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Video art, a crucial un-discipline

Video art, a crucial un-discipline

From its creation in 1963 by artists from the Fluxus Avant-garde, (with Nam June Paik and Wolf Vostell), video art was marked by its link to new technologies as well as its interest in combining artistic disciplines (music, sculpture, visual arts, dance, poetry…). Video art is not one more of these artistic disciplines. Its Fluxus origins (Fluxus is an energy, the flow of life which goes through everything) make it a crucial un-discipline.

« Fluxus used to pay attention to the simple things of life, and made simplicity a value highlighting laughter, tears, the flight of a black fly in a dark room.” Wolf Vostell (in Libération newspaper, August 1995) According to Fluxus, there is no more art centre (schools, museums, galleries…), Art is right on the place where you work, where you are asserting your existence, your being in the world, where you dwell instead of being dwelt… Art is therefore a territory that makes it possible to dwell the world and oneself actively. It is a space where encounters can happen. It is not a pre-built space but an ever virgin ground, which has to be re-invented continually. “I never think of what I do as being art or not. It’s an activity, that’s all.” (George Brecht)

At les Instants Vidéo, we claim our connection to the Fluxus roots of video art. To Paik and Vostell, of course. But also to the pataphysicist and tvgrapher Jean-Christophe Averty, and to the electronic poet Gianni Toti, the musician of the waves Steina Vasulka, to Armand Gatti’s poetic anarchies, to Irit Batsry, the messenger of buried memories… At the beginning of its history, electronic poetry mainly developed in spaces devoted to contemporary art (museums, galleries), in industrialised and rich  countries (Northern Europe, United States, Canada, Japan….). Today, the situation has changed a lot. Everywhere in the world, from South America, to Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, young artists seize this opportunity to tell something about the world and themselves. They all felt the necessity and emergency to invent a new language in line with our time and with the huge social and technological upheaval we are now going through. They all understood that our relationship to time and space is not the same as it used to be. Electronic poetry is not any more an area reserved for contemporary art specialists. It committed itself in new territories. Artistic workshops, new spaces of presentation have been created, in a prison in Marseille, in a “recollected” factory in Buenos Aires, in a University in Casablanca, in an Oasis in Figuig (Morocco), in a Palestinian refugees camp in Bethléem, in a Syrian organisation which has to be nomadic…

Among all the constellations that bring together the new electronic poets, we are particularly involve with the one that is being developed around the mediterranean sea. Since more than 10 years, video art is having a new breath in territories like Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Palestine…? New poetic and digital songs are emerging and being heard. Paintings of a new kind are colouring the horizon. Mediterranean is dazzling us. The art works we discover together are to be seen as great escapes, as political, geological, sensory and philosophic turmoil we are going through daily. They are the signs of what is alive inside us. We would like to end this short introduction to video art with the Humixte Declaration written by the artist A.Strid, because it gives a marvellous glance to the new issues of art today : We, not separated from the Living, in harmony with our art of living this planet, say: that we built ourselves by symbiosis, association, collaboration. We do not dream to command, submission is useless to us. We are busy with living. We move the skin of the models that keep a tight grip on their stones. We can find fertility by going along our borders, because our intelligence is collective. Humixtes, we host Unity in our deep inside..

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