Since six years Ibrida has been bringing together artworks, artists, critics, researchers and journalists interested in video art, performance and music in a festival that takes place in various locations in Forlì. Under the direction of the duo of video performers, Francesca Leoni and Davide Mastrangelo, also founder of the Festival, everything shapes from an interdisciplinary and intermedia approach.
Even during the COVID emergency of the year 2020, they were able to adapt the Festival to the situation, maintaining alive the spirit that fuels the event every year: presence, contact, exchange and dialogue. They now analize the major changes of this year and the expectations for this new sixth edition, while we wait for the event to open its doors.
Elena Giulia Rossi: Ibrida is now in its sixth year. You went through the pandemic (still running a Festival section last year which could be attended in person). Are there any changes in addition to those detected last year following this historic moment? How are the terms “hybrid” and “intermedial” understood today compared to yesterday when they were mostly viewed with suspicion, especially in the creative field?
Francesca Leoni e Davide Mastrangelo: No historical change takes place before it has been announced, prepared for and facilitated by a series of smaller changes, often unnoticed when they happen. Change was already underway, the pandemic accelerated all processes, especially those related to technology and science, creating a true hybrid collision of two worlds – the physical and digital. After last year’s special edition, where a large part of the programme took place online, we are returning to our original formula: in person, with different events within the festival area (EXATR), ranting from live performances inside the theatre tent to video art screenings in the multimedia room, outdoor installations, and even in-person meetings and workshops. We will also have a refreshment area inside EXATR because the Festival also means conviviality and, above all, an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas, creating unexpected links and bridges. For us, the term “hybrid” has always been used in a positive way, in the sense that hybridisation allows infinite possibilities in all fields, not only in the arts sector. Something that is hybrid is neither A nor B, but an AB that is infinitely variable and unique. The same applies to the term “intermedial”. When we included this title in our Festival, we did a lot of research and studies on it, finding out how little it was used in certain circles. The root of intermedial is Inter, “indicating an intermediate position, a relationship of commonality, of reciprocity”. The artists in the Ibrida Festival programme are mostly intermedia artists in their own right because they work simultaneously with different media and reflect this in their works. We have always supported the hybridisation of codes as a result of personal choice, never out of imposed necessity.
How has your creative universe changed (if at all)? The question is addressed to you as artists and also as organisers, since everything you do with the Festival seems to be an extension of your own creative energy.
The Festival, as well as our artistic production, is in constant evolution. The two influence and feed each other. On the one hand, the Festival is growing, keeping an eye on the present and broadening its interest in new languages and technologies while, on the other, everything we see and programme in our festival somehow stratifies within us, becoming a constant stimulus. Ibrida Festival is part of us, worn every day, taken care of down to the smallest detail, even relying on other experts in the field. After all, Ibrida Festival is our work; if it were not, it would be a mere showcase and not a place for human exchange. This is precisely why we do not include and do not have third parties include our work in the programme, because our work is the Festival itself. Fortunately, we have many other opportunities to exhibit our audiovisual productions as an artistic duo.
This year you have set up a permanent online platform. Can you tell us what it is and how we can use it after the Festival finishes?
The Ibrida Live platform was created in 2020 in response to the pandemic, but we had already planned to create a “physical” space online. In fact, many of our artists already work in the virtual world, so it seemed like a natural path. The pandemic has simply accelerated the construction time.
This year there will be free video art works in the three rooms (Red Room, Green Room and Blue Room) and an online performance in the Live Room, which can only be accessed with a digital ticket, following the instructions found inside the room. The live platform will also be active in this edition, but not in the same way as last year. The video selections of Ibrida will return in presence, so the platform will be an integral part of the Festival which offers something extra and not available live. Our choice fell on Francesca Fini, a famous interdisciplinary artist, who we have dedicated an online monograph to. We will open Ibrida Live on Thursday 23 September at 8.30pm with “Wild Paint”, an online performance of “augmented” action painting. Francesca will try her hand at live painting, each gesture and colour she uses will produce generative sounds and graphic animations in real time, superimposed on the physical component and organic materials, creating a second augmented score for the work. On each day of the Festival (24, 25 and 26 September), her published and unpublished video art works will be exhibited in a loop in the other three virtual rooms.
We would like to emphasise that, this year, Ibrida dedicates an important space to women artists. In fact, there will be three other female monographs: the Brazilian Kika Nicolela, curated by Vertov Project, Francesca Lolli and Elisa Giardina Papa, curated by Piero Deggiovanni. This is another new feature of the Festival: from now on, every year, we will choose a few artists whose production and journey will be explored in depth.
Every year you have added something different. Every year you have increasingly developed with a growing commitment to making connections with both established and emerging artists. What are the objectives of this edition?
What worked in the last edition has been strengthened by making it an integral part of the festival. For example, the “Art Magazine Talks” meeting. This will become a regular event in the Festival schedule as it allows those who write and speak about contemporary art to meet with a varied audience of artists, critics and enthusiasts. Starting from this edition, online performances, streamed on the Ibrida Live platform, will also become an integral part of the programme. In addition, we have added an interactive installation by Igor Imhoff, “The best place to Burn”. In this work, as soon as visitors enter the “sensitive” zone, they find themselves mirrored in the projection, in the form of a human torch, which alters and hides the landscape with flames, erased in its digital form. Presenting this installation by Imhoff marks the next step of the Ibrida Festival – i.e. moving towards new technologies related to interactivity in the artistic field. As of this year, we have also incorporated a strategic partner, PubliOne, which already supported us with the event’s integrated communication but, in this edition in particular, has joined us with even greater support.
We believe that a cultural event should have international scope, but also maintain a good connection with the host territory, involving economic and social realities. Our aim remains to reach as many people as possible, bringing them closer to the languages of intermediality.
Ibrida Festival, Forlì and online, September 22 – 26.09.2021, You can view here the website for the complete and updated program:
curated by Francesca Leoni and Davide Mastrangelo, organised by Vertov Project Cultural Association
images: (cover 1) Elisa Giardina Papa,«Technologies of Care», 2016 (2) Francesca Fini, «White Sugar», 2013 (still da video), courtesy F. Fini (3) Francesca Leoni e Davide Mastrangelo, ph. Andrea Bardi, courtsey Vertov Project (4)Igor Imhoff, «The best place to Burn», frame video, installazione 2021, courtsey Imhoff