Rewind: more video thoughts

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Post by Collete Copeland

I disagree with the comment that Video Art (like performance) has an identity problem. Video is still a relatively new medium (30 + years). Early videomakers were responding to the immediacy of the medium and using it as a tool for communication as well as art.

Certainly there have been pioneers such as Bill Viola who have established the structure of the repetitive loop, stationary camera, movement within the frame, (what some people may refer to as boring). This type of work is meant to challenge viewers’ perception and experience through the manipulation of time and motion. As video continues to evolve and grow, artists are challenging this syntax and moving away from the ‘TV’ screen. [image is Viola’s 1996 “The Crossing.” ]

A perfect example is Doug Aiken (whose work was on display at the Fabric Workshop recently. Aitken’s work “Interiors” pressed the boundaries of space, perception and architecture. His work was anything but slow. (For more on Viola & Aitken–see my article in spring issue of Fotophile Magazine)

Surface Tension, currently at the Fabric Workshop continues to stretch the syntax of video. [See Libby’s post of 8/25/03] The comment that video is a hybridization–simply a form for other media is denigrating both to the artists and the form.

Filmmakers have been know to say that video is a poor imitation of film. It was never meant to imitate film. It is the need for categorization that is driving this argument. For artists video is a tool just as paint or clay or film for the act of creation.

–Colette Copeland is a multi-media artist who teaches at University of the Arts and University of Pennsylvania. She writes for the quarterly publications, Fotophile and The Photo Review. See her video work in September as part of the Fringe Festival and at the Arthur Ross Gallery.

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