Critical Writing Index

Video: From Technology to Medium

by Yvonne Spielman

Art Journal, Fall 2006, v. 65, no. 3, pp. 54-69

Yvonne Spielman conducts a discussion of video in two ways: "as an electronic technology of signal processing and transmission that shares these properties with other electronic media, notably television"(Spielman, 55); and as a medium in its own right that has developed step by step and has developed its own aesthetic vocabulary. Understanding video from the perspective of its media specific role is vital to any discussion regarding video. Spielman compares the technological and stylistic features that separate electronic video from television and conventional film, focusing on video's immediacy, and playback abilities. Spielman praises Paik, Vasulkas, and Hill for their pioneering use of synthesizers, keyers and image processors to manipulate electronic signals in their creation of images that depart from coherent, traditional form. She sees video as an open media, unable to employ specificity on its own; a characteristic which is both an advantage and a detriment. It's aesthetic difference from conventional television and film attracted experimentlal practitioners of various performance based mediums, creating a diversity in its usage, and veering it away from institutionalization. She argues against suggestions that video has become obsolete, she reflects on video's development as a medium from the 1960's through to contemporary video modulation, and closes by addressing the works of Dan Sandin, and David Stout.

ITEM 2006.139 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

NoisefieldDavid Stout

Analog Image ProcessorDan Sandin

Nam June Paik

Woody Vasulkas

Gary Hill