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“Video Spheres and Bubbles”

Video is the dominant medium of our century. It is the unquestioned companion of our everyday lives. It is an attachment in a variety of practices. Once seen as a single object, as tape, as machine, it actualizes now as appearance, as a fog, or as a cloud. Maybe just a definition.

We are viewing and sharing video at any time, at any place. The variation of screens and screen sizes is continuously increasing. The shrinking of the screen and the mapping of it for telecommunications and other devices directly impacts the content and forms of the presented videos. For example,

a company in Finland projects video on smoke instead of a screen or an reflecting object. (http://www.fogscreen.com/)
Aesthetically, television had already emphasized closer shots. The video at our fingertips on mobile devices amplifies this tendency, pointing us towards details, opening up content for new and different kinds of forms and practices. The ability to network, share and map video questions not only the forms of content but also raises the question of “where”. This question of “where” relates to the position of the single viewer in a network of viewers and videos. Here with all the included relations we might not be able to refer anymore to single points and single directions.

In my earlier research for Video Vortex, I had reflected on the impact of the diverse development of screens and online video upon the composition and creation of moving images. In my latest essay "Frames within Frames", I applied mainly formal, aesthetic approaches to video as it appears in various web interfaces, and reassessed the act of cinematic framing.

In this lecture I would like to extend Peter Sloterdijk’s notion of spheres or bubbles, to rethink video as an “artificial sphere of existence” - this sphere and its inner and outer views, its visible and invisible relations. The question of “where” is the question of our position towards, within or outside of video.

My approach (“meine Annaeherung”) will be interdisciplinary, not just philosophical and aesthetic, drawing on studies of the moving image from art theoretical points of view; and touching on practices of video activist groups from Turkey, as well as video artists like Nam June Paik and Tom Sherman.

As an example for illustration and to open up the reflection upon I would like to refer to the work “videosphere” by BESTARIO presented at the 2010 IDFA DocLab. “Videosphere is a 3-D sphere that reproduces videos from the renowned TED Talks archive and shows the relations between different presentations on technology, entertainment and design-related topics.” (http://www.doclab.org/2008/videosphere/)

© Andreas Treske 2002-11 / Last updated August 2011

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