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ILCVAF 2020 – Curator’s Statement

“The International Limestone Coast Video Art Festival is quickly becoming a groundbreaking space for independent video art.”

ILCVAF 2020 is structured to enable a unique viewing experience in The Riddoch galleries; on the outside walls of The Riddoch Arts & Cultural Centre; as well as online. It is enriched by the international performance ‘Telematic Quarantine – telepresent stories of self [isolation]’ situated in Brighton, England, and Mount Gambier, as well as other venues around the globe; accompanied by workshops and mentorship, in Mount Gambier and Adelaide.

‘Video Art during and after the pandemic’ is this year’s theme of the biennial International Limestone Coast Video Art Festival.

This unique moment of global-reaching socio-political crisis, overlaps with the techno-scientific upsurge, thus taking us into an instantaneously created networked space of dystopian realities.

The task we have before us is therefore to understand the transformation through which we are going as a species and, perhaps, to define the role of art within this process.

We are bound to be a transformed society after the crisis. That much we know.

Video Art as a versatile medium expanding across new platforms, and a definitive centre-stage of today’s culture, is proving to be perfect for conveying various narratives framed around the current COVID-19 pandemic, including the story of survival of humanity.

According to McLuhan, “because of the invisibility of any environment during the period of its innovation, man is only consciously aware of the environment that has preceded it; in other words, an environment becomes fully visible only when it has been superseded by a new environment; thus we are always one step behind in our view of the world. Because we are benumbed by any new technology – which in turn creates a totally new environment – we tend to make the old environment more visible; we do so by turning it into an art form and by attaching ourselves to the objects and atmosphere that characterised it…The present is always invisible because it’s environmental and saturates the whole field of attention so overwhelmingly; thus everyone but the artist, the man of integral awareness, is alive in an earlier day…”1

We have therefore asked the artists to be self-reflective and to send us video works that convey how the global COVID-19 pandemic is affecting their lives and practice, and how they are making sense of the new normal, with many artists around the planet in lock-down or quarantine, facing the physical, psychological, and emotional effects. There is something unique about these stories conveyed via the video medium. In McLuhan’s understanding video becomes a revolutionising agent, one that alters consciousness: “… video-related technologies must produce a form of psychological death for all mankind by separating it permanently from the natural order, the book of nature, through Narcissus-like self-involvement, a conclusion reached by McLuhan operating on three analytical levels at once: the perceptual, the historical, and the analogical”.2

Many of the video art stories you are about to witness are addressing various anxieties, worries, and economic strains. However, there are also optimistic stories, filled with humour, electing to present entertainment in the face of catastrophe, deep contemplation, solidarity, community mindfulness, risk-taking, compassion, and cheerfulness amid self-revelation.

Dr. Melentie Pandilovski

Curator, International Limestone Coast Video Art Festival
Director, The Riddoch Arts & Cultural Centre, City of Mount Gambier

References:

1. McLuhan, Marshall “Playboy Interview: ‘Marshal McLuhan – A Candid Conversation with the High Priest of Popcult and the Metaphysician of Media.” Essential McLuhan. Eds. Eric McLuhan and Frank Zingrone. Concord, Ontario: House of Anansi, 1995. P. 238. Print.

2. McLuhan, Marshall and Bruce Powers. The Global Village: World Life, and Media in the 21st Century. Oxford: UP, 1989. xiii. Print.

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The City of Mount Gambier acknowledges the Boandik Peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the land and water our city sits upon today.

We respect and recognise the deep feelings of attachment and the spiritual relationship our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have with the land and water.

Image: Belinda Bonney, Reconciliation of the Nation: we all walk together as one (detail)