The above photo shows Louise Curham from the TLC making a cracking point at the plenary discussion session at the end of the Disappearing Video Conference. To her right are Lyndal Jones, Andrew Frost, Stephen Jones and Danni Zuvela.
It was a really interesting day. Here’s my round-up of a few random thoughts:
Stephen Jones is a walking encyclopedia. The man cannot be contained within a 1/2 hour presentation. Next time he needs to be given an hour, with a secret half hour snuck in at the end which he doesn’t know about, to contain his rich and fruity overspill.
Danni Zuvela gave a fantastic talk about “forgetting” as an Aussie characteristic that goes waaaay back. So it’s no surprise that our avant-garde ephemeral art histories blow away. They’ve got nothing to plant themselves into.
Jon Conomos. Man, this guy is great. He told an anecdote about listening to a lecture by Buckminster Fuller, back in the 1960s(?). Apparently, Fuller’s talk was like an incredible collage of references, quotes and images, rambling in all directions for 3 hours. It blew Conomos’ mind. Likewise, Conomos seems to have borrowed this strategy of bricolage-as-lecture format, and I was awash with the pleasure of his tales. When you carry so much memory in your body, it seems almost impossible to say anything without it being a quote. Didn’t Umberto Eco say something like that?
Andrew Frost gave a provocative forecast for what video art will look like in the future. Very futuristic. You know, screens scrunched up like handkerchiefs in your pocket, and micro-chips embedded in brains and all that. Probably will come true though. I hope he posts his paper online.
For me, Louise Curham’s talk was a highlight, and I’m not just saying that because she is my good colleague here at the TLC. She managed to bridge the fields of video art and archiving, the materiality of the medium and its cultural significance. She spoke the with energy and vigour of someone to whom this stuff really matters, as a film making artist and professional archivist.
I’m trying to get hold of the audio for Louise’s talk from the MCA to post online here – hopefully soon.
Oh, and the Disappearing Video screening was great too. I sat across the aisle from Albie Thoms and David Perry…that was something of an honour for this young whippersnapper. My faves were Peter Kennedy’s Idea Demonstrations – they were very medium-specific – interacting with the ghosting effects of 1970s cathode ray tubes. Of course, CRTs don’t ghost like that anymore. What sense does this work have now? How could it meaningfully be migrated to newer forms of presentation?
And also I loved “Built in Ghosts Inside Television” (I think that was the one) it was a cut-n-paste from TV and advertising, as taped from live to air telly in the early 1980s. It was striking because it was all about the mainstream fear of television, that “social scourge”. Almost 20 years later, it’s parody-effect seems almost unnecessary – television is no longer the big boogy-man – it’s been replaced by the internet…