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tours Recomposing The Universe
Jackie Hatfield
'...RECOMPOS[ING] THE UNIVERSE'
I was exploring the electronic moving-image as a live event, whereby similar to a live sound event, the artwork would exist at that moment, the image or sound would be linked to that place, that time.

During the early 90's David Cunningham's sound installations were influential to me, and his sound-gate experiments were very exciting in a live and sensorial sense, as the spectator was physically active and completed the work, literally moulding the tone and sounds as they moved around the space. I knew that artists had made works along these conceptual and technological lines using video in the 1970's with participatory works such as Brian Hoey's Videvent, David Hall's Vidicon Inscriptions (installation) or had explored the pure image as an electronic signal, i.e. Peter Donebauer's Videokalos synthesiser experiments, and Woody and Steina Vasulka (Violin Performance in particular), but of course, it was (and is) pretty impossible to see these works in their entirety, or as they're meant to be seen, in expanded form. By and large the fact of their existence remains in catalogues as stills and ephemera, or individual channels of tape in the artists' studio. Having access to the historical multi-channel artworks has always been difficult, since they often involve technological set ups or site specificity.

David Hall's processes, his analysis of the languages of video and the image, that is, the interrogation of the medium, extended dialogues about video as a fine art form. Hall's television interventions were central to his experiments with concept and context; interventions into the broadcast flow of the televisual and into the reified images of capital feeding back into itself and of the artist fuelling it. Hall might have struggled with this ever since, because the contexts of his works are forever changed. This is a Television Receiver(1976), 7 TV Interruptions (7 TV Pieces)(1971), become de-politicised in the gallery space, and have existed in their conceptual, contextual entirety only in their broadcast slots. But his gallery works, including those prior to 1968, interrogated the being of the art 'work'; questioned art as reified object and the gallery as hallowed space: the sanding of the ICA gallery floor as sculpture; monitors turned inwards so that the audience could see only the pure colour light glow they emitted. And more than anything Hall's work, to me, is inspiring, clever and intense. The works of the early pioneers of electronic media, Peter Donebauer, David Hall, Tony Sinden, Brian Hoey and Wendy Brown, David Critchley, Stephen Partridge, Tamara Krikorian, rejected the assumption that visual art should be an object oriented art, and recognised that video could be an art form of the experiential, whereby physically the trace could be recorded as a continuous signal, rather than as with film, an individual frame. Post-photo electronic, video is also a latent image of the unseeable, and like sound or performance, an art of space and time, and any survey of innovation in art practice since the late 1960's might automatically include video as a key aspect of the experimental process.

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