Festival Forum

EXiS 2021 Experimental Film and Video Festival in Seoul

The Experimental Film and Video Festival in Seoul, a.k.a EXiS, was founded in 2004 by Moving Image Forum in order to screen experimental films and contemporary moving images that explore the unknown forms and territories of cinema. The festival values artists’ films made with an original vision that take on challenges and aesthetic adventures, and is one of the few places in South and East Asia that still screen works by artists who work with celluloid film.

This past September, EXiS held its 18th edition in theaters in Seoul, South Korea, screening over 120 films and featuring curated programs, retrospectives, and performances in addition to the main competition.

For this special feature in e-flux Video & Film’s ongoing series Festival Forum, EXiS presents seven short films from the festival showcasing current aesthetic approaches in Korean moving images for e-flux audiences, accompanied by a recorded conversation between EXiS 2021 programmer Inhan Cho and e-flux’s Lukas Brasiskis​. Reconsideration of the essayistic storytelling through critical employment of the digital style, scrutiny of technology and its impact on the everyday, as well as artistic forecasts of the looming crisis are among shared techniques and concerns in the selected films by Korean artists.

Youngmee Roh’s 1021 (2021) weaves a narrative by collecting specific data from public online archives. In Boyong Kim’s Peninsula Tour (2020), interfaces and technologies operate sensibly and epistemologically. Eunsol Kim’s Alpha and Omega (2019) suggests another way to represent a catastrophe. Concerning the current difficult times, Ji Hye Yeom’s Black Sun X : Casper, Witch, and Handstanderus (2021) adopts speculative fiction and Yun Choi’s Doomsday Video explores the possibility of impossible solidarity. Also highlighted are Junehyuck Jeon’s Time Reversed Time (2021), which deals with personal experiences and memories, and Ellie Kyungran Heo’s Plantarians (2017-20) which examines the relationship between plants and humans.

“At the base of these current aesthetic approaches is an attitude of keenly recognizing the vast influence of digital media and technological developments on life, and exploring the changing way in which individuals experience the world. Participating artists, both as recipients of these changes and as producers of art, sensibly reflect the world they experience through their own methodologies. The images in these works are infinitely variable and circulated, and have a sense of floating without causality while also reminding us of reality as the source of this condition. 

“A few things to mention, of course: The selected works in no way represent the Korean moving image scene in its entirety. The simple phrases describing each work are just a guide, and the aesthetic concepts covered in the respective works naturally go beyond these descriptions. However, no matter which route is chosen, it is true that these works are connected to each other and to contemporary conditions of moving images. Of course, there should be doubts that follow, but personally, I like to think of these doubts as questions posed by the works.”

—Inhan Cho

Streaming on e-flux Video & Film for two weeks from Thursday, October 28 through Thursday, November 11, 2021

This program is part of the series Festival Forum on e-flux Video & Film, presenting collabrations with established and emerging moving-image festivals from around the world.

For more information, contact program@e-flux.com.

Experimental Film, Video Art, Southeast Asia
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