I wanted to show my fine art elective class a bunch of "greatest hits" so to speak of early video art. So far away now, so conceptual, so fuzzy, so hippie...but often perversely a great deal of fun (of course my idea of fun is many people's vision of torture by art, but oh well). I thought I'd highlight a few links here in one place, but most of them came from the vast archival palace that is ubu.com. Above is a still from the great Media Burn by the collective Ant Farm, and I also love their Eternal Frame. Here's also Technology Transformation: Wonder Woman by Dara Birnbaum, and Semiotics of the Kitchen by Martha Rosler, and Vertical Roll by Joan Jonas. Richard Serra's Boomerang is essential. There's Gary Hill's experiments such as Soundings, and Bruce Nauman filming and taping in his studio. The Space Between the Teeth and Sweet Light and The Reflecting Pool by Bill Viola. Some very early Nam June Paik works and a short Paik interview clip. And the humour of Robert Filliou and William Wegman and John Baldessari I return to again and again.
The Guardian ran a piece this weekend on a perceived upsurge in artists working as cinema directors, Oscar-winning Steve McQueen being the primary case cited (very few others are). Of course important to note that although there are many, many artists involved in making moving image works, very, very few of them would be working in remotely the same context as the one that bestows those little golden statuettes.
Video artist Doug Aitken has been recording conversations with a wide range of cultural figures from the fields of visual art, music, cinema, photography, and architecture for his recent installation work entitled The Source. No stranger to the interview format, Aitken published the 2005 book Broken Screen: Expanding the Image, Breaking the Narrative, which in a rather similar manner offered up discussions with twenty-six other artists. Several iterations of The Source, an ongoing project, have been already shown, most recently at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival held in January, and earlier on in Liverpool, England. Interviewees include: Beck, Liz Diller, Theaster Gates, Mike Kelley, Tilda Swinton, Jack Pierson, and James Turrell. (Jack White: "Do we want Michelangelo or Robert Johnson to have a blog? We don't want to. We are telling people exactly what we think about certain topics. I don’t know what Robert Johnson or Michelangelo thought about those topics. There’s beauty in that mystery.") Aitken's website for the Source project archives much interesting material at: dougaitkenthesource.com/