27 4 / 2012
What is Video Art? Well its simple just like a painting, drawing, photo or a sculpture it is a piece of art which can express what the artist is feeling or the message which they are trying to give out, the only difference being that this piece of art is made up of moving image instead of your ordinary still picture or sculpture this one moves creating a different effect from what we are used to seeing when we use the word “art”.
Video art was first thought up of in the 1958 by a man of the name of Wolf Vostell; however this piece of video art did not contain it by showing it through the television but more showing the television to be a work of art and sculpture some would say, instead of actual video art. Nevertheless thought this started a revolution in the art world of what is possible and developed the idea of video art, by doing this piece he inspired many artists and is known as one of the pioneers of video art.
However video art didn’t become a hit until the 60’s and 70’s when it first started being taken up and brought into a new light by various different artists all around the same time. A man called Nam June Paik followed the Pope when he came to New York City in 1967 filming it and then played it the same day playing it in a local Cafe and thus Video Art was born, however it can’t be proven who first got a grip on it or came up with the idea. Many people claim that Andy Warhol was the first and just weeks before Paik showed his footage of the Pope Warhol showed some underground footage. However it will always be disputed over who showed the first Video Art, I think thought what we can all agree on is that it was around this era which people started showing up and creating a new type of art called “Video Art”.
Video Art is not to be mixed up with the motion picture which focuses on a bunch of characters and follows a narrative, instead what it does is often not even involve people and instead follow nature to show it off like a picture or photo all that is left is for you to work it out. Same applies for when it involves humans, why is it following this person, what is it that this person is doing, why are they doing what they are doing, why is it so significant? All these questions which we would ask about any other piece of art. This is not the case with motion pictures and is a huge and obvious difference.
As well as not being a motion picture it is also not an experimental film, often people get the two mixed up or sometimes not knowing the difference and believing they’re the same. However experimental film usually does have a narrative to it unlike video art which doesn’t, the difference between them is that experimental film has a narrative and it also uses techniques which often aren’t used. This being where the term “experimental” comes from as they experiment with different styles such as fast editing or rapid in a chase scene to suggest chaos and rush, scratching the film to show a person is hurt or just come out of danger or even walking into danger, all these things suggest things giving it a narrative.
I often see people looking at Video Art and calling it weird and not even a piece of art, usually just something which has been filmed and then called art for no apparent reason, the look at it and wonder why it drags on for so long but to me it seems simple, just like a painting you never know when you’re going to finish looking at it or trying to understand it and the same applies. However I feel that some people are hypocritical when it comes to art and only count few things as “art”, I mean when it comes to art what is it? Everyone obviously sees it as something different the most common answer being a painting or a picture; this doesn’t mean that it can’t be something else though. Many people class sport as a work of art something which takes precision and knowing the next move, some people would say a speech or a quote is a work of art which takes time and perfection. I guess what I’m trying to say is that anything could be a work of art and Video Art definitely counts as art, but this all depends on you and what you would count as art.
More modern day Video Artist which we have looked into is Chris Cunningham who has been making video art and showing it on a much wider scale than most artist’s do incorporating it into music videos and advertisements. Cunningham is one of the few more notable artists and who is known outside of just the video art world, one of these reasons which I believe he is better known is because his work is seen as weird and possibly scary to him audience and this creates attention for him.
Some of this work which he has done over the years which I feel has caught people by surprise and made them wonder is Bjorks – All is Full of Love:
As well as his advert for PlayStation: