PRINT Summer 1976

The Ins and Outs of Video


DISCUSSIONS OF VIDEO USUALLY run through such subjects as communication theory, cybernetics, computers, mixed with equal parts of McLuhan, synthesizers, Cage, Zen, and, ultimately, the “revolution.” The historical blossoming—if you can call it that—of video is situated in North America, 1960s, and video couldn’t have escaped these popular topics and influences. Proclaimed as the most “advanced” media for both popular (mass) and art (elite) consumption/participation, video was said to be the harbinger of all kinds of glorious and wonderful changes in art and society at large. “I have treated the cathode ray tube (TV screen) as a canvas,” states Nam June Paik, “and proved that it can be a superior canvas.” And, “Although the piano has only 88 keys, we have, in color TV, 12 million dots per second. . . .” The effect on art was to be complete and total.

Then, like the talk which surrounded

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