On This Side of the Channel: British Video Art is a retrospective made up of four programmes of video art, computer animation and other creative works produced for commercial television in the British Isles that stand out from other electronic works because of their originality and the quality. Spanning a quarter century (from the first formal experiments to recent projects using more sophisticated technology), this programme presents a revealing record of British artists who have used electronic media to make important, vibrant creations as an alternative to commercial television. The first set of works, grouped under the title A Brief History of British Video Art: 1975 - 1990, offers a historical overview of video art projects that includes works by David Hall (Leicester, 1937), Jeremy Welsh (Gateshead, 1954), Mona Hatoum (Beirut, 1952) and Keith Piper (Malta, 1960); the second, New British Video: 1990 - 1994, focuses on a short period of four years to highlight the richness of the most recent work, including pieces by Michael Curran (Scotland, 1963), Steve Hawley, Andrew Stones (Sheffield, 1960) and Terry Flaxton (London, 1953); while A Brief Introduction to British Computer Animation: 1968 - 1994 returns to a more extended timeframe to spotlight the most important examples from the world of computer graphics, almost from its very beginnings. The programme starts off with some of the first experimental projects done in the domain of computer-animated images, featuring artists like Tony Pritchett (England, 1938), Stan Hayward (England, 1930) and Darrell Viner (Coventry, 1946 - London, 2001), and ends with some truly surprising and sophisticated technological pieces, exemplified by Alan Schechner, William Latham (England, 1961) and Andrew Budd. Finally, the works grouped under the title Virtual Television focus on a highly innovative group of electronic pieces that were either especially produced for or premiered on British television, such as First Direct, directed by Marc Ortmans, A Short History of the Wheel (1993) by Tony Hill (London, 1946) and Stooky Bill (1990) by David Hall.
This brief history of British video art between 1975 and 1990 constitutes an initial selection that, while far from exhaustive, includes some of the most innovative, influential and representative works from this medium, in short, a selection that presents the main themes, styles and concerns during this important period of audiovisual production.