After some time adjustments I finally got to enjoy the festival for the spectacle that it is! First, I spent some time in the festival center (pictured) using the internet and drinking some thick coffee, which was followed by a late afternoon meal of stinky cheese & ham, which led to a magnificent experimental film & music experience which ended in drinking fresh Belgium beers and late night kebobs! Ok, now I get it, IFFR is a sort of film industry party...fun but still work driven, and I am not complaining one bit!
The experimental film performance I was lucky enough to take in featured none other than the legendary Lee Ranaldo and his partner Leah Singer . Leah's films were projected simultaneously on 3 screens while Lee "played" a guitar doing everything from scraping it on the ground to swinging it around an amplifier for circular feedback (you can see a tiny silhouette of the hanging guitar in the collage of images from the show below) to bowing the hanging guitar in midair all while two gong players lurked on the periphery atop risers, banging along to the controlled mayhem issuing from below. Leah's films at first glance seemed simple but then veered into a poetic territory of failed fecundity and lost landscapes & cityscapes as they looped images such as ants building homes in cracked pavement and uninhabited, broken storefronts lost in the shuffle of identity. Of course Lee (!!!from Sonic Youth !!!) is a master of sound treating the guitar not as the object that creates noise but the noise itself as an object, molding it into whatever he can like a true artist does with any medium- incredible! The films too were crafted in an interesting way allowing for subtle effects (backwards loops, sped up sequences, etc.), using these effects as a medium to manipulate the images and film experience.
If anything, my first trip to Europe so far has really pushed my understanding of what can and cannot be used as conduits of creativity- between Renaldo with his sounds and Bik Van Der Pol with their ideas, my brain wants to think of mediums acting far beyond the normal paint, scissors and glue! Now, I better see a film or two to learn what people are currently doing with the (obvious) medium of film...!