The current edition of the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival has opened a new section called “Labs” dedicated to work from artist-run film labs around the world. This network of around 50 collectives, most of which can be found on filmlabs.org, has established a number of places for filmmakers working with film today, a positive side-effect of the collapse of the photochemical film industry. These labs intend to preserve knowledge of analog filmmaking by encouraging artists to explore the possibilities of this unique medium and concretely produce a significant body of contemporary work using film for capture and, noticeably, often for exhibition as well.
Four labs have been invited to show recent works in the 64th edition of the festival: L’Abominable (Paris, France), Crater Lab (Barcelona), filmkoop wien (Vienna, Austria), Filmwerkplaats (Rotterdam, Netherlands). All films presented will be shown on Super-8, 16mm, and 35mm. The detailed program can be found here. To quote project coordinator Vassily Bourikas: “While artists’ labs have always seen themselves as a parallel and self-determined form of work, with the claim to control every step of the artistic process from recording to screening, they now are becoming places in the social realm where an idea of analogue film is upheld in the face of the dictatorship of the digital.”
It is intended that this section will continue, following the evolutions of this network. So long life to Labs!