For the third year, the Dawson City International Short Film Festival includes a standalone festival of video works by contemporary Canadian and international artists that runs in conjunction with the DCISFF. Called Cold Cuts Video Festival, the annual exhibition is curated by Nicole Rayburn and takes place from April 3-5 at the Gallery at the Yukon School of the Visual Arts (SOVA).
This year’s Cold Cuts is themed Faking It, and the works use parody and imitation to explore the facets and broad influence of television. Although mimicking the codes of television, these video works defy sublimation into the agendas, politics, and power structures of media conglomerates, and imagine a new and glaringly absurd television world.
In what is becoming a Good Friday tradition in Dawson, the opening reception took place at 4 p.m. at the SOVA Gallery, following introductions and opening remarks by DCISFF director Dan Sokolowski.
As is always the case with this particular festival, the works are eclectic and wildly imaginative. The installations included Untitled (Project for Whitney Museum) in which performance artist Alex Bag imagines herself as the clinically depressed host of a nightmarish children’s television program, dissociating from reality, and unburdening herself to a mean-spirited dragon puppet.
Bag uses chromakey technology to elucidates the mental state of her character, with wildly shifting backdrops such as cartoon bubbles, medieval paintings, and a blazing inferno, plus actual children as audience-participants.
Another video installation, titled Test Tube is by the late, great Canadian artist collective General Idea consisting of AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal. The video was originally conceived as a program for television.
Presented under the brand “The Color Bar Lounge,” a cocktail bar in the mythical 1984 Miss General Idea Pavilion, the program is a hybrid of popular television formats, including talk show, soap opera, news magazine, and infomercial.
Check out the Cold Cuts website for more information and exhibition hours.
– Danny Dowhal, Writer-at-Large