[spectre] VIDEO ART\e-monitor No. 23

Torben Søborg soeborg at inet.uni2.dk
Mon Dec 22 11:21:09 CET 2003


December 19, 2003

  Content: A website and three books

The Early Video Project
The Transit Zone
Video Art
Stuff it - the video essay in the digital age

1. Davidson Gigliotti: The Early Video Project

In VIDEO ART\e-monitor No. 19 ( 
) we mentioned the online reissue of the historic video magazine 
Radical Software   www.radicalsoftware.org )  thanks to two of the 
pioneers of American video art Davidson Gigliotti and Ira Schneider. 

We would like to draw your attention to another valuable initiative 
by Davidson Gigliotti: The website The Early Video Project  - 
<http://davidsonsfiles.org>http://davidsonsfiles.org . The website is 
sponsored by Emily Harvey of the Emily Harvey Gallery, New York; and 
Francesco Conz, Editions Francesco Conz, Verona, Italy.

In his introduction Davidson Gigliotti states that the purpose with 
the website is "to support the community of people interested in 
early video with information about early video and early video art, 
and current activities connected with that topic".

  The idea is to make a  "collection of source material about early 
video. This material will include lists of early publications, lists 
of tapes, lists of exhibitions, lists of early video art citations in 
periodicals .."

Davidson Gigliotti also points out that "Media seem familiar in the 
present, but are always conditional. For some artists the 
'post-modern moment' began with the realization that the conditions 
of life and art are always fluid.

For some, perhaps, it is a stretch to see continuity between a 
portapak introduced in New York in 1965 and a personal computer used 
for worldwide visual and audible communication in 2000 CE. But not 
for us.

A new generation of scholars is interested in this subject now. 
Scholars are only as good as their sources. We may not always be able 
provide definitive information in this site, but if we can help 
direct interested people to where it can be found then this site will 
realize some of its purpose".

"It's early days",  says Gigliotti, "and this site is not complete. 
It never will be, as we intend to change it and update it regularly. 
If you have a suggestion as to how it can be improved, please let us 
know. In addition, we hope to announce news about seminars, 
conferences, and archival programs, as brought to our attention. Also 
we intend to publish on this site interviews, articles, and reviews 
from a variety of sources".

Having myself worked with video since 1967 and being influenced in 
the "early days" by many of the ideas behind Radical Software 
(especially around "community video") I can strongly recommand all 
interested in video art to take a look at this website. It has lists 
of early video books, periodical citations, annotated video 
exhibitions (1963-74), tape lists (1968-72) and also articles, 
interviews archival resources and an early video community photo 

Thanks to Davidson Gigliotti for making this - as Jeremy Welsh might 
say (see next section)  - "media archaeology" available for everyone 
before it could disappear.

Torben Soeborg 

Jeremy Welsh: The Transit Zone 
  I would like to draw attention to the book the transit zone. 
Projects and writings 1988-2003 by Jeremy Welsh published by 
Kunsthšgskolen I Bergen, Norway (1) earlier this year.

  It covers projects and writings by the British artist Jeremy Welsh 
from 1988 when he after leaving London Video Arts became director for 
Film and Video Umprella in London and in 1990 left UK and became 
professor in Norway, the first 11 years as professor in Intermemia at 
the Art Academy in Trondheim and since 2001 professor of Visual Arts 
at the Art Academy of the Art Universirty in Bergen.

  The book maps, as Jeremy Welsh says in the Preface (2), "the terrain 
of a working process that began in the mid-seventies against the 
backdrop of post-conceptualism and the emergence of punk and 
continues today both as artistic practice, proto-theory and 
pedagogical problematic".

  It is a document", Jeremy Welsh goes on, "of work in progress, a 
report on the process so far, a collection of elements that should be 
understood in relation to one another, and as parts of a whole".

  It deals with the transit periode

the work of Art in the age of mechanical reproduction
The re-work of Art in the age of digital recombination"

. a transit
"From Identity To Appearance
  From Actual Idendity To Vvirtual Identity?" (3)

  The book might, as Jeremy Welsh points out at the end of the Preface 
"be a travel diary, it may be the journal of a media archeologist, it 
could be a postcard from somewhere, it might be a floating 
archive,,it seems to be a residue, the precipitate of reaction, a 
process. A document, the remains." (2)

  I can strongly recommand the book as a very personal, interesting 
"travel diary" through the transit zone, mapping the new aspects and 
changes of media art, the influnce of new media theories and the 
possibilities for artists working in this field.


(1)     the transit zone. Projects and writings 1988-2003 by Jeremy 
Welsh, Kunsthšgskoleen I Bergen, Norway, 2003, ISBN 82-8013-034-9

(2)     Ibid., p. 3

(3)     Ibid p. 87

Michael Rush: Video Art

Yet another new book about video art, written by Michael Rush and 
published by Thames and Hudson (1)

  According to the publisher this should be "the most complete and 
up-to-date overview available of an art form born less than forty 
years ago", and here you have the publishers description of the book:
"Video art has moved from brief showings on tiny screens to dominance 
in international exhibitions and artistic events. Video installations 
now occupy factory-sized buildings and projections take over the 
walls of an entire city block. It embraces all the significant art 
ideas and forms - from Abstract, Conceptual, Minimal, Performance and 
Pop art, to photography and film.

