Monthly Archives: September 2012

ART362A: Reading Questions #2

• Describe (in some detail) the domains that video art is now extending into?

The gap between cinema and video art seems to be ever decreasing. Video artists are using film cameras (but transferring to video for display) and the quality of video is starting to approach the quality of film. While the forms have somewhat clearly defined boundaries, there are other ways in which the two are converging. For example, video art has taken on the cinematic practice of having film festivals. Converging the pratice of gallery showings with festivals shows how these two worlds are coming closer together in both form and in presentation.

• What kinds of issues are artists exploring in this “extended video art medium”?

Video artists are able to explore a lot more subjects and in more depth with the expansion of video art. One of the biggest issues is identity. This can be explored in many different ways. It can be explored by literally showing footage of the artist is various liberating ways that show their inner struggles. It can also involve the viewer. This can be as simple as a the viewer passively walking through the instillation to more interactive exhibits that allow and encourage the viewer to become a more active part of the work.

• State some differences between video art at its inception in the 1960s and video art today.  How is digital media altering or evolving video art?

Video art at its inception was a product of the medium it was using. Artists like using video becuase it could be shown in real time and it didn’t have the “film” quality that made it more realistic than film. As video as a medium has evolved, it has come closer to resembling film. This has allowed video artists to use video in a more cinematic way even if they are not utilizing the same narrative structures as Hollywood cinema. This ranges from enhanced video quality to the ability to transfer actual film (16mm or 8mm, etc.) onto a video source (DVD or laserdisk) which technically  makes it video but still retains a lot of the filmic qualities of cinema.

• Why are some video artists motivated to work with appropriated films?  What issues do appropriated film enable artists to explore?

Appropriated films allow for an easy way for video artists to comment on the production of film and the medium itself. The best example of this in the book is Pierre Huyghe who takes appropriation to another level by including a lot of his own footage. For example, he would take the original film, reshoot parts of the scene and also shoot the crew shooting the remake. This allows the audience to become aware of the process behind making the film as well as becoming aware of the formal aspects included in the original film.

• How does the author characterize video art’s relationship to cinema, to photography, to painting?

• Why might the author be suggesting this decade as the last one for video art?

• How are artists engaging the issue of surveillance?


ART 362A: Assignment #2

Based on the feedback given during the critique, people seemed to enjoy my concept. While the shots I used were not particularly difficult to set up, the concept and thought that they fostered exceeded the actual complexity of the shoot. I did most of my experimentation and exploring of the concept in the editing process. By combining the four different shots I took, I was able to comment on the progression of television as we know it.

The term television started out as the name of the technology that was able to bring live moving pictures into homes across the country. As technology has changed, the term “television” has come to be synonymous with the medium instead of the technology. People say they are “going to watch television” whether they are going to be watching it on their television set, computer, iPad or iPhone. By using the most basic of television pictures (bars and tone & static), I was able to show this progression from television on the couch to television everywhere.

The lack of complexity in the shots lets people think deeply about how the medium and technology affects their lives and the way they consume media. Capturing these screens on video adds another layer to the complexity of the piece because in many ways, the video is a commentary on the medium of video itself and how it is constantly changing in the world.

I think I should get a 17/18 on the project. My project fulfilled the guidelines of the project: the two videos commented and added to each other. My project had a spirit of investigation and experimentation in that by observing the medium in which I was working (and am studying as my major), I was able to think about how the medium works and is evolving; hopefully other people will understand similar concepts from the video. Becuase my project was so open ended (even though I had some clear intentions in making it) the conceptual complexity of it can be at various different levels for different viewers. Where my project fell short was the quality of craftsmanship and overall aesthetic. Looking back at my video, I wish I had taken more time to set up each shot more carefully, white balance my camera better and ensure that each shot was in focus. While this did not take away that much from overall quality and concept of the video, it could have been improved had it been more crisply shot.

ART 362: Reading #1 Q/A

• What makes the medium of video special or unique as an artform?

While video shares a lot of the same formal elements as film, but when video was made available at a much cheaper prices than traditional film, it allowed a wide variety of people to express themselves in a new way. Another difference that made video more accessible is that it does not require the same chemical processing as film. This allows for more instant displays – ranging from television to video art instillations.
• Why was video art and politics so closely connected at its inception in the 1960s?

In the 1960s, television was just starting to become the primary mass media in the United States. Video artists used the new widely avalivle medium to engage in the media in a way that was previously impossible for a single person to achieve through mediums such as film.

• Video’s unique qualities give way to certain themes that are central to the medium.  These often pop up as common issues that artist’s tend to explore in their work.  Some of these themes/issues include:

– Time/space

– Media

– Surveillance / Security

• Describe video art’s relationship to television (mention three examples in the reading where artists respond to the culture of television):

While video art uses the same medium of television, it uses the medium in a vastly different manner. Wipe Cycle (1969) was one of the first video art installations which showed some pre-recorded footage and some live footage a bunch of television monitors. The installation challenged how people thought about video as a medium. In Between the Line (1979), Muntadas exposed what happened behind the scenes on the nightly news seen by everyone in America every night. Finally, Klaus vom Bruch used footage from war movies and footage of himself to show his appreciation and criticism of culture.

• What positive and negative implications might the accessibility of video yield?

The biggest positive of video is that it gives a large amount of people access to a previously coveted and expensive art form. This gives people the chance to enter in video conversation with popular culture, something that was much more difficult to do with film. This is also one of its biggest negatives. The expensive nature of film means that each shot must be carefully planned out or it can be a large waste of money. With video, it can be viewed on a monitor fairly inexpensively so it is easy for an artist to make more hasty decisions when composing shots. This can lead to a decrease in quality of the video shot.

• What is intermedia?

Intermedia is a broad term to describe the mixing of multiple art forms developed in the 1960s by Dick Higgins.

• What is video installation art?

A video art installation is a video art piece shown in a gallery or museum setting. They are often characterized by using multiple monitors or projections.

• In contemporary art, what does the ‘post-medium condition’ signify?

This essentially means that a medium of art has reached a point where the artist is self aware of the medium. For example, in video art, the artist comments on the art form by using the art form itself.

• Describe formalism or formalist art/abstract expressionism:

• Describe conceptualism or conceptual art:

Conceptual art is a piece of art thats primary idea is based on the concept instead of any formal aesthetics or traditional construction.

ART362: Assignment #1

I think the composition of the shots was strong overall. Based on the feedback, the composition of the first one was stronger. Having the fence in front of the pool made it seem like the people were in a “zoo.” This related to the project because it juxtaposes the “fancy” parts of Elon while it is still being contained within a fence. This speaks to Elon’s control over its students and the campus in general. The added element of the water tower expands the relationship between the pool and the town of Elon. While the water tower is a resource for the normal citizens of Elon, the students of the school are able to enjoy the pool in the shadow of the pool. The biggest weakness with this shot, based on the feedback, is that if the composition of the shot had been more symmetrical, it would have added to the feeling that we were “looking through the glass” at an exhibit at the zoo.

In terms of grading, I think I should get a 11/12. I thought I fulfilled the guidelines of the project and paid good attention to detail. I think where the project fell a little short was in the spirit of investigation and experimentation and conceptual complexity. I think if we had explored a little more and tried out some other angles, we could have come up with a more conceptually complex piece that would have resonated with more people.