An event organized by Portikus in cooperation with the Institut für Neue Medien an der Städelschule (Institute for New Media at the Städel Academy of Art)

Photos: Katrin Schilling

Beam projection of the life broadcast of Soccer World Championship 1990 from Italy in alteration with art videos from all over the word.

24 days - 52 games - 110 hours of video art

Art in flux, like science in flux, is being inhibited in its growth by the force of legitimazation. S/He who must answer too many questions why s/he is doing what s/he is doing, will finally do less. This pressure of self-justification paralyses development and is also implied by the question: what is art. Behind the question: when is video an art or which tapes are art is the claim for dominance of historically grown traditional forms versus the search of new art. In painting and sculpture canons and criteria have been developed to reasonably explain works and values. Difficulties emerge when applying aesthetical criteria derived from historically grown forms to young forms of art. The question always raised in Germany is it art really means: is it art in the traditional interpretation. Thus the question itself becomes questionable in the sense of what W. Benjamin stated about photography: whether by the invention of photography the total character of art has been changed. (The Work of Art in the Era of Technical Reproduction). This statement is valid for all other technical media. More important, however, would be the following question: how have technical media changed not only the social function of art but also the total character of aesthetics resp. the aesthetics of particular forms of art. The rise of new art forms means to question old measures and criteria or even eliminate them, in order to melt with new data, new forms of communication or arts and sciences, f.e. in analogy to Renaissance painting. The occasional proximity of video art to science is determinded by the strong dependence of media and technology. Painting is frozen technique. Time-based arts such as music or film are much more dependent on technology, i.e. machines. Take for example electronic music or video. Due to this sensitive dependence on machines not only necessary for production as well as for perception, but also for its transient abstract virtual existence, the artistic status of video art is not secured for a traditional view.

Therefore, we shall not make a choice oriented on traditional criteria. We do not intend to present a fictive visual dictionary, no nomenclature of video art. We do not feel authorized to determine video art, but we wish to focus our intention on the impact of pictures. The obsessive nature of the flux of media images which patterns large selections of public life as well as individual desires, the accomplicity of pictures and the treason of the picture in the public, i.e. the codification of social patterns by pictures, the construction of a universe by technical images, the creations of techno-imaginations are the focal theme of this video festival. The technical media are merely the host media of new visions. We are concerned with the challenge presented by the complex nature of electronic media towards the platonic idea of the picture.

Accordingly, not only magnetic recordings, i.e. the traditional form of video-art, are being demonstrated, but also animations artifically synthesized and stored on video tapes. Besides examples of classical video art and awared computer animations there exist bizarre visions of alter experiences, singular insurrections, subjective idiosyncrasies. Added to the artistic innovations are scientific visualizations and applications in the area of commercial design. Thus we attempt to outline the open digital space in which electronic images are expanding to show the framework within the power of pictures is evolving. We are concerned with the new dimensions of the image and not with its legitimacy. We feel the exploration of this domain of technical images is more important than their limitation. We wish to recognize the dimensions of the screen which electronic pictures have unfolded. We wish to pursue its coordinates and to understand ist range and power.

This event is also meant to be a trial in social aesthetics. Therefore, the Portikus will be transfered by the designers Ginbande and Freien Köche (free cooks) from the Städelschule into a club with bar, pub and comfortable atmosphere. We wish to find out how a public medium received in private may be reopended to public recipience. For video is obviously true that W. Benjamin said about the cinema: Recipience in entertainment which is being increasingly observed in all areas of art as symptomatic for profound changes in apperception finds its proper instrument of probe in the movies. In its shock effect the film meets this form of recipience. A model of distraction and dissipation.