FICXLAB: the relationship between the most experimental film and visual arts

What is FICXLAB? What is intended by this initiative? What does it wish to show to the public? This article aims to outline the project and help in understanding what it is.

Published: Nov 07, 2013
FICXLAB: the relationship between the most experimental film and visual arts

Still of 'Louie's toy garden', 2011, by Guillermo G.Peydró, which is exhibited at the show in LABoral

By Naiara Valdano, Art Gossips, @art_gossips

This year LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijón wished to collaborate with the International Film Festival to design and produce a series of screenings and activities that link up film with visual arts. All of these events have been brought together in a new section called FICXLAB which will be held during the festival’s 51st edition in November.

As the team at LABoral explains, the main goal of this project is to introduce video art and experimental film, normally outside the channels of commercial distribution, in the context of a film festival such as the one in Gijón and aims to “build a public that is interested in the less conventional expressions of moving image in the medium and long term” (1).

Shown here below is a video in which you can see the presentation event of this new section and also listen to Nacho Carballo (Director of Gijón International Film Festival), Benjamín Well (Activities Director of LABoral) and Alfredo Aracil (Curator of Universo vídeo_el otro audiovisual español [Video Universe_The Other Spanish Audiovisual Scene]).


To gain a deeper insight into this project, I wanted to interview one of the people responsible for running this section, Alfredo Aracil. I hope that you enjoy this short interview and encourage you to visit the festival this year.

Hi Alfredo. To begin with, I would like to know how you see the video art scene and that of experimental film in our country.

I would like to start by making it clear that, for me, experimental film and video art are the same reality. That is to say, that although there are historical differences between one practice and another, today they have ended up converging.

Having said that, in Spain during the last five years very interesting different initiatives and projects have sprung up such as Del éxtasis al arrebato [From Ecstasy to Rapture]. This initiative, for example, has played a major role in reclaiming a series of names (from Val del Omer to Javier Aguirre, Eugeni Bonet, José Antonio Sistiaga or Iván Zulueta) as the genesis of the Spanish experimental image. At the same time, it has claimed a new generation of authors (that of Laida Lertxundi, Chus Domínguez, Esperanza Collado, Albert Serra, Oliver Laxe and Alberto Gracia) who have started to appear in exhibitions and screenings by institutions such as CCCB (Barcelona), the Reina Sofía (Madrid) or MUSAC (Castilla y León) and also at film festivals, including Cannes and Rotterdam, taking over in the production of types of images that move along the boundaries, between the communicable through language and that which there are no words for, which we can only sense.

This year LABoral is collaborating with the Gijón International Film Festival in a new section called FICXLAB. How did this project come about and for what purpose?

This project was born out of the need to collaborate institutionally, to reinforce each other in order to reach a wider audience, helping to provide spectators and users of FICX and LABoral with both a rigorous and attractive programme of screenings and activities.

What activities will there be in this initiative?

This is a project that works on three fronts:

  • On one hand, as an exhibition through the Universo Vídeo [Video Universe] series presented in both spaces, LABoral and Sala Astragal.
  • On the other hand, as one of screenings, let’s say normal, in the cinemas and, also, in a special place such as the Colegiata of San Juan Bautista, where 16 mm films by authors like Robert Beavers or Nathaniel Dorsky will be screened.
  • Finally, as a space for reflection: a roundtable based on a session of screenings from the catalogue of the British distributor LUX, with the participation of authors such as Alberto Gracia and programmers like Víctor Berlín from PLAT and Chema González from the Reina Sofía.


I would like to talk about the exhibition Universo video, which you are curating. Tell us what we can find in this show.

The exhibition, which continues with the Universo Vídeo series, aims to give visibility to something which has been called "alternative Spanish film or audiovisual work": one which is not being premiered in mainstream cinemas and which, as it is not part of the commercial sphere, has been confined to museums, art centres and festivals that are nearly always international. In particular, we have selected a total of 16 works by eight authors, all part of the PLAT online platform/archive: a space for exhibition and diffusion thanks to the self-management of the authors themselves.

Your intention is to give visibility to experimental film with all these activities. Why the need to focus on this sector?

