Archive for the ‘Video Art’ Category

Video art as critique of cinema


Cinema needs enthusiastic, but passive spectators who are willing to pay for their seats and then recommend the film to many other people. A cinema provides a highly controlled experience:  the film spectator is immobilised in his seat for the duration of the film and hypnotised by the moving images in the frame.

Video art goes beyond these constraints. Roland Barthes expresses frustration with the “cinematographic hypnosis” in his essay Leaving the Movie Theatre (1975, En Sortant du Cinema). Nicholas Keate, a student of the DMSA course at University of Brighton, writes in his dissertation (2012: 23):

“Central to Barthes’ critique of cinema is that the things he sees and hears are often merely representative of the view through the lens. He is being asked to reduce the scope of his attention, for his body to be limp, his mind hypnotised, his eyes to see only inside the frame and nothing else. Barthes’ emphatic rejection of these constraints becomes the starting point for examining video art.”

Keate identifies Pipilotti Rist and Bill Viola as video artists who might provide an answer to Barthe’s critique by moving away from narratives to immersive audio-visual dreamscapes.


Video Art


Video art attempts to go beyond the frame of the cinematic screen. It uses space – above behind, around you – in a literal and metaphorical way. It explores social space, spiritual, political space, and the space of power.

Prominent artists are Bill Viola, Gary Hill, Pipilotti Rist, Bruce Nauman, Douglas Gordon et al.