timeless conception and very good skills in showing your conception with video or digital technique; which is the same as when it comes to other genre works of contemporary art.

Kelani Nichole / TRANSFER: This is a very subjective thing I think! If it moves you, it’s strong work, if you want to live with it, all the better!

Asli Sumer / .artSümer: A film that keeps your attention throughout, makes you wonder, makes you question, leaves a feeling with you.

Feza Velicangil / Sanatorium: I will answer this question, again, by not seperating video art from the other mediums. I think the criteria that identify the quality of any artwork is the artwork itself. Sometimes I presume many criteria and I come across an artwork that doesn’t fit these criteria at all yet I still think it is excellent.

Susanne Wagner / Galerie Jo van de Loo (Munich, Germany). Image courtesy of Moving Image. Used here by kind permission. All rights reserved.
Susanne Wagner / Galerie Jo van de Loo (Munich, Germany). Image courtesy of Moving Image. Used here by kind permission. All rights reserved.
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