I wouldn´t say need. It is a choice. A proposal. In the same way that LABoral proposes types of activities that reflect on the alternative and social use of technology, with this section we intend to highlight the existence of other types   of images which receive less media coverage and which are around us every day on a television (which even present the information as advertising).

Do you think the general public is interested and ready to enjoy this kind of audiovisual work?

I don´t think that there is any such thing as the "general public" except in the world of statistics.  Every spectator represents an exception more than a general rule.  Besides, to enjoy work, in general, it is not necessary to be ready. The only thing which counts is to approach things without prejudice, with your mind and eyes wide open.



Finally, those interested in this section can see activity calendar below:

Programme 1 (20 November 2013)

This first programme wishes to present works by renowned artists in the experimental world of cinema and bring the main names in the genre to Gijón. There will be two main sessions:


  • Titles:

Song, Nathaniel Dorsky, 18'

Spring, Nathaniel Dorsky, 23'

Three Landscapes, Peter Hutton, 47'

  • Venue: Centro Cultural Cajastur Colegiata San Juan Bautista, Gijón
  • Time: 6 pm.
  • Total duration: 88'



  • Titles:

Listening to the Space in My Room, Robert Beavers, 19'

Susan +Lisbeth, Ute Aurand, 10'

To be Here, Ute Aurand, 38'

  • Venue: Centro Cultural Cajastur Colegiata San Juan Bautista, Gijón
  • Time: 22:30 h.
  • Total duration: 67'


Programme 2 (21 November 2013)

This second programme will be dedicated to presenting the work by some international distributors and producers including Lux, one of the most important experimental film and video art distributors at present.


  • Titles

Over the Horizon, Emily Richardson, 2012, 20'

The Creation as We Saw, Ben Rivers, 2012, 14'

The Poor Stockinger, the Luddite Cropper and Deluded, Luke Fowler, 2012, 61'

  • Venue: Plat0 de LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial
  • Time: 6.30 pm
  • Total duration: 90'



  • Participants: Alberto Gracia, director of O quinto evanxeo de Gaspar Hauser [The Fifth Gospel of Gaspar Hauser], winner of the Fipresci prize at the  Rotterdam Festival 2013; Víctor Berlín, from Plat; Chema González, Head of Cultural Activities of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), and Alfredo Aracil, Curator of Universo vídeo_el otro audiovisual español [Video Universe_the other Spanish audiovisual scene].
  • Topic: The roundtable will address production and distribution of new Spanish film and the international context of experiment film.
  • Venue: Chill-out at LABoral
  • Time: 8 to 9 pm.


Programme 3  (20 and 22 November 2013).

The presentation of films by two directors, Albert Serra and Alberto Gracia, for who aesthetics is a political question and whose works are worth seeing and enjoying.


Història de la meva mort [The Story of My Death], Albert Serra, 2013, 148'

The meeting of Casanova and Dracula in a Swiss castle brings along the clash between a century about to end and another that has only just started.  The end of the Enlightenment with its search to attract the public gives way to Romanticism, a way of being far removed from the Light: secretive, alarmist and violent. A film that earned him the Golden Leopard award at the last Locarno Festival.

Date: 20.11.2013

Venue: Cines Centro, Sala 4

Time: 4 pm.
Presentation and Meeting with Albert Serra.



O quinto evanxeo de Gaspar Hauser [The Fifth Gospel of Kaspar Hauser], Alberto Gracia, 2013, 61'

The enigmatic story of the wild child Kaspar Hauser appeared from nowhere in Nuremberg in 1828 acts as a transcript for the first film by Alberto Gracia, winner of the FIPRESCI award at the recent Rotterdam Festival.

Date: 22.11.2013

Venue: Centro Cultural Cajastur Colegiata San Juan Bautista, Gijón

Time: 20.15 pm.
Presentation and meeting with Alberto Gracia


I hope this calendar encourages you to visit the festival…. Don´t hesitate to go to Gijón!


(1) "LABoral and FICX create a new section with activities that link cinema with visual arts", an article published on 21 October 2013 on the LABoral website. See complete text here:

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