Contemporary Silent Cinema with Live Original Music Scores

Founded in 2009 by three women from three different continents, Videokills is an international video art collective, which showcases multi-media exhibitions with a strong focus on video art, experimental narrative film, contemporary silent cinema, sound installations and live music in eclectic and unconventional venues. Read more about the team behind Videokills.

The Project:
The Explorer Series: Invisible City Symphonies is a roving exhibition, which has taken place so far in Brooklyn, London, Berlin, Munich, Barcelona and Leipzig and Calgary.

In Brooklyn (2009), the exhibition was held in the backyard of  Uniondocs, a center for documentary art. In London (2010), the exhibition was at Silwex house, an independent art and living space in collaboration with Cities in the Dark. In Barcelona, the exhibition took place at La Cova de les Cultures, an art gallery. In Berlin (2009 & 2011), Videokills has had exhibitions at several different venues, including Stattbad Wedding, Marie-Antoinette .HBC, The Home Base Project, and Loophole.  Videokills was part of the official program of the Filmfest München at Milla Club in 2014. In 2015 the exhibition took place in Leipzig at the beautiful UT CONNEWITZ as part of the gegenKINO festival . Most recently we returned to London with a special travelling exhibition feat. a church, a submarine, a private flat and a club (2016) and as part of Sled Island Music & Arts Festival in 2017 and has been invited back again for Sled Island Festival 2018.

The project gathers submissions from filmmakers in cities all around the world (abstract, visually based, narrative, found footage, animation, etc.) of silent works of varying lengths. The only requirement is that the work portrays in some regard the experience of a city, or a series of cities – contemporary, historical, visible or invisible. These works are then given to musicians to compose original scores –classical, electronic, jazz, metal, originally recorded field sounds, animal noises, dialogue, etc. – and the pieces are then screened with a live music accompaniment in the tradition of the early silent cinematic experience.

The Purpose:
To connect international artists and the landscapes of different cities with a visceral sound and image experience – blurring boundaries of how we see space, urbanity, and the growing internationalization and globalization of visual and aural perception. It also serves to demonstrate how strongly visual images are shaped by the experience of sound. Each location uses variable sound and image pairings to create complex and varied experiences – playing with the concept of synthesis as each city uses a different program of live accompaniments for a growing pool of images. This demonstrates how the perception of one image can generate a multitude of soundscapes, and each unique pairing provides the international audience with an experience specific to their location.

The Experience:
In each city, the location of the event is unique to the community of artists and curators we are collaborating with – breaking out of traditional gallery spaces and paradigms and utilizing the unique facets of the city itself to demonstrate the work. This could be for example, a condemned playground, a rooftop, a backyard, an amphitheater, a basement, a movie theater, a museum, or a club – but we do tend to encourage and seek out unconventional spaces.

Depending on the local partner organization, we try to curate exhibitions that not only fit into a space, but incorporate the space as an element of the experience as well. In 2009, the first ever Videokills International Video Art Festival utilized the entire building of a converted swimming pool complex in Berlin to showcase video and sound installations projected onto mattresses, walls and stairwells, live music performances, audio-visual dance parties and even a Skype conference in the swimming pool.

The Skype conference included lectures by Henry Hills (FAMU, the Czech national film academy) who also received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and whose work (some of which is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art) has been screened at various film festivals as New York, Rotterdam & San Francisco over the years. It also featured Prof. David Cotterell (Sheffield Hallam University).

The project appeals to a variety of both emerging as well as established international artists:(for complete list see here)

Past musicians and sound artists include:

  • Verena Marisa (Brazil/Germany)
    Has won the Deutscher Filmmusikpreis(German Prize for Films Score) and is a composer for film scores for movies and series.

  • Magic Island (Canada/Poland)
    played at the prestigious SXSW showcase festival in Austin Texas and has just been selected for a scholarship by the Berlin Music Board.

  • Touchy (Germany)
    Has played many big international festivals including SXSW, CMJ and Incubate.

  • Fenster (France/US/Germany)

  • Tadklimp (Greece).

Past filmmakers include:

  • Susanne Steinmaßl (Germany)
    Her work has been featured in various festivals and exhibitions throughout Europe such as Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen or the Moscow International Experimental Film Festival.

  • Alberto Merino (Spain)
    Has exhibited his work in museums around the world e.g. Palais de Tokyo (Paris)), Songwom Art Center (Seoul), MOCA (Taipei), o el Nam June Paik Art Center (South Corea)

  • Andre Uhl (Germany)
    Received 4-year MEXT Fellowship from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and is pursuing a Ph.D. at the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard.

  • Tomoyuki Yago (Japan)
    Was awarded the graduation work of excellence prize from Tama Art University in 2004, and the Hayama Art Award from Kunitachikoku in 2007. He has exhibited and performed in London and Nottingham, UK in 2006 as an excellent young Japanese artist at the Art Exchange Project supported by British Council and The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation.

  • Serban Ionescu (Romania)

  • Charlie Hope (UK)


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