Sunday, July 3, 2005

media: playing not watching is for art, not movies

I might own more DVD's if I played them rather than watch them; as playing music is an addition to other activities rather than listening to music to the exclusion of other activities.

It's fun at bars and parties to have a movie running as visual distraction, but I can't get into it at home. Maybe as a remix of favorite scenes and images, though the DVD format intentionally makes it hard to sample.

However, some fine art installations would transition well to continuous video play. Matthew Barney's Cremaster cycle, Bruce Nauman's videos, Bill Viola's slow-moving transitions, etc. I just saw Jeremy Blake's Winchester at SFMOMA and it is great, a fantastic set of painterly images that dissolve and change over time. Video artists obviously care deeply about the presentation of the work in a museum setting, in his case running the three videos "Winchester", "1906", and "Century 21" simultaneously as an enormous tryptich. Maybe artists won't want to give up that control and suffer it turning into mere moving wallpaper or a high-end screen saver. But their work would be the DVD's to play continuously rather than watch.

Looking at SFMOMA store's media catalog, you can buy one Cremaster outright on DVD, but other video artists only have excerpts of their work as part of documentaries.

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