PRINT May 2023


New Red Order, Culture Capture: Crimes against Reality, 2020, two-channel HD video, color, sound, 9 minutes.

WHAT WAS VIDEO ART? On the occasion of “Signals: How Video Transformed the World,” a major survey at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (on view through July 8), Artforum considers a medium whose novelty—its “promise of the new,” as Alex Kitnick writes—once electrified artists and theorists. Today, video has colonized every facet of life and demands new approaches. In the following pages, a group of distinguished contributors chronicle the ways artists have mobilized the screen, whether by wielding it as a weapon in an asymmetrical war with mass media, jamming its conventions to antagonize the banalities of content, or cultivating its capacities for liveness, immediacy, and feedback.

For the issue’s keynote essay, Kitnick charts a genealogy of video art’s elusive past and tenuous future, tracing artists’ engagements with the ever-shifting target of the now. Three contributors examine video through the lens of recent exhibitions: Tina Rivers Ryan offers her take on “Signals”; Erika Balsom weighs in on “People Make Television” at London’s Raven Row; and Anna Lovatt considers “I’ll Be Your Mirror: Art and the Digital Screen” at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Finally, four artists—Seth Price, Martine Syms, Tiffany Sia, and Cory Arcangel—share video works that have shaped their practices.