Four Questions for Day for Night Festival’s Visual Art Curator, Alex Czetwertynski

Björk Digital, Golan Levin, and Shoplifter are on the roster.

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Shoplifter, Nervescape (2016). Courtesy the artist and Day For Night.
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Tundra, Outlines (2017). Courtesy the artists.
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Tundra, Outlines (2017). Courtesy the artists and Day for Night.
Shoplifter, Nervescape (2016). Courtesy the artist and Day For Night.
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Shoplifter, Nervescape (2016). Courtesy the artist and Day For Night.
Robert Seidel, HYBRIS (2016). Courtesy of the artist and Day For Night.
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Robert Seidel, HYBRIS (2016). Courtesy of the artist and Day For Night.
Björk Digital, an exhibition of video and digital works. Courtesy the artist and Day For Night.
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Björk Digital, an exhibition of video and digital works. Courtesy the artist and Day For Night.
Alex Czetwertynsky, Blurware (2017). Courtesy the artist.
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Alex Czetwertynsky, Blurware (2017). Courtesy the artist and Day for Night.

Houston is revving up for the second edition of the Day For Night music festival, which this year will include some 15 site-specific commissions and new media installations. Co-founded by Alex Czetwertynski, who is curating the visual art presentation, the festival takes place December 17–18 and touts musical acts such as Aphex Twin, Jesus and Mary Chain, Butthole Surfers, Blood Orange, and Mykki Blanco.

On the roster as part of the visual arts show are creatives including AV&C + Houze, Björk Digital, Damien Echols, Golan Levin, NONOTAK, Shoplifter, United Visual Artists (UVA), and Various Projects.

We spoke to Czetwertynski via email to find out more.

Corentin Dombrecht, Diane Pernet, Alexandre Czetwertynski. ©Patrick McMullan/Greg Kessler/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Corentin Dombrecht, Diane Pernet, Alexandre Czetwertynski. ©Patrick McMullan/Greg Kessler/PatrickMcMullan.com.

What are some of the challenges of curating a visual art event at a music festival? Do the two merge well or is there friction to be overcome?
The biggest challenge is overcoming the established patterns of each industry. The music industry operates in a very rigid fashion, and you see this a lot in the way musicians and bands tour. They have been operating within the same rules for decades. One of our goals with Day For Night is to slowly start eroding these patterns and creating new options for hybridizing the music/art experience.

Visual art is increasingly a fixture of music festivals like South by Southwest. Why do you think that is?
Probably because the music festival experience is so formatted that people start getting bored of the concert/break/concert and repeat formula. Audiences want to be engaged all the time, and installation art is a great way for festivals to take advantage of their (typically large) footprints to create opportunities for immersion.

What are some of the themes that emerge out of the selections you made? Did you have themes in mind or did they emerge from what you simply deem to be the work of the best practitioners out there?
There are a few themes, such as the use of light as sculptural medium, the exploration of organic projection surfaces, the creation of media via interaction with the audience/musicians. And yes, this somehow came from my interest in the work of what I consider to be the best practitioners, and I think the themes derived from what I could see coming from their work.

Consequence of Sound called some of the performances last year “on par with any major festival,” and picked one of the visual installations, by New York’s School for Poetic Computation, as one of its top 15 moments. How do you plan to top that this year?
I think that scale and duration will be our two big impact points this year. SFPC’s installation last year was powerful in the way it was beauty and knowledge. This year we are showing work that is more about the extension of space and “duration,” pieces that can be seen multiple times, from different perspectives, and that will “keep giving.” I’m looking forward to seeing what will be the audience’s favorites.

Day for Night takes place December 17–18 at the Barbara Jordan Post Office at 401 Franklin Street. 


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