Volume 92, Issue 89

Wednesday, March 17, 1999


Digitizing the medium called art

Deep End of the Ocean ends up shallow

Artlab depicts transparencies of art and life

Cultures Join hands and dance across the Pacific

Carrie 2: teen slasher sequel doesn't cut it

Opting for procrastination

Digitizing the medium called art

©Gazette file photo

TALK ABOUT READING IN BETWEEN THE LINES. Video Art Loves You, a three-part series, curated by David Clark which began yesterday and runs until April 6.
By Mark Lewandowski
Gazette Staff

Many of you out there love video art but often wonder whether video art loves you. This is truly one of life's eternal questions.

Western's film and media wizard David Clark has turned museum curator in the hopes of answering this conundrum.

The elusive Clark opened his video series last night at the London Regional Art Historical Museums to very positive reviews. The series entitled Video Art Loves You, is composed of four evenings and exposes contemporary Canadian and international video art. The screening "Bodies in Motion" features work unique for its edginess and innovation.

The seven videos by Clark were compiled through travelling at home and abroad to ransack independent video distributors in Toronto, New York and elsewhere in his search for quality independently produced video. "I had to call a couple of the artists to get their work, but mostly I went to some distributors where curators like me can go and look around," Clark divulges.

He is hesitant about this last statement and quickly adds if a curator doesn't know what they are looking for they could end up viewing poor material.

"Whenever you say video art people say – ooh," Clark said, adding he is referring not to a good "ooh" but a bad "ooh." "There really is a lot of bad video art out there, but I want more than just artists to go out and see this stuff."

Video art does have a reputation of being a lesser life-form than its film brethren and is often considered amateurish. Clark doesn't feel this label is fair to the medium. "Everything is much more mushed together these days. There is very little which separates film and video. The benefit of video is that it's much more immediate. With digital technology you can often watch a built-in colour monitor while you record," Clark spills out – clearly excited about the possibilities of the medium. It is this excitement which has led Clark to organize this series.

The series opened last night and will be playing additional installments for the next three Tuesday nights at 8 p.m.. The topics of the screenings will be "Stereotypes," "Time Keeps on Slipping" and "Untamed World," respectively. "I didn't go into this with categories in mind – gradually two or three tapes would make sense with one another until four evenings came together where the work aligned," Clark says.

"I wanted a variety of work, documentary to narrative, international and Canada, in order to expose what's going on here and in other places," Clark emphasizes. This is ultimately what the Video Art Loves You series is about. It is geared to clean the tainted image of video art by exhibiting edgy independent artists who have excelled artistically within the medium.

One of these interesting artists is Canadian Steve Reinke whose Spiritual Animal Kingdom> will screen with other "Untamed World" pieces. Reinke's goal was to make 100 videos by the time he was 35. "He finished last year when he was 34," Clark laughs – in his wry East Coast accent. "He's great, it's just him and a camcorder and his sense of humour." The "Untamed World" evening will conclude with a German video entitled "Hanna Nordholt & Fritz Steingrobe" which Clark describes as simply strange.

Last night's pieces included Jim Anderson's "Trace Elements," a very well done, extremely slick advertisement for what seemed to be his art objects. Yugoslavian Dalibor Martinis' number "I Love You" is an odd confrontational dance with a lot of attacking and aggression. Concluding the screening was a short work by the English duo of John Wood and Paul Harrison. Their "Device" was a strange mix of slapstick which brought a fitting denouement to the series of films.

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Copyright © The Gazette 1999