Happiness, machines, Spartacus Chetwynd and more in LUX/ICA Biennial of Moving Images

By Ben Miller | 23 May 2012
An image of a film still showing a woman in Egyptian headdress looking upwards
Michael Robinson, These Hammers Don't Hurt Us (2010). Digital video© Courtesy Michael Robinson
Festival: LUX/ICA Biennial of Moving Images, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, May 24-27 2012

For three years from 1997, Pulp guitarist Mark Webber ran Little Stabs at Happiness, an ultra-cool club at the ICA combining obscure cinematic masterpieces, live bands and a bit of dancing within a party atmosphere intended to be as far removed as possible from the aloof pretence of a typical screening or premiere.

The monthly meet became hugely popular before disbanding at the end of 2000, but it returns on Thursday, launching the only contemporary moving image festival of its kind by putting on The Machine That Kills bad People, a piece by Italian Roberto Rossellini about a camera which can kill the greedy and corrupt, made in 1952.

It’s a fittingly fantastical start to a four-day celebration which includes Super-8 king Luther Price, who re-edits old found footage and detritus in a “death drive” of “chaotic mental states”, soundtracked only by the grinding noise of the projector responsible for portraying them.

There are works on human nature by the ever-compelling, multi-award winning Ben Rivers, one of a string of guest curators alongside the likes of Elena Filipovic, the former Berlin Biennial co-curator who has picked a programme of films with names such as I Kiss Your Ectoplasm Like I Would a Shark V and These Hammers Don’t Hurt Us.

And the whippersnapper who might steal the column inches is Spartacus Chetwynd – hot property at the moment thanks to her Turner Prize nomination, and turning up here with Call of the Wild, a trip to the epicentre of the Outer Hebrides being shown as part of a programme selected by Firstsite Senior Curator Michelle Cotton.

The line-up is decorated with panel discussions, symposiums and in-depth question-and-answer sessions attended by many of the filmmakers whose works take centre stage.

More pictures:

An image of a film still of a man with his eyes closed under a blue sky
Laida Lertxundi, Footnotes to a House of Love (2007). 16mm (part of Ben Rivers' programme)© Courtesy Laida Lertxundi
An image of a young woman in a dress standing up looking into the distance
Claire Hooper, Eris (2011/12). Performance co-produced by Electra© Courtesy Claire Hooper
An image of four people standing around a screen inside a stone-walled gallery
Emily Roysdon, Story of History (2009). Video (part of Carmen Billows' programme)© Courtesy Emily Roysdon
An image of a screen of small light blue squares and pictures of a surgeon's face
Luther Price, Meat (1999). Handmade slide (part of Thomas Beard and Ed Halter's programme)© Luther Price
A black and white photo of two men throwing a bucket of paint inside a gallery
Irm and Ed Sommer, Nitsch (1969). 16mm (part of Little Stabs at Happiness, curated by Mark Webber)© Lux / Irm and Ed Sommer
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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