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Artful AIMing

“Invisible People” by Hung Wing Kit (Hong Kong). Moon – once an experimental item in a laboratory – is now out in the “real” world and becoming increasingly invisible. In the tradition of the Chinese mythical character Moon Elderly, Moon uses red strings to bind seemingly unrelated things together.

Contemporary art – is it as unique as Van Gogh’s ear? Or as ubiquitous and reproducible as cans of Campbell’s tomato soup? This is possibly a question without definitive answer, but one ad dressed nonetheless by Art in Motion II, USC School of Fine Arts’ second annual international festival of time-based media, Feb. 15 through 17.

Forty-three international works have been selected for Art in Motion II. Presented in collaboration with the Santa Monica Museum of Art, AIM II this year examines the theme “The Vanishing Author?” The festival takes place Feb. 15 through 17 at USC’s University Park campus and the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

The selected works were chosen out of more than 600 applicants from 29 countries. They include film, video, digital video, interactive games, animation, sound pieces, CD-ROMs, Web sites, installations and performances.

“Unlike most film festivals, galleries and media venues, which are organized around a specific media or genre, Art In Motion II is organized around a central theme, and the only criterion for submission is that works be ‘time-based,’” said festival director Janet Owen, an alumna of and now adjunct faculty in the USC School of Fine Arts. “Consequently, the selected works range from trans-global collaborations to intensely personal projects and grapple with issues as divergent as the ‘sport’ of lying and the ‘vanishing’ of individuals.”

Owen called this year’s festival theme particularly timely. “New technologies have multiplied access to authorship and reinvigorated ‘the author’ concept,” she said. “Simultaneously, these same technologies have ushered in an age of infinite reproducibility – the culture of the copy – where there is no final cut and no definitive, authoritative voice. As the role of the author is perpetually destroyed and recreated, so too are our perceptions of ‘authority,’ ‘self,’ ‘meaning,’ ‘value’ and ‘originality’ that contribute so significantly to the determination of our futures.”

Building on the success of the first festival, AIM II has been expanded from its January 2000 one-day format to a three-day event. “We are delighted to partner with the Santa Monica Museum of Art to present a unique and rich program of exhibitions, screenings, a symposium and an educational outreach program,” said Ruth Weisberg, dean of the USC School of Fine Arts.

A complete schedule of events follows this article.

All submissions to Art in Motion II were viewed by the AIM II pre-screening committee: curator and experimental documentary filmmaker Carole Ann Klonarides; author and media critic Tara McPherson, an assistant professor in the USC School of Cinema-Television; Owen, who is both a traditional and new-media artist; writer, artist and critic Allan deSouza, a contributing editor at Fuse magazine; and artist Tomo Isoyama, a graduate of the USC School of Fine Arts MFA program.

The selected works will be assessed – for the $1,000 Intelefilm Award for Creative Excellence and the $500 USC School of Fine Arts Student Award – by a trio of jurors: Tom Leeser, visual effects supervisor and art director with Academy Award-winning production studio Rhythm & Hues; pioneering video artist Janice Tanaka, currently teaching at UCLA; and video artist and independent curator Tran T. Kim Trang, an assistant professor at Scripps College.

Festival visitors will cast their votes for the AIM II Audience Choice Award.

The Art in Motion Festival is co-sponsored by Apple, California Arts Council,, Intele film, Panasonic Broadcast and Television Systems Co., Super HappyBunny design studio, USC Annenberg School for Communication, USC Matrix Program for Digital Media and the Arts, USC Arts Initiative, USC Spectrum and WebAd TV.

For more information, visit the Art in Motion Web site at, send e-mail to or call the USC School of Fine Arts at (213) 740-ARTS.


All events are free and open to the public.

At USC’s University Park campus:

Thursday, Feb. 15, from 6:30 to 10 p.m.:
Gin D. Wong, FAIA Conference Center, Harris Hall.
Featuring a multimedia presentation and panel discussion on authorship in an age of infinite reproducibility, or “copy culture.” Festival adviser Christiane Robbins – director of the Matrix Program for Digital Media and the Arts at the USC School of Fine Arts – will moderate a panel discussion with media artist Steve Fagin, artist Simon Leung and writer-curator Jan Tumlir. The keynote speech will be by film theorist and cultural critic Constance Penley, chair of the film studies department at UC Santa Barbara. Penley will present “Melrose Space: Art, Politics and Identity in the Age of Global Media.” The first prime-time public art project in television history, “Melrose Space” involved almost 100 artists and producers in the creation of 200 artworks for “Melrose Place.”

Friday, Feb. 16, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.:
Annenberg Auditorium.
Featuring films, videos, digital videos and animations.

At the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Building G1, Santa Monica:

Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 15 through 17, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Featuring installations, interactive games, Web sites, CD-ROMs, sound pieces and performances.

Saturday, Feb. 17, from 7 to 10 p.m.:
Featuring performances by WorldMix LA and Digital Atmosphere (with DJ Kool-Aid).

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