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The New Wilderness

A table with a garden on it. In other words: a huge table with a mini garden on it. It is located in the middle of one of the studios at the Posta Sound for Picture in Amsterdam, which has been the home base of the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency for about a month. That table is huge because 10 people must be able to sit and work at a distance of 1.5 meters from each other. But even on such a large table, the landscape that Art Director Arne Leddy has planted on it this summer still looks small. This is due to all the mini trees that grow there. From our human perspective, and certainly in relation to those widely spaced chairs, something is wrong.

The FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency is one of the activities that FilmForward is allowed to carry out in its pilot phase this year. In the past, Binger and the Sandberg @ Mediapark – Masterclass were for media makers. And if there was one thing that all working professionals in the field of film and audiovisual media needed, it was room to work undisturbed on a research question for a while. Questions to deepen their own professional practice, or research where within the existing processes, which often have a production as their ultimate goal, there are no longer any possibilities. A residency, or studio, as it is so beautifully called with foreign examples. But then supplemented with seminars, inspiration sessions, and intervision rounds to also learn with and from each other.

To give the wonderful group of filmmakers, multimedia artists, sound researchers, actors, storyboarders and photographers, theater makers who co-curated Rogier Klomp and I could select from nearly 80 applications this summer, not only a place to conduct that research, but also a landscape to get lost and come back full of new ideas, we were inspired by the short film Goodbye Uncanny Valley by the British multimedia artist Alan Warburton. Warburton shows what the film and media landscape is like as more and more productions rely on digital tools to embellish their realities. The world of realism and CGI are growing closer and closer together. But: “goodbye uncanny valley” he says. What could the “new wilderness” look like? The no man’s land that arises and exists at the boundaries of the prevailing aesthetic standards?

During the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency we take these questions with us, whether we are taking a city walk through the Houthavens, wondering what it sounds like on the seabed or what artificial intelligence thinks. While our thoughts proliferate and produce the most fantastic growths, those plants on the table are not doing so well. Due to travel restrictions, we are less in that Garden of Eden than we would like. The new wilderness is quite digital right now. We are all curious what that untamed nature will do on the table if we look a little less at it. Some Lego figures have recently been spotted.

Dana Linssen
Foto: Anas Khatib

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