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 field..."

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 panel...

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.

BECAUSE


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 dull.

SO

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...

IN DEPENDENCE

For more information about the Biennial why not ask the ICA ?..
..call Deborah Salter on 0171 930 0493.

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