Destructural Video @ LIFF 2011

In September 2011, I was asked by Martha Jurksaitis of Cherry Kino and the Leeds International Film Festival if I would be interested in curating a screening of Destructural Video for the 25th edition of the film festival. Despite having shared a kindred interest with Martha in experimental cinema and having spoken with her a number of times about my fascination for glitch/video art throughout 2010 and 2011, I was still completely taken aback and deeply humbled by this kind invitation and opportunity to curate this event - for a major UK film festival no less! Well, two intense months later and somehow the event came together in the end - an 80 minute programme of 14 experimental videos made by artists from all over the world. To say this was my first time curating an event, I think it turned out rather well!

Destructural Video
Leeds International Film Festival
Curated by John McAndrew
Event website:

Catalogue text:

Video is an illusionary substitute for a sensory moment in time. Akin to sound technology such as the microphone, radio and the tape recorder, the video camera allows an almost instant real-time playback and broadcasting of what it captures through the recording onto magnetic tape or hard drive, or direct transmission to a receiving device. As an extension of our senses, video transcends our physical limitations and how we perceive the world. The more we become attuned to it, the greater the need to improve video’s fidelity to equal and eventually replace our own flawed senses.

It can be argued that as much as we strive for perfection in technology, the constant pursuit for enhanced realism, improved clarity and higher definition experiences goes vehemently against our own imperfect nature. The VHS cassette - that once-treasured household totem, now relegated to the waste lands - is a suitable analogy for human memory, skipping backwards and forwards in time to playback our recollections of an event. However, the slightest jolt or button switch can rewrite its history with ease, leaving only a burst of white noise remaining on its timeline to signify a temporal disruption. Can these otherwise unwanted errors which reveal the video medium as the illusion it is, be considered beautiful if isolated?

Filtered through our own revisionist tendencies and treading the fine line between appropriation and the inappropriate, the video medium is a humble yet unorthodox totem that symbolises the human condition – a condition where the glitch prevails. Rather than trying to suppress these faults, perhaps we should celebrate these as aesthetic qualities. In this screening exploring intrinsic imperfections and adventurous possibilities in electronic structures, artists from all around the world aestheticize the exploration, investigation and exploitation of faults in moving image technology, both old and new. Reconfiguring equipment in ways unintended by their manufacturers to create new images; employing feedback techniques to reveal the signals often unseen; converting one form of data into another form through unorthodox means to - the artists included in this screening expose the inherently flawed yet fundamentally human traits in moving image technology; a humbling reminder of where we have come from and where we are heading. 

brRRMMMWHEee IIBilly Roisz, Austria, 2010, 5 min, DigiBeta 

Meditation for Passenger 4.7-11Sally Richardson, USA, 2011, 6min, VHS 

Feednoise #37Kjell Bjørgeengen, Norway, 5 min, DV 

Radionoise (interlude)TiND (Francis Théberge, Sébastien Gravel), Canada, 2007/2010, 1 min, DV

Improvisations for hand-spun Video-SpringerNeil Gravander, USA, 2011, 8 min, VHS 

Light BeingVaudeo Signal (Ben Baker-Smith & Evan Kühl), USA, 2010, 8 min, VHS 

Connection to the PhotosonicneurokineasthographBotborg (Scott Sinclair, Joe Musgrove, Stefan Kushima), Australia/Austria, 2009, 10 min, DV

The Collapse of PALRosa Menkman, Netherlands, 2010, 8 min 30, DV

Pascal’s RoomJimmy Joe Roche, USA, 2011, 2 min 15, HD

Pure Data read as pure dataNicolas Maigret, France, 2010, 13 min, HD 

Landscape #2: South-Facing Window View Between Longbranch and Exhibition Train Stations, Toronto (Enlarged 200%, Blurred 2%, Sharpened 1300% and Slowed Down to 2% of the Original Speed)Renée Lear, Canada, 2011, 3 min, DV 

What is your glitch? 1bitgifavibmpbmpcmykbmprgbjpgmpgpcxpixpngppmsgisvgtgawebpAntonio Roberts, United Kingdom, 2011, 1 min, DV

A New Ecology for the Citizen of a Digital AgeNick Briz, USA, 2009, 4 min, DV

Ceibas: Epilogue: The Well of RepresentationEvan Meaney, USA, 2011, 7 min 30, Hacked ROMs on DV

Special thanks to Martha Jurksaitis of Cherry Kino for granting me this special and completely appreciated opportunity, and for supporting and believing in me from start to end. I also want to thank all the volunteers and festival staff who helped bring this event together, all the artists and their respective distributors whose astounding work was screened, and to all the artists (over a hundred!) who graciously submitted work for consideration through open calls and invitations - I wish I could have shown all the excellent work I received, I really do. Also, a very sincere thank you to all who attended the event and travelled far and wide to be there - it didn't run smoothly at times (to use a personal quote, "the glitch prevails"), but those who stuck it out to the end were rewarded by what they saw that evening. I'm eternally grateful you could come along.

John McAndrew

P.S. I still owe a number of the artists who screened works a copy of the film festival catalogue - please email me your address if you still want one!