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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Caroline Bissaillon at 2:15PM
Caroline Bissaillon

Caroline Bissaillon is a junior Documentary Studies and Production major with minors in Art and Environmental Studies, Great Barrington, MA

During this global pandemic festivals around the world are having to postpone, cancel, and shift their exhibiting platforms. Luckily, film festivals are used to adapting. FLEFF has chosen an appropriate theme this year, and our festival infiltrates the slew of digital content with two new media exhibiting sites.

Infiltrations A New Media Environment combines works of experimentation and activism. As quickly as our world has changed to be a distant video-chat encounter society, this exhibition was released to spread the spirit of FLEFF across the world wide web.

Nine works of the experimental media artist Wenhua Shi are in Infiltrations A New Media Environment. The first of his analog films is a blend of ten moments, as it is aptly named. The piece shows ten scenes of harmonious color, stillness, movement, nature, and urbanism to form a digital poem.

Shi’s works combine the passing of time with conceptual ideas as he flows between media formats.

Die Nacht is a short film that focuses on the cycle of light through windows. The painterly shots use shadow and light to create a moving painting. Shi’s slow meditation plays over the sound of Richard Strauss’ Die Nacht producing an ethereal effect.

Shi’s abstractions bring metaphysical wonderment to the digital medium.

Rooted concretely in activism, the Labor Beat media organization uses a horizontal platform to share the stories of working-class people. The Chicago based group collaborates with grassroots associations, unions, and activist organizations to create participatory documentaries. Since 1986 Labor Beat has shared their work on cable access television.

Give Us Roses: Art and the Class Struggle documents a few of the organizations that Labor Beat has worked with to exhibit their issues in a digital video.

The beginning of the film opens up to a group of people creating posters for the 2017 May Day Marches. In an interview, one artist explains the importance of having a collective space for the organization to participate with grassroots projects side-by-side.  

The film shifts its focus to Art in These Times, an art movement that swings the narrative on the War in Iraq. An interview explains how the art project is a way for soldiers to take back the popular opinion about the war, of which most soldiers were against during and after their deployment.

Through these micro-lenses on small organizations, there are glimpses of Labor Beat’s mission to focus predominantly on the issues of others.  

Radical Infiltrations New Media Exhibition penetrates the digital world with impressive and thoughtful projects on today’s most pressing issues.

The Weather Center for the Apocalypse is a collection of futuristic predictions about the state of the climate. The interface combines video interview with factual recordings of weather-related happenings.

The platform shares people’s anxieties about climate change and the future.

The Weather Center for the Apocalypse infiltrates the current chronicle of the climate crisis with human thought and emotion.

Amazonia features the physical landscape of the virtual mechanisms of online shopping. Focusing on the company Amazon, filmmaker Roger Beebe explores the places in the United States where these warehouses of commerce transform the towns they inhabit.

Elements of self-reflexivity like the pop-up windows in the film bring attention to its creation. In this way, the film mimics what it is like to be on a computer browsing Amazon or some other digital interface.

These two projects intersect by harking on imposing threats of technology and climate change to our modern future.

During times of uncertainty works like these can bring us out of ourselves and transport us into another world, that being the world of digital art. FLEFF is still alive and persists to share radical work in an ever-changing virtual domain.


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