Artists Newsletter Magazine - December 1998

PANDAEMONIUM : London's Festival of Moving Images
16 October - 29 November 1998
Nik Houghton, writer

Encompassing everything from new gallery commissions and some thirty video programmes to seminars and club nights, this year's Pandaemonium - that first took place in 1996 at the ICA - was rooted in and around the LUX centre in London's Hoxton Square.

Centre stage were five new commissions including Sundown by Tracey Emin, a slight piece showing Emin on horseback, and Vent from Smith Stewart. Filling a wall Vent shows us the view from inside a mouth and is accompanied by a sort of scream. It is a striking but less compelling perhaps than Clio Barnard's Hard Cut where images from a porn video have been reworked to create a series of degraded slow motion pictures.

In Dryden Goodwin's new piece Within, slow motion techniques are also at work as the artist shows everyday looks and gestures on four overhead screens. By slowing and sometimes reversing his black and white images, Goodwin invests new significance in them and by adding his own soundtrack amplifies the mesmeric qualities of the piece.

As a showcase to the diversity of new practices the second Pandaemonium pushed hard at the boundaries defining art through a range of collaborations with clubs and other galleries. Despite this, the innovative edge of this event was blunted by being largely gallery bound. With little real attempt at intervention in the public space of the locality, the festival has I would suggest missed an opportunity to engage with new audiences. No one is suggesting that events like this take on the dread mantle of 'community arts' but in an area ripe with histories, issues and exhibiting possibilities there is a sense in which the festival remained disengaged from its context. Perhaps next time we might hope for more site-specific commissions and a little less kow-towing to the YBA video trend-setters. These gripes aside, one looks forward to Pandaemonium mark 3, and further exploration of digital media in the year 2000.