Artists’ Film Biennial: Some Suggested DVDs

A spotlight on some of the new arrivals in artist film DVDs at the ICA Bookshop.

ICA Bookshop

6 Jul 2014

The Artists' Film Biennial may coming to an end, but you can still satiate your need for artist films with our ongoing series, the Artist's Film Club. If that's not enough for you, the ICA Bookshop stocks an incredible array of artists' films for you to enjoy at home; here are some highlights among the new arrivals that complement the breadth of the Biennial.

Peter Gidal: Performance of Sort with Brecht (2009), Volcano (2005), Denials (1985) 
Hosted by no.w.here in collaboration with the Chisenhale Gallery, Gidal, the hugely influential Structural/Materialist filmmaker and theorist, gives a rare performative lecture. Bertolt Brecht’s theatre theory provides a lens through which Gidal frames and questions his own dynamic practice. In keeping with Brecht’s emphasis on ‘real time’ dramatic action, Gidal’s performance is enervated by a lack of rehearsal and an invited interrogation by his audience. Also featuring two key late-career film works. 

Rewind & Play Box Set: An Anthology of Early British Video Art 
LUX presents a collection of seminal works from the years when video was the new media. The 1970s and 80s in the UK saw artists using video to make conceptual experiments in response to the expansion of moving image and televisual culture. Whether performing to camera or exploring the newly expanded cinema, they’re a diverse and exciting bunch including Mick Hartney, Ian Breakwell, Tina Keane and Tony Sinden.  

Just Say No to Family Values 
Featuring Keren Cytter and the titular work of John Giorno and Antonello Faretta, this collection showcases work that challenges an increasingly global conservative backlash to progressive values, particularly when it comes to identity politics. The compilation is an international gathering of various perspectives taking on contexts of body, gender, sexuality and hedonism. 

Valie Export 3 Experimental Short Films 
For those who enjoyed the ICA’s Artist Film Club weekend of screenings of Valie Export’s work back in March 2014, or for those who missed it. Featuring Remote...Remote... (1973) which was screened at the ICA weekend, this collection also presents two more experimental short films. An artist famed for her provocative performance work and defiant feminist actions, Valie Export became widely known for Action Pants, Genital Panic (1969), her own version of ‘expanded cinema’ where she walked the aisles of an art house cinema in crotchless trousers, her genitalia at the audience’s eyeline. A practice that has been influential over three decades, her work includes film, photography, text and performance, insistently challenging the depiction of women on screen in a consumer-driven culture. 

Piercing Brightness 
Shezad Dawood’s film is a story of alien emissaries and interracial, even intergalactic, amour. Picking up themes of interplay between cultural histories and fictions from his multimedia practice, Dawood’s sci-fi feature depicts two aliens, disguised as a young Chinese couple, who land their spaceship in Preston, Lancashire. Their assignment is to retrieve the ‘Glorious 100’, a group from their own civilisation sent to Earth millennia ago. Dawood’s love of science fiction and esoterica underpins his art practice; the imagery of his film work exemplifies aesthetic strategies of recyclage, borrowing from both pop-fantasy and Sufism. ■

All of the titles reviewed here are available online or in our Bookshop on the Mall