Michał Brzeziński’s original project
The art of motion picture
The strategies used by the contemporary video artists are very often identical with the ones employed by the creators of experimental cinema: the same audiovisual aids are used. Should there be any difference between video art and cinema, it is the type of exhibition space. Avant-garde cinema has always been the domain of visual artists, fully experienced in e.g. photography. Video, as conceptual art, is also rooted in experimental cinema, which was primarily denied its private display area. The films were shown in cafes or art galleries but not in cinemas – at that time reserved for popular entertainment and only just separated from the neighbourhood of circus and funfair. It was much later that so-called independent, art cinema was born. This type of cinema used different means of expression and tried to break free from theatricality and literary qualities. However, in order to be generally understood, it had to refrain from experimenting. The experimental and art cinema were not alike. The latter one was less radical and designed to avoid a commercial defeat which, in the case of avant-garde cinema, was equaled with a huge artistic success.
Simultaneously, somewhere on the margins of cinematography, artists concerned with film technology performed their art. Video art comes from this alternative space. As a “cancerous growth” [Wim Wenders], a parasite or virus deprived of its host, video art infects various areas of artistic activity. The public space is fraught with cameras and screens. Even in pubs or clubs people watch matches on TV. In the streets, at every turn we are bombarded with the commercials displayed on LCDs… As a matter of fact, the entire public space is appropriated for the needs of the post-conceptual art, video art in particular. Why is video art so expansive? Because it lacks its private space, its temple. Cinema, TV or art gallery no longer perform this role. One possibility is cyberspace, but isn’t it video art that becomes the interface of cyberspace and not the other way round?
Historically speaking, however, video art has its roots in the 19th century cinema. Contemporary video art, being tired of artistic, photographic or TV aesthetics, is looking for some new means of expression. Video anchored in the domain of TV is affected e.g. by the music video dynamics. The cinema also drew extensively from the ludic discourse and popular entertainments, such as a fair or circus.