People were queuing along Shaftesbury Avenue and around the corner into Frith Street. In Screen One at the Curzon Soho every seat was taken, and there was an audible buzz in the air. Since its humble beginnings just over a year ago in a room with a large screen in Camberwell College of Arts, EMERGEANDSEE has really taken off. This is its fourth show and not only the room and the screen have got bigger. Entries were received from all over the UK as well as the US, for an event that is one of a kind. A mini-revolution has taken place in video and editing technology, so much so that even the poorest Art College can afford good quality equipment. Add some creative art students to the mix and it becomes clear that a night like this is long overdue. At last there is a true forum for ideas to be shared in a way that was not possible before.
The difference between this and something like the ICAs Becks student Futures or New Contemporaries, is that it takes place outside of the somewhat stuffy atmosphere of the art gallery. The Luxs roll your own nights as good as they were, attracted a more film school orientated crowd and I dont ever remember a programme as diverse as this one. The only thing Ive seen to compare to this is the The Art in Motion festival in LA, which showcases an equally broad selection of work.
That such an event is organised by three Camberwell students, is as surprising as it is refreshing. They even get away with including themselves in the screening, their work being more than up to the high standards they have set themselves. Robert Laings Rap Music is a surreal short which is impossible not to laugh at, Kathrin Schops politically relevant (11 September) contemplation on Flying, and Hana Yamazaki wonderful docu/animation Holy Smoke, describing her attempts to give up smoking.
The range of work provided something for everyone. Spontaneous laughter erupted after Jani Ruscicas short The 24 letters of the alphabet, according to Aristotele(sic), in one second which was exactly that. There was a palpable sense of unease after Jenny Lus suicide self-help video 7 Basic Methods, presented in the style of an airline hostess demonstrating the safety procedures. Bernd Behrs Cargo Fever used gravity and expectation to Erwin Wurm like effect, playing on the idea that you dont know which way up the camera is until something moves. And of course there was the delightful Pink Pigeon in Trafalgar Square by yours truly.
EMERGEANDSEE is a success, illuminating the way for todays future Turner Prize winners, watch this space.