Porno Cinema as Social Community, um, Festival

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YANS & RETO

A performance and video festival, set to take place at Anthology Film Archives on Friday, September 14, caught my attention with its proliferation of themes and organizational concepts.

This the third annual YANS & RETO Festival, which stands for “Young And Not Stupid & Radical Even Though Old”. Jana Leo curated the festival, and MOSIS Foundation and Spain Culture New York have organized it.

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YANS & RETOThe mélange of participant requirements, artistic processes and thematic categories is pretty staggering, and the description reads a little bit like the whole thing’s a farce making fun of festivals. Ultimately, though, it ends up seeming interesting, surprising and the best kind of complicated.

Let’s see if I can get all of this right: Artists in the festival must be younger than 30 or older than 60. Or Spanish. If you’re Spanish, you can be between 30 and 60, and just never mind about the name of the festival including “young” and “old” in its acronym. Each submission to the festival program-performance or video-has to be shorter than seven minutes long and an inter-generational collaboration. The festival has a goal of “bring[ing] artists together” and nurtures these collaborations in the lead up to the public program on September 14. The model of togetherness they’ve chosen this year is “the social aspects of porno cinemas.” And also: cabaret. Whew.

There is more information in the festival’s press release:

September 4, 2012
Anthology Film Archives presents
YANS & RETO
(Young And Not Stupid, Radical Even Though Old)

A festival conceived by Jana Leo, co-organized and co-produced by
MOSIS Foundation and Spain Culture New York-Consulate General of Spain

Friday, September 14, 2012
Anthology Film Archives
7:30pm Performances open to the public
9:30pm Reception
Tickets are $9 (general admission)

Inspired by the social atmosphere of porno cinemas and in the tradition of cabaret, YANS & RETO is a one-night festival of action art by artists over sixty and under thirty as well as Spanish artists of all ages. The artists present themselves through short (under seven minute) performance or video pieces, creating energetic, inter-generational encounters.

100 minutes action fest. List of Participants: Philippe Avila, AA Bronson & Bradford Kessler, Pam Butler, Dionisio Cañas, Marina Fernandez Ferri, April Flores & Carlos Batts, Lynsey G, Keith McDermott & Catherine Galasso, Ashly Woo, Jana Leo, Alex Lora, Puela Lunaris, Simon Lund, David Maroto, Marko Markovic, Manuel Molina Martagon, Kathleen Purcell, Screamachine, Alfredo Tauste, Kònic Thtr, Ronald V Bijleveld, Madison Young, Jess Whittam.

Beyond putting together two generations and inserting Spanish art into the court of American’s art, the festival simply wants to bring artists together. The visible part of this Project is the festival itself, but much more happens previous to the evening of performances. Once an artist registers, the communal work begins: artists couple with other artists (an old and a young partner, eg), performances are adapted, videos and films are edited, sound tracks are created, and then the various elements are choreographed into a whole. The festival is a unique event whose participants form a collective.

This year the festival wants to reflect the social aspects of porno cinemas. Sex creates a community in public and commercial spaces. In his book, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue, author Samuel Delaney, portrays porno cinemas as places for encountering (as opposed to networking). In a world where everything is filtered, marketed and mediated, the reality of: “first unzip me, do me, and then we can talk about our lives” is much appreciated.