Video art

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A picture of Nam June Paik's Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii 1995

Video art is a type of art which relies on moving pictures and comprises video and/or audio data. Video art came into existence during the late 1960s and early 1970s as new consumer video technology became available outside corporate broadcasting. Video art can take many forms: recordings that are broadcast; installations viewed in galleries or museums; works streamed online, distributed as video tapes, or DVDs; and performances which may incorporate one or more television sets, video monitors, and projections, displaying ‘live’ or recorded images and sounds;.[1]

Video art is named after the original analog video tape, which was most commonly used recording technology in the form's early years. With the advent of digital recording equipment, many artists began to explore digital technology as a new way of expression.

One of the key differences between video art and theatrical cinema is that video art does not necessarily rely on many of the conventions that define theatrical cinema. Video art may not employ the use of actors, may contain no dialogue, may have no discernible narrative or plot, or adhere to any of the other conventions that generally define motion pictures as entertainment. This distinction also delineates video art from cinema's subcategories (avant garde cinema, short films, or experimental films, etc).

Early History of Video Art[edit]

Nam June Paik is widely regarded as a pioneer in video art.[2][3] In March of 1963 Nam June Paik showed at the Galerie Parnass in Wuppertal the Exposition of Music – Electronic Television.[4][5] In May of 1963 Wolf Vostell showed the 6 TV Dé-coll/age at the Smolin Gallery in New York and creates the video Sun in your head in Cologne.[6][7]

Video art is often said to have begun when Paik used his new Sony Portapak to shoot footage of Pope Paul VI's procession through New York City in the autumn of 1965[8] Later that same day, across town in a Greenwich Village cafe, Paik played the tapes and video art was born.

A Sony AV-3400 Portapak

Prior to the introduction of consumer video equipment, moving image production was only available non-commercially via 8mm film and 16mm film. After the Portapak's introduction and its subsequent update every few years, many artists began exploring the new technology.

Many of the early prominent video artists were those involved with concurrent movements in conceptual art, performance, and experimental film. These include Americans Vito Acconci, Valie Export, John Baldessari, Peter Campus, Doris Totten Chase, Maureen Connor, Norman Cowie, Dimitri Devyatkin, Dan Graham, Joan Jonas, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, Shigeko Kubota, Martha Rosler, William Wegman, Gary Hill, and many others. There were also those such as Steina and Woody Vasulka who were interested in the formal qualities of video and employed video synthesizers to create abstract works.

Video Art In The 70s[edit]

Much video art in the medium's heyday experimented formally with the limitations of the video format. For example, American artist Peter Campus' Double Vision combined the video signals from two Sony Portapaks through an electronic mixer, resulting in a distorted and radically dissonant image. Another representative piece, Joan Jonas' Vertical Roll, involved recording previously-recorded material of Jonas dancing while playing the videos back on a television, resulting in a layered and complex representation of mediation.

A still from Jonas' 1972 video

Much video art in America was produced out of New York City, with The Kitchen, founded in 1972 by Steina and Woody Vasulka (and assisted by video director Dimitri Devyatkin and Shridhar Bapat), serving as a nexus for many young artists. An early multi-channel video art work (using several monitors or screens) was Wipe Cycle by Ira Schneider and Frank Gillette. Wipe Cycle was first exhibited at the Howard Wise Gallery in New York in 1969 as part of an exhibition titled "TV as a Creative Medium". An installation of nine television screens, Wipe Cycle combined live images of gallery visitors, found footage from commercial television, and shots from pre-recorded tapes. The material was alternated from one monitor to the next in an elaborate choreography.

On the West coast, the San Jose State television studios in 1970, Willoughby Sharp began the “Videoviews” series of videotaped dialogues with artists. The “Videoviews” series consists of Sharps’ dialogues with Bruce Nauman (1970), Joseph Beuys (1972), Vito Acconci (1973), Chris Burden (1973), Lowell Darling (1974), and Dennis Oppenheim (1974). Also in 1970, Sharp curated “Body Works,” an exhibition of video works by Vito Acconci, Terry Fox, Richard Serra, Keith Sonnier, Dennis Oppenheim and William Wegman which was presented at Tom Marioni's Museum of Conceptual Art, San Francisco, California.

In Europe, Valie Export's groundbreaking video piece, "Facing a Family" (1971) was one of the first instances of television intervention and broadcasting video art. The video, originally broadcast on the Austrian television program "Kontakte" February 2, 1971,[11] shows a bourgeois Austrian family watching TV while eating dinner, creating a mirroring effect for many members of the audience who were doing the same thing. Export believed the television could complicate the relationship between subject, spectator, and television.[9] In the United Kingdom David Hall's "TV Interruptions" (1971) were transmitted intentionally unannounced and uncredited on Scottish TV, the first artist interventions on British television.

Video Art In The 80s[edit]

Video Art In The 90s[edit]

Video Art In The 00s[edit]

The digital video "revolution" of the 1990s has given wide access to sophisticated editing and control technology, allowing many artists to work with video and to create interactive installations based on video. Some examples of recent trends in video art include entirely digitally rendered environments created with no camera and video that responds to the movements of the viewer or other elements of the environment. The Internet has also been used to allow control of video in installations from the World Wide Web or from remote locations.

