This week, Washingtonians have been taking a tour, country by country, through Europe's video art scene. "In the Loop: Contemporary Video Art from the European Union," a survey of some of the best contemporary video art to come out of the EU's 27 member states since 2007, has made stops at the Phillips Collection and the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. Tomorrow, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery is hosting.
The European Union Cultural Counselors held a competition to select the films shown. Each country was invited to submit three short videos (around five minutes or under) to a jury of judges from the participating museums. Naturally, the museums chose videos with themes that align with their own interests and missions. The National Portrait Gallery, for example, favored films about portraiture and identity, whereas the Phillips Collection focused on aesthetics and the American University Museum on social and political issues.
SNEAK PEEK - National Portrait Gallery's screenings, Saturday, June 12, 2 PM:
Austria: People Who Like Bonnie Tyler by Susanne Jirkuff - This film is a tribute to 1980s power-balladeer Bonnie Tyler set to her own hit song, "Total Eclipse of the Heart."
Belgium: All Together Now by Hans Op de Beeck - A tragicomedy, All Together Now is a quick portrait of three groups of people—gathered after a funeral, another at a wedding reception and the third at a fancy birthday celebration—with the commonality being that they are all at a table, sharing a meal.
Cyprus: The Calm by Yioula Hadjigeorgia - Video artist Yioula Hadjigeorgia struggles to free herself from a heavy overcoat, its pockets full of sand. The performance is meant to represent a society losing its communal identity.
Germany: Sorry Curator by Annette Hollywood - Another one-woman show, Sorry Curator is a hip-hop face-off between artist and curator. (Artist Annette Hollywood plays both parts.)
Greece: About 6' by Katerina Zacharopoulou - In this video, the artist carries on in a dialogue with another version of herself, with which she struggles to coexist.
Malta: My Friends Call Me Ado by Patrick J. Fenech - This film is a portrait of an illegal immigrant and peace-loving musician who made his way, by boat, from Burkina Faso to Malta.
Spain: Metropolis by Sergio Belinchon - Metropolis is a portrait not of a person but of a place—the modern city. The film explores the stage-like quality of the urban landscape, as people—the actors—move about it.