‘The Trouble with Video Art’

By Kevin Atherton / Head of Media / National College of Art & Design Dublin.

From ‘Bits and Pieces’ exhibition catalogue, Macroom, Ireland, 2007.

This essay most definitely gave me the encouragement to construct a piece of video art for this project.  I felt that video art, would allow to me create an aesthetically pleasing piece, that would also enable me to think creatively outside of the box; the box in both its metaphorical sense and also the television itself. For me video art is something that should be digested and thought about in a conceptual sense, taking note on how the images being displayed and sometimes the work process involved helps demonstrate the themes or matters at hand. By using an installation space I am ensuring that my video shall be perceived correctly, the audience will hopefully feel completely immersed in the piece as if it were a painting in an art gallery. Using the space will also allow me to project other ideas on my audience that relate to the video, instead of just using the TV screen. When the audience step in to my installation, I would like for them to be able to envision my process of thoughts when constructing this piece and as well as dissecting some of my themes and concepts, hopefully this shall provoke some ideas of their own.

“The trouble with video art was, that compared to television it took such a long time to look at, or at least it seemed it” 

Audio Vision Sound On Screen

For my instillation I would like to have my soundtrack as a separate entity from the video. As my video piece will distort and degrade, music of an industrial nature shall be featured in the background. The images featured in music videos will often be in time with the music in the background, however I would like my piece to disorientate the audience present, so I felt having the audience slightly out of sync would throw them off guard.

Although I am re-using elements of found footage, I would not like the video piece to be misinterpreted as a music video as the aim is for the piece is for it to be considered as video art. The audience must take note of what the change in appearance in context with sound is representing. If I do decide to keep the audio of the video in the instillation I would like the videos image and sound to have reached its peek of degradation by the time the dynamics of the soundtrack music make a notable change. 

Audio Vision: Sound On Screen by Michel Chion got me thinking about the relationship between sound and image and also some of the recurring elements of Video Art.

Chion, M (1994). Audio Vision: Sound on Screen. 2nd ed. New York: Columbia University Press. 162-164.

From Grain To Pixel

I found Giovanna Fossati’s From Grain To Pixel interesting when looking at how much resolution is lost when digitising, burning and copying VHS tapes and also the process of digital restoration.

Fossati, G (2009). From Grain To Pixel. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. p72-73.


David Cronenberg’s Videodrome explores the concept of being able to reconstruct your social perception through the means of media and also our obsessive attachment to our mediated lives. Although the subject matter in Videodrome is cable television, I think that Cronenberg’s idea’s could be related    to the gradual the rise and development of Internet,  where we have been given a new space to construct a separate identity and live in an altered reality.

“It’s the thematization of media as an ubiquitously intrusive and identity-threatening force, of the transformations enabled and threats posed by information overload”(B, William 2006) 

“Virtually all commentators emphasize the film’s paranoid dimension of social manipulation and mind control, which connects individual anxieties about identity engulfment and transformation through media images with political analysis that asks questions about who wields media power and to what ends.”(B, William 2006)


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