Video Art – A History

Following my Formative Assessment feedback, it occurred to me that despite the numerous contemporary artists that I have been referencing, I have paid little attention to the history of video art. At the moment my work is sort of intersecting between video and internet art, which is a position I’m quite enjoying. Focusing in this post on video art, there a number of pioneering video artists (or ‘new media artists’) that are beginning to feed into the way that I am working.

Nam June Paik

Arguably the most influential video artist, Nam June Paik’s work was pioneering. Drawing on new technologies, Paik was able to seize the possibilities of new media in order to challenge their ‘mainstream’ use and develop a dialogue between technology and art.

Nam June Paik 1969 Videotape Study No 3

George Barber

Tilt, 1984

Absence of Satan, 1985

The Greatest Hits Of Scratch Video

Barber makes use of found footage, recontextualizing it in order to break up the intention of the original narrative. The work of artists such as Barber highlights the relationship forged with information within an era dominated by the digital. There is a sense in which the context that information is found, is fluid and open for reshaping. This is very much a concern in Barber’s early works.

Drawing on this in my own practice, I suppose works like this have engaged me with an interest in the long-term effect of such a fluidity of context, and how this begins to translate into a contemporary relationship with information.


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