Enthusiasts and oddities: Films on Art at the 17th T-Mobile NH IFF

8/07/17
Jacques Rivette: retrospective of a French visionary T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival lineup has been revealed

Unexpected, risky, enigmatic-this year's films on art make up a veritable cabinet of oddities. Much like the cabinets of curiosities found in Renaissance times, you can find side by side unusual objects, rarities and objects whose functionality and sense are mutually exclusive. This set of 12 films on art continues the tradition of odd collections-except that instead of a peculiar kind of possession, we will be showing peculiar kinds of action.

"The program includes records of unusual interests that transform into obsessions, extravagant fascinations that develop into life projects and aesthetic practices that are so ambiguous and unconventional that, at times, you might hesitate to call them art. Although the passions that are the driving force behind the protagonists and filmmakers in these 'films on art' may seem curious and might take fans well beyond the social and artistic mainstream, they in fact become contagious once seen on-screen. And the filmmakers themselves are passionate visionaries, breaking open the system with the power of their imagination," says curator Ewa Szabłowska

Where Is Rocky II tells the story of a lost artwork, an artificial stone named Rocky II in honor of Sylvester Stallone. It is the mysterious work of Californian artist Ed Ruscha. Pierre Bismuth (a French artist and one of the co-writers of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) conducts a psychedelic investigation into the Mojave Desert to find the work, which was hidden there in the 1970s. We will see another surprising journey in 1996 Lucy and the Corpses in the Pool.Thisis a cinematic trip in lo-fi aboutagirl's outing to an alternative music festival-it looks like something dug up at a flea market, the sort of acquisition that would delight the eponymous Lucy, a woman who deftly avoids the pitfalls of the consumer lifestyle.

The founders of the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab, Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaign-Taylor, pay a visit inside a sleeping body. In Somniloquies (a technical term that refers to talking aloud while asleep), we witness extraordinary nighttime dramas populated by dwarfs for rent and vampires clad in platinum bikinis. On the other hand, Israeli artist Ann Oren proves that there is no need to have a body or a soul to inspire crowds. Told with the help of songs and virtual encounters, The World Is Mine reveals Oren's adventures in the world of Hatsune Miko's fans.

Art is present in many aspects of life: it can be found in dreaming monologues, among the Japanese fans of a virtual singer, in boredom and in an obsessive investigation involving a private detective. In street protests and at techno parties. In such cases, life is permeated by art's characteristic sensitivity, conceptual thinking and never-ending games of the imagination-be it political, economic or scientific. In Belgian director Martine Doyen's performance-art film Hamsters, a street happening in the form of a medieval "epidemic of dance" is organized after a terrorist attack on the Jewish Museum of Belgium. Ginan Seild, in turn, takes on the phenomenon of rotation in its various aspects. Quantum physics, Sufism and audiovisual experiments are intertwined in Spin, like an intellectual whirlwind that, if we allow it to get started, can take us to some completely unexpected places. It is difficult to say if this still a space for art, but these kinds of post-artistic journeys are undoubtedly inspirational.


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