In the White Night – VERTICAL CINEMA in Riga

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“Vertical Cinema” is a series of ten newly commissioned large-scale, site-specific works by internationally renowned experimental filmmakers and audiovisual artists, which will be presented on 35 mm celluloid and projected vertically with a custom-built projector in vertical cinemascope.

Look-back at the Vertical Cinema screenings on the White Night in Riga, September 5, 2015 in Concert Hall RIGA of Latvian Academy of Sciences here.
Photos: Didzis Grodzs.

What we usually identify as the indisputable ‘temple of film’, the Cinema, is not really a given, especially not in the realm of experimental cinematic arts. Yet this is somehow sidelined in the process of re-thinking the possibilities of cinematic experience, mostly because the architectural frame is already there, if only as a convention established a long time ago within the theatrical arts. Actually, the history of experimental cinema and the art of the moving image suggests that the space might very well be the crucial aspect of the total audiovisual experience – something one should always question and take into consideration when producing a work for audiovisual, sensory cinema.

For the “Vertical Cinema” project we ‘abandoned’ traditional cinema formats, opting instead for cinematic experiments that are designed for projection in a tall, narrow space. It is not an invitation to leave cinemas – which have been radically transformed over the past decade according to the diktat of the commercial film market – but a provocation to expand the image onto a new axis. This project re-thinks the actual projection space and returns it to the filmmakers. It proposes a future for filmmaking rather than a pessimistic debate over the alleged death of film.

These ten experimental films are screened live on a vertical monument, a monolith, are a unique blend of abstract cinema, structural experiments, found footage remixes, chemical film explorations and live laser action. The artists – from Austria, the Netherlands and Japan – offer their view of ‘vertical axis art’, and the results of this challenging commission are fascinating.

Film program curators –Sonic Acts – invites you to see all movies to fully understand essence of “Vertical cinema”. Previously reservation of best seats is available by sending your name and surname, as well as time of chosen seance to [email protected] by calling 67228478. Free entrance.

Project in Latvia is realized by RIXC Center for New Media culture. “Vertical Cinema” producers are Sonic Acts from Netherlands.

Support: Riga City Council and The Mondriaan Fund.