Marko Peljhan at work on an installation. Courtesy AV Festival
The North East’s biennial celebration of electronic arts, the AV Festival, will kick off for its 2008 season on February 28 2008.
Visual art, music and moving image works will all feature in various venues across Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Middlesbrough, with festival events running until March 8. The theme this year is broadcast.
The centrepiece exhibition will be the group show Broadcast Yourself, at Newcastle University’s Hatton Gallery (February 29 – April 5 2008).
“Broadcast Yourself includes artists who have taken TV technology and turned it into a performance space, a cultural forum for debate, or an interactive media platform,” explain co-curators Sarah Cook and Kathy Rae-Huffman.
“We have gathered together an overview of pieces of TV, video and web-based works which demonstrate how artists have successfully challenged and responded to the dominating influence of that little black box in the corner of the room, from the 1970s to the present day.”
Joyce Hinderling, Aeriology. Courtesy AV Festival
Other highlights include Bill Viola’s ‘Reverse Television: Portraits of Viewers’ (1983/4), where he filmed American television viewers watching TV and then broadcast the footage back at them as they watched television (watching the viewers!). Also on show is 'Piazza Virtuale’ by Van Gogh TV (1992) where the audience took control via post, telephone and fax of what was on the channel for 100 days.
Australian artist Joyce Hinterdig will wrap Sunderland’s Reg Vardy Gallery in 20km of copper wire, turning it into a giant radio antenna (February 29 – April 11), while new media enthusiasts Jose Luis Vicente and Irma Vila will reveal the unseen landscape of the electromagnetic spectrum to the naked eye with an interactive screen-based installation in the central foyer of Middlesbrough’s brand new Institute for Digital Innovation (February 28 – March 8).
Meanwhile, Middlesbrough’s public spaces will receive some unexpected audio works courtesy of artists Marcus Coates, Zoe Irvine and People Like Us. Sites for the series of works, going under the banner Now Hear This, will include The Mall shopping centre and the Tourist Information Centre at the Town Hall (February 28 – March 8).
Harun Farocki, Deep Play. Courtesy AV Festival
Filmmaker and artist Harun Farocki is renowned in his native Germany, but the AV Festival will host his first major exhibition in the UK. His show Deep Play takes over 12 screens, allowing viewers to see the 2006 World Cup final between Italy and France from a dozen perspectives (February 29 – April 12, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland).
Other events will include a closing spectacular on the banks of the River Tyne, in which Slovenian artist Marko Peljhan will conduct an audio-visual ‘mapping’ of the radio landscape of Newcastle. Peljihan and collaborators will scan the night sky at different frequencies, picking up chatter from passing planes, amateur radio conversations and satellites to create soundscapes and projections. Scatter! will take place on March 8 in Baltic Square, from 6pm.
For more information about the events going on in the festival, see www.avfestival.co.uk. AV Festival is organised by Audio Visual Arts North East.