September 23rd’s lecture took the class on a visual trip through the 1970’s via Video Art, a movement which, at the time, was new to the film making industry. Video Art, which came to be during the 1960’s and 1970’s, is not film, but rather art that relies on moving pictures to comprise video/audio data. Video Art differs from classical Hollywood cinema in the sense that it doesn’t rely on typical film conventions. For example, Video Art may choose to exclude actors, dialogue and/or a discernible narrative/plot. While traditional cinema seeks to entertain, Video Art is much more concerned with the mediums being used. Versulca’s Switch Monitor Drift (1976) falls into the later, focusing more on the visual images that are created through the Video Art, while Phil Morton’s General Motors (1970’s) uses the new style in a way that tells a story while simultaneously manipulating the medium at hand. The final product is a mix of documentary meets the absurd. Nam June Paik also blurs the borders by using Video Art. In his 1978 film Merce by Merce By Paik, Paik presents the audience with 15 minutes of Merce Cunningham’s contemporary choreography placed in front of a green screen. Paik’s film demonstrates the overlapping that was occurring in the arts during the 60’s and 70’s while also highlighting the ethos of creating this type of art: to reveal and show the audience the process involved in making Video Art (we see Cunningham in front of the green screen before/during/after the images are generated via the screen). While Video Art still exists today, it’s more so used through installation art.
Tripping through the 1970’s, via Video Art