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Run Riot talks to media partner & guest editors Alpha-ville

[MURCOF + SIMON GEILFUS – ANTIVJ (Live AV, London premiere) Credits: Ed Jansen]

We caught up with Alpha-ville directors Estela Oliva and Carmen Salas Pino about the latest Alpha-ville installment, funding challenges and representing London in the advancement of sound, music and related arts.

RR: Alpha-ville this year is solely grounded in East London (Hackney to be precise!) at two brilliant venues both iconic in different ways: Hackney Empire with it's rich history and Hackney Picturehouse, still in it's first year and already a hub which locals (like myself) feel we can't live without!
How important is it for Alpha-ville to be based in a local community considering your audience is always so diverse and come from far and wide? Do you enjoy contributing to the cultural landscape of the area?
AV: The annual festival had to be cancelled in July due to lack of support from funders, that was quite sad. Nevertheless we still wanted to keep the Alpha-ville spirit ongoing with two special events in Hackney this October.

Hackney and East London are vibrant and it’s exciting to be here although there are challenges as the cultural scene is saturated. In this sense being linked to the community is important for us as it gives a sense of roots and provides an immediate effect in the people participating. Unfortunately funding is very tight or non existent in the boroughs we operate so we are currently considering if moving to other parts of London would make sense.

[Murcof + Simon Geilfus - Cosmos ii (photo by Luis Martins)]

RR: Having talked about Alpha-ville being locally grounded, you curate work from far and wide, Alpha-ville LIVE this year features artists/musicians from Mexico, France, Sweden and Germany. Could you tell us more about the importance of AV being so international?
AV: We programme events maintaining a good mix of local, national and international artists; offering stages for emerging talent and presenting pioneers who explore new forms of expressions. In the case of Alpha-ville LIVE the focus is on acts that are rarely seen in London. We invite all local artists to come and enjoy it.

Our approach results in an international and interdisciplinary network and platform that links artists and diverse audiences. Gathering people from different parts of the world and with different backgrounds enriches the experience and triggers creative collaborations and cultural exchange. This is an important outcome and we believe it contributes to development of the sector  - a sector that is still emerging in London. Alpha-ville is a digital culture organisation and as such it has no cultural or geographical boundaries.

RR: So 2012 sounds like it has been a busy year at Alpha-ville HQ: You have become the first London organisation appointed to join the prestigious ICAS, a worldwide network of independent non-profit organisations dedicated to advancing sound, music and related arts. How does it feel to be representing London in advancement of those areas? What will be your involvement as part of the network?
AV: We have been part of the network for a short time and so far it has been an enriching experience. We’ve met other organisations alike from around the world and shared experiences and challenges. We have also taken part in events in Berlin, Paris and Montreal. Our first project with ICAS will take place in Berlin on Wednesday 5th September where we have joined forces with Berlin-based network and agency 'Digital in Berlin' to present an exciting audio-visual evening at West Germany with Raster Noton’s artist Grischa Lichtenberger (DE) and multi-talented duo Sculpture (UK). We are also planning a small collaboration with Sonica Festival (Ljubljana) in November.

It’s an honor to be representing our city internationally and at the same time we find ourselves under pressure to meet standards without enough support. We feel that government, funding bodies and the art and cultural sectors in general have little understanding of this industry and we hope that it will improve over time.

[Byetone (Raster-Noton, DE) Credits: Peter Bul]

RR: Tell us more about Alpha-ville LIVE at Hackney Empire. What moments are you most looking forward to?
AV: We are very excited to be working with the Hackney Empire, it’s a very special venue - Chaplin played there! The Field who has been a favourite since his ‘From Here We Go Sublime’ will present the second solo performance in over 4 years featuring a selection of unreleased and rare tracks - it will be rather unique. Byetone is also a show that we are very much looking forward as with its minimalism and perfectly built electronic structures will contrast with the decoration of the venue.The biggest audio visual show of the evening will be the London premiere of the exquisite collaboration between Mexican musician Murcof - whose albums are a jewel that never passes with time and digital artist Simon Geilfus of AntiVJ who creates the visual element of the show with semi-transparent screens and mapping techniques perfectly matched to the music. We are delighted to present this amazing collaboration for the first time in London.

[Murcof + Simon Geilfus (AntiVJ) from Joanie Lemercier (AntiVJ) on Vimeo.]

RR: You have called your moving image screening 'Unfinity' - could you tell us more about how this name was conceived?
AV: Unfinity was the theme we planned for the 2012 festival. It represents the pull between the digital and the physical world and the state we live in, a state of paradox and excitement for an unknown future. The Unfinity programme will present a selection of moving image works that explore current topics in the context of technology and society including: identity, virtuality, remix culture, failure, experimentation, unfinished art, future of art, collaboration, storytelling and cloud culture.

[Rear Window Timelapse | Jeff Desom | Remix | 2012 | NL | Still 1 - Day]

RR: Rear Window is one of my fave films of all time so I'm especially looking forward to and intrigued by the 'Rear Window time lapse'. What are some other highlights of the programme?
AV: The programme is fresh and eclectic this year. Highlights include ‘38–39°C’ by Kangmin Kim, a film that was selected for the Official Selection 2012 Sundance Film Festival and ‘In a Pig's Eye’ by award-winning animation artist Atsushi Wada. We’ve also programmed more experimental works including the Samsung Art Prize winners Semiconductor.

RR: What's next for Alpha-ville after the 6th?
AV: We’re planning a small project with Sonica Festival in November and after that we’re going to take a break to assess the next steps for the organisation.

Alpha-ville LIVE at Hackney Empire and Alpha-ville Unfinity screening at Hackney Picturehouse take place on 6th October 2012. Find out how to win tickets to Alpha-ville LIVE at Hackney Empire here