Pixeltown once had a dream of a Los Angeles made of electricity, polygons and dots. (Or maybe we are flashing back to recent sci-fi fare like The Matrix, or The Thirteenth Floor, or select sections of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas?) Either way, our dream comes slightly closer to reality this week with the 11th installment of the Freewaves Festival of Experimental Media Art. Titled "HollyWould," the festival brings its unique mix of "culturally relevant, uncensored experimental video and digital art" to literal street level on October 9th, this by insinuating itself sci-fi-style into an iconic strip of LA - Hollywood Blvd. between Wilcox Avenue to Orange Drive. The stretch will become an open exhibition space from until Monday October 13th, as digital and video works are projected on buildings and run on LCD screens installed in storefront windows, this as the street itself blossoms with wild-flower live-events at dozens of locations. Artists were invited by Freewaves Director Anne Bray to create work that dealt with Hollywood Blvd's unique set of contradictions - iconic symbol of the American entertainment industry, gentrifying LA neighborhood, seedy strip of signature sleaze, family-friendly tourist trap. She also asked them to think in the conditional tense, hence "HollyWould," as in what Hollywood would or could be under different circumstances. Or, as Bray puts it, HollyWould imagines "what could be, while exploring the role of art in mass-media-saturated culture and the future of gentrifying neighborhoods."
The conditional tense has always been Pixeltown's favorite conjugation, what with its very helpful parsing of things like the future unreal tense, which is most often used to talk about imaginary situations that if they were to take place, would take place in the future. For example:
If I were not going to Freewaves on Thursday October 9th, I would help you raise your barn. Or: Me helping you do raise your barn is an imaginary future situation, neighbor; in the real world I am going to Freewaves tomorrow.
But that's just Pixeltown. For those of you still unsure of what your real conditional might hold for the next few days, here are five videos from the Festival to whet your appetite. If that's not enough, you can also read what KCET Local blogger Holly Willis had to say about the event, here and here. See you in the digital street.
1 - Calle de Los Negro, by Zig Gron; 2007
Los Angeles, CA
An investigation of a long-forgotten alley in downtown Los Angeles reveals connections between the city's violent past and present. Using video, stills, and appropriated footage, the history of the alley, called Calle de los Negro, is linked to the footage of the LA riots.
2 - God Wants You to Make Compelling Videos, by Steve Craig; 2006
Santa Monica, CA
An artist has coffee with God, who informs him that television is dead and art is salvation. Jesus then gives some specific instructions on how to make a compelling video.
3 - The Scalable City, by Sheldon Brown; 2007
Scalable City creates an urban environment via a data visualization pipeline. Each step in this pipeline builds upon the previous, amplifying exaggerations, artifacts and the patterns of algorithmic process in cinematic form.
4 - Living Pictures, by Monica Duncan & Lara Odell; 2008
La Jolla, CA
In Living Pictures, the settings - laundromat, stadium and beach - become stages in which Duncan and Odell perform still actions. Random elements such as the movement of natural light, passersby and cars create a perceptual shift which alerts the viewer to the passing of time.
5 - Pilgrimage, by Tadashi Nakamura; 2007
Culver City, CA
In 2005, a diverse group of Americans recreated the 1969 pilgrimage to Manzanar in order to remember and reinvigorate the fight for justice. The abandoned WWII concentration camp for Japanese Americans becomes a symbol of solidarity for people of all ages, races and nationalities in our post-9/11 world.
Videos and descriptions courtesy Freewaves.