The Art Quarterly’s on site correspondent, Joanna Rudolph, is at the dance reporting the in’s and outs of this annual winter gathering. Due to limited connectivity (called weak wi-fi), Rudolph’s first report follows:
8:02 PM MST – Park City, UT:
Having arrived in Park City on Friday, it is not surprising to discover that Sundance is more than just a launch pad for filmmakers; it is a venue for visual artists to reach audiences as well. Case in point — the New Frontier on Main, which is the home of art installation projects and hitREcord.org, a multimedia company founded by actor Joseph Gordon Levitt. Fittingly, it was also the location for the panel “Migrating Imaginations: Visions from the Art & Music Worlds.” Moderated by Elvis Mitchell, he conversed with “leading” artists Shirin Neshat and Piplotti Rist to explore the intersections of art and film. Known for their photography and/or video art installations, both artists have followed in the footsteps of visual artists Matthew Barney, David Lynch and Julien Schnabel; they are visual artists turned filmmakers. Neshat is at Sundance with her film “Women Without Men” and Rist with “Pepperminta.”
They gravitated towards filmmaking because of their desire to challenge themselves but also because film has the ability to reach a broader audience. While video art installations and the like make it difficult for artists to control the audience attention span, thereby making the relationship between the piece of art and artist fleeting, a filmmaker can command the attention of an audience for nearly two hours. Not to mention, art installations typically explore abstract concepts whereas storytelling in film is universal. Then there is the issue of cost; ownership of a movie as a DVD is much less costly than ownership typically of a unique work of art. By blending art installations seamlessly into the film world, Sundance is not only making art more available to the wider masses, it is educating audiences on the connectivity between the two media.