Originally conceived in 2019 by Will Fowler, BFI National Archive curator for artists’ moving image, as a semi-regular counter-point to traditional programming which ran for 8 editions, the Experimenta Mixtape asked audiences to check any assumptions of what experimental film might be at the cinema door and simply come along to experience all manner of film that had been selected to screen together with no expectations or advance information on the programme.
An art form in itself, the joy of the mixtape programme taps into this idea of a carefully crafted unique work, a way of engaging and entertaining anyone just starting to show interest in experimental film as well as seasoned viewers, inviting audiences to look at the curated selection of films and how they are programmed, anew.
After a 2 year break, the Experimenta Mixtape returns to BFI Southbank in June for a second season with a reconfigured format, handing the curatorial reins over to invited artists to make their personal Mixtape selections exclusively drawn from the BFI National Archive, bringing their own inflections and fresh perspectives on the archive collections. Onyeka Igwe, Clunie Reid and Mark Leckey are already confirmed to curate the first 3 editions of the Experimenta Mixtape Season 2 across 2022 and into 2023.
Featuring no introductions, no guests, and no information about what would show in advance, previous Experimenta mixtapes included early cinema pieces, music videos, television, short films, adverts, and artist and experimental films. Programme notes were made available at the end of the screening and uploaded to the BFI website so that audience members could find out more about any films they had liked. This sense of mystery and eclecticism remains with this new artists’ iteration.
Recently awarded the Foundwork Artist Prize in 202, artist-filmmaker Onyeka Igwe, whose latest exhibition, The Miracle on George Green, has just opened on the Highline in New York, kicks off Experimenta Mixtape S02E01 on Wednesday 8th June (18:00, NFT3). Onyeka Igwe uses embodiment, voice, archives, narration and text in her work to create structural ‘figure-of-eights’, a format that exposes a multiplicity of narratives. Her work comprises untying strands and threads, anchored by a rhythmic editing style, as well as close attention to the dissonance, reflection and amplification that occurs between image and sound. After the BFI screening Onyeka Igwe will be in conversation with interdisciplinary artist Rosa-Johan Uddoh to discuss her selections and process, reflecting on her own work in moving image.
Later this year Clunie Reid, an artist working in print and digital media will curate Experimenta Mixtape S02E02, Reid’s work has been shown internationally including Hamburg Kunstverein, New Museum New York, ICA, Tate Britain, The Photographers’ Gallery, Palais de Tokyo, Art Basel Miami Beach, CalArts and Whitechapel Gallery. Her work is preoccupied with questions of sexual representation and violence in capitalist culture through strong, ironic, satiric and desirous processes of reworking and reactivating imagery. She is interested in modern histories of image-based critique, images and identification, subjectivity and the ongoing function of the feminine in representation.
Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Leckey will curate Experimenra Mixtape S02E03 in early 2023. One of the most influential artists working today, Leckey’s work looks at the relationship between popular culture and technology as well as exploring the subjects of youth, class and nostalgia. He works across sculpture, film, sound and performance?. Leckey’s work explores the intersection of several cultures: youth, rave, pop, and briding a personal and cultural history of Britain.
What will these artists curate and what inflections and perspectives will they bring to their choices from the BFI National Archive collections? What kind of rhythms and sequencing will they impose on the selected material?
In addition, Experimenta Mixtape Secret Santa edition, curated by William Fowler and Kristina Tarasova, will screen at BFI Southbank in December 2022. Download previous Experimenta Mixtape lists HERE