15 October | 19:00

Empire II screening night

  • Doors: 19:00
  • Running time: 19:00 - 22:00
  • Free entrance - Donation welcome

EMPIRE II is an artist led satellite project, originally devised and curated by Vanya Balogh for 57th La Biennale di Venezia

This intimate, immersive film hub space will feature three chambers; beginning with an extensive library, engaging in film history and theory, curated attentively by participating artists from their personal book collections and intended for browsing and perusing; leading further on to a single screen darkroom, a pulsating digital heart, showcasing a sequence of 115 imaginative short films programmed to play on the continuous loop; and on to the final imaginary space, the Virtual Reality port which will evolve over time in collaboration with various artists.


In recent years we have seen an intense and speedy cultural migration and merging of art, architecture and moving image. As empires are built on ruins, so has digital mass evolving from the fractured analogue spectrum of our not so distant past, submerged itself into the fluid fabric of our contemporary worldview.

Mash ups, remakes, samplings, cut-ups; contemporary culture is profoundly fragmented and constantly recreated. What were once avant-garde strategies have now become everyday practices. The ubiquity and diversity of gadgets, cameras and screens is a particularly prominent aspect of this «softwarized» digital culture. Professional filmmakers are seen to use cheap digital cameras in order to create low-tech DIV aesthetics, as exemplified in the Dogme 95 movement initiated by Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg.

Empire II is a spontaneous reflex point, immersive single screen experience with a library, a hot eye that reflects on the elusiveness and temporality of the digital image, interweaving various paths, trends and approaches to film making. Ranging from animation to cold cut editing, 115 digital shorts are transported on a hard drive, to reach its final destination that is a hybrid digital canvas, a boundary between independent cinema and contemporary art.

Empire II screen will confront us with ideas on climate change, politics of attrition, immigration, narcissism, sex, despair, love, hate, loss of identity, addiction, violence, false economics, digital rape, cyber crime, space travel, pollution, death and consumerism, all coexisting amongst many concurrent themes. Focused on our present, The Age of Anxiety, whilst turning madness into metaphysics, artists respond and demonstrate their feelings, thoughts and objections to the post truth world incumbent in lies and power struggles.

This temporary digital archive and its narrative of collection and recollection, its ability to exhibit, move and travel at high speed to any corner of the planet, define EMPIRE II as philosophical and social space of transient, ephemeral nature. Akin to story of Maxim Gorky, a Russian airplane designed in 1933/34 by Victor Tupolev at the time when future was socialist, it was the biggest airplane in the world with a wingspan about the same as a Boeing 747. A flying beast of Soviet propaganda, it had many fancy features, for example a rotary press that could turn out 10000 copies an hour, a darkroom lab for developing aerial photos, a working radio station but also and most importantly a Library and a fully functioning Cinema with a Screen that could unfold on the ground and was big enough for near 10000 people to see clearly. 

Films of the 21st Century show us brain-worlds, brain-cities and architectures of the mind. We no longer look through characters eyes and we no longer need big cinema screens; we experience their minds. This new emerging visual aesthetic is our future present and our present future compressed in data factors and algorithms. Is it also the end of the cinema as we know it?

Empire II is accompanied by a 260 pages, full colour limited edition catalogue, designed and produced by Victor Hotz Studio in Switzerland. This bespoke publication is conjured in collaboration with curator Vanya Balogh, and features film stills, txt and further explorations on the ideas of Anxiety & Empire.

More information: http://www.empire2.info

Participating Artists
William Angus-Hughes, Montague Armstrong, Yael Atzmony, Jessica Bailey, Jon Baker, Kerry Baldry, Vanya Balogh, Lorenzo Belenguer, Sooz Belnavis, Vardi Bobrow, Whalley & Bricheno, Megan Broadmeadow, Anita Bryan, Theresa Caruana, Roger Clarke, Laura Liliyana-Raffaella Cogoni, Emily Cole, Live Hazard Collective, Paul Coombs & Gabriel Mulvey, Leito de Courson de la Villeneuve, Richard Ducker, Joe Dye, Spizz Energi, Gordon Faulds, Susana Lopez Fernandez, Valentina Ferrandes, Julian Firth, Glenn Fitzy Fitzpatrick, Gzillion Artist, Maryclare Foa, Mandee Gage, Toni Gallagher, Ray Gange, Warren Thomas Garland, Maria Teresa Gavazzi, Alina Gavrielatos, Ann Grim, Fiona Haines, Miriam Mor Hiedemann, Dannielle Hodson, Birgitta Hosea, Leila Houston, Laura Hynd, Shosh Israeli, Marie-Louise Jones, Vanja Karas, Philipp Keel, Will Kerr, Monika Kita, Dion Kitson, Kate Kotcheff, Kristina Kotov, Tomaž Kramberger, Bella Land, Bob Lawson, Ibby Doherty & Ed Linger, Crispin Lingford, MC Llamas, Bobby Lloyd, Jeffrey Louis-Reed, Iavor Lubomirov, Julia Maddison, Lee Maelzer, Roman Manfredi, Nerys Mathias, Jane Grisewood & Carali McCall, Joanna McCormick, Stacie McCormick, Emily McMehen, Andrea Morucchio, Anna Mortimer, Eden Auerbach Ofrat, Michal Ohana-Cole, Nouli Omer, Ekin Onat, Adi Oz-Ari, Sarah Pager, Harrison Pearce, Marco Alessi, Benedict Morrison, Martyn Pick, John Plowman, Danny Pockets, Marisa Polin, Eva Raboso, Annika Reed, Meriliis Rinne, India Roper-Evans, Jim Roseveare, Pascal Rousson, Tracey Moberly & Robbie Ryan, Ella Amitay Sadovsky, Mario Varas Sanchez, Susana Sanroman, Susan Schulman, Rebecca Scott, Ashley Scott Fitzgerald, Martin Sexton, Richard Sharples, Liz Sheridan, Veronica Shimanovskaya, Maya Smira, Steve Smith, Barbara Stanzl, Susan Supercharged, Melissa Alley & Paul Tecklenberg, Taline Temizian & Max Maxwell, Sarah Sparkes & Ian Thompson, Paul & Stanley Tucker, Graham Tunnadine, Gavin Turk, Negin Vaziri, Jessica Voorsanger, Tisna Westerhof, Michael Williams, Witty Gordon Projects, Mark Woods