Press coverage for EXPO VIDEO 2015, curated by Alfredo Cramerotti
EXPO VIDEO exhibition during EXPO CHICAGO (September 17 – 20, 2015)
EXPO VIDEO Curator Alfredo Cramerotti on the Past, Present, and Future of Experimental Film
by Dylan Kerr
16 Sept 2015
by Tali Jaffe, executive editor, and Sabrina Wirth
18 September 2015
Jessica Stockholder’s Once Upon a Time, at IN/SITU 2014
EXPO Chicago, The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, showcases Chicago’s rich cultural history with a multi-sensory visual art event program with more than 140 art galleries. Visitors can experience temporary public art along the lakefront and throughout Chicago neighborhoods with EXPO IN/SITU Outside, curated by Louis Grachos and international films curated by Alfredo Cramerotti with EXPO VIDEO.
fair? Is that part of EXPO VIDEO’s purpose?
Alfredo Cramerotti: What I think is important is to not ‘forget’ that art implies a number of things – the thinking, the making, the displaying, the mediating, and yes, the collecting / selling / buying of it. In an art fair is crucial to understand where ‘value’ comes from. It’s wise to be aware where this value and potential growth comes from. It doesn’t start with money. Capital always follows action, as Iggy Pop brilliantly put it in his (so far, only) lecture, last year in London.
TJ: Is this the first program you’ve curated in a commercial setting? Does that affect your approach at all?
AC: It’s not the first time. I have curated solo shows for artists I know and appreciate since long in commercial galleries before, because I’ve been asked by them. I am also curating a group show in a commercial gallery in Vienna, just before EXPO VIDEO, because they invited me to put up a very interesting project about, you guess, art & capital. I’m writing the catalogue text now. They gave me carte blanche, and actually, none of the represented artists feature in the show and they were absolutely fine with that. I find the commercial context different, of course, but it depends a lot about your approach as curator, your vision for the project, your capability to negotiate the elements of the exhibition, and the relationship with both galleries and artists. I enjoy to ‘jump ship’ every now and then. It gives me a different perspective that might be useful in my institutional role too.
TJ: In speaking about the viewing experience, you say the viewer is at the center of the work. Can you elaborate on that please.
AC: I always try to put myself in the viewer’s shoes, when I plan a show. I take onboard the viewer’s experience in encountering the wall text, the colours on the galleries, the people along the spaces, sitting on a sofa or standing to watch a video (How long does it last? Do I have enough time? Do I want to see this one now or have a look at the rest of the exhibition first? Etc.), being able to read the information without struggling to understand them, and also being free to ignore them if I wanted. When I curate a show, I am the first audience. If something doesn’t ring true or right, it needs to change. Especially in a film & video show, it’s easy to forget that we put an enormous ask on the viewer; it’s possibly the most difficult exhibition to experience. That’s why I position the viewer at the centre of the work – in terms of content, interpretation, time, experience of viewing, possibility to come and go at leisure, and of choosing different times and modes of viewing.
TJ: There are a number of ways for viewers to experience the video program, including an app. Is that unusual, to be able to choose the format you experience an artwork?
AC: Yes, it might be unusual to some extent, but it goes back to what I was mentioning before – putting the viewer at the centre. If a work is conceived as an app, and that work is perfect for a curatorial concept and an idea for an exhibition, then why not include it? It is stretching the boundaries for what film & video can be, and how can be experienced. The same goes for the four viewing pods present in EXPO VIDEO. There are works which I haven’t included in the two screening rooms’ loops because I have a clear feeling they would work better on a digital screen, in the middle of an open area. It’s a matter of taking responsibilities for the choice of the work but also for the experience of that work.
TJ: Can you tell us about your concept “aesthetic journalism”?
AC: The scholarship about the theory and practice of “aesthetic journalism” refers to a concept I created, starting from my work as an artist, to investigate the relationship between contemporary exhibitions and elements of interview, documentary, fiction and reportage. In short, I speculate on the mutual convergence of art and media into a new cross discipline of “aesthetic journalism”. Turned out it has a strong resonance with many contemporary artists’ approaches and practices. The proof is that the book has been listed as recommended reading in many American and European universities, and I have constant lecture requests worldwide – even if the book was published in 2009. It’s a nice feeling being able to identify and unravel a cultural trope.
I am following up now with the idea of “expanded photography: the hyperimage”, which investigates digital culture’s impact on artistic and curatorial practices. I’m not there yet – still working on it.
TJ: There’s a great range in video lengths, from 1:32 to 30 minutes. Is it riskier or more challenging with the longer video works?
AC: Neither really. Depends of the work. Depends how it sits with the rest of the programme. Depends, also, on what narrative sequence one creates in the viewer’s mind, and how that mind actually makes that sequence work. Always an attempt, always changing.
TJ: I’m curious about the ages of the artists included. Can you tell us the youngest and eldest among them?
AC: I actually don’t know the age of the twenty artists or so, never researched an artist’s work based on her or his age. They probably go from 20 to 70 but that’s just a guess.
TJ: Are there any emerging artists you have your eye on at the moment?
AC: Yes, I have eyes and ears open all the time. That’s part of my job. Danilo Correale (based in NY) is one. Tamar Guimaraes (based in Copenhagen) another. Renhui Zhao (based in Singapore) a third. Marinella Senatore (based in Paris) a fourth. Marc Rees (based in Cardiff) a fifth. The list can go on, but I stop here.
/Dialogues: EXPO VIDEO | Alfredo Cramerotti In Conversation panel discussion, featuring Alfredo Cramerotti, Director | MOSTYN and 2015 EXPO VIDEO Curator; Malerie Marder, Artist; and Cauleen Smith, Artist. Moderated by Duncan MacKenzie, Bad at Sports.
by Stephanie Cristello
5 Oct 2015
Project G x 2
by George Gozmon + Guy-Vincent
17 October 2015