As much as the number of people that are interested in film with a new approach of storytelling has increased, experimental film is perhaps the least commonly viewed style of filmmaking because it often seen as perplexing. It is interesting because the purpose of this kind of film is to re-evaluate cinematic conventions, explores alternatives to traditional narratives or methods of working and to triggers discussions. While "experimental" covers a wide range of practice, an experimental film is often categorised by the absence of linear narrative, the use of various abstracting techniques—out-of-focus, painting or rapid editing plays with colours—the use of asynchronous sound or even the absence of any sound track that mainstream film usually has.
Experimental film usually aims to place the viewer in a more thoughtful and deeper relationship to the film. In experimental films; telling a dark history of revolution and the class struggle can take forms of black and white pictures and vegetables that move using a ‘stop motion’ technique; and a knowledge about jellyfish can be told by soothing voice that accompanies scene of its pinkish translucent skin moving as it swims in the blue water.
By working together with Arkipel, Jakarta International Documentary & Experimental Film Festival, British Council would like to promote this spirit of creating cross-discipline works that triggers more discussions – not only for film lovers, but also for visual arts enthusiasts through experimental films in Indonesia. The third year of the festival that was held on 19 – 29 August 2015 also marked our first partnership with the festival. We brought some of the best of LUX’s collection that represents 4500 works by approximately 1500 artists from 1920s to the present day. We also invited Benjamin Cook, Director of LUX, a UK-based international arts agency for the support and promotion of artists’ moving image practice that enrich the world of experimental films. Founded in 2002 as a charity and not-for-profit limited company, it’s the only organisation of its kind in the UK, it represents the country’s only significant collection of artists’ film and video and is the largest distributor of such work in Europe.
During his visit, Cook attended the Media Gathering and Press Conference, curated a special presentation programme (presented as two-part session of screenings) and gave a public lecture about Moving Images and Knowledge Disseminations.
This partnership was one of our efforts to contribute and support the development of film industry in Indonesia by showcasing the best of British cinema, including its experimental films. Benjamin Cook met with a number of young Indonesian curators to kick off a future collaboration between UK and Indonesia, in which there will be cross mobility of curators to access and work with archives and collections of moving images from both countries.