Six Snapshots from Lo schermo dell’arte 2022

Six Snapshots from Lo schermo dell’arte 2022
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Lo schermo dell’arte film festival in Florence keeps proving its worldwide part in gathering new artists and art while exploring new forms of creative expression.
The 15th edition of Lo schermo dell’arte took place at Cinema La Compagnia, opening its doors to all students, with free admission to those under 30 supported by Gucci. 
The following is a selection of seven takeaways by the Arts Curating students that attended the event online and at the cinema.

by Isabella Chevasco Champsaur, Camila Heredia Oranday, Riccardo Menichetti, Giulia Piceni, Lorenzo Risani. Cover image: Rosa Barba, Inside the Outset: Evoking a Space of Passage, 2021, installation view at CANGO Cantieri Goldonetta, Florence. 

Founded in Florence in 2008, Lo schermo dell’arte film festival aims to support international artists who create art within the realm of moving images, exploring the connections between cinema and contemporary art. 
With over 300 international artists, directors, producers and curators invited through the years, Lo schermo dell’arte also holds research and training campaigns, exhibitions, artist residencies, and other programs. Here are seven snapshots and recommendations taken by Arts Curating students during a week full of screenings, talks and encounters.

1. DEATH OF A NATION

Hectic, tense, and overstimulating, the first and only film by American artist Andres Serrano, the creator of Piss Christ (1987) and other provocative photographs, is the collection of images from the breaking-in of Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. by Trump supporters on January 6th, 2021. Gathering inspiration from the highly controversial film by D.W. Griffith, Birth of a Nation (1915), this new compilation takes a sarcastic turn as you watch how the event went down from the beginning to the end. 

Andres Serrano, Insurrection, 2022, still from video, courtesy of the artist.

The artist re-titled the series Insurrection. The shots are meant to be upsetting, to start a conversation. The audience was watching in a trance; it made you feel in the middle of the action, pushed around by the rioters. After a long applause, Serrano explained his process and the reason behind the film. He stated that, unlike their nation’s name, the country is very divided; he wanted to provoke society following the template of Griffith’s film. 

2. MODERN BORDERS

The borders are again a subject of the art scene. While worldwide politics are facing the themes of war and migration, two artists try to analyse boundaries as living subjects and not just as locations.
45th Parallel (2022), a fifteen-minute short by the Jordan artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan, features a monologue narrating the story of a cross-border theatre & library, one of the few places where families divided by the US-Canadian border can meet.

Yaara Bou Melhem’s Unseen Skies (2021) instead addresses two types of borders: between the earth and the sky and between Mexico and the USA, seen through the eyes of artist Trevor Paglen. Initially, the two borders look like separate entities. Then, at the end of the film, the two become one. They are proven to be symbiotic relationships.

3. WE CRAVE IMMERSION

This call for immersion does not manifest as a demand for virtual realities like the metaverse. Rosa Barba’s Inside the Outset: Evoking a Space of Passage (2022) colourfully illustrated a deep dive into Cyprus’s sea. The film was presented as an installation at CANGO, where visitors were encircled by a screen illuminating the immersive images.

Rosa Barba, Inside the Outset: Evoking a Space of Passage, 2021, still from video, © Rosa Barba / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022.

Pensive shots of fish, algae, and shipwreck remnants suspended the audience as the space allowed their minds to go underwater. As comfortable as it may be to see things from home, detail and colour get lost when moving pictures are shrunk to fit varying dimensions. We crave immersion, inside and outside the digital world.

4. CONNECTING DISTANCES 

Using excerpts from films produced between 1990 and 2018, Irani Bag (2021) is an ode to the poetry of subtle seduction that passes through the handles of a bag. Accompanied by written observations, the images show how this simple object becomes an outlet to release rage, an tool of self-defence, an extension of the feminine body, an object of love when filled for one’s lover: a bag can be these and much more, an instrument against an untouchable being: the woman.

Maryam Tafakory, Irani Bag, 2021, still from video, courtesy of the artist.

This short visual essay by Maryam Tafakory, one of the participants in the VISIO programme promoted by Lo schermo dell’arte, reshapes the way Iranian cinema portrays touch during the current ban on physical contact between actors.

5. TRAGIC VIEWS FROM THE TOP

Aziz Hazara gives us a literal overview of what being a child in Afghanistan means in five minutes and ten seconds. However, the short film’s point of view is not what you would expect. We are used to seeing dramas and tragedies before us; here, the perspective is above the scene.

Aziz Hazara, Eyes in the Sky, 2019, still from video, courtesy of the artist.

Recorded with the help of a drone, Eyes in the sky (2020) follows some children having fun in the most unexpected playground: a war ground. In all of this tragedy, still, there is space for hope. The final gazes of the characters leave no interpretations: their souls are full of faith in the future.


6. A VISUAL TRIP


The videos by Simon Liu and Yuyan Wang, participants of VISIO, the European programme dedicated to up-and-coming video artists, share multiple characteristics: a constant flux of images, acid tints, reality transformed into abstraction and a broken record playing like a desperate litany. Because of the structure and absence of dialogues, these pastiches are reminiscent of Koyaanisqatsi (1982), the surreal masterpiece by Godfrey Reggio.

They also share a circular structure: in E-ticket (2022), the final long shot with the sound of horses’ hooves references the initial melody. In One thousand attempts to be an ocean (2022), the opening canvas painted on top with a light blue hue, misleadingly interpreted as the sky, reveals itself at the end as a depiction of lathering waves.

Isabella Chevasco Champsaur, Camila Heredia Oranday, Riccardo Menichetti, Giulia Piceni, and Lorenzo Risani are undergraduate students in Arts Curating at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.


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