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EKATERINA A. KARTSEVA
Russian State University for the Humanities,
SCREEN FORMS AT BIENNIALS OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Abstract. Video today is a popular tool for artists of postmodern, poststructuralist, post-conceptual orientations. These practices have not yet developed their economic model and have spread mainly through biennials and festivals of contemporary art, as the main form of their comprehension and display. At the same time, “video art”, “video installations”, “video sculptures”, “video performances”, “films” at the exhibitions are far from an exhaustive list of strategies, stating a cinematic turn in contemporary art, where videos are considered among the basic tools of a contemporary artist and curator. It gets increasingly difficult to imagine exhibitions that resonate with the public and critics without video. From an avant-garde countercultural practice, video has become the mainstream of contemporary exhibition projects and is presented in exhibitions in many variations. The article analyzes the strategies for including video in the expositions of national pavilions at the 58th Venice Biennale, among which the production of video content in the genre of documentary filming, investigative journalism, artistic mystification, and interactive installation can be distinguished. Artists both create their own content and use footage content from the Internet. The main awards of the Biennale are won by large—scale projects that dialogize fine art with cinema and theater. For the implementation of artistic ideas curators of biennial projects attract professional directors, screenwriters, sound and light specialists. The biennials of contemporary art, by analogy with the term screen culture, can be attributed to the large format in contemporary art. At them, video goes beyond the small screens with the help of full-screen interactive installations, projections on buildings, films timed to exhibitions are broadcast on YouTube and Netflix. As the coronavirus pandemic has shown, the search for new tactics using screen forms is sometimes the only way out for a large exhibition practice in a situation where it is impossible to conduct international projects and comply with new regulations. The Riga Biennale of Contemporary Art, Steirischer herbst in Graz, followed this path. The exhibition is moving closer to film production. New optical and bodily models are being formed. The contemplative essence of art is being replaced by new ways of human perception of information, space and time, built on the convergence of communication means—video, music, dance, the interpenetration of objective and virtual realities.
Keywords: screen culture, screen art forms, video installation, biennials of contemporary art, 58th Venice Biennale, exhibition, video artist, “cinematic turn” in contemporary art, coronavirus pandemic