Ariane Noel de Tilly

Rewind. Pause. Play: Looking Back at Videoscape, Video Art, and The Video Show

AHVA Postdoctoral Research Fellow Ariane Noel de Tilly will be presenting her research on video art.

Video art began with a series of acts of destructions and displacements, as for instance with a gesture made by Korean-born artist Nam June Paik in Exposition of Music – Electronic Television held in the Wuppertal Galerie Parnass in March 1963.

In one of the rooms of the exhibition, Paik had not only displaced television sets from the living room to the exhibition space, but he had also distorted their broadcast signals. In 1965, Paik stated: “Television has been attacking us all our lives, now we can attack it back.” It is therefore in a climate of distortions, attacks, and contestation that video art was born.

Despite this violent genesis, the study of the early survey exhibitions of video art held in Canada, the United States, and in the United Kingdom in the mid-1970s shows that early on, there was a change of paradigm and even if certain artists continued to exploit (and distort) the specifically electronic features of video, many others used the medium in a more conceptual or experiential manner. The artworks included in the exhibitions Videoscape: An Exhibition of Video Art (Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 1974-1975), Video Art (Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, 1975), and The Video Show (Serpentine Gallery, London, 1975) are good cases in point.

Even if many of the works moved away and beyond an attitude of contestation in regards to broadcast television, it is perhaps more in the organization of these exhibitions that the relationship to broadcast television remained the most tangible. Indeed, since the time-based feature of the works prevented them to be shown all at once, the exhibitions were organized according to specific programmes. In this talk, I intend to shed light on the different curatorial strategies employed to disseminate this new medium. I will also speak of how these exhibitions contributed to a strengthening of the video community and of the rallying potential of group exhibitions.

This event is free and open to the public.