Nowadays, there are many artists who experiment between the thin line that separates cinema and the moving image, contributing in this way to question the boundaries of each practice. At the beginning, this tendency seemed to reflect an interest of visual artists only, but it is instead a ‘contamination’ that appeals to filmmakers alike, who are seeking to expand their practice and venture in the creation of pieces for the gallery / exhibition space. That is why many artists and filmmakers prefer to refer to their works as artist films, “expanded cinema”, or “cinema of exhibition”. Museums are responding to these changes by increasingly incorporating moving image based productions in their collections, while new art institutions exclusively devoted to the research, exhibition and conservation of artist films and videos are emerging. The exhibition space gives a filmmaker the chance to experiment with times and formats beyond the limits traditionally imposed by the movie theatre: short or unlimited duration; multiscreen projections; or unusual exploration of certain technical means; etc. Thus, the inclusion of cinema in the museum / gallery space, represents a twofold possibility: one of openness of the practice, and one of criticism of the historical narratives and its means of representation.
As a platform attentive to the most urgent debates within the moving image industry, LOOP Barcelona 2016 wants to explore the hybrid zone between cinema and artist films and videos. Besides their obvious formal relationship, the existing differences between the two spheres can easily be detected by looking at their modes of presentation and circulation, which clearly diverge and thus affect the profile of their audiences: projection rooms vs. screens, window displays or ‘black-box-like’ exhibition spaces. To say it with Marshall McLuhan, if the conditions of cinema would respond to those of an “hot medium” (high-definition, high degree of details and information, less participation), the characteristics of artist films and videos would instead reflect those of a “cool” one (low-definition, less information, active involvement of an audience capable to interpret the media content). Perhaps it is the sum of these elements which likewise determines the profound differences regarding the aesthetic and the narrative of so close yet different practices that, needless to say, have also generated complete different markets.