“When we started Static Vision, our main goal was to bring out audacious and experimental films that were either too small, too challenging or off-the-radar of Sydney’s general Festival circuit”
It’s always exciting when there’s a new Festival in town, but it’s not always that you get a new idea. Static Vision, Sydney’s film collective dedicated to that hovering around the cusp, are launching their first, very internet based Festival.
“Through Hyperlinks, we’ve been able to curate a group of fantastic films which (for the most part) haven’t previously played on Sydney screens and grapple with the ways in which technological developments have irrevocably impacted upon our lives,” said Static Vision co-founder and Hyperlinks programmer Felix Hubble, who selected the Hyperlinks program alongside Static Vision co-founder Conor Bateman. “From our inability to log off depicted through the desktops of ‘0s & 1s,’ to the mass hoarding of data and commodification of human suffering in the internet’s darkest corners reinforced by the aesthetic clash of the digital and organic in ‘Demonlover;’ from ‘AIdol’s’ futuristic narrative rendered entirely within a video game engine to “Sakawa’s” use of highly-stylised cinematography to probe the aura of the hyper-real and challenge the form of documentary.
“The concept has been a great canvas to play with, and with such a wealth of incredible experimental filmmaking out there we’ve been able to curate films which take – at times – diametrically opposed approaches to the representation and analysis of these ideas.”
‘Sakawa,’ a documentary chronicling a poor community in Ghana who attempt to obtain small amounts of funds from Westerners they meet online, often through feigned romantic entanglements, bears several confronting sequences. Depicting encounters from a side of the internet one doesn’t often see nor get near such an extensive visual accompaniment, that which serves as a cautionary tale as much as it is emphatically sympathetic provides a wholly different perspective to a short like ‘3G’ joyously depicting the advent of WI-FI in Cuba and the ability of a Grandmother to see her Grandchild for the first time.
The same can be said for varied features highlighting how much technology has benefited us like short ‘The Sasha’ chronicling the evolution in moon photography and mapping (a joy for this space-tragic), unlike say ‘In The Event of Moon Disaster’ which forewarns of deepfake technology; delivering footage of an entirely unreal yet very realistic speech that Richard Nixon never gave.
“As we put together our program, we wanted to provide a bit of a break from the usual ‘doom and gloom’ approach to emergent technologies that is generally conveyed in contemporary cinema and instead focus on the variety of ways in which the internet has impacted and re-routed our lives (for better or worse),” said Felix. “The uniqueness of the stories and variance in approaches to depicting our increasingly digitised world was the underlying force driving all of our curatorial decisions. We wanted to draw from a wide variety of often clashing perspectives to give a broad overview of the discourse so that the points of similarity between films became emphasised throughout the festival.
“It’s definitely been a wholistic approach to our curation where we were looking at the program as a whole when selecting titles and allocating their sessions. For us, Saturday is our ‘loud’ day and Sunday is our ‘quiet,’ more chilled out day but the content each day is broad in scope.”
Taking place at Pink Flamingo where the collective have held numerous screenings prior, the Marrickville cinema is an ideal venue for the dedicated-niche offbeat-aesthetic intensive-creative crowd that Static Vision have already cultivated and will no doubt more greatly engender through Hyperlinks. With Sydney’s cult film scene already fixtures at the lo-fi chic centre, expect to see fans of the hyper and novelly stylized come out of the woodwork.
“Ingrid’s (Dieckman) wonderfully ad-hoc, DIY cinema space is a fantastic hub for underground film and the perfect venue for our program,“ said Felix. “It represents a very forward-thinking approach to screening spaces and reinforces many of the notions of collaboration and community which are intertwined in many of the films we are showcasing.
“I think there are at least a few films for everybody in the program whether you’re just dipping your toes into cinema outside the mainstream or you’re a full-blown brainwormed festival-a-holic; hopefully we can join those two worlds during the Festival and help foster discussion within the community that surrounds them.”
The program is set to without embellishment deliver what you wouldn’t see otherwise and rewardingly in the selection takes an uncommonly dedicated approach to its chosen theme and moreover fresh direction amidst contemporaries who might just as well slap the term genre on something or other. For all the time you’ve spent watching videos on or about the internet a weekend that properly signifies its progression helmed by a grassroots, digital obsessed crew who’ve likewise built themselves up is just what a lot of film fans will have been waiting for.
“It’s been a very surreal progression for us; something like Hyperlinks definitely was not on the cards when we formed a year and a half ago to host occasional one-off screenings of international Festival content,” said Felix. “Within a few months, we had started hosting monthly screenings and had expanded into curating a weekly horror/genre-film program and, towards the end of last year, had started collaborating on even more irregular screenings with other collectives.
“Hyperlinks is a bit of an experiment for us; we’re entirely self-funded, investing any revenue from screenings into future events. After some very successful sessions of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” earlier in the year we had a bit of a safety net which we decided to invest in a new approach to Festival curation. As it stands this will be the only iteration of Hyperlinks – if it’s successful we’ll likely work on another Festival based around another concept later in the year. It’s been incredible to see such a great response to what we’ve been doing and other fantastic collectives spring up with their own screenings throughout 2019; we’re hoping with Hyperlinks we can advance the cultural project even further.”