New Ways of Understanding Art

Eddy Báez of the 2013 Talent Press Buenos Aires reports on the conference Crossing Borders: Film In The Art Gallery at the 2013 BAFICI.

In its penultimate day, the 8th Talent Campus Buenos Aires organized the conference Crossing Borders: Film In The Art Gallery, conducted by Gil Leung, distribution manager of the English arts agency LUX. The session took place in the Universidad del cine's auditorium and was made possible thanks to the support of the British Council that along with BAFICI carried out the project called Britania Lado B for the 2013 edition. The event was directed to TCBA assistants as well to the public in general.

After briefly exposing the objectives of the agency she represents - mainly the distribution and exhibition of moving image works -, Leung focused her lecture on understanding why and how experimental cinema has reached the galleries, as well as considering why to show films in galleries, and the advantages of doing it so through an agency like LUX.

The main reason film has reached the galleries is due to a change in the market. Avant-garde movements have been accepted as art and are nowadays considered valuable, even when many of them were rejected in the past. Marcel Broodthaers's work has been very important in this long process since he changed the traditional way of watching and formally understanding experimental cinema.

Not only the ways films are produced have changed, but also what is considered a work of art and the way it is exhibited and distributed. Moving image curators have to constantly contemplate these questions given the nature of the works. Because unlike paintings for example, the object here is not the work itself but the experience of watching it. What is purchased is not the object but the right to exhibit it or become its spectator.

Along with this consideration, the issue of exhibition and storage comes up as well. In this era of big technological advances piracy is the primary threat. This brings about the need to find new ways of protecting copyrights, currently only possible through airtight contracts, which can be modified any time necessary. This adds another function to the gallery.

The conference was highly motivational for filmmakers present since "making artists' productions viable" is among the gallery's principal goals: "let the works be exhibited, but let there also be a remuneration for the artists every time an exhibition takes place". But what was mostly motivating was the avant-garde spirit: Leung believes that "where there is a will, there is a way". So we must keep on trying.