13th edition LOOP videoarts festival Barcelona

Between May 28 and June 6, Barcelona is full of screens to display the works of over 400 video artists from around the world. Most of these works, as has told Emilio Alvarez, co-director of LOOP in the press presentation, have been created in 2015 with two mottos: 
 
- What about Collecting Video art? 
- Beyond the Image.
 
 

Video art, films, are already part of the usual discussion of collectors, critics and experts from the art world and LOOP is been located, along these 13 years, heading the trends, raising new questions and showing new scenarios and trends worldwide. As they say in their program, "this type of work (video art) has become one of the predominant media in contemporary visual arts. Both within institutions and art centers and galleries, the position of video art goes from being peripheral to central and relevant, the audiences grow, as well as public and private collections. " Therefore, for the 2015 edition, the festival features 23 experts to nurture the theoretical and educational part of the event with various lectures and talks.

 

1) Isabel Rocamora in an essay of Faith in Jerusalem, photography by Shira Kela, 2015.

2)  Los Desnudos, 2011 Clarise Hahn

 

LOOP was born as a specialized video art fair in 2003, grew as a festival in 2004 and, responding to the interest of the public and professionals, it expanded their activities to the education and knowledge creating LOOP Studies in 2012 ... And its success is corroborated by the figures: 411 artists show works and participate in educational projects / workshops, 539 works (Festival and Fair), 541 local and international stakeholders, 85 local entities (museums, cultural institutions, galleries, art spaces) and 77 national and international entities collaborating

LOOP Barcelona develops its artistic activities by different areas of the city, being an inclusive event and based on partnership. Samples include exhibitions as Video-Regime. Collectors audiovisual in the Liceu Circle; L'Inconscient Pictòric, reviewing video art collection of Sorigué Foundation in the MNAC; Writting Diffraction in the Virreina Centre de la Imatge, and "Senses of place" in the Royal Artistic Circle of Barcelona, ??and that the organization has defined as "a festival within the festival" where art work is related to sound, film and new media technology.

Cell, 2014 Bongsu Park

But, the programs and film forums are the most popular activities and the special billboard of the Film Archive of Catalonia or Zumzeig room, joins the "Cityscreen", the wider program within the fair that is displayed in 15 galleries and 35 art spaces. In this edition, LOOP presents the new Discovery Prize supports the production of films and videos by international artists. These days Barcelona becomes one of the world capitals of video art.

 

Among the specialised professional profiles that we find in the cultural sector, and more specifically, in the field of visual arts, one of the most recent occupations is that of the curator. The ‘80s put attention on the role of the artist, with its innovative character and the enhancement of its figure as an essential articulator of creative proposals, while the end of the century moved the interest towards the exhibition centres themselves and their work as custodians of current production and as spaces to accommodate all proposals. The change of millennium strongly introduced in this panorama the role of the curator. Perhaps together with a social identity crisis, perhaps with the complexity that contemporary projects are currently acquiring, the need for building, articulating and delving into artistic discourses became evident.

Although the functions entrusted to this profession are not entirely new, since previously they belonged to conservatives, critics or experts according to the themes, the role has gained solidity because it combines all these purposes while allowing the specialisation of other professionals in their fields of competence. Now, as some curators themselves point out, the genuine spirit of this figure, who was born to facilitate the understanding of the discourse, create narratives within a sometimes chaotic and scattered context, mediate between the works and the spectator and create bridges between contemporary art and society.

The art of our day raises a multitude of unknowns for the visitor who must face proposals many times away from the aesthetic standards, which gives way to uncertainty and confusion; but, in turn, these works employ a closer language, materials and even compositions detached from the sophistication and the technical display of yesteryear, something that, far from favouring proximity to the message, generates some distancing. What we have just described is part of the very essence of current art. The questioning of the formalist guidelines and the recourse to tangible elements that are more utilitarian than embellishing are the new criteria of creation, where, above all, the message to be conveyed stands out.

Likewise, another inherent characteristic of the work of our time is the artists' concern for more immediate themes, for social, political and economic issues that seek to create a narrative and conceptual revulsion, leaving behind the aesthetic priority or, rather, making of the message its own aesthetic. In this context, strange as it may seem, contemporary creation encounters a linguistic barrier hindering the viewer's understanding. And to this circumstance, the abundant current production is added, covering a wide range of themes that are nothing more than a transcript of our diverse and globalised society.

The curator helps to facilitate this understanding by articulating a coherent discourse that allows the grouping of related ideas to set up the message. This requires to have an in-depth knowledge of the current state of the art, the lines of work of the creators, the most recent aesthetic proposals and the real demands of society to bridge the dialogue and allow the approach to art. If art deals with the same issues that concern us all, how can we not share its postulates? Cultural mediation requires the work of the curators to open a small window for reflection and to enable a space for exchange and idea generation. We share the thought that José Guirao expressed in a recent interview: "The curator is someone who reveals something new, and it would be a mistake for curators to become managers."

Understood this way curator’s role, many institutions have joined the trend of creating specific calls for new professionals to give light to their proposals. Let us remember, as an example, the call "Unpublished" of La Casa Encendida, or "Curator wanted", of the Community of Madrid or the call of Curating of La Caixa.