One of the strongest notions in modernity and postmodernity is the idea of confinement. The velocity sensation and the apparent mobility given by transportation are nothing but reminders of a non existent destination.
One of the fundational classics of video-art (and mainly of the big format video-art), Island Song (1976) shows the possibility, arbitrarily and almost accidentaly, of a converging space for the live performance and the documentary.
In A Space Exodus, Larissa Sansour quirkily sets up an adapted stretch of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in a Middle Eastern context.
The film follows the artist herself on a phantasmagoric journey through the universe echoing Kubrick’s thematic concerns for human evolution, progress and technology. However, in her film, Sansour posits the idea of a first Palestinian in space, and, referencing Armstrong’s moon landing, she interprets this theoretical gesture as “a small step for a Palestinian, a giant leap for mankind”.
Directed by Matt Lambert in the context of a fashion brand, “Umasan In Transition” is a powerful combination of meticulous choreography and vibrant edition. The story line is beautifuly consistant with the sense of progression and evolution pursued by the film.
Jørgen Leth (born in 1937) is a controversial Danish poet and film director, often considered a main figure in experimental documentary film making. His views have been considered severely politically incorrect although his methods and aesthetic approaches are deeply influential.
Det Perfekte menneske (The Perfect Human, 1967) is centered in a rough dehumanization of the actions and circumstances of the species. A powerful zoo documentary, in which Leth imposes a distant observation on its subjects.
Joan Jonas (born in NYC, 1936) brought to video art and video performance the very foundation of its meaning. Her works are as influential as politically compromised, being particularly groundbreaking when it comes to electronic arts and gender prospective.
Vertical Roll (1972) uses a common early television bug (the vertical roll, due to a misconfiguration on the vertical balance of the receptor) to place a question about the construction of the image and, particularly, of the female body; a recurring subject in her work.
Eran Hilelli (Tel Aviv, 1981) is a graduate from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.
Between Bears (2010) is a beautiful combination of minimalism, 3d and vectorial animation. Although there’s a minimum amount of narrative, the final result is as compelling as meaningful. It was Hilelli’s graduation film and won the first price in the animation category of the Vimeo’s first film festival.
Vito Acconci (born in NYC, 1940), although is more related to performance and poetry, brought undisputable advances in the use of video as an artistic experimentation ground.
Open Book (1974) explores a sort of sound poetry and an extreme close up to bring the viewer to an uncomfortable sense of imminence. Acconti miss-pronounces phrases such as “I’ll accept you, I won’t shut down, I won’t shut you out. I’m open to you, I’m open to everything. This is not a trap, we can go inside, yes, come inside”, while suffers the consecuences of an uncomfortable use of the voice.
Pipilotti Rist (Grabs, Switzerland; 1962) is one of the definitive contemporary artistes in video-art.
“I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much” (1986) is, perhaps, the first piece of Mrs. Rist that gives a clear example of mixture between performance and video art in the same package. It is also a powerful post-modern statement for the deconstruction of the image and its meaning through a rough editing and the manipulation of the chosen soundtrack.