In his eighth year as co-director, Emilio Álvarez remains an enthusiastic advocate and industrious leader of Loop, a festival and fair for video art. The originality of Loop lies in the direction of the festival which seeks to include, rather than exclude, as described by Álvarez: “Loop is not like other art festivals, which are usually managed by a triangle of command with the directors on top. It’s a web that connects all of Barcelona.” As such, commercial galleries join with universities, private art schools and smaller galleries, while civic centres, libraries and independent arts spaces are all also used as event venues. The result of such an expansive network is not just broader programming, but a broader audience.
Equally compelling is the Loop Fair, where well-established international art galleries come to sell work by some of the top producers. While such transactions are made, the rest of us can get comfy on beds and cushioned chairs and take in the projections that take over the rooms in the Hotel Catalonia Ramblas.
Meanwhile, in the hotel’s basement, the Media Lounge features ‘Best Of’ reels from international film festivals, and Álvarez recommends that Loop visitors take advantage of the ‘Cinema Effect’ programming, a series of lectures, screenings and workshops that coincide with a bigger, longer-running exhibition devoted to video art at CaixaForum (‘The Cinema Effect/Illusion, Reality and the Moving Image. Dream’). Other confirmed events include: ‘In the World of Images’ at the Institut Français, a visual dialogue between the work of cinema legend Marguerite Duras with works by David Lamelas, Dora García and Julien Crépieux; at the Filmoteca, Catalan film-maker Bigas Luna will present excerpts from his work; and ‘Happy End’, a selection of pieces by Russian artists curated by Karina Karaeva, deputy chief of the cinema and video department at the NCCA Moscow, will be shown at MauMau.
Loop, May 11th to 21st, various venues