Peter Burr on Cartune Xprez
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Peter Burr on Cartune Xprez
Hooliganship at Cartune Xprez

Hooliganship at Cartune Xprez

APEngine talks to Peter Burr about the Cartune Xprez roadshow.

What is Cartune Xprez?

We’re an experimental animation project from Portland, Oregon. We organise screenings, exhibitions, publications, performance events and whatever combinations we can weave together around a youthful cartoon spirit.

It started about four years ago in Pittsburgh with me, Christopher Doulgeris, and Cassandra C Jones. We were collaborating on a cartoon performance and wanted to present it alongside animated work with a shared spirit. Cassandra and I were both travelling around the US a lot at that time and asking friends to recommend their friends’ video work to us. We selected a line-up from the subsequent discoveries and screened them in a programme with other music and video performances.

The artists involved in the project so far include: Blu, Martha Colburn, Barry Doupé, James Duesing, Timo Katz, Amy Lockhart, Takeshi Murata, Joanna Priestley, Seth Scriver, Gay Deceivers, The New Jedi Order, and many more.

You show an amazing range of work by people taking all sorts of approaches – showing artworld people alongside graphics people, and pencil drawn work alongside high-end digital… but it all hangs very well together… so… what’s your curatorial approach?

For sure, the project is quite fluid. Pulling these different people together has a nice way of conjuring energy that doesn’t exist in the gestures of any single artist. Recognising this transformative power of group shows, we tend to program work that raises more questions than answers. We like stuff that is imaginative and leaves a lot of space for viewers’ imaginations. This, as a really loose structure for programming artwork, allows for many styles to mix together well…. hand-drawn with digital with structuralist with comedic with darkness…. always with a heavy dose of mystery!

How have the artists responded – with lots of the work, you’re showing it in a different context than it would usually be seen in..does anyone ever object?

All of the artists been really supportive of the project. Now and then we get audience members who thought it might be a more traditional animation show.

Where does performance come in – is it always part of your shows?

We like presenting our shows with enough live energy to pull away from being strictly on-screen events. These are social events, which we tend to exaggerate through the addition of living animation energy. Hooliganship, a cartoon party band I do with my friend Christopher, has performed at almost all of the shows throughout Europe. Additionally we are traveling with an inflatable installation that blows up at each venue, shifting even more energy away from the traditional cinema experience. Beyond all these extra elements we fit into our luggage we like to work with local artists in each community we visit who share our sensibilities. Some of the highlights from this tour so far have been Kallioinia‘s crazed costume jam in Stockholm, Katapulto‘s Polish disco video escapade, and Prejka‘s wild pagan party atmosphere in Malmo.

You’re in the middle of a huge European tour – is this your first tour outside North America… how’s it working out?

Yeah, this is our first trip abroad. Touring is such an intense way to see the world! We’ve gotten really good at sleeping in closets, power-lifting large bags, smelling wireless internet from afar… a bunch of impulsive shifts I’m sure we won’t fully realise till we are back in Portland.

For this tour I organised a programme exploring the tension between senseless darkness and youthful optimism. Each event has felt really different depending on the local artists that join the programme. For the final two weeks of this tour (throughout the UK) Famicon is joining the tour to show a 20 minute programme of their cartoons, which should add a good bit of absurd humour.

Catch Cartune Xprez in the UK in November 2009

Dates: November 20: Glasgow – CCA; 
21: Aberdeen – Peacock; 23: Edinburgh – GRV; 24: Manchester – Islington Mill; 25: Leeds – Theartmarket; 27: London –The Old Police Station; and 29: London – House Party.

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