Where did Video art start?
Video as a medium for the art world stated in the late 1960s as video cameras, and tape recorders became available outside of the broadcasting world, previously it was film that was accessible.
Who Started It
The person widely viewed as the pioneer of the medium is Nam June Paik, a South Korean American artist, one of his first works involving the moving image was in 1963 and it was Exposition of Music-Electronic Television, in which Paik played with TV sets so as they would display distorted images from the broadcast channel of the time, his work was mainly looked over at the exhibition with viewers not realising its purpose.
But it was 1965 that was undoubtably the birth of video art, in that year the first Sony portapak entered the US and Paik is said to have purchased this first one in NYC, on making his way across town with camera in hand, he became stuck in a traffic jam caused by the then pope visiting New York, Paik then recorded the procession and later that day showed his recordings in Café Go-Go to friends and video art was born.
Some do contest this story, and others talk about how maybe Warhol displayed video a few weeks earlier, but whomever it may have been it was the year 1965 that was without doubt that start of video art.
But with this new device, it became easier for artists to experiment and create with video, especially with the associability of technology that could edit or change the image itself and also even with the ease of playback.
Artists all overused it in different ways, Paik using the camera as his paintbrush and the TV screen as his canvas, while Warhol documented events and recorded performances, Joan Jonas used playback as part of their work testing the limits of the technology, creating a multi-layered distorted works and Wolf Vostel who created multi-screen works with subject participation, to David Hall who when started to use video as his medium in the early 1970s and with his writings in studio international helped to establish video as a solid genera within the art world.
It was also here in where he introduced us to the term, time-based media.
Most of the video art created in America was coming out of New York, with the foundation of ‘the Kitchen’ in 1972 by the couple Steina and Woody Vasulka as a place for young artists to exhibit video art and congregate.
While in Europe different artists from all over the continent were using the medium and creating works, such as ‘Facing a family’ which was an amazing work by Valie Export it was an artwork using television and broadcasting as a platform, the work depicted a family watching the TV while eating dinner thus very much creating a mirror effect of the time in Austria where it was the first broadcast on the Austrian television program ‘Kontakte’ in 1971.
The medium of Video art was very much taking off, this new exciting way of creating works and relaying a message or view point in a creative way had found its footing and only more creativity was to come in the following decades.