Video Art Today[edit]

Video "Dangerous Red" by Sabina Shikhlinskaya, Tou Scene art center, Stavanger, Norway, 2010

Notable pioneering video artists also emerged more or less simultaneously in Europe and elsewhere with work by Nan Hoover (Netherlands), Domingo Sarrey (Spain), Juan Downey (Chile), Wolf Vostell (Germany), Slobodan Pajic (France), Wolf Kahlen (Germany), Peter Weibel (Austria), David Hall (UK), Paul Wong (Artist) (Canada), Lisa Steele (Canada), Colin Campbell (Canada), Miroslaw Rogala (Poland), Danny Matthys, Chantal Akerman (Belgium), Akram Zaatari (Lebanon), Mireille Astore (Lebanon/Australia) and others.

Emerging in the 1970s, Bill Viola, Nan Hoover, and Gary Hill (USA) continue as celebrated video artists. Matthew Barney, the creator of the Cremaster Cycle, is another well-known American video artist. Other contemporary video artists of note include Eija-Liisa Ahtila (Finland), Arambilet (Dominican Republic – Spain), Fred Forest (France), David Hall (UK), Tony Oursler (USA), Mary Lucier (USA), Paul Pfeiffer, Sadie Benning, Paul Chan, Eve Sussman, Paul Kuniholm Pauper and Miranda July; Eija-Liisa Ahtila (Finland), Kirill Preobrazhenskiy (Russia), Pipilotti Rist (Switzerland); Surekha (India); Stefano Pasquini (Italy); Shaun Wilson (Australia); Stan Douglas (Canada); Douglas Gordon (UK); Olga Kisseleva (Russia); Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven (Belgium); Martin Arnold (Austria); Matthias Müller (Germany), Heiko Daxl (Germany); Gillian Wearing (UK); Stefano Cagol (Italy); Helene Black (Cyprus); Shirin Neshat (Iran/USA); Aernout Mik (Netherlands), Jordi Colomer (Spain/France), Sergei Shutov (Russia), and Walid Raad (Lebanon/USA).

Notable video art organizations[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Making Video 'In' - The Contested Ground of Alternative Video On The West Coast Edited by Jennifer Abbott (Satellite Video Exchange Society, 2000).
  • Videography: Video Media as Art and Culture by Sean Cubitt (MacMillan, 1993).
  • A History of Experimental Film and Video by A. L. Rees (British Film Institute, 1999).
  • New Media in Late 20th-Century Art by Michael Rush (Thames & Hudson, 1999).
  • Mirror Machine: Video and Identity, edited by Janine Marchessault (Toronto: YYZ Books, 1995).
  • Video Culture: A Critical Investigation, edited by John G. Hanhardt (Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1986).
  • Video Art: A Guided Tour by Catherine Elwes (I.B. Tauris, 2004).
  • A History of Video Art by Chris Meigh-Andrews (Berg, 2006)
  • Diverse Practices: A Critical Reader on British Video Art edited by Julia Knight (University of Luton/Arts Council England, 1996)[11]
  • ARTFORUM FEB 1993 "Travels In The New Flesh" by Howard Hampton (Printed by ARTFORUM INTERNATIONAL 1993)
  • Resolutions: Contemporary Video Practices', (eds. Renov, Michael & Erika Suderburg) (London, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,1996).
  • Expanded Cinema by Gene Youngblood (New York: E.P. Dutton & Company, 1970).
  • The Problematic of Video Art in the Museum 1968-1990 by Cyrus Manasseh (Cambria Press, 2009).
  • "First Electronic Art Show" by (Niranjan Rajah & Hasnul J Saidon) (National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, 1997)
  • "Expanded Cinema", (David Curtis, A. L. Rees, Duncan White, and Steven Ball, eds), Tate Publishing, 2011[12]
  • "Retrospektiv-Film-org videokunst| Norge 1960-90". Edited by Farhad Kalantary & Linn Lervik. Atopia Stiftelse, Oslo, (April 2011).[13]
  • Experimental Film and Video, Jackie Hatfield, Editor. (John Libbey Publishing, 2006; distributed in North America by Indiana University Press)[14]
  • "REWIND: British Artists' Video in the 1970s & 1980s", (Sean Cubitt, and Stephen Partridge, eds), John Libbey Publishing, 2012.[15]
  • Reaching Audiences: Distribution and Promotion of Alternative Moving Image by Julia Knight and Peter Thomas (Intellect, 2011)[16]
  • Wulf Herzogenrath: Videokunst der 60er Jahre in Deutschland, Kunsthalle Bremen, 2006, (No ISBN).
  • Rudolf Frieling & Wulf Herzogenrath: 40jahrevideokunst.de: Digitales Erbe: Videokunst in Deutschland von 1963 bis heute, Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2006, ISBN 978-3-7757-1717-5.
  • NBK Band 4. Time Pieces. Videokunst seit 1963. Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln, 2013, ISBN 978-3-86335-074-1.
  • Valentino Catricalà, Laura Leuzzi, Cronologia della videoarte italiana, in Marco Maria Gazzano, KINEMA. Il cinema sulle tracce del cinema. Dal film alle arti elettroniche andata e ritorno, Exorma, Roma 2013.[17]

References[edit]