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The first Moving Image Art Prize given out at Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin

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- The experimental documentary Places of Articulation: Five Obstructions by Belgium’s Effi & Amir has won over the jury at the Paris branch of the festival

The first Moving Image Art Prize given out at Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin
Places of Articulation: Five Obstructions by Effi & Amir

Founded in 1997, the Rencontres Internationales has been held annually ever since in Paris and Berlin. The festival is a platform for experimental forms of moving images teetering between cinema and contemporary art. From 2-8 May, Paris hosted the gathering in some of the city’s most prestigious venues, such as the Louvre, the Pompidou Centre and the spectacular Louxor Palais du Cinéma.

The programme of the Rencontres Internationales includes screenings, exhibitions and performances by international artists and filmmakers from different generations. Admission is free of charge for all events, in keeping with the organisers’ policy of facilitating access to new forms of video art as much as possible.

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During the seven days of the festival, audiences encountered exceptional works that often do not find their way onto the big screen. One part of this year’s programme was a VR Lab that presented ten virtual-reality experiences which challenge “our principles of reality, our daytime perceptions and our everyday representations”. Additionally, a series of temporary exhibitions was conceived for the Museum of Fine Arts and the “Rue Française” creative art platform.

One of the main sections of the Rencontres Internationales was the retrospective dedicated to Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul. With a total of 27 titles, it constituted France’s first extensive presentation of short and medium-length films by the artist. Another main pillar of the festival was the “carte blanche” given to US video artist Dara Birnbaum.

Finally, for the first time, the Rencontres launched the Moving Image Art Prize. A jury of four, made up of professionals from important art institutions in Paris and Lisbon – namely, Vittoria Matarrese, director of Performing Arts Programming at the Palais de Tokyo; Kevin Muhlen, general director of Casino Luxembourg; Pascale Raynaud, film curator at the Louvre; and Emilia Tavares, senior curator at the Museu do Chiado in Lisbon – was tasked with rewarding a “unique work in the field of moving images”.

The selection contained a total of 13 works, comprising documentaries and fictional videos, by international artists. In the end, the winner was the experimental documentary video installation Places of Articulation: Five Obstructions by Belgian filmmakers Effi Weiss and Amir Borenstein (aka Effi & Amir). The duo are artists and filmmakers who have been working together since 1999. Their work, which employs audiovisual media, performance and participatory strategies, is located on the blurry boundary between documentary and fiction, and deals with the mechanisms of construction, encompassing the construction of identity, group belonging, history and art itself. In its official statement, the jury mentioned “the radical and innovative form” of this installation dealing “with important and omnipresent current issues in our contemporary society”.

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