Kevin B. Lee | A plea for presence
A plea for presence: this is probably the most visionary statement Filmexplorer could collect at this year edition of the Locarno Film Festival. Something that Filmexplorer shared with Kevin B. Lee, speaking about the invitation of Tsai Ming-liang, the vision for the Locarno Film Festival, and the interplay between cinema and art spaces.
A plea for presence – in cinema and art spaces
A plea for presence: this is probably the most visionary statement Filmexplorer could collect at this year edition of the Locarno Film Festival. While the enthusiasm of both audience and professionals animated the venues of the festival, we met Kevin B. Lee in the foyer of the Cinema Gran Rex, behind the Piazza grande. We liked to imagine this foyer also as symbolic figure for this kind of forum of discussion and exchange that is necessarily one of the strength of a film festival – and one of the secrets of its success.
Kevin explained to us the reason behind his invitation of Tsai Ming-liang, who he considers as the perfect spokesperson for a cinema of attentive, bodily, responsive presence. Tsai is creative on the cinema screen as well as in the exhibition space, and his exhibition in a part of the Locarno castle is a refined example of not only how cinema is able to expand but of how film is able to interpret the space in playing with other media, such as painting. Commentating the arrival of Maja Hoffmann as new president of the Locarno Film Festival, we share the optimism in looking towards a festival that will be able to regain its most authentic profile as the place for challenging discoveries and for experiments in film formats, both in the cinema theatre and in the art space.
The experience of physical presence is not an alternative to but an accomplice of digital innovation. Without the acceptance of this alliance we will never be able to recognise the human side (that is often hidden) behind technology, and this interplay between analogue and digital strategies of presence is a truth that film festivals have yet to explore.
Kevin B. Lee is Locarno Film Festival Professor for the Future of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts
Tsai Ming-liang | Exhibition | Locarno Film Festival 2023 | Curation: Kevin B. Lee
Kevin B. Lee’s Website
First published: August 25, 2023