If you were wondering where all the experimental films were at the 2014 Dallas VideoFest, it turns out that the Video Association of Dallas had something up its sleeve. In January 2015, it will present a new event called Dallas Medianale at McKinney Avenue Contemporary that will give video art and experimental media its own showcase.
Bart Weiss, head of the Video Association of Dallas, says that the decision to split off the experimental works from the regular festival was borne out of necessity.
“By having all of the video art and experimental work as part of the regular festival, it got lost, and I didn’t want that to happen,” Weiss says. “So we pulled 98 percent of it out of the fall festival and decided to create its own new event.”
Dallas Medianale will be a blend of new and old works, ranging from iconic early video art to pieces that radically repurpose obsolete video technology.
The Dallas Medianale will feature installations, screenings and intermedia performances in the galleries and black box theater of the MAC, showcasing the work of internationally renowned artists working in film and video. It will be a blend of new and old works, ranging from iconic early video art to pieces that radically repurpose obsolete video technology.
Featured artists include Bruce Naumaen, Joe Sola, Francis Alÿs, Gary Hill, Owen Kidd, John Whitney, James Whitney, Jennifer Reeder, Kyle Evans and James Connolly of Cracked Ray Tube, Sean Miller, Liz Larsen of LZX Industries, William Sarradet, Andrew Blanton, and more.
Holding the Dallas Medianale at the MAC represents a kind of homecoming for Weiss, who was one of its original founding members. The event, which will have multiple activities continuing through March 2015, will serve as the venue's January exhibit.
The event is being curated by art writer Charles Dee Mitchell, video art writer Danielle Avram-Morgan, artist Michael A. Morris and artist Carolyn Sortor. The one name missing from that list is Weiss, a situation with which he is wholly unfamiliar.
“When the bulk of this happened, I was in the middle of preparing the regular VideoFest, and there was just no way I was going to be able to give it the attention it deserved,” Weiss says. “I have to say, it’s really odd for me — I’ve been doing this for 27 years — to not be curating anything.”
But Weiss will be far from absent during the proceedings. In addition to overseeing the entire event, he'll also act as a DJ during the first weekend, re-creating the club video work he did back in the 1980s with digital media.
That relatively hands-off approach has given Weiss a new perspective on things and has him excited at what the curators will bring to the table.
“This really is dealing with Mike Morris’ sensibility and Dee’s sensibility,” Weiss says. “They both are really great with the programming they’re picking, but they are completely different visions of what video art and experimental media are.
“To have them together is an incredibly cool juxtaposition.”
Dallas Medianale will feature multiple events, beginning with two days of screenings and performances in the black box space of the MAC on the weekend of January 9. An exhibition of video and film installations in the galleries of the MAC called “Call and Response” will have two openings on January 17 and February 13. Dallas Medianale will close with a special program on March 7.