Performed Video

Why do I perform video? To show you my world, my reality!

But what is real? How do we see, hear and move in the world? How do we exist in the world – within our minds, within our body, or within a place fixed in time and space?

If what we think is real is real then reality is subjective not objective. If everyone experiences or ‘lives in’ their own reality, their ‘own private Idaho’, then how do we reach consensus – through indoctrination or through experimentation? How does the artist fit into this picture?

Which is real, the Apollonian or Dionysian worldview, the intellectual construct or a gut feeling? Intellectual ideas are easily communicated in spoken/written language. They are logical and reasoned. Feelings, often illogical and irrational, are communicated as images, sound and movement.

Video is a unique technology embracing multiple media. It allows the artist to express feelings in a direct, powerful manner. I don’t mean powerful in the sense of overwhelming. In my experience, video is more powerful if it is subtle, understated, slightly obscure, perhaps annoying, even magical – in short transcendent.

Performed video can be a component of a new form of theater. It emerged from the ‘counter culture’ of the ’60s, breaking with the traditions of commercial film, broadcast TV, and theater. It was improvised, open to audience participation, non-commercial, and ephemeral. Although based on material technology, it was immaterial.

Performed video was born outside the system and remains to this day outside the system. It is not television. It is not entertainment.

Fluxus artist and video maker Shigeko Kubota said, “Video is revenge of vagina.”

Video can be non-narrative, contemplative, heightened reality, expansive, and creative. It is a highly mediated means of communication but it is not a player in the ongoing media circus. It is not a tool of the Military/Entertainment Complex – or is it?

Do we think in words or in images? Can we think visually? Can we think kinesthetically? If so, how do these modes of thinking relate to communications media in general and to video in particular?

Performed video reconfigures and redefines the technology for interaction not for production. In commercial television a program is put together outside of real time. It is pre-produced, assembled in post production, and played back at some later time. In order to perform video in real time the technology is collapsed into a single visual instrument … my Video Shredder, for example.

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