Friday, November 5, 2010

Platform ends reign with ode to video

By Ines Min

When Platform Seoul held its inaugural contemporary art exhibition in 2006 with the aim of finding the most engaging of its day, then its 2010 edition — the fifth and final year for the time-sensitive project — settles the dispute for the favored medium: video art.

Platform 2010, organized by SAMUSO: Space for Contemporary Art, provides the past, future and exciting present of the art form with a name-dropped line-up of the experimental and accolade-adorned of our time. The short exhibition started Wednesday at the Artsonje Center in Sagan-dong, central Seoul, and runs through Nov. 19 with daily program changes, artist talks and lectures.

A total of 87 short and near-feature length films will be shown from 66 artists, ranging from the European-loved Korean artist Kimsooja to experimental New Zealander Len Lye, whose work in the 1930s changed video art. Collaborations with the Centre Pompidou’s New Media Collection — one of the largest in the world — and the Yokohama Museum in Japan, Platform manages to bring a comprehensive global spectrum of the most exciting video work of the time.

While the former contributes a work by Bill Viola, a leading figure in the field, the latter brings in the modern Paul McCarthy and Japanese legend Toshio Matsumoto (whose work is said to have influenced Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of “A Clockwork Orange”).

The exhibition is organized as a miniature film festival, with screenings lined up and programs providing a more rigid timetable than the typical show. The blurring of this line between film and art echoes the boundary between the past and future of audiences — while films direct the viewer to stay, the appreciator has the option of angle, timing and editing with artwork.

For those interested in a sharp commentary on the modern man’s relationship with technology need look no farther than the second and third galleries of Artsonje, which currently house the two special exhibition of Platform 2010. Legendary Harun Farocki and this year’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul offer their social and political views in multi-screen work.

Farocki pieces together the work of famed directors for “Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades,” tracing the lines of change from founding filmmakers the Lumiere Brothers, to D.W. Griffith’s controversial classic “Intolerance,” to the disturbingly emotional “Dancer in the Dark” by Lars von Trier. In “Deep Play,” the artist offers 12 points of perspective on the 2006 World Cup final between Italy and France, an intricate discourse of technology, surveillance, information and omnipresence.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s Weerasethakul creates a subtle interplay of expectation, rhythm and the abstract with his political commentary on the state of his home country’s people, after a coup d’etat in 2006.

Other artists to keep an eye out for include Jun Yang and Lawrence Weiner, who will both showcase new work created in conjunction with SAMUSO. Yang explores the landscape of Seoul today, while Weiner — whose screening is a world premiere — provides an abstract take in “Dirty Eyes.”

The five-year Platform Seoul was planned and directed by independent curator Kim Sun-jung, who was also the artistic director for this year’s Media City Seoul, currently ongoing at the Seoul Museum of Art through Nov. 17.

General admission is 3,000 won for the day, 10,000 won for a five-day pass. Though programming schedules change daily, a full calendar and artist synopses can be found at their website (English and Korean), or call (02) 733-8945.

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