This Week We're Fussed About... AV Festival
From the 1st to the 31st March a festival with the aim of engaging audiences with current ideas across art, society and technology will take over the North East of England. Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Middlesbrough will host exhibitions and special events including a range of concerts, film screenings and talks. The AV Festival runs in collaboration with a network of supporters and interesting venues across the North East including Mima- the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.
Now in its fifth year the festival is becoming increasingly popular as an outlet for all types of artistic expression. This year’s festival theme is ‘As Slow As Possible’, conflicting with the London 2012 Olympics motto ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’. The theme explores how artists have marked and measured the passage of time, and how we as viewers should take time to stop and take in what is going on around us, despite our busy lives. Across the different outlets of film, music, art and technology, a range of artists will interpret the notion of working and experiencing life at different speeds. The festival kicked off fast and furious with 24 hours of continuous free exhibition openings and events across the region. The past weekend went by at a slower pace with a ‘slow cinema weekend’, but the work was nonetheless exciting. Filmmakers represented some of the best cinema across Europe, Latin America, South-East Asia and the UK.
Film is a big element of the AV festival. The film programme which runs until 29 March will introduce cinema from across the world with a mix of regional previews and some rarely seen and undistributed films. Alongside these unseen films there will be some special guest appearances by the likes of accomplished Argentinian artist Lisandro Alonso (see image above). Alonso combines fiction and documentary techniques to create atmospheric films revolving around the idea of location. The work of celebrated political and literary filmmaker Lav Diaz (see image below) will also be screened during the festival. Diaz has attracted attention for his filmography due to its incredible length – his last five films made up forty hours in total.
During the festival there are some interesting free art exhibitions to go along to. One Million Years (see image below) is what can only be described as an epic work envisaged by the artist On Kawara in 1969. The exhibition consists of a 20-volume written work, recording one million years of past and future. Visitors are invited to get involved in the exhibition by reading from the volumes in 90 minute slots until all the years are read. This exhibition takes an innovative perspective on the idea of passing time, demonstrating an ambitious and ongoing work that ironically reduces an average life history to just a few pages.
One Million Years, On Kawara
This is just a small selection of what is on offer during the exhibition, yet there is plenty more to see and get involved in, including radio broadcasts, music events and a series of talks by some of the leading figures in the world of art, technology, music and film. To find out more about the programme and event dates go to avfestival.co.uk where you can book events and buy tickets for certain screenings.