E X P L O D I N G vs I.C.A.
Every two years the prestigious London based Institute of
Contemporary Arts holds a Biennial
of Independent Film and Video which is essentially a week long festival
programmed by a guest curator who invites submissions advised by a panel
of luminaries from the "Independent" media sector. The package
of 20 - 30 works is then toured throughout Britain and internationally.
The 1995 Biennial was promoted as
"...a polemical selection of the best and most exciting work in the
At the live debate which closed the 3rd I.C.A. Biennial 1995 'a gang of
us EXPLODING CINEMA members turned up and handed out flyers
to the audience as they entered the auditorium, we even managed to hand
flyers to the debate panel . We were protesting against the Biennial using
the name "Independent" since out
of the 26 works selected only 2 were not funded by national TV channels
or by the state funding agencies, in
fact out of the 2 unfunded works one was the winner of the 1994 Dick Award
held at the ICA. The debate
panel was lacklustre, chaired by the '95 curator John Wyver and the 2 filmmakers
scheduled to be on the panel
had dropped out....ANYWAY...after a banal introduction and lecture, questions
were permitted from the audience so we put some probing enquiries to the
How could they justify using the term "Independent" ?
Why were none of the underground no - budget film clubs consulted ?
Had the curator or the advisory panel ever been to one of the clubs
or even heard of them ?
Did they realise that the Biennial and it's subsequent tour presented
a totally bogus perception of British independent filmmaking ?
...Instead of leaping to their feet possessed with righteous anger John
Wyver and the panel outwitted the EXPLODERS by apologising, owning up and generally eating crow...' yes, they
should have checked out the club scene... yes, it was misleading...and YES for the next Biennial
the ICA should include no budget work from the unfunded sector '. Thoroughly chastened the panel sauntered
off to an exclusive post festival soiree while we went to a pub round the
corner to celebrate our triumph. Poor naive dolts that we are.
Two years on and the ICA is gearing up for the 4th Biennial 1997 running
from Oct. 24th - 31st
and our agents have informed us that once again no screening clubs have
been consulted, in spite of the
fact that in the intervening years the no budget underground scene expanded
and mutated culminating
in the highly acclaimed 1996 Volcano festival which involved over twelve
UK underground clubs.
And once again first reports are that the festival will be predominantly
TV/state funded mainstream work.
Now don't get me wrong the EXPLODING couldn't give a fuck about the ICA
hosting a festival
of TV pap and has-been insiderdom, what we object to is that they represent
the Biennial as being a showcase for the best British "INDEPENDENT'
film and video, you see they tour this charade all over the world and it
gives the impression that firstly the only way to make Independent film/video
is to get funding and secondly that British independent work is mind numbingly
The stage is set for EXPLODING vs I.C.A. '97
Looks like the Biennial will once again end with a debate,
probably on the evening
of Oct 31st - HALLOWEEN -.. which is coincidentally the night of the VOLCANO
'97 press launch.
BE THERE....WILL BE.
By the way if you're interested in the issues around this
struggle check out...
For more information about the Biennial why not ask the
..call Deborah Salter on 0171 930 0493.