After a year’s absence, the annual video_dumbo festival has returned with a week of screenings and installations that have video art reflecting on itself.
Last night, the central exhibition, Re-Return to Sender, opened at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in Chelsea. While it’s now extracted from its former Brooklyn home, there is an ongoing installation running in parallel at the Front Street gallery space of Dumbo Arts Center, which is continuing its participation in the event as a co-presenter this year. As we reported last month, the Dumbo Arts Center is currently without a staff and is reevaluating its future, and their work with video_dumbo curators Caspar Stracke and Gabriela Monroy was at that time their central focus before examining their next step.
The week ahead will carry a flurry of 14 different video programs involving over a hundred international artists, including such promising themes as “Camera Obscuras,” “The Idea of the North,” and “New Finnish Video Art.” If the art installed in Re-Return to Sender is an indication, this year’s video_dumbo should be full of eclectic spectacle. Be sure to grab some explaining text before exploring the exhibition, however, as what is happening is quite interesting, but needs a little context to be fully appreciated.
For example, there’s Chris Shen’s “Infra” with a towering grid of old TV remotes that work as a projection tool (when viewed through the proper “glasses”), and while Daniel Canogar’s “Spin” might look like just a bunch of old DVDs from afar, up close you can see videos screened individually on each one. These are actually rips of the videos on the DVDs played back over them like some sort of Möbius strip of media. I was also drawn to an installation by Christoph Meier (no relation to this author), where a Mondrian tribute of rectangles were carefully lined up on the wall with different projectors, exploring the individual aspect ratios and light temperatures of each. In Bram Snijders and Carolien Teunisse’s “RE:,” a lone projector is surrounded by a circle of mirrors that layer the video it sends out over itself.
Where video_dumbo and the Dumbo Arts Center will go from here is something that remains to be seen, but the video art on display here and projected for the coming week holds engaging ideas for the evolving media to explore, even as it looks back onto itself with its electric gaze.
video_dumbo is at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center (540 West 21st Street, Chelsea) through May 25.