The new Channels festival of Australian video art debuts in Melbourne this week, showcasing contemporary video art from Australia and around the world.

Unlike many other biennials, the Channels program does not offer a singular curatorial perspective, but instead an eclectic and playful program of new international works spanning various iterations of video practice, as well as screenings, performances, workshops and artist commissions from established and up-and-coming artists.

Highlights include the Transformer exhibition at Screen Space, which features Melbourne artist Benjamin Ducroz redefining notions of installation and moving image practice, and experimental New York artist Barbara Rosenthal, showing in The Medium is Not the Message exhibition at VCA.

The more critical part of the program includes Video Art in the Internet Era, a forum in which artists, writers, and curators (including Vernon Ah Kee, Phip Murray, Ian Haig, Giselle Stanborough and Sarah Tutton among others) will discuss and reflect on issues within this radical medium, examining how the networked technology of our current world drums up crises and opportunities for video art in the internet era.

Promising a variety of work from artists exploring the expansive potential of video art, this new venture sees artists and critical voices come together in a program that is as consistent as it is eclectic, unpredictable and challenging.

Channels: The Australian Video Art Festival runs from September 18 to 21 at various locations around Melbourne.