Tag Archives: video art

Rogers, K. 2010. We Are Here, We Could Be Everywhere. _Video on the Loose: Freewaves and 20 Years of Media Arts_. Los Angeles: Freewaves.

Starting with an urban myth about a collector’s shelving the first half-inch videotape used by Nam June Paik in 1965 for his Sony Portapak, Rogers considers the history of video — how it seemed to have a history even as it was emerging — and its potent political uses and inclinations throughout. The collector’s story reveals:

“…there is a specter that haunts the history of video, a residual belief that impedes us from cultivating an alternative approach to history based on social practice rather than archival preservation. That specter is the construct of medium specificity…” (17).

The medium was affordable, fairly easy to use, and easy to distribute, and so it was a tactic against the spectacle: “video had an unsurpassed capacity to deliver nimble, targeted strikes against the corporate despotism of television, and to engage in guerilla counter-measures against all forms of cultural hegemony” (19). And so, the process of institutionalization and historicization of the medium was inevitable. Rogers wonders, what if we look not for the history of video through the video itself but through the attendant “practices, cultures, communities, economies, projects, and events that have come to be oriented around this figment?” (30).

Freewaves, “less an organization than it is a network” (38) gives us clues. For Freewaves, the work was never the video for something but something — namely questioning the civic realm, and promoting intercultural understanding, social justice, connecting, and so on — through video. What we learn, then, is this:

“What needs to be retained in video history is not this technological, medium specific, object-based view prepped for the collector and the art historian, but a social and cultural one used to forge new networks and experiences of community” (40).

Leave a comment

Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Media Arts, Minor Field, Research Fields

Rogers, K. (2007). LA Freewaves’ _Too Much Freedom?_ Alternative Video and Internet Distribution. _Spectator_, 27(1):56-68.

Ken Rogers is Assistant Professor, Media and Cultural Studies at UC Riverside. He is Board President of the prominent Los Angeles-based media arts organization Freewaves, and he is an editorial board members of Resilience: A Journal of Sustainable Critique. His interdisciplinary research and publication concerns the intersection of labor, attention, political economy, art practice, and digital media.

Since 1989, LA Freewaves has produced the largest theatrical exhibitions of avant-garde video. But for 2006’s Too Much Freedom?, Freewaves scaled back its theatrical output to just four venues, using the Internet for the festival’s remaining programs. Freewaves has always articulated relationships and partnerships for distribution and promotion, such as KCET, cable access channels, museums and galleries, private collections, distribution houses, university systems. The paradox here is that this distribution model puts the alternative mode in the same category as studio arts. So the Internet turn of Too Much Freedom meant to move away from this condition of tricky obtainability.

However, Rogers argues, Freewaves may have in fact sacrificed the opportunities for community building with the intentionally democratic move. The exhibition opening event (two nights at the Hammer), like the website was intentionally directionally ambiguous, underscoring Freewaves dedication to the alternative distribution model. However, the site was still unidirectional (i.e. there was no comment field implicitly privileging the cultural producer over the viewer. Freewaves’ apparent democratic impetus, stymied, offering questions about how we can improve interactive opportunities online.

Leave a comment

Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Media Arts, Minor Field, Research Fields

Rush, M. (2005). _New Media in Art_, 2nd. Ed. London: Thames of London.

Michael Rush, PhD in Theology and Psychology from Harvard University, is the founding director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University. Most recently he was director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. He contributes regularly art world publications and scholarship. His books include Video Art, New Media in Art, New Media in Late 20th-Century Art, Marjetica Potrc: Urgent Architecture, and he’s written monographs on Gunther Brus, Steve Miller, and Alexis Rockman.

This book is a well-organized, beautifully illustrated (124 of 267 illustrations are in full color) and straightforward history of new media in art. Rush organizes the text quasi-chronologically, but emphasizes modes of practice, with chapters entitled, “Media and Performance,” “Video Art,” “Video Installation Art,” and The Digital in Art.” Suffice it to say, Muybridge and Marey, and Duchamp are the technological and conceptual benefactors, respectively, whose ideas are experimented with and added to over the next century, first by artists migrating from other disciplines and eventually by first-generation artists.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Media Arts, Minor Field, Research Fields

Tribe, M., Jana, R., & Grosenick, U., eds. (2006). _New Media Art_. Cologne: TASCHEN GmbH.

American artist and Rhizome founder, Mark Tribe is Assistant Professor of Modern Culture and Media Studies at Brown University. He’s authored The Port Huron Project: Reenactments of Historic Protest Speeches (2010), as well as co-authored this book. He received his MFA in Visual Art from UC, San Diego. His interest in new media art is not so much the technologies but the way these technologies can engage cultural engagement, aesthetic awareness, and political engagement.

Reena Jana is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant whose work focuses on culture, innovation, and business. She’s now a contributing editor and blogger at SmartPlanet, and has written for the New York Times, Wired, Fast Company, to name a very few. She attended Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences where she was a National Arts Journalism Program Fellow at Columbia Journalism School.

Uta Grosenick is a Cologne-based freelance author and editor. Her work for TASCHEN includes several books from the Basic Genre Series, Women Artists (2001), ART NOW (2002), Büttner (2003), and ART NOW II (2005).

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Media Arts, Minor Field, Research Fields