The 8th edition of Pompidou´s “Hors Pistes” festival is nearly coming to an end. This year the overall theme was the miniature. And besides the usual screenings, mini worlds took over the Lower Level floor of the museum for the Festival´s exhibition “A la Loupe” which if you hurry up, you´ll still be able to see until this Sunday.
Eight artists showed off their work that ranged from audiovisual kits packed with 3D mini sculptures that celebrate pop culture accompanied with 3D printer sounds (Cecile Babiole´s Minatures Kit Audiovisuel), to Mohamed Bourouissa´s L’Utopie d’August Sander, inspired by the all so looming unemployment problem. This last work for example, consists on a van equipped with terminals scanning job seekers and then making small statues of them. The artist intended to give a physical aspect to the invisible mass that hides behind the etiquette ‘job seeker’.
Another remarkable work is the one presented by renown American artists Jennifer and Kevin Mccoy who explore the use of traditional cinematic tools combined with mock-ups and the logic behind a doll house in Eternal Return, Traffic 2: At Home and Traffic 4: At the Bar. They´ve installed dozens of cameras pointing to three mock-ups: a desert, a dance and a traffic jam, and then projected the image to a big screen that transforms the mock ups and ends up using a tool of realistic representation as a mechanism of fiction narration.
Every year Hors Pistes sets the tone with the performance of a special guest during the opening night, and for 2013 we had Portland artist Laura Heit and her Matchbox Shows. The artist would narrate stories mixed with everyday life events through figurines and set pieces made by matches and matchboxes. As she plays out the stories as a modern day puppet show, a camera follows her movements and the show is projected onto a big screen behind her. Who would have ever thought that a box of matches could produce such a powerful live theatre feeling? Watching Laura Heit’s performance one can only agree with the premise of this year’s festival that the combination of video with miniatures produces big art pieces that can move audiences without the need of grand gestures.
Apart from miniatures another theme explored by the invited artists was the use of sound. The Japanese artist Go Shibata, a representative of the New New Japanese Wave (if that is an essays term), which uses sound as the primary expression of emotion as well as a narrative tool for his films.
Having a music background himself, he created a video named Yokujitsu – meaning tomorrow in Japanese – that shows cut off images of love stories in modern day Japan.
Although the title refers to the future, the images resemble an old photo album, the nostalgic and tender tone of the images is enhanced by the music that accompanies the film, the result can only be referred to as an audiovisual poem. The second film of the artist presented in the festival (GUI AIUEO:S), transforms a film crew into a band of sorts that go about the Japanese countryside and film sounds of everyday life. The star of the ‘band’ in this case is not the front man, aka the director, but the sound engineer, since we experience the film through the sounds that he records. The black and white photography could factor in the nouvelle vague effect of the film however the cinematic experiment is taken to another level and the Japanese director can claim that is not a follower of the New Wave of the west but a proper pioneer of world cinema.