LAB

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Series of festivals/exhibitions of film, video and computer art in Centre for Contemporary Art in Warszawa from 1991 to 1997. Curated by Ryszard Kluszczynski.


History

From April 1990 a presentation of Polish and world achievements of experimental movie and video art was held yearly in The Centre for Contemporary Art in Warszawa. The first festival of avantgarde cinema and video was organised in May 1991. The title was Middle Europe. It was a collection of retrospectives treating the history of experimental film and video art in Austria, Czecho-Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.

As the first, international review of avantgarde art of the moving image from Central Europe conceived on this scale (world-wide), it anticipated numerous later events of this type, organized in different countries and centres (e.g. the "Unblocked" Festival in Toronto or "Ostranenie" in Bauhaus-Dessau). Since then, this - yearly - festival has continually modified its formula in search of an identity and a place within the multidisciplinary art program implemented at the Ujazdowski Castle.

  • 1992

The scope of the second festival, known as the International Media Meetings (held in May 1992), was no longer limited by geography and encompassed the works of artists from many different countries. Its formula originated in the desire to capture the specific character of those types of media art which employ the moving picture, to expose their differences and to bring attention to their similarities. And thus of particular interest were works of art developed through the parallel application of differing media technologies.

  • 1993, 1994

The next festival, II International Media Meetings (in May 1993), besides showing films and video tapes, included a small (4 works) exposition of video installations and interactive objects. Finally, the fourth festival, held in April 1994 under the name "International Week of Film/Video Laboratory", was again reduced - for financial reasons - to the presentation of films and video tapes. The program of the two latter festivals revealed an important feature, complementing the identity of the shows held so far in the CCA Laboratory. Namely, they were centered around artistic personalities. Instead of showing single works by individual authors (presentation structure typical of a festival) we strived to present complete author programs, showing - by the means of a retrospective review - the creative personalities of artists active in the domain of media art. In effect the LAB-Festival became, in spite of its name, more of an exhibition than a traditional video or film festival.

  • 1995

In consequence of the above process, LAB 5, was an International Exhibition of Film, Video and Computer Art. The decision to replace a festival by an exhibition was also motivated by the increasing role played by the presentation of installations and objects - which, from an an event accompanying the main show of films and videos, has gradually evolved into an event in its own right - as well as by the desire to put the experomental film and video art within the context of "exhibited" arts, thereby endowing them with a meaning which they very much deserve and which they were denied within the cinema context. The increased emphasis on the installation and object presentations and the growing interest in works employing computer technologies derives from a belief that the most characteristic metamorphoses of contemporary media art are created through the use of these very technologies. This exhibition aims to present distinctive (and distinct) works, developed currently in the domain of medial arts; to present the Polish viewers with the possibility of coming into contact with the newest trends in art; but first, and foremost, its aim is to bring into our consciousness a new realm of reality: the cyberculture, developed through the use of new electronic and computer technologies.


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