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?


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