The international festival Crosstalk Video Art Festival Budapest aims at introducing the newest trends of media and video art year by year. The application for the 7th edition is open until 30th August . On this occasion we asked the project leader, Szilvi Német about this year’s concept and about the history of the festival.
Barbara Dudás: This year will be the 7th edition of Crosstalk. How did the festival start in 2008, what was the original idea behind initiating a video art festival?
Szilvi Német: The festival was grounded not by me but by Adrien Török, independent curator. After some years she could not go on with the organization, and I took over its administration in 2011. We did not want the already well-established and somewhat also embedded brand to be lost, so we try to nurture it year by year during these concentrated 3 days of the festival. As much as I know of the founding story, Adrien was closely connected to the Intermedia Department of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts and had a good professional relationship with János Sugár and others, together whom they fostered the idea to have a platform through which the dernier criaesthetics and most current discourses of the electronic image making can be mediated.
BD: How do you see the Hungarian media and video art scene, does it have a specific position in the region?
SZN: The A-side of how things are going here at home might not be that upbeat, if we consider how the architecture of the institutional background of new media research and database or even commerce has gradually been washed away. Usually by the fact of being unfinanced or ill-supported, projects like Videospace Gallery or C3 that were the prominent stakeholders in this field are now gone or stopped working further. Still, individual initiations and experimental workshops and collectives flourish, and that’s a good news. Among the newest generation we find promising talents graduating from the Animation Faculty of MOME, from the Intermedia Department (which is not exclusively focused on video of course), and visual productions now go more side by side with electronic music-making, more often we find this two spheres of the electornically generated sign intertwined. I won’t say that artists would hold positions like video artists anymore, their practice is multi-layered, transdisciplinary and transmediated, so in the age of digital reproduction or post-media condition it is just normal to reflect on media usage in your activity. But not by all means in a well-defined, separate way.
BD: How does the concept (and the categories) of the festival formulated in each year? Do you usually have an idea beforehand or is it mainly influenced by the submitted artworks?
SZN: Crosstalk is a festival that is literally and physically redefined year by year. First of all, it is an urban nomad which means, that we choose different venues time to time, and that also defines a lot – the format of the display, the environment – about what you wish to articulate. In the initial period, the festival was more connected or dependent on well-frequented, even cult places of Budapest nightlife, like it popped up in Gödör, Merlin, Gozsdu in the first years. Later we also tried the huge industrial, the white cube gallery or the conventional art cinema setting, mostly drawing on a special kind of spectator’s view that can be defined by the modes of circulation rather than on the modernist way of watching something from the beginning till the end. Last year for instance we used as a slogan and re-furnished the environment in a way how it appeared in the Bowie-film of ’76, The man who fell to earth. In an epic scene of the film, Bowie was watching 57 TV screens at once and I connected this approach to postmodern theory, I used to read a lot of Jameson at that time. Jameson finds the core of postmodern look especially in this condition: when the flow of images is captured in their radical difference rather in their autonomous being.
BD: What are your expectations this year? Do you have some specific topics and themes you are interested in?
SZN: All in all, detecting trends and phenomena that are now in the air and overwhelms our everyday life is very central. With the 7th edition we will reflect with separate curated blocks on the discourses of new materialism in the era of the post-digital, on what I call the Snapchat aesthetics of the ephemeral, or short life-spam products, connected to the trend how attention is drastically shortened with the hyperlinks, on the political usage of video, on new typography etc. This year we give up to be located at one festival venue that concentrates all our programs, instead a timetable and program schedule will be made up and the locations are selected for the thematics.
The following places are going to be involved: Higgs Field Contemporary Art Space, the newly opened pub Tesla at the back yard of the Museum of Electrotechnology, Kontra Klub, Lumen Grocery, and even an open air venue at the Liberty square to be connected with dilemmas of political activism. What’s more, a private appartment is also gonna be involved, so we really try to stratch these video days to the shape of very different set of screening events.
Plus, we co-operate with foreign festivals each year, the newcomers will be the psychedelic video selection supplied by Tripoteca (Romania), the nomadic and poetic vein by L’Oeil d’Oodaq (France) and a special video program curated by Magmart (Italy) will be inserted on the topic of Five Senses.
Video sections so far:
a, Open Call finalists I Raison d’ETNOTOURISM
b, L’Oeil d’Oodaq [Rennes, Fr] I Exploration et diffusion d’images poétiques
c, Tripoteca Psychedelic Film & Art Festival [Bucharest, Romania] -I Metaphysical Matters
d, 5Senses – Taste I venue: Lumen Grocery
e, curated#1 I Short life span: Graphic Design Now I Die Neue Typography, 3rd generation Neogeo, Make ugly thing
f, curated#2 I Toppling down the Mighty I Revolution or garden party? I venue: Liberty Square
BD: Which countries are the most dedicated to participate in the festival?
SZN: File transfer is now bourgeoning, so we can finally get rid of the hindrance of postal delivery, I just got a quite downright letter from Iran today confessing that state control won’t let their videos leave the country, so until internet is not censored we can reach out for these very problematic geopolitical areas, as well. Anyway, video is the only one medium that eliminated physical transport, so we can really work with a worldwide coverage. Thanks to this, the conventional discourses of central-periphery zones are much faded here, the cultural empires are not overrepresented by any means. From last years’ experience, we used to receive surprisingly lot of applications from the eastern part of Asia, the festival was even featured in a printed magazine of South Korea. You are invited to check out our statistics here.
BD: How can one apply for the festival?
SZN: Via a filesender together with a filled entry form that you would find on the homepage of our site, all mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org until 30 August. Advisory only: duration of the file should not exceed 15 minutes and the genre is not film, but video. It’s certainly a delicate categorizing, but average short films with linear narratives and classic dramaturgy are not in.
The festival will take place between 25 and 28 September. Check our social media pages for the programming.
Szilvi Német (1985) is a curator, critic and art historian. She is currently involved in the artistic management of Higgs Field Contemporary Art Space, and is active as the project leader of Crosstalk Video Art Festival since 2011.