It came as no surprise to see how prevalent video and film factored in the exhibitions on offer at the Biennale. The moving image is one of the most immediate forms of art, and as such, often makes a faster and more intimate connection with visitors than other formats.
There is something about video that loosens people's inhibitions and natural barriers to art. The accessibility of the media offers artists the opportunity to connect with viewers without the need for a lot of supplementary material. I've both staged and visited exhibitions where people's confidence in reading art has only been assauged by a careful, studied look at any accompanying didactic informaton that sits beside or near the object.
With video, people tend to be more confident in making their own decisions and judgements. Most people are well enough versed through television, music videos and film, to innately understand how to read images and look for clues when a narrative is on offer. What was interesting, if not a little surprising in Venice, was how warmly people tended to react to the video work.
The scope of video was impressive. In the Japanese pavillion, Tabaimo's Teleco Soup was enthralling. A 360 degree immersive screen, made mostly of sloping walls and mirrors created an impressive and confined environment onto which Tabaimo's opera unfolded. A constant push pull dialectic offered viewers glimpses of the various elements of our world; an organic survey of the heavens, terra firma and all that lies beneath the earth's surface.
Throughout the looped vision, we see the relaionship between man and his environment, or more specifically, the Japanese and their environment. The confines of the arching screens and the dark, enclosed pavillion seem to further support the idea of inversion and seclusion.
The media release speaks of the sociological term Galapagos Syndrome, which was recently coined in Japan. Briefly, it makes the point that, as a society, Japan has increasingly seemed to turn inward in the face of globalisation. The insularity is a reflection of the self contained environment of the Galapogas. Of course, this insularity is nothing new; Japan was famously isolated (of its own choice) from the rest of the globe, and Tabaimo's addressing of this, along side her repeated use of environmental and natural motifs, makes for a modernised, if yet, still traditionally Japanese presentation of a modern (and not modern) idea. Pretty breathtaking.
In accordance with the request of the Japanese pavillion, I have not uploaded any images of the Teleco-soup project. For more information, or visuals, visit the link posted on Tabaimo's name earlier.
Dave Di Vito
Subscribe to the mailing list for information about upcoming releases and a free excerpt!
Dave Di Vito is a writer, teacher and former curator.He's also the author of the Vinyl Tiger series and Replace The Sky.
For information about upcoming writing projects subscribe to the mailing list.
Dave hates SPAM so he won't trouble you with any of his own. He promises.