With new artworks by Melanie Bonajo, Abner Preis & Studio Pointer.
Cinekid, the world’s largest media festival for children between the ages of 3 and 14, presents the first names of the MediaLab 2019, the festival’s digital playground and exhibition of participatory activities. Cinekid has commissioned artists Melanie Bonajo, Abner Preis and Studio Pointer to create brand new interactive works that playfully researches the digital world we live in today.
Melanie Bonajo: video installation TouchMETell
The artist Melanie Bonajo is developing a video installation about touch in our day and age, in which we all live completely through our devices – and that may well go double for children. We WhatsApp more easily than we talk with each other, are obsessed with YouTube, fill our days with playlists and communicate on platforms and through social media channels like Facebook, Snapchat, Tiktok and Instagram; for children, especially the latter three. According to Bonajo, we are forgetting how to make contact with each other in the simplest sense of the word: through touch.
In an interview documentary, eight children talk about non-physical life in the age of digital communication. A number of exercises are central to this. Together with a team of therapists and haptonomists, Bonajo designs a programme in which children (re)learn how important physical contact is and how, in group processes, connection is more than just an empathic rapprochement, but is a social process that can generate individuality and empowerment.
Virtual reality tour by Abner Preis
Abner Preis creates social artworks: group processes in the form of inclusive and interactive performance art in which the audience is part of the artwork. In his work as an artist, he is a true storyteller who uses fairy-tale-like narratives to talk about a shared understanding of our world, mutual values and contexts of coexistence and, above all, the hope that we can all harmoniously think together about what it is that connects us. As a storyteller, Preis is an optimist who always strives to achieve a happy ending, as such endings are more necessary than ever to be able to approach society with a clear head. This certainly applies for the youngest audience.
For Cinekid, Preis is creating a new virtual reality work in which Cinekid visitors embark upon a space tour (in retro space vehicles) that takes them on a small expedition into the history of modern media. Media technology – in fact, technology in general – has only recently become part of human history. How can it be that it has already become so influential, and that we all have such a personal connection with media? Whether it’s nostalgia for Pacman as the video game hero of days gone by, or the modems that used to connect us and our webcams to all corners of the world. The media world in which we all live is ripe for a brief history lesson, in the form of a tour, in which we see how things used to be, how rapidly we are changing, and how we are all heading towards new concepts of the future with a short but rich media history as a basis.
Animal GIFs by Studio Pointer
Studio Pointer, run by the duo Asya Sukhorukova & Jakob Schlötter, is creating a completely new digital world for Cinekid, in which animal GIFs –found on the internet- lead their own lives: they live together, mate, fight, make up and, in this way, populate their animal universe.
In a grand-scale installation, we see the digital creatures hop from world to world, merge their digital GIF DNA and thus create new GIF mutations. As such, Pointer’s animal GIFs are no longer what they started out as. Well-known animals from our visual culture (from The Lion King’s Simba to a cheerful My Little Pony character) have been digitally cross-bred with other animals, creating new lifeforms. It is endearing to see how they remain recognisable and yet have received new life as running, leaping and merrily galloping amorphous new animals. It’s Jurassic Park in the digital world of Tumblr and Instagram.Together, the animals populate new worlds, specially designed by the young visitors of the MediaLab. Drawings made by the children are digitally transformed into, say, a cliff face or waterfall.
Cinekid is the world’s largest media festival for young people from 3 to 14 years old. Every year, some 70,000 children and their minders visit the festival at Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam, or one of almost 40 film theaters throughout the Netherlands. Cinekid offers children a chance to experience a diverse programme of high quality international media productions (films, TV programmes, games, apps, installations). At the same time, the festival organises talks, workshops and masterclasses with the goal of developing the young audience’s ability to deal with the media in an independent, critical and intelligent way.
Cinekid Amsterdam: 19 - 25 October
Cinekid on Tour: 12 - 27 October
Cinekid for Professionals: 21 - 25 October