Abundantly illustrated with frames and sequences, Video Art offers a 
history of the medium seen through the perspectives of its early 
practitioners - such as Bruce Nauman and Vito Acconci; the 
conceptual, political, personal and lyrical installations of the 
1980s and 1990s - by such artists as Gary Hill, Bill Viola, I–igo 
Manglano-Ovalle, Mary Lucier and Michal Rovner, through to the 
present digital revolution.

In this postmedium age, artists from Pierre Huyghe, Douglas Gordon, 
Rodney Graham and Doug Aitken to Eija-Liisa Ahtila and Lynn Hershman 
are combining and recombining video with a vast array of other 
materials - digital video, film, DVD, computer art, CD-roms, 
graphics, animation and virtual reality - to form new artistic 

Video has engaged many important artists of our time. Its full 
significance and appeal is at last made clear in this book, essential 
reading for anyone with an interest in the contemporary." (2)

   In 1999 Thames   & Hudson published  New Media in Late 20th-Century 
Art  (3) also by Michael Rush. After an introduction this book covers 
in 4 chapters 1. Media and Performance, 2. Video Art, 3. Video 
Installation Art and 4. Digital Art. The book received a rahter mixed 
rreviews by some critics.


(1)     Michael Rush: Video Art, Thames and Hudson, London, 2003, 
ISBN 0500 237980, 224 pages, 383 illustrations, 296 in colour, £28.00

(2)     Descriptin from The website of Thames and Hudson: 

(3)     Michael Rush: New Media in Late 20th- Century Art, Thames and 
Hudson, London, 1999, ISBN0-500-20329-6, 224 pages, 228 
illustrations, 104 in colour.

  4. Ursula Biemann (edit): Stuff it - the video essay in the digital age

  Ursula Biemann, educated in New York at SVA and the Whitney ISP and 
now based in Zurich, makes video essays charting the effects of 
globalisation and new technology on women in a changed world order. 
Her work has been shown in major festivals and art spaces around the 
world.   In addition to her video practice Ursula Biemann has worked 
as both a curator and collaborating artist on a number of large-scale 
international exhibitions. Ursula Biemann currently teaches at the 
CCC Program at ESBA in Geneva and researches at the HGKZ, the School 
of Contemporary Art, Zurich.

  From the publisher's info we reproduce the content of the book (1):

Ursula Biemann: The Video Essay in the Digital Age
Nora Alter: Memory Essays
Jan Verwoert: Double Viewing: The Significance of the "Pictorial 
Turn" to the Critical Use of Visual Media in Video Art
Walid Ra'ad: Civilizationally, we do not dig holes to bury ourselves
Hito Steyerl: The Empty Center
Eric Cazdyn: Sky's the Limit
Rinaldo Walcott: "but I don't want to talk about that": Postcolonial 
and Black Diaspora Histories in Video Art
Steve Fagin: En la calle: >From an Interview on Tropicola
Tran T. Kim-Trang: The Blindness Series: A Decade's Endeavour
Ursula Biemann:  Performing Borders: The Transnational Video
Jšrg Huber: Video Essayism: On the Theory-Practice of the Transitional
Christa BlŸmlinger: Harun Farocki ... The Art of the Possible
Allan James Thomas: Harun Farocki's Images of the World and the 
Inscription of War
Maurizio Lazzarato / Angela Melitopoulos: Digital Montage and 
Weaving: An Ecology of the Brain for Machine Subjectivities
Paul Willemsen: Monologues of Disembodiment: Figures of Discourse in 
Steve Reinke's Video Work
Johan Grimonprez: dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y
Rea Tajiri: History and Memory
Walid Ra'ad: The Dead Weight of a Quarrel Hangs
Richard Fung: Sea in the Blood
Linda Wallace: Lovehotel
Ursula Biemann: Writing Desire
Mathilde ter Heinje: For a Better World
Irit Batsry: These Are Not My Images (neither there nor here)
Eva Meyer / Eran Schaerf: Europe >From Afar
Birgit Hein: Baby I Will Make You Sweat
Guillermo G—mez-Pe–a: Border Stasis


Ursula Biemann (edit): Stuff it - the video essay in the digital age 
Edition Voldemeer / Springer,  Wien & New York.  2003, ISBN 
3-211-20318-4, 166 pages. 115 figures, mostly in colour, soft cover 
EUR 27,00 (net-price subject to local VAT) 

THE DANISH VIDEO ART DATA BANK is a non-profit agency for promoting 
Danish video art outside Denmark

  The VIDEO ART\e-monitor is an e-mail edition of the former printed 
newsletter "monitor" published with irrugular intervals. Editor: 
Torben Soeborg (soeborg at inet-uni2.dk)

  You can find the earlier editions of VIDEO ART\e-monitor on 
www.videoart.dk/e-monitor . If you want to  receive VIDEO 
ART\e-monitor (free) send an e-mail to soeborg at inet.uni2 

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