video art

October 17, 2007

gary hill primary 1978

video art is in many ways the contemporary precursor to the digital arts (and of course in many ways it isn’t!), and i see video art as a basic skill that all contemporary artists should have-its fundamental to everything we do. today we will look at some early video art and consider the foundations that influenced contemporary video discourse. video has always been a very complete medium-a video camera can capture sound and video together very nicely. notice that important and influential video artists such as gary hill, bill viola, and shirin neshat all make video art with incredible sound that is most often captured by the camera itself. i cannot overemphasize the importance of the audio half of your video art work. think of the video cam as a circuit for electronic capture-not just as a viewfinder. a good place to start mapping out your own video art influences is the video data bank-its a very comprehensive archive of video artists and their work. today video remains a very complete medium and despite the doomsday predictions of many critics (video is dead or dying because of new media), it has adpated and grown with todays technologies. video art is now made with mobile phones and other wearable, locative media (i like to say “micro video”) and is also completely networked (ex. youtube). just take a look at the perpetual art machine. in august of 2006 i was an artist in residence at the santa fe art institute where i had the privilege of hanging out with one of the best young video artists working today, anri sala. in one of our converstations about video art sala told me these things about my work and i want to share them with you now because they are such useful comments and i think they could be used by my students to build some good video art. you can ignore them if you want, but just consider that anri sala has been in the venice biennale and documenta.

“film the event as another event.
it is important to clearly create a reality, make the film feel like film.
documentation should be thought out just as much.
performance has no framing.
what is off the frame and what is in the frame?
trying to please us too much.
locate the energy elsewhere.
idea of the video as an icon.
duration becomes part of it.
duration as one of the main qualities of the moving image.
thinking about framing with a photograph.
how would you shoot a photograph?
shoot video like you are taking a picture.
question the way you frame something.
make choices before you film.
you have to set the premises.
first you have to have an angle.
how are you going to connect them together?
have a conviction about how you see things.
what is your way of looking?
the image and the space of the camera cannot be separated.
sound is an installation in your video.”
anri sala, august 2006, santa fe art institute

video still from dammi i colori
anri sala


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