Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Video Feedback

David A. Ross, the President of the Artist Pension Trust reponds to my Video Killed the Radio (and Art?) Star posting with the following:

As a curator working with video since 1971, I have encountered your argument several time before. As you may imagine, since the early days of video, the concern -- voiced in the Wash Po piece and in your response, has been the same: "Why watch video in a gallery when it is best viewed at home?"

On a certain level, that is true, if the work is intended for the social context provided by home viewing (on line or on TV). Or, if the work does not demand the formal support of a sculptural space (i.e. multiple monitors, live video components, projected work with complex sound elements, etc. etc.).

But finally it is also the social context of an environment that is not a theater and not a living room, but some other space generally (or formerly) reserved for the quiet contemplation of art objects that appeals to some artists using video to place information some may deem non-artistic (like documentary footage of everyday life). The friction of this mismatch is often a central element of the work, and not just a curatorial or artistic conceit.

But of course, when an artwork fails then all bets are off, and it can be revealed as lacking in many ways-- including it's use of gallery space.

David A. Ross


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