Lights, Action, Sound and Movement…for the Camera is an anthology that describes the relationship between video and performance art over the last 25 years. Although it brings together some of the most representative pieces created by important figures in this field, the programme as a whole does not presume to present a definitive history of video performance. Rather, it is designed to show the evolution of this hybrid form, which is increasingly complex and developed, in four different programmes.
Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, auteur video and especially video performance have developed a more or less generalised tendency towards leaving sophisticated creative formulas behind in favour of a certain formal ‘poverty’. A ‘return to the roots’ movement has taken place and younger artists are looking back to works by pioneers in video art who, in the 1970s, used their cameras to obtain a simple record of their actions, taking brilliant advantage of the scant technical resources available to them. These early works have a freshness and creative density that have allowed them to survive the test of time and twenty years later, their conceptual and formal postulates continue to prevail and are even being taken up again.
This programme, curated by Steven Bode, an independent critic and director of the British video distributor Film and Video Umbrella, has four programmes arranged by themes. The first three programmes, featuring pieces by Ulrike Rosenbach (Bad Salzdetfurth, 1943), Ulay (Solingen, 1943) and Marina Abramović (Belgrade, 1946), Jeremy Welsh (Gateshead, 1954) and David Byrne (Dumbarton, 1952) group works considered fundamental to understand the relationship between video and performance art around the themes of Lights, Action and Sound. The fourth programme brings together more recent pieces in this field (all made between 1993 and 1994), under the title Movement. This includes works by Michael Curran (Scotland, 1963), Cecilia Parsberg (Stockholm, 1963), Philip Lai (Kuala, Lumpur, 1969) and Cheryl Donegan (New Haven, 1962).