25 finalists in Guggenheim-YouTube creative video biennial

Oct 22, 2010 by Paola Messana

Twenty-five clips from around the world were selected for the first creative video biennial run by the Guggenheim Museum and the YouTube video sharing site, highlighting online video as a popular art form.

The finalists of the " Play, a Biennial of Creative Video" event range from South African rap to Brazilian animation, and were chosen from more than 23,000 submitted entries. They can also be seen on YouTube's website at youtube.com/play.

The famous white facade of the museum, located on New York's Fifth Avenue in front of Central Park, was transformed into a giant screen late Thursday where the finalist videos were shown.

The videos will be broadcast again after sundown Friday, inside the museum and at the museum's affiliates in Bilbao, Berlin and Venice through October 24.

The event is "the first biennial of online video to be organized by a major museum of contemporary art," said Guggenheim Museum Director Richard Armstrong.

"In the last two decades, the moving image has been fully absorbed into critical contemporary-art practices," he said.

A senior official at YouTube, Ed Sanders, said that the project "was conceived as an effort to surface the video gems that lie at the intersection of creativity and technology."

The 25 videos "represent the breadth of genres and techniques specific to online video today, and tip their hat to YouTube's global reach and diversity," Sanders said.

The themes among the work of the finalists vary widely.

A video clip titled "Auspice," by American Bryce Kretschmann, includes a collage of faces of US television news broadcasters from major networks with horror-film music in the background.

Another video, "Bear Untitled" from Christen Bach from Denmark, is a short animation about a hunter and a bear. "Birds on the Wires" by Brazilian Jarbas Agnelli shows birds landing on electricity cables to the tune of musical notes.

The authors are often young professionals, but there are also students, musicians, and even a chess champion.

The youngest include Nick Bertke, an Australian resident born in 1988 in South Africa, and Frenchman Pierre-Axel Vuillaume-Prezeau, born in 1986 and a resident of Paris.

"In making their selection, the jury was looking for a broad range of genres specific to online , including, but not limited to, non-narrative, experimental works; mashups; animations; stop-motion graphics; remakes; music videos; and narrative short films," the organizers said.

A jury of 25 prominent artists helped choose the finalists, including filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, landmark musical group Animal Collective and visual artist Takashi Murakami.

The Guggenheim's chief curator Nancy Spector served as jury chairperson.

Videos were submitted from nations including Chile, the Czech Republic, Japan, Northern Ireland, South Korea and the United States.

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