Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I've been reading about the early days of British video art and putting all sorts of new art heroes up on the pedestal: Catherine Elwes, Sue and David Hall, Madelon Hooykaas, Elsa Stansfield, Brian Hoey, etc. Not all of them used music (Hooykaas and Stansfield worked with Delia Derbyshire on a number of occasions), but to me these figures still have the aura of bands, suggesting a cooler shadow history of 70s British art rock with fewer guitars and more electronics. Such a heady time it must have been. It's fascinating how British video grew out of the activist ferment of squatting and so forth; early collectives like Graft On! and Inter-Action used video as an organizing device, and as a way of documenting scenes of abuse. "Television has been attacking us all our lives... Now we can attack it back." Searching for info on a 1975 Serpentine Gallery exhibit on video art, I stumbled upon, which has an absolutely amazing database of British video art history. Well worth a long browse. Here are some images from the collection, mostly of posters advertising screenings. I downloaded so much stuff at once that I can't keep track of what's what -- but I do remember that the woman making the bed is a Hooykaas/Stansfield piece.

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