Saturday, 19 April 2008

donna g's Hot Docs Diary

Icelandic artist, Ásmundur Ásmundsson
deconstructing the Pepsi Challenge in the documentary STEYPA
Next Screening: Sun, April 20th, 5:00 pm, Innis Town Hall

Is this "art"?

What is Art? This is the question directors, Markús Thór Andrésson and Ragnheidur Gestsdóttir posed to several Icelandic artists in the documentary, STEYPA (concrete). After the screening at the Royale Cinema tonight (April 18th), Andrésson admitted that the artists couldn't really answer the question, so he just showed them doing what they do--working at their respective arts. Andrésson also confessed that as a curator, he made the film so that his mother would understand his job as a curator.

I don't always understand abstract or performance art, but I'm always fascinated by it, and think about the works long after I have seen them. The documentary STEYPA is the same. Some artists I understood
, some I didn't, but I enjoyed meeting them in this film and I appreciated them trying to put into words the concepts and feelings that compel them to create certain pieces/work with certain material. If they were better at words they would be authors, so the works like the oil drum pyramid, the dough masks, the angels and the plants speak for themselves. Interwoven throughout the film is the breathtaking canvas of Iceland.

STEYPA features electronic music by music by Ólafur Björn Ólafsson, very cool graphics and the works and thoughts of artists Ásmundur Ásmundsson, Gabríela Fridriksdóttir, The Icelandic Love Corporation, Huginn Thór Arason, Katrín Sigurdardóttir, Margrét H. Blöndal, Unnar Örn Jónasson Audarson.

By the way, someone did ask whether or not the news of an OCAD student (from Iceland) leaving a package saying "this is not a bomb" at the ROM made headlines in Iceland. Yes, they heard about it, and according to the director, people thought it was "just art".

Screening with STEYPA is the documentary short, Drežnica by Brazillian filmmaker, Anna Azevedo. A combination of Super 8 images and voice clips from several blind people from a seniors' place, the film asks the questions what do the blind see when they dream? Azevedo was inspired to do the film by a random thought while waiting for a traffic light to change.

The Super 8 images were supplied by friends and have no relation to the blind subjects. We never see the people, just hear their voices and I connected with the man who said that to him, his father is always 30-something because he has no way of picturing him old.

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