Welcome to the world of the moving image

by Patrice Maniglier

Art is not a domain of particular things; it is a particular manner of doing things. Almost anything can be done artistically. This is why contemporary artists have invested the world. Art is not a separate reality or some sort of heaven, the top floor of culture’s paradise; it is a way of twisting Earth’s reality, the introduction of a wandering difference, the free mobilisation of new powers.

Nothing is more common today than moving images. Amateur videos of a young cousin’s birthday on the beach or the beating up of a friend on Tahrir Square or on Republic Square, corporate films or music videos, audiovisual advertising or infrared harnessing of missiles, museum installations or festival screenings, internet tutorials or news broadcasts, the moving image is found everywhere in our daily reality. Audiovisual art cannot only be a particular genre between all these images. It should be a way to handle them in order to transform them, rendering them unrecognisable. A smartphone ad can be made artistically as much as a video installation. It may change the genre it has worked with; it will surely communicate with other contemporary moving images, making us consider a new meaning for these images.

It must be stated that a great uncertainty resides in this point. We knew what cinema was; we do not know what a moving image is. The image mediums have evolved so much these past years – video, television, installations, Internet, Smartphones, tablets, urban projections – that it has become impossible to define these images through one medium.

There is a world of difference between the images that we carry on our phones and that automatically adapt themselves to different formats (tablets, computers, etc.) and those that, on the contrary, have such precise projection conditions that they almost become sculptures (for example the works of Bill Viola). Literally: an inhabitable universe. This is the world that MOVIMENTA wishes to assemble by asking a simple question: which of these images has the most precision and creativity requirements to an extent that what is shown is closely linked to how it is shown? The art of these images in movement is maybe the art that adds, to all that cinematography art had already explored (framing, editing, etc.), the spacial dimension where the image becomes visible?

The moving image is an art by itself that is precisely the effort used to experiment knotting that are imposed between the content of an image and the device that produces it: is a television screen or a projection on a street’s façade better for this image? In broad daylight or in the middle of the night? Propagated massively on social media or attached to a specific place and cannot be parted from it?

MOVIMENTA’s ambition is to give rise to this question. As movement images no longer have a special place (such as movie theaters or televisions), one should invest in public spaces to give it meaning: on the same plan, this video should be visible in the dark room of a museum and a certain type of projection event should occur in front of a dancing crowd in a public place. The movement image thus becomes the turning point between art, industry and politics: MOVIMENTA will therefore become an international competition, an urban party and a professional market.

The images projected in the city will give birth to a real urban party. We will watch movies everywhere in the city. However, those who participate in this party will also know that this event is related to another one, much more intimate and to which they will also be invited. They will have to think, with all the required critical thinking to the inventive and profound types of moving images, in short, to a festival. Finally, the international competition participants will want to see the latest innovations in terms of diffusion or image taking. A party, a festival, a market. The city, the art, the innovation. This is MOVIMENTA’s triptych.

The culture’s politics are at the highest kind of stakes. We want to rebuild here the critical capacity of the public. Philosopher Walter Benjamin noticed in the thirties that masses have abdicated all critic capacities toward works of high culture, but that they used it in cinema and sports. We, all of us, hereby feel the right to appreciate and judge, not only admire or reject; here is where each of us can articulate his subjective arbitrariness to criteria that is valid for all, in other words, practice their taste.

MOVIMENTA is based on a similar bet: moving images are today the place where everyone’s critical capacity can regain its rights. It is no longer the cinema; it is the moving image, in all its dimensions. However, they should be given a space where they can express themselves together in all their diversity and think about their common artistic, technological and political conditions. MOVIMENTA will be the first stage where all moving images will live together at once, in a challenging reflection on themselves and through experiencing the shared pleasure.

Through moving images, another larger question can be asked: what is the thing that unites us? Since the world of moving images is our world: it is urgent to know what it is that gives it so little unity. To each century its public places: in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the theater; in the 20th century, it was the cinema. Let us bet that moving images will be the 21st century’s public place in all their diversity. It is up to us to find the place that is most convenient for this public. It is up to us to let it reunite and be recognised into one singular manifestation.

Such an endeavor as this one cannot be achieved today without the anxious conscience of a finite and irreplaceable character of the world in its physical reality – in other words, of Earth. Does an already overheated and too lighted Earth really need us to waste more energy for a few more images? MOVIMENTA wants to be a unique manifestation by not evading the radical question of its own necessity concerning the huge stakes of our time. When the world burns from too much spending, is it not better to do nothing instead of adding one more sign?

There is only one answer to this question: one should show that they could live as well and even better by stopping Earth abuse. MOVIMENTA will not only be a manifestation concerned with minimising its ecological impact; it will seek to maximise our capacity to imagine a world without carbon. What is light if not energy made visible? What is more urgent than learning to produce a light that does not hide behind her dazzling rays a dark carbon cloud?

This is why MOVIMENTA will put forth any innovation that lets the energy our images are produced with to be taken from our underground and forever lost, but instead borrowed from heat and light such as the wind and the sea. It can be done, for example, by supporting an urban moveable project constituted of solar borders that allow our technologies mobile to recharge, by using phosphorescent screen that reflect the light they have accumulated during the day. MOVIMENTA will also encourage public powers to help us rediscover the night at the heart of our cities, a necessary step in order for some images to appear, even at the cost of decreasing public lighting. MOVIMENTA finally bets on art’s capacity to give us what we need to face this anxious world worried about its own energy: imagination. Through the opening of the mediums question as much as possible, through appealing to the alliance between art and industry, MOVIMENTA wants to invite us to ask ourselves what are moving images and to take conscience of what we do not already know about the composition of future images’ light.

Written by

Patrice Maniglier