This series features a selection of pieces from the World Wide Video Festival ’95 that highlight the diversity and limits of video art today. Video has never been a ‘pure’ medium, since it can be combined with and complemented by film, photography, performance art and, increasingly, computer techniques. The range of aesthetic and formal focus points, from an almost pictorial poetic narrative to abstract explorations of electronic chaos, is very wide. Free from the restrictions imposed by television and film advertising, video artists enjoy complete freedom to choose their own formats. Beyond the documentary genre, many concentrate substance and content into short but powerful audiovisual declarations.
The appropriation of previously recorded materials is still present, but their use seems to have evolved towards a more personal line: video is used as a way to articulate memory and organise recollections, and the rediscovery of family history using photographs, home movies and videos is a recurring theme in the work of Daniel Reeves (Washington, 1948) and Caroline Rye. Found footage of death and destruction is used by Knut Gerwers (1969) in Der Tod Ist (1994), revealing the point to which television determines collective memory.
Despite the small number of openly political works, many of the tapes display some type of commitment to certain cultural politics: Beban & Hortavic and Sadek Sejdal study exile, while Sylvie Pérouème, Marcello Mercado (Chaco, 1963) and Antonio Perumanes investigate the representation and manipulation of the body. The artists who combine video with performance art go beyond mere documentary and present works in which the position of the viewer can be controlled, such as Intimate (1995) by Imogen Stidworthy (London, 1963). Other pieces use dance as a narrative element through the daily movement of bodies or cameras. The documentary structure is used in productions like Croquis de Voyage by Marcel Dinahet (Finistère, 1943) and Sept visions fugitives (1995) by Robert Cahen (Valence, 1945).
Working with video also means working with sound. In this respect, Kristine Diekman, Stansfield/Hooykaas and Chris Dodge find a parallel between the way in which image and sound are processed. In Combo (1995), Philipp Schmid (Basel, 1962) uses video editing to create music, revealing the construction of pop music, and in Excerpt X/dia Kleodon by Gregg Wagstaff, video is used as a medium to represent audiovisual poetry.