What’s that about…

25th february 2010


What is this about Video-art, by Benjamin Weil (Chief Curator of LABoral)

In its first edition, Qué ye eso de… will be about Video art, and its protagonist/speaker will be the Chief Curator of LABoral Mr. Benjamin Weil, who will take a brief tour of the history of this artistic discipline to end by venturing a diagnosis of their current situation and future perspective.
What’s that about…It is open to all types of audiences, and aims to be a space for anyone to learn art by interacting with the expert speaker on the subject in question.

Next Thursday, February 25, and in the company of the clientele of the El Globo de Gijón cider house, we will try to understand the origin, development and current situation of this art form.

DATE: February 25.

TIME: 8:30 p.m.

PLACE: El globo cider house (c/San Bernardo 13, Gijón).

ENTRY: free of charge (until capacity is reached).

Art & Video: more than 40 years of history, by Benjamin Weil (Chief Curator of LABoral)

At the end of the 1960s, the first artistic experiments based on video appeared, as a result of the surprising coincidence between a technological innovation and the effervescence of an artistic panorama in the midst of a revolution. Since then, the evolution of this artistic practice is inseparable from technological evolution, even when it loses prominence as video art installs itself naturally within general artistic practice.

At the beginning of the sixties we witnessed, both in Europe and in the United States, a tremendously rich and free creative effervescence. From Japan came the premises of an artistic practice that combined the performing arts with more traditional artistic practices and was inspired by both Dadaism and the Gutai movement. This would give rise to the FLUXUS movement, as well as numerous experimentations in this new field, whether performances or happenings, works that were often improvised and formally closer to the performing arts. This artistic activity was fed by other creative practices such as theater, dance and music. We then saw the resurgence of a conception of art free of pigeonholing, close to the approaches of the Bauhaus and other schools of the interwar period that proposed a free exchange between music, poetry, literature, architecture, theater and plastic arts. This was also the time when Pop Art emerged.

It was around that time – 1965 – when Sony invented the Portopak®, the first portable device that combined a video camera with a tape recorder. Video allowed artists to capture these experimentations, often of an ephemeral nature, giving rise to the invention of new narrative forms where references to the history of art and cinema, as well as television and other forms of cultural culture, are mixed interchangeably. masses (advertising, video clips, etc.).

Since then, the use of video has developed within all cultures without special dominance by any of them: from Asia to Europe and the Americas, this medium produced one of the first forms of culture. globalized. It is interesting to note that among the pioneers is Nam June Paik, a Korean performance artist whose life was spent between Europe and the United States. Also worth mentioning is the couple formed by Steina and Woody Vasulka. Steina, of Icelandic origin, studied music in Prague, where she met her future collaborator and husband, Woody, a Czech engineer. Together they settled in New York in 1965 and actively participated in the establishment of video art, with a more narrative approach, while Paik was more attracted to documenting her performances, particularly those she organized with the artist Charlotte Moorman.

The decades since then have seen how video has become an integral part of contemporary artistic practices, until it is recognized at the same level as other more traditional forms such as painting, sculpture or drawing. With the advancement of technological evolution, artists of new generations have been appropriating, with increasing ease, the tools that allow them to create video works without necessarily having to resort to a production studio.

Currently, video is developed within a set of artistic practices and many artists use it in combination with other forms, reflecting in equal measure on the narrative construction induced by montage and on the importance of the context in which their images are presented. The video was first conceived to be broadcast in single-channel mode, that is, presenting a simple image on a monitor (television or flat screen) or in projection. The works produced in this way are formally referred to television or cinema.

Later, the artists incorporated their images into installations, which allowed them to create different types of narration by placing the moving images in front of objects, or by presenting several images juxtaposed or in the same space, creating a narrative path through which the viewer moves. . On the other hand, many young artists mix various types of technology, using, for example, film for shooting and video – more accessible – for editing and dissemination. Often, the consideration of the space of the projection constitutes an element as important as the image itself, which leads to a reflection on the concept of the image as sculpture, which literally redefines the space where it is presented.

Video evolves with technology and we see, for example, new forms appearing from the video function of mobile phones. The history of the moving image has always been linked to that of the technology that is used to create it. It is a result of the harmonious combination of the creative ability of engineers and artists.