H BOX Arrives In Houston for 2009 Cinema Arts Festival Houston


Innovative screening room presents new video work at the Alabama Theatre

HOUSTON, TX (Sept. 29, 2009) – Part art gallery, part cinema, a state-of-the-art device called H BOX featuring video and short films by 10 artists, arrives Wednesday, October 21, 2009 as part of the Houston Cinema Arts Society’s 2009 Cinema Arts Festival Houston. The Festival, a vibrant multimedia arts event breaking out of the confines of the movie theater through live music and film performances, outdoor projections, interactive video installations and more, is set for November 11-15 at cultural locales throughout Houston. H BOX, the portable screening room designed by Portuguese artist/architect Dider Fiuza Faustino and sponsored by the Hermès Foundation, will be stationed at the historic Alabama Theatre through the close of the Festival on November 15.

In addition to housing H BOX, the Alabama Theatre serves as the official headquarters of the Festival. Instantly one of Houston’s premier movie theaters when it opened in 1939, the Alabama Theatre closed in 1983 and in 1989 became home to The Bookstop, a bookstore eventually acquired by Barnes & Noble, though its famous art-deco exterior and classic interior were carefully preserved. Cinema Arts Festival Houston and H BOX reconnect the Alabama Theatre both to its cinematic roots and to its continually evolving story in Houston.

H BOX features a rotating, diverse program of videos by ten internationally renowned artists including Alice Anderson (United Kingdom), Yael Bartana (Israel), Matthew Buckingham (USA), Sebastián Diaz-Morales (Argentina), Cliff Evans (USA), Kota Ezawa (Germany), Cao Fei (China), Dora García (Spain), Shahryar Nashat (Switzerland) and Su-Mei Tse (Luxembourg).

The artists, whose work has been acclaimed at major museums and art biennials, were selected by H BOX Artistic Director Benjamin Weil, formerly the director of Artists Space, New York, director of the New Media Centre at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London and Curator of Media Arts at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In June 2009, he was appointed Chief Curator of the LABoral Art and Industrial Creation Centre in Spain.

Weil will attend Cinema Arts Festival Houston and participate in a conversation on his curating of H BOX with Contemporary Art Museum Houston curator Toby Kamps on Sunday, November 15 at 3 pm at Cinema Arts Festival Houston headquarters in the Alabama Theatre (2922 South Shepherd, Houston, TX 77098.)

“There really could not be a piece more perfect than H BOX to be stationed at our Festival headquarters,” Festival curator Richard Herskowitz said. “The video artists collected here are expanding the range of video as an audio-visual art form, and they have been celebrated for this at major museums and art biennials. We want our Festival to expose people not only to such fine media art, but also to new ways, beyond traditional theaters, of engaging with innovative media.”

Herskowitz adds: “While we have the Hermes Foundation to thank for the sponsorship of H BOX, I do think that the “H” in the title indicates it was destined to be a highlight of our Festival in Houston.”

Consisting of collapsible aluminum and acrylic glass modules that can be assembled, disassembled and transported easily, H BOX is literally made up of moving parts. These parts, together with the commissions shown within it, suggest the fluidity of video while also harkening back to the older, stationary camera obscura. H BOX is characteristic of the work of designer Didier Fiuza Faustino in that it crosses a wide range of activities including architecture, performance, installation and film.

Since its unveiling at the Pompidou Centre in Paris in November 2007, H BOX has made its way across the world, making stops at the Musac in Spain, the Mudam in Luxembourg, the Tate Modern in London and the Yokohama Triennale in Yokohama, Japan. In October 2008 H BOX had its U.S. debut at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, California.

Although several Festival programs and components are free, including H BOX at the Alabama Theatre, buying Festival Passes, Badges and/or tickets is the most cost-effective way to explore all that the Festival has to offer.

Several different types of ticketing options are available:

  • $50 Festival Passes grant access to all regular Festival screenings (excluding opening and Saturday night MFAH and Warehouse Live events)
  • $250 Festival Badges provide access for all screenings, educational panels and performances
  • $500 Patron Passes provide access for the screenings, education panels, performances, special events and opening/closing receptions
  • Individual tickets for the screenings and educational panels are also available at $6 for Matinees and $10 for evenings

The full Festival program, including the names of celebrated actors and artists attending, will be announced on October 14. Online ticket sales begin October 14 on the Festival Web site, www..cinemartsociety.org.

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About Hermès Foundation

Hermès has had a long association with art, craft, and design. Through a network of its own international galleries and exhibition program of contemporary art, and through the recently established Hermès Foundation, it continues to develop and nurture relationships with contemporary artists by exhibiting their work and supporting the creation of new works. The Hermès Foundation, created in April 2008 to guide and bring together all the different actions of sponsorships within the House of Hermès, provides support in four main areas: contemporary arts, contemporary crafts, education and research on environmental issues. 

About Houston Cinema Arts Society and Cinema Arts Festival Houston

Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS) is a non-profit organization created in 2008 under the direction of a dedicated task force with the support of Houston Mayor Bill White and the leadership of Franci Crane to organize and host Cinema Arts Festival Houston, a ground-breaking and innovative film and multimedia arts festival featuring art by and about artists and celebrating the vitality and diversity of the arts in Houston and enriching the city’s film and arts community. HCAS is funded in part by grants from the Crane Foundation, City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance and the City of Houston Convention and Entertainment Facilities Department. Cinema Arts Festival Houston will debut in Houston November 11 – 15, 2009.