Giving video art its due

Two exhibitions in Wellington show that even in the age of YouTube video art can be powerful, exciting and relevant.

Film has become such a core mode of storytelling in our lives that it deserves lots of different modes of public presentation.

A welcome new community model is the People’s Cinema in Wellington’s Manners St, where the fare is as diverse as those who want to use it.

Providing darkened space for moving-image art downstairs and a cosy screening room upstairs, different groups have control over what they choose to watch together and why.

With images streaming out of my computer desktop, galleries have also got to work harder to entice us into moving image shows.

Why should I hike up to the Adam Art Gallery to see Jack Smith’s classic 1963 sexually transgressive comedy Flaming Creatures when a quick search finds it on YouTube?

Answer: Because the Adam excels in its installations, and this work’s racy menage a trois grouping with contemporary artists Jacqueline Fraser and Bill Henson promises a dark experiential frisson for both head and heart.

Nic Cha Kim

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