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The Second Program Opens to a Receptive Audience


by Danielle Georgiou 23 Jul 2010

The Second Program is the latest installment of the biennial video and new media art exhibitions sponsored by the Video Association of Dallas and Conduit Gallery.

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Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is a dance lecturer at the University of Texas Arlington. She also serves as assistant director of  UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble.

The Second Program is the latest installment of the biennial video and new media art exhibitions sponsored by the Video Association of Dallas and Conduit Gallery. The Program opened Thursday night with the premiere showing of Brent Green’s feature film, Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then. (Click here to read a review.)

I had the opportunity to meet with Charles Dee Mitchell and Bart Weiss, co-curators (along with Carolyn Sortor) before the opening to discuss the upcoming events and exhibitions.

Johan Grimonprez's "Double Take"

The Program began in 2008 with 30 films and 30 rotating installations at Conduit, with the intention of bringing videos that would not normally be seen in Dallas to the city. The second time around now, the curators might have pared the show down to three feature films, an evening of shorts and an exhibition of videos, but they did not negate the quality. The three features are all area premieres; in fact, the screening of Double Take at the Angelika at Mockingbird Station will be the only one of the film in North Texas. It has been playing at museums and festivals all over Europe and was recently selected by the Sundance Film Festival.

For the exhibition at Conduit (opening on July 31), Mitchell wanted “an anti-themed show, but videos that would look good together, and that mixed emerging and established artists.” The exhibitions includes works by internationally recognized video artist Bill Viola, one of New York Magazine’s “Greater New York” show artists most likely to succeed Matthew Day Jackson, and David Askevold – who passed away in 2008 and who Mitchell dubs “the most interesting artist no one has ever heard of.” Also on the bill: Jon Gitelson, Luke Murphy, Jason Rhoades and Erin Shirreff.

"Second Nature" by Guy Ben-Ner

The evening of shorts (Aug. 7) at Conduit presents new works by Jem Cohen, Guy ben Ner, Wago Kreider, Pawel Woitasik, Erin Cosgrove, Ken Tin-Kin Hung, Kerry Laitiala (in 3D) and Meiro Koizumi. “Video art gets lost,” Weiss said. “The Program gives the work a proper environment in which to be displayed” and presents it in a way that an audience can appreciate it. What they have created is equal to any international video event.

For 2012, Mitchell hopes to find an exhibition space where they can display multi-channel projections, to keep screenings at similar venues, but to have part of the program online. “It would be interesting to have an exhibition that is an Internet-only event. Something time-specific and only accessed on a specific day, but will allow for a wider audience,” Mitchell said.

Still from Erin Shirreff's "Catch and Release"

Their future looks solid if the opening of The Second Program is any indication. Even with competition from Jazz Night and the screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca, the C3 Theater at the Dallas Museum of Art was full. The audience was diverse, from students to families to long time supporters of the VAD to people new to video art. One man came just because he got an announcement postcard and wasn’t sure why he was on the mailing list or what The Program was about. He came to check it out, and “really loved the film, asked questions of the filmmaker, and stayed after to talk about it more,” Mitchell said. “It’s great to see that kind of response.”

Schedule of Events:

  • July 31 – Opening night of The Second Program at Conduit Gallery. Continues through Aug. 28.
  • Aug. 4 – Dallas premiere of the Rape of the Sabine Women by Eve Sussman and the Rufus Corporation at the Angelika Mockingbird Station. (This screening is made possible by a generous donation from Karen Erxleben Weiner.)
  • Aug. 7 – An evening of short films curated by Bart Weiss at the Conduit Gallery.
  • Aug. 18 – Area premiere of Double Take, a film by Johan Grimonprez at the Angelika Mockingbird Station. (This screening is made possible by a generous donation from Half Price Books, Records and Magazines, Inc.)
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  • Carolyn Sortor

    Thanks for the mention, but although I’d like to think I had a big hand in the FIRST “The Program” in 2008, Dee and Bart deserve all the credit for The Second Program.