Critical Writing Index

The Temporalities of Video: Extendedness Revisited

by Christine Ross

Art Journal, Fall 2006, v. 65, no. 3, pp. 82-99

In 1980, Nam June Paik declared that video is time. Many practitioners of the new medium, however, came from backgrounds in the visual, plastic, and conceptual arts and did not approach time in a standard, linear manner. In fact, many of the works by these early video artists were a means to disrupt the dominant time conventions of television and radio and the acceleration of time in the modern world. Henri Lefebvre argued that space was swallowing time, and Paul Virilio countered that in fact time was accelerating due to the instantaneity of communication technologies. Still others argued that time was accelerating due to a fascination with the present, embodied in the new video technologies, which allowed for both extendedness and instantaneity. This article focuses on the 51st Venice Biennale, where video was to be found in abundance. The author argues that video has lost its relation to its past due to the coming of the digital age, but that video artists can still engage in meaningful examinations of the evolution of the image if they address the issue of time. Decontextualization and the loop are the best means, argues Ross, for the video artist to explore time and provide a sense of futurity for the image.

ITEM 2006.178 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

CentersVito Acconci

PassionsBill Viola

Shifting FocusMark Raidpere

Mother and FatherCandice Breitz

Mondo Veneziano: High Noon in the Sinking CityAntoine Prume

Difficult Breath no. 41Nikos Navridis

PulseStephen Dean

VoltaStephen Dean

BlocoStephen Dean

Non-Specific ThreatWillie Doherty