Vincent Grenier
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From Green Cine Daily
October 15, 2006

New York Dispatch. 11.
Following up on last week's dispatch focusing on the archival restorations in the NYFF's Views from the Avant-Garde sidebar, Michael Sicinski turns his attention to the new experimental work.

The 10th annual Views from the Avant-Garde presentation of the New York Film Festival succeeds year after year in cutting a wide swath through the experimental film and video world, and not just because its typical two-day screening schedule allows for a quick, intensive fix of new, often hard-to-see material. (Although this short, sharp shock, weekend-retreat approach does have its advantages - notably for those of us tied to the academic calendar - it's also sometimes difficult to get a proper sit-down meal in there.) The main attraction is an abiding faith in the event's curators, avant-garde programmer Mark McElhatten and Film Comment editor Gavin Smith , to assemble an instructive, impressive cross-section of experimental filmmaking now, not only a representative sample but also a complex, multi-layered art event. In this regard, Views 2006 didn't disappoint. As my reviews below will attest, it wasn't difficult to find stark beauty, conceptual rigor, and/or vibrant challenges to conventional perception in this year's programs.

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Vincent Grenier , another mid-career a-g veteran, is an artist whose shift to digital filmmaking has consistently been characterized by a rigorous investigation of the specific aesthetics and formal parameters of his adopted medium. This, and This is no exception. Thematically, Grenier's piece is a conversation with nature in both its raw and culturally mediated forms - for example, the rushing waters from Ithaca Falls juxtaposed with the spray of a rain puddle traversed by a steel belted radial. The piece is in many ways a meditation on the power of the straight cut, as opposed to the fades and image-alternations so common in recent video work. As the video progresses, Grenier implies that non-mediation doesn't exist. But on an even more basic level, This, and This pits vertical against horizontal movement, as well as pushing digital video to the limits of its comfort zones, as swirling forms begin to pixilate or produce visual feedback. Grenier's medium is indeed the lion's share of his message.

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