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Stuart Marshall

Video art is oppositional. It frustrates modernism and in so doing opposes many things including Krauss's "artworld." Marshall's early video works Go Through the Motions (1975) and Arcanum (1976) look like they might adhere to Krauss's medium. Each features the close up of a mouth. Respectively, the mouth is in- and out-of-synch, with a man's voice heard on the soundtrack repeating the self-reflexive pun (and pun on self-reflexivity) "go through the motions of saying one thing and meaning another"; the mouth is entirely out-of-synch with an initial heard sentence and gradually revealed as being in-synch with a second sentence that is increasingly intercut until we only hear this second sentence and the order of things is restored. What these works reveal is not a psychoanalytic situation per se, but the televisual construction of authority through the otherwise direct, synchronised relationship between what we hear and the lips that we assume speak it.

Moreover, the organisation that Marshall co-founded in 1976, London Video Arts (a "pressure group" for distribution, exhibition and production) took its precedents from collective and co-operative structures, including the London Filmmakers Co-op amongst others, while remaining separate from it. Marshall located his (history of) video art alongside counter-cultural activism, of groups such as Radical Software in New York, or TVX, based at the Arts Lab in London in 1968, and others exhibiting in alternative London gallery spaces such as Acme or AIR. Given such an alternative social-political context video art's relationship to the art world seems simultaneously to be the sum and the least of Marshall's concerns.

Stills from Mouth Works by Stuart Marshall (1975-77)
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