Raw Art Space (formerly known as Findars) and Checkmate Creative will be buzzing with Klex 2017 programmes, starting Nov 24.
This eighth edition of KLex (Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film, Video and Music Festival) underlines the fact that an independent, artist-run international festival can thrive here. Through the years, the fesival has grown in reputation, always serving as a platform to introduce contemporary experimental cinema and music to the public, as well as cultivate understanding and exchange among the experimental art communities.
Klex 2017 will have video screenings, lectures, music and audio-visual performances, and programming that falls somewhere in-between. With this year’s Crossing Over theme, expect a varied programme with representation from multiple countries.
“One of the highlights to look forward to is Max Hattler and Shinkan Tamaki’s solo programmes, both unique artists with sophisticated techniques in their art experimentations and personal styles. Both of them not only make films ‘behind the scenes’, they also ‘perform films’,” says Kok Siew Wai, KLex festival director, of the experimental filmmakers from Germany and Japan respectively.
“I work with animation techniques and audiovisual performance to create synaesthetic, meditative experiences for the viewer. Fluctuating between figuration and abstraction, aesthetics and politics, and precision and improvisation, my work aims to provide a thinking space where open-ended narratives invite the audience to reflect on their own lived experience.
“I’m very excited to be able to present my work at KLex in a solo screening, a lecture about some of the ideas and concepts behind the works, as well as a live performance,” says Hattler, City University of Hong Kong’s assistant professor (school of creative media).
Another key event is the premiere of local indie filmmaker Azharr Rudin’s experimental feature film, Anonymous Spirit, which he describes as “a silent, mystic, minimalist, animist, non/minimal narrative, resistance film”.
Filmed with vintage lenses, this film goes back to the basics, so to speak.
“After having had access to relatively more – human and material – resources with my previous films such as Lebuh Agraria, This Longing and Tukang Perahu Pulau Duyong, I was very clear from the beginning that with Anonymous Spirits, I didn’t want it to be a narrative film. It features a very stripped down approach, kind of a throwback to early days of cinema.
“Nostalgia-wise, it is as if you are part of the pioneering group of filmmakers; and futuristic-wise, it is as if you’re part of the surviving group of filmmakers/artists who find solace through cinema, teleporting through the spiritual and non/less commercial aspect of the medium,” elaborates Azharr.
“It is liberating to be somewhat ‘free’ in art and through art, in contrast to ordinary everyday life.” he adds.
On the music and audio visual front, there will be six local and 16 international artistes and musicians slated to liven things up at Klex with the weird, wacky and wonderful.
“The line-up includes some prominent and active players in free jazz, improvised and experimental music scene such as Will Guthrie from Australia, Yuen Chee Wai from Singapore and Sound Of The Mountain from Canada. There will be noise acts such as the cross-regional Tenggara Trio (Indonesia/Malaysia/Singapore), who formed as a band at KLex 2016 where it played together for the very first time,” shares Kok.
Yuen, a musician and experimental sound composer, has been a regular at KLex through the years. He feels KLex’s music programme has constantly supported experimental works and reached out to a bigger audience, as well as remaining relevantly cutting edge.
“I think KLex has definitely evolved organically as an inclusive festival, both for the participants as well as the attendees/audience. The organisers have very effectively designed and curated a programme to also include an experimental and improvised music segment that has positioned itself to be an important node in the axis of experimental music festivals in the South-East Asian region,” says Yuen.
Two Singaporean programmes, one curated by artist Jeremy Sharma, and the other featuring experimental films by Eric Lee Loong, are additions to this year’s KLex.
Elsewhere, the Kafe (Korean Association of Film Education), which features works by artists-academicians from South Korea, is curated by Jonghan Choi, a researcher, academician and artist.
Kok shares that festival partner Goethe-Institut Malaysia continues with its unwavering support since the first edition of KLex. The festival obtained support this year from The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur, and Asia Centre, as well.
“Klex has always been interested to work with independent artist-run spaces, since we’re also an artist-run festival that we share similar philosophy and consensus in our work.
“This year, our venue partners are long-time collaborator Raw Art Space and a first time collaborator Checkmate Creative, also an artist-run space,” she says.
To Azharr, a festival like Klex is a space of congregation, activity or “shelter” for those who share similar beliefs and ideals, for those who are looking for something a little outside the box, or even for curious sorts who just happen to be passing by.
“It is a house, and a home, when you feel a great sense of belonging by being there,” he says.
Klex 2017 is on at Raw Art Space (No. 8, 4th Floor, Jalan Panggong, Kuala Lumpur) and Checkmate Creative (No. 6, 4th Floor, Jalan Panggong, Kuala Lumpur) from Nov 24-26. Admission by donation: RM10 (video screenings), RM25 (music and audio visual performances). Discounts for students. Free admission for artist lectures. For more information, visit www.klex filmfest.com and www.facebook.com/groups/klexfest. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.