Almost Cinema festival in Ghent

Previously: ‘Statics’ at the Almost Cinema festival in Ghent

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As i mentioned yesterday, i’m just back from Ghent where i visited Almost Cinema. Each year, the festival demonstrates that the cinema experience doesn’t have to stop at films, that it can be conveyed through performances, concerts and art installations. Curated by Eva de Groote, the exibition was particularly noteworthy.

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Most of the show took place in the stunning Vooruit building. Built between 1911 and 1914 by the Ghent labor movement, the building is named after the socialist cooperative aimed at protecting workers against the instability of capitalism. It was the place where workers would go to dance, drink and enjoy culture at low rates. Today Vooruit dedicates its concert hall, theater hall, ballrooms and other spaces to progressive arts.

To see the installations part of Almost Cinema, visitors had to follow a red thread along corridors, stairs and passages.


Almost Cinema made me discover the work of the young and talented Bram Vreven. His piece Spin unfolds over two spaces separated by a wall.


In the first room, a row of 9 screens display spirals spinning at varying speeds.

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It’s only as you enter the second room that you understand that what looked like an animated movie is in fact the real time video of a mechanical ballet of 9 small white balls.

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Circles and dots are drawn on the balls which rotate around an x-and y-axis. Above them hang as many cameras.

As critic Pieter Van Bogaert observed, Spin is reminiscent of Anémic Cinéma but while the 2D images of the Dada surrealist are endowed with new depth, Spin‘s 3D balls appear to flatten down dramatically in the process.

Marcel Duchamp, Anemic Cinema, 1926

Zimoun -whose delightfully simple sound installations never fail to charm- has filled a room of Vooruit with 186 prepared dc-motors, cardboard boxes, a sound installation emanating from heaps of cardboard boxes. Each box is hit by a tiny engine, which produces all sorts of sounds and vibrations. Each of the boxes constitutes a small brick in a complex sound structure.

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5titball440_ac76168069.jpgAlmost Cinema spread its wings outside of the Vooruit building as well.
Pablo Valbuena created a custom-made light sculpture on the back of the Offices of the Ghent University Rector, next to Vooruit’s rear façade.

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On a nearby square, passersby were invited to try on Ief Spincemaille‘s Reversed Blinking. This kind of photo camera wraps around your head and looks like a bulky pair of glasses. Except that they leave you in the dark. Only when the shutter (two tiny flaps at the front) opens and closes, can you see the world in a flash. The shutter (which the user can control) moves so fast that nothing has time to move. Everything where you point your gaze at, becomes like a photograph.

51filllunett4505_d35059836a.jpgPhoto credit: Reinout Hiel

Reversed Blinking is part of a series of works, where I’m trying to add video and photographical effects to our natural way of seeing. Where virtual reality goggles are trying to make us believe that the IMAGES we see are REAL, Reversed Blinking does the opposite. They manipulate vision such that the REAL environment around us looks utterly unreal, as it was a photograph or an IMAGE. Doing this, it shows us a frightening character of our by images dominated society. The world has become an image, an the image became real.

To be continued…


Reinout Hiel has some wonderful images on flickr.