one of the things i was most looking forward to doing on this trip was seeing screenings at the exis experimental film and video festival. i originally had planned to attend 7 screenings, but in the end only made it to 3.

the theaters were hard to find, even with a map. i wandered for a long time showing people my map to the seoul art cinema, but nearly everyone i asked pointed me in a different direction. at one point i was literally on the doorstep of the building and someone sent me off away from it when i asked for directions.

i had given up and was walking back to the subway station when i passed a tourist info booth, and they even had a hard time locating it at first. but then they realized that seoul art cinema used to go by the name hollywood cinema. no wonder so many people were sending me off in odd directions. by this time the screening i wanted to attend had started – plus i was dead tired – so i just went back to my hotel.

of the films i saw at least three films were largely text based. yoon soo in’s monster, kim hyo na’s isolation and kim jin seok’s anakana. the text in monster reminded me a bit of raymond carver, but darker. anakana was basically a series of phone calls(you hear the calls and see the text – but don’t see the callers or the calls being made). visually the film is basically one long static take(plus text) except for one rather funny dream sequence. isolation had one or two things going on at once. text on a computer screen as well as a voiceover. unfortunately it was so hard for me to see the screen during this film i missed most of what the text said. i liked the different takes each of these films took on text as film and it made me wonder if there had been a workshop exploring this idea or if it was just a coincidence.

some other films i dug:

manuel knapp’s accelerated lines. abstract lines moving, changing, evolving. like an architect’s draft taken on a life of its own. the only criticism i have is that all through the film it’s building and building but when the film ends the image it ends on isn’t as interesting or strong as what has come before so(for me at least) feels a bit anti-climatic.

eric siu chi-man’s sliding whites. part video game, part vintage computer art and part home movie. a study in colour and texture as the image is altered and explored. writing about this now makes me want to see it again.

remi garchard-marchant’s seconds of salvation. one of the reasons i wanted to attend this festival was to see remi’s film on the big screen. remi being a friend of mine. i’d seen it on-line before, but never projected. it’s a shame it was shown at space cell since this space is just an art gallery and work is projected on the wall whereas seoul art cinema is a proper theater. but regardless i was glad to see it projected at all. i’d forgotten how much i like this film. it was great to see it blown up like this so that the thematic connections were even easier to see. anti-war sentiment filtered through a vintage pixel aesthetic.

chon seung ll’s the 90 years i experienced and tobias sternberg’s witches made me wonder something. how important is content/meaning for an experimental film?

the 90 years i experienced was basically footage of protests in korea throughout the 90s set to a korean pop song. having no real knowledge of what the protests were about or what the song is saying leaves me with just the visuals. is it neccesary to understand the idea behind the film to appreciate the film? or is appreciating it on a visual level enough?

in witches the narration was largely done via text: the holding of placards or of writing appearing on the walls of a spinning room. this would be fine, but due to the speed and the visual methods used it became increasingly difficult to read the text at all. in a case like this is the meaning purposely being obscured or is the meaning just an excuse to play around visually? and if it is just an excuse to explore visual themes is the text/meaning neccesary in the first place?

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