A Sampling of Film and Video from the 1993 Whitney Biennial is a film and video programme that brings together some of the pieces featured at the Biennial held by the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1993. The museum, a key institution in the art world, has traditionally been the place where art has been evaluated. However, until recently, the exhibitions there tended to give priority to their analysis of the historiographical aspects of production without sufficiently considering the complexity that characterises the use of the media in contemporary culture. The media arts today respond to the public setting in which we live and they draw on it, creating a fluid discourse that makes a more varied relationship possible between the artist and the artwork, as well as between artists and society, efficiently subverting the dominion of a uniform national identity.
The media arts included in the 1993 Biennial attest to the multicultural complexity and difference that nationalism can deny. In addition to the classic questions about identity and representation, a whole range of new technologies and materials are having a clear influence on the conception of contemporary art practice created using mass media. For this exhibition, artists, whether as individuals or as members of their respective communities, have created works using different audiovisual strategies. The result is a multifaceted discourse from a formal and methodological point of view. The media arts today use a wide range of production systems to adapt to different critical and cultural issues. Some audiovisual artists like the Guerrillas Girls, a group of women artists from New York who create public art with a political content, are redefining art in their desire to adapt its discourse to popular art. This type of work, then, steps over the classic definition of art, meaning that the artworks must step over the models and precedents set by elite or avant-garde culture. A new generation of artists is using the mass media to challenge the traditional ideas of ‘art’, ‘viewer’, and ‘creator’ and identify new audiences and new creators. The result is stimulating and challenging the art world.