The Mesh

Cairo Video Festival focuses on most recent worldwide experiments in the moving image. The annual showcase of video art and experimental film was conceived in 2005 with the aim of bringing forward experiments in a medium that, though established as an art form, still played a rather peripheral role, on the contemporary art scene. The festival comes to life through screening programs and loop videos exhibitions that are presented around different venues in the city of Cairo during the course of two weeks.

Through the festival’s open call this year, Medrar received works of the most diverse genres. A total of 116 artists, filmmakers and groups from 38 countries have been selected to be featured in this edition. This immense response gives rise to another role of the festival: the stimulation of an international network of moving image producers and their audiences, to collectively watch and discuss productions from around the world. Medrar’s archive, containing thousands of submitted works since 2005, is testament to this network and is an important resource for moving image researchers.

The guiding selection criteria have been creativity and originality of ideas, variety of genre, and technical quality. This resulted in a body of work containing an immensely diverse series of visions, techniques and approaches. While one can identify recurrent themes, such as a concern with spaces and sites, human bodies in relation to architecture, and social and political issues; there are also works that set an agenda for phenomena as unexpected and unique as shopping addiction; the death of a lizard in a French vineyard; the fixed smile of a game show hostess; postcards to a Latvian girlfriend. This defiance of genre and theme in itself tells us of the power of this medium to elevate the expressive potential of all aspects of life. Another strong characteristic of the selected works is their challenge to commercial image-making, emphasizing how video technology serves other spheres beyond commercially driven entertainment.

Parallel to the open call, the 7th edition brings forward invited guest artists to participate with their work alongside the official selection of the festival. The program includes time-based artistic expressions, ongoing projects, as well as a work that required almost 36 years to complete. We hope to offer an insight into current art practices, and also into the local and global production of video art and experimental film. Besides the guest artists and selected artworks screenings and exhibitions, the 7th edition includes talks and presentations, as well as a workshop for local artists to be held in Medrar next year.