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.


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