Anatomy of Centers and Peripheries

Piotr Jakub Fereński

The films included in this program are linked by the issue of the space in which people currently live. Their creators attempt to show how we experience the audiosphere and iconosphere that surround us – how we get familiar with it, understand it and interpret it. Using innovative, experimental means of expression, but at the same time employing a wide range of associations, allusions and quotations, these artists are engaging in an intriguing game with our perception. Cities and urban architecture are the main focus – but not static structures or panoramic cityscapes. We have here another kind of scenery. These films are revealing stories about the world that surrounds us, full of thought-provoking critical commentary and insights.  The artists illustrate the great range of forms that urban life can take, and the many facets today’s cities have. These films ask questions about the relations among people and the logic of existence in an urbanized, technologized environment, about the meaning of nature and organicity, about possible directions to develop in, about dangers, about ever-increasing cultural problems, about natural disasters, social issues, hopes and opportunities, about anonimity and, alienation, but also about being recognized and about ways of manifesting identity. These artist work mainly with moving images subjected to various digital processes, using a vast reservoir of electronic devices, employing widely varied strategies, esthetic and narrative approaches.

While the strictly medial aspects of these films are very important – the artistic experimentation and the originality of the style of expression – the analytical level contributes to our understanding of the dynamics of processes taking place in contemporary urban space. Using sounds and images characteristic of urban space, the films show slices of daily life, political and economic determinants and socio-cultural variability.

Depending on the way it’s shot, processed, and edited, and on the way the sound relates to the images, art that uses film and/or video as its main medium can be (for example) a documentary, or a poetic narrative; it can be painterly and static, or a music video par excellence, full of images pulsing with rhythm. In the case of the works presented here, we should speak of “blurred genres”, transformations, playing with conventions and breaking down boundaries. What matters is that the primary motivation for these esthetic undertakings is space, shaped by utilitarian economic aims, but also mythologized and metaphorized. The films in this program have been ordered as a sort of story – a loosely structured one, leaving a great deal of room for interpretation – about the construction of that space, about its formation from matter and space, about its life and death, about journeys through it, about the anxieties and apprehensions it holds, about suffering, love, struggle and decline.