LUX / ICA Biennial of Moving Images @ ICA (24-27 May)

This LUX/ICA collaboration has inaugurated the return of artists’ films in London in a single event and focus. Running for four days and along the last weekend of Cannes, it celebrates a long tradition of artists’ moving image and the discovery of artist filmmakers in early 2010s sunny London.

LUX has a long history advocating Artists’ Moving Image and I can talk with confidence the LUX/ICA Biennial of Moving Images is just that: a package of artists’ initiatives, and ideas away from the conventional popularity of costly previews. The relaxed Biennale’s atmosphere and post screening conversations aimed, at long last, towards a more interesting focus on the ethics of film exhibition and its related activities.

With the one off return of Mark Webber’s club night, Little Stabs at Happiness, the Biennale’s opening couldn’t feel safer in someone else’s hands. As if there was a message to be delivered to the many years lost without an event dedicated to experimental filmmaking or perhaps to the current World affairs, the projector kicked off with the rather horrid Irm & Ed Sommer’s 1969 film Nitsch. Suffering and aversion were acknowledged but not understated with the usual dramatics. The packed ICA theatre remained still with the audience in their seats regardless, for there was more to come. Light sounds from the decks parallel to Tony & Beverly Conrad’s Straight and Narrow (1970) and Manuel De Landa’s Incontinence (1978) running on the projector, presided Roberto Rossellini’s brilliant 1952 film The Machine that Kills Bad People. Real song hits launched the Biennale’s packed programme of screenings, talks, performances and two schools.

Highlights include two retrospectives with the idiosyncratic films of Boston based Luther Price and the visual powerful films of Surrealist Eric Duvivier alongside the already fully subscribed Curating Artists’ Moving Image Course hosted by London and Los Angeles writer, curator and artist George Clark. The screening programme falls into ten categories covering Questions of Travel with films by Marcel Broodthaers, Len Lye, Charles and Ray Eames, a Subconscious Society with the cleverly edited Jordan Lavi Quellman’s film The Deteriorationists (2012), shot on location in Manhattan, and Friends with Benefits programmed by Ben Rivers and featuring the work of pioneer female filmmaker Ute Aurand alongside George Kuchar’s We, The Normal (1988), Robert Nelson’s Deep Westurn (1974) and Stephen Sutcliffe’s The Garden of Proserpine (2008). Catch it if you can!

Guest Editor|Georgia Korossi – writer & curator based in London & Athens