VAICA festival for Video Art by Indian Contemporary Artists was initiated in 2019 by visual artist Bharati Kapadia and film maker Chandita Mukherjee. The festival was conceived to create a public platform to showcase videos made by contemporary Indian artists. In the absence of a publicly accessible archive of video art by Indian artists, it becomes difficult to know how video is being used as a medium of artistic expression within the Indian context. The intention behind creating VAICA therefore, was to create a space where artists, art and media students, cultural practitioners and those interested could view, discuss, debate and thus further the interest and exploration of this medium.
Video art is a contemporary art form that has become deeply relevant in our screen-saturated present times. Video has fundamentally shaped the artistic discourse around new media since the 2000s. As the millennium moved on, video folded into the digital and got assimilated into people’s everyday lives through the omnipresence of screen devices like laptops, mobile phones and tablets. Videos have emerged as the new material for art-making and made it widely accessible in the public realm.
Unlike other forms of moving image, video art consciously challenges the conventional modes of expression while experimenting with the free mixing of different media within the space of the screen. Sixty-seven video works by thirty-five Indian artists were screened in the first edition of the festival, which premiered in Mumbai and subsequently travelled to other cities in India. The enthusiastic response that the VAICA 1 festival received from diverse audiences has inspired its second edition.
The endeavour produced one of the first inventories of video art by Indian artists in recent times. The festival created an opportunity where other visual practitioners and critics could share notes around the practice of this medium and voice concerns: What is the space for pursuit of video within the domain of art? How does video lend itself to questions of representation in the image-soaked contemporary world? What are the ways in which it can open new forms of imagination in space and time? In fact, when does video become art? These questions gathered over the festival screenings and have helped us roll into VAICA’s second cycle.
The second cycle of VAICA is being curated by Bharati Kapadia, Chandita Mukherjee and Anuj Daga. VAICA 2 will be presented by Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in association with Comet Media Foundation. It has received full financial support from the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation of the Bajaj Group Trusts.
VAICA 2 brings together video practitioners from various backgrounds who have found themselves experimenting with the medium. These include not just visual artists, but architects, media and film practitioners, psychologists, performers, digital explorers or even engineers. VAICA thus, is a public platform that closely considers artful and critical engagements with moving images. This cycle of the festival brings together 79 artists and121 video works that span across the entire country. The festival will be publicly accessible to everyone for a month.