Jim Moir, aka Vic Reeves, explores video art, revealing how different generations hacked the tools of television to pioneer new ways of creating art that could be beautiful, bewildering and wildly experimental. Jim argues that underpinning much of this work is an urge to question our modern, screen-based world: ‘When artists get hold of cameras, things get interesting.’
With contributions from leading British artists such as Isaac Julien and Rachel Maclean, Jim shows how the arrival of the portable video camera in the 1960s allowed artists to create work that set out to take on the power of corporate media. New York-based artist Nam June Paik, credited as video art’s inventor, once declared, ‘television has been attacking us all our lives – now we can attack it back.’
With the arrival of video art in the UK in the 1970s, British artists discovered that the instant playback of the video camera gave them a level of control not possible with film, and led to a creative explosion, from works of cosmic abstraction to feminist visions and Dadaist TV pranks.
Jim looks at the tradition of performance art and sees how artists used the latest developments, from home video to artificial intelligence, in their work. And he explores, with the arrival of the epic video installations of the 90s and early millennium, how this outsider art form became part of the creative establishment, as well as a purpose-built platform for our screen-obsessed world.