City on the Brink


Session Title:

  • Art and Activism in Digital Age

Presentation Title:

  • City on the Brink




  • The International Guerrilla Video Festival (IGVFest) was initiated as a means to combat the monopoly of the billboards, advertisements and screens that have come to dominate the urban landscape. It works with artists and micro–communities in sites of contention to articulate the di-versity of perspectives, share stories and provide a public platform to intervene directly on the city itself through mobile exhibitions. These interactions open up the visual environment, moving beyond the concerns of the market to engage with the discourses of the area. The moving images, comprised of works originating inside the community as well as from artists working in different locations, are projected onto monuments, buildings and temporary structures, providing a site for communal gathering where a multiplicity of voices can emerge to create informal networks of knowledge.

    IGVFest draws on the Situationist idea of the dérive, described by Debord as a mode of interacting with space through a type of wandering that reconfigures the subjective encounter with the area. The portable festival uses a GPU (Guerrilla Projector Unit) to project the videos onto the surfaces of the city. Composed of a multi–channel sound system, digital projector and self–contained power source, the GPU is a completely autonomous cinema–on–wheels. The design enables rapid incursions into the public arena to show a number of different artists’ videos at different locations during an evening. This fluidity allows the festival to utilise hit and run tactics to open up new strategies of spontaneity and potential in an urban context fortified by advertisements. Billboards can be transformed from outlets of commercial messages into sites of exchange that encourage discussion instead of consumption, interaction instead of isolation, and landmarks for the community instead of the market.

    The paper will discuss the 2009 Dublin edition that focused on three diverse areas of the city and captured a singular moment in the cities history before the recent economic crash.