Video Art Review – The 02

Organized by Piotr Swiatoniowski

The International Video Art Review THE 02 is at present the biggest cyclical event presenting video works in Poland. The screenings take place in 22 cities and on the Polish public TV channel dedicated to art and culture, TVP Kultura. The aim of the Video Art Review THE 02 is to present to the wider public various forms of using the moving image in creating artistic content. The first edition of the event concentrated on the international competition with the participation of artists from 38 countries. During the premiere screening at the Bunkier Sztuki Contemporary Art Gallery in Krakow.

The review showcases various strategies of using the medium of video that is often subjected to diverse languages of art, diverse visual structures, and forms of producing meaning.


● Screening of works by: Roger Ballen, Patrick Jolley, Kasumi, Konrad Kuzyszyn,
Melanie Manchot, Fabio Scacchioli, Łukasz Surowiec, Salla Tykkä,

● Screening of competition section
Yiftach Belsky, Johannes Gierlinger, Sean Hart, Djamo Daniel Nicolae, Romania, NoiSeGrUp, Alexander Pawlik, Amapola Prada, Anna Raczyński, Michalina Mistrzak, Dominik Ritszel, Julia Weißenberg,
Fabian Wigren, Lu Yang.

Roger Ballen (South Africa), ASYLUM OF THE BIRDS, 06:20, 2014

The video work by Roger Ballen, is both a documentary film about his photographic practice, as well as an independent work of video art. It was filmed on the basis of a script written by Ballen and directed under his supervision by Ben Crossman. The film shows scenes from the photographer’s work on a series of pictures under the same title. “Asylum of the Birds” consists of images shot in a building on the outskirts of Johannesburg, a place whose location remains a secret. In his photographs, Ballen shows people and animals that inhabit the place in staged arrangements that combine elements of traditional still life and shamanism, folk beliefs and contemporary graffiti symbols. Situated on the borderline of documentary and a dream vision, the film makes use of both these seemingly incompatible aesthetics, merging them into one surprising and unsettling whole. This disturbing effect stems from the surreal, often shocking elements of the presented scenes, but also from the impossibility of locating the boundaries between artistic vision, stage setting created by the photographer, and the truth of reality.

Patrick Jolley (Ireland), SOG, 11:00, 2007

The film presents a building that becomes so affected by the residue of bad atmospheres left behind by people that it develops an allergic reaction. Walls suffer rashes, boils and weeping sores. Lesions form and the fireplace vomits copiously. Meanwhile the inhabitants continue their banal existence within the disrupted organism of the house.

Kasumi (USA), INTERSECTION, 06:41, 2014

INTERSECTION integrates a present action with the past and the future. It reveals the multiple, sometimes unintended interactions over time of ideas and realities, thoughts and deeds, memories and illusions. It seeks to explode the artificial boundaries that exist only in mythology – conflicts fuelled by memory and perpetuated by the amnesia of history and the illusion of consciousness.

Konrad Kuzyszyn (Poland), SCRAPS, 03:00, 2013

SCRAPS is a short, sketch-like film consisting of several characteristic fragments of a larger whole. Linking them into one structure enhances some diverse themes and motifs and constructs new surprising contexts.

Melanie Manchot (Niemcy), LEAP AFTER THE GREAT ECSTASY, 20:11, 2011

LEAP AFTER THE GREAT ECSTASY Inspired by Werner Herzog’s film ‘The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner’ (1974), and set on the worlds largest natural ski jump, Leap after The Great Ecstasy observes a range of physical and psychological situations in the quest for a brief moment of perfection, of overcoming human limitations. The video charts the intense preparations for an annual world cup, both in terms of the materiality of the site and the individuals involved. The piece tracks in great detail those elements that contribute to the construction of a large-scale event as well as the obsessive focus required to perform at the edge of what is possible, to attain ten seconds of human flight and briefly defy gravitational pull. Explored in the work is the tension between nature and a human desire for control. Arguably many of the processes and gestures observed across the work’s distinct sequences contribute to the endeavour to shape and sculpt a section of nature for a specific human activity, to make it perfect, even just for a moment. The work is in parts a portrait of a location, of its dense physicality and what it might stand for in terms of danger and desire. And it is equally a portrait of human motivations, drives, obsessions and passions, charting levels of dedication and how they become materially and physically manifest.

Julika Rudelius (The Netherlands), LIAISON, 09:52, 2013

LIAISON is filmed in domestic settings of beauty and sophistication. Projected on two parallel screens, young couples play around and engage in a silent, intimate seduction and fantasy game with a range of guns. Though playful, notions and stereotype action-movie gestures of domination, submission, temptation, aggression and caressing with the weapons heighten the strange attraction and thrill of make believe death at your fingertips and comes across as an aphrodisiac of eerie intensity. The film reality of Rudelika’s young couples is that of taste and privilege – in an orderly and civilized environment. The spacious metro-chic interiors, however, open op towards exteriors of lush landscapes, bringing to mind the power of the irrational “natural” killer instincts. Ultimately, toying with guns is toying with God like power – and death.

Fabio Scacchioli (Italy), NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS, 20:55, 2013

Fabio Scacchioli examines the possibilities and limits of the cinematic language through an intense play with image and editing. He uses scenes drawn from the films (found footage) from which he creates new visual quality and new meanings. Cinema works in his pieces as the language of the invisible. It is a whisper that transcends logic and reason, breathes through pores and folds of image that is something more than mere simulation.

Łukasz Surowiec (Poland), HAPPY NEW YEAR – SUMMER 2013, 16:43, 2013

The four-part documentary titled “Happy New Year” (2010-13) was made in an illegally built house in the centre of Katowice. The first part shows the homeless who constructed a provisional shelter as well as they could. They did not use the pseudo-social help of the state. They did not go to live in a shelter. They chose life on their own terms: they renew “hunter-gatherer practices”, collecting scrap metal and sell goods on the market. As the artist says: “it is a story about the community with their own set of values, rights, and obligations, who try to survive in the capitalist jungle. It is a story about helplessness, having no choice, dreams of living under your own roof and having a piece of land where you can feel safe. They do not understand the notion of an ‘abandoned house’. They do not understand why they cannot inhabit it. They do not understand the death of those frozen to death. It is a story about people for whom neoliberal politics is still not ready”.
In the most recent, fourth part, the artist helps the homeless reconstruct their house. He organises for them an open-air cinema: they watch themselves in previous parts, as well as during their trip to Krakow for Surowiec’s exhibition titled “Dziady”, and their horse-carriage trip to Wawel Castle. The homeless share their experiences. They project a vision of a future home that they started to build with the aid of the project. Last but not least, they talk about the death of Jurek – their colleague who died in the fire of that house.
The text comes from the publication “A Place Where We Could Go”, ed. Stanisław Ruksza, Fundacja Imago Mundi – CSW Kronika, Kraków – Bytom 2014.

Salla Tykkä (Finland), AIRS ABOVE THE GROUND, 07:21, 2010

The film is a kind of documentary about the Lipizzaner horse, the oldest extant pedigree breed in Europe. Developed in the 16th century with the support of the Habsburg monarchy, the breed is well know for its ability of making exercises known as airs above the ground. The film explores the uncertain line between nature and culture. The author examines how beauty created in another time has traversed centuries. Even though the world itself and values have changed, the aesthetic desires of people have remained very much the same. What really is beautiful about these horses? Is it the controlled movement of the animal, the gravity-defying jumps, the white colour or proportions according to Baroque ideals? Does this creature appeal to us because we have created it?