NOTES TOWARDS HISTORY OF IMAGE-PROCESSED VIDEO
STEINA AND WOODY VASULKA
AFTERIMAGE, December 1983
Despite the fact that many video artists whose work is categorized as image-processed reject this term, it can be useful in describing work by people who not only use similar equipment but share an attitude which treats the video signal as a plastic medium. Beyond such generalizations, however, the designation can be misleading since, as a genre, "image-processed" conflates any and all tapes which contain manipulated and/or synthesized imagery. This acknowledges obvious technical similarities but doesn't account for the variety of approaches which produce works that can be more precisely interpreted. Of course, one interpretation doesn't necessarily preclude another, but an attempt must be made to get beyond the all too familiar responses to this work - that is, either total rejection or total embrace.
The intent of this project, then, is twofold. The first is to identify - without becoming dogmatic - some of the different approaches, some of the social and artistic contingencies, and how these are manifested in the work. The second - but by no means secondary - goal is to contribute to a broader history of video that emphasizes the parallel and overlapping activities of artists. Probably the most common way image-processed work has been described is as an exploration of the basic property of video - the electronic signal. There are many examples of this fundamentally formalist characterization which, I think, provides a way to lend modernist credentials to an art form that has had a difficult time gaining acceptance - critical attention, funding, marketability - by traditional art institutions.
For example, in December 1971 the Whitney Museum's first video exhibition, assembled by the late film curator David Bienstock, consisted almost entirely of image-processed tapes.
-->> next page