Co-Lab Projects: Video Open Call
Because sometimes we wake up screening
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
7:30AM, Tue. May 12, 2020
Hey, Austinite, you want a place to show off your best videos? How about a venue already long known for artistic excellence and curatorial integrity in this city?
There are more than a few of those venues, of course – but it’s Co-Lab Projects in particular that’s putting out a call for such creations from established artists and, really, just anybody who can manipulate camera tech until their framed snippet of reality (or its extension) is eyeworthy.
“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent shelter-in-place order in Austin,” goes the press release, “we have decided to shift our exhibition and artist stipend budgets to fund an ongoing open call for video works. In doing so we will continue to fulfill our mission by exhibiting and supporting Austin artists during these strange times.”
Yeah, and they’re paying a stipend of $100 for each work chosen, in addition to providing a showcase on their @colabprojectstx Instagram account and website. And featured artists will retain all rights to their work.
But, see, “chosen” is the operative word here: Don’t think this is yet more of that digital open-mic shit that everyone’s screens have been flooded with, for better or worse, in these Zoomy, Twitchy, Tik-toxic times.
No, Sean Gaulager and the Co-Lab board will be reviewing all submissions and vetting them for quality, innovation, expression, and – oh, all those things the more savvy and maybe even somewhat jaded senses require for a creative piece to be exhibited. And let’s hear a round of applause for that, right? We mean, before another FB Live travesty promoted by our cousin who enjoys performing, off-key, songs from Cats in feline drag makes us slit our fucking wrists.
[Note: What’s that, citizen? You say you actually want a bit of feline drag if it’s done right? Well, it’s nothing to do with Co-Lab, but we’re never tired of recommending Austin’s own Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Cat, as captured here by PJ Raval.]
But, yes: Vetted.
“Video seems like the perfect medium for this time and platform, since it's not being adapted for – but was always meant to be viewed on – a screen,” Co-Lab’s Gaulager tells us. “Once a week we review the submissions over Zoom, which helps us stay in touch with one another (and reality). We laugh, we cry, but mostly we drink and let it all wash over us, after which we select what stands out most at that moment. This shift from physical programming to virtual has been challenging, because we're accustomed to sharing our programs with IRL audiences; however, we're happy to continue in our mission to present talented artists' work, provide them stipends, and stay engaged with our community.”
And, in Austin, that’s not too small of a community, is it? None of that incestuous-seeming in-crowd sort of deal, right? It’s not just the same-old same-old cabal of artmakers offering their –
“The response to our Video Open Call program has been really positive,” says Gaulager, suppressing an eyeroll, “in that we’re seeing submissions from so many artists we’re not familiar with or we haven't ever seen their video work.”
Well, then. You heard the man. Maybe it’s time for you to put the finishing touches on that motion-graphics masterpiece (or whatever) you’ve been fiddling with for however long, hey? And then submit it to Co-Lab Projects.