Something Like Cinema

From the fundamental element of images in motion to more complex figurative, durational, and narrative properties, the conventions of film have bled into many other media over the last century. For 12 days 'Almost Cinema 07' at the Vooruit Arts Centre, in Ghent, celebrates the variety of contemporary art that can rightfully be called cinema-esque--if not cinematic. The second annual festival runs from October 9 to 20 and features a lineup of installations, performances, concerts, readings, and of course, screenings, among other projects that owe a debt to film. The festival begins with a traditional screening of a literal film, 'Sand and Sorrow,' Paul Freedman's documentary on the crisis in Darfur. It is paired with a performance by Sudanese singer Rasha, but from there the program veers into more far-flung interpretations of the cinematic. In the focal point of the festival, a group of media artists has created a maze of interconnected installations throughout the exhibition spaces. Each borrows something form the languages of film to transform real-world experiences. Peter William Holden makes a literal reference to Hollywood in his digitally controlled array of spinning umbrellas, while Julia Willms and Els Van Riel both use the technology of the projector to intervene in physical space. Other artists, including the duo Semiconductor and Gebhard Sengmüller, stitch together unexpected narratives through radical and frequently elaborate editing processes perpetrated on found footage. This year's edition of the festival will also include two conferences, titled 'Immersion: The Art of True Illusion' and 'The Cinematic Experience,' that promise to sketch the historical and conceptual conditions under which all these cinema-style interventions take place. - William Hanley