Holland is a country that has historically been open to the outside world, not only because of the different cultures that have come together within its borders, but also because of the travelling spirit of its inhabitants. Consistent with this idiosyncrasy, video art in the Netherlands has developed within an international context since the beginning. Video Art in Holland: Two Views is a series that features a selection of the most important videos from the 1997 World Wide Video Festival, the most cosmopolitan video festival in Europe, held at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam between 12 and 17 September 1997.
The programme for this series is divided into thematic blocks and offers a view of Holland looking outwards, at the same time that the productions are Dutch, strictly speaking. Two retrospective programmes were specifically put together for this series. The selection of Dutch works includes Moiré (1978) by Livinus van de Bundt (Zeist, 1909 - La Hague, 1979), a pioneer in what has come to be called media art in the Netherlands. Works are also included by many of the foreign artists living in Holland who have greatly influenced the development of video art, both within and outside the country. Nan Hoover (New York, 1931 - Berlin, 2008), Michel Cardena (Espinal, 1934), Elsa Stansfield (Glasgow, 1945 - Amsterdam, 2004) and Marina Abramović (Belgrade, 1946) are among the artists representing the international current in the series.
The programme dedicated to the ‘international section’ is organised around different axes. Crossing Borders includes works with personal impressions about the Middle East: here artists travel with their cameras, recording what they see but remaining invisible; the selection Brazil takes a look at the most recent Brazilian works, while Observation/Surveillance focuses on the theme of the camera as an omnipresent observer. Finally, Biography of a Cosmopolitan City includes three works in which the city of New York plays the leading role: a poem, a found history and memories are the main elements in these works by Seoungho Cho (Pusan, 1959), Jem Cohen (Kabul, 1962) and Steen Møller Rasmussen (Denmark, 1953). The series Video Art in Holland takes in a wide range of styles, from abstraction to performance art, passing through poetic images and short documentary and narrative structures, thus offering a complete overview of a country that knows how to look outward without losing perspective of the creative works done inside.