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Title:Performative video, embodied vision: A history of early video, 1963-1975
Author(s):Kim, Ha Yan
Director of Research:Weissman, Terri
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Weissman, Terri
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Romberg, Kristin; Lucero, Jorge; Hamilton, Kevin
Department / Program:Art & Design
Discipline:Art History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Video Art
Postwar American Art
Video Activism
Nam June Paik
Charlotte Moorman
Dan Graham
Dara Birnbaum
Abstract:This dissertation traces a material and embodied history of 1960s and 1970s’ early video. Art historical discourses focusing on medium-specificity have discussed video art primarily in terms of its psychological effects—whether promoting a narcissistic condition or debunking the ideological message of the consciousness industry (e. g., commercial television). However, works by artists Nam June Paik, Charlotte Moorman, Dan Graham, and Dara Birnbaum, and collectives Videofreex and TVTV addressed the body, its relationship with the camera and the moving image, and the particular sensory conditions of the 1960s and 1970s, when post-WWII nation-building, the Vietnam War, and protest movements deepened the question of how to bridge the widening gap between embodied experience and prepackaged spectatorial experience in the contemporary mediascape. Television’s widespread influence over American society during these two decades accelerated the expansion of visual culture while reducing the body and sensorium to the eye and optical (in contrast to embodied and haptic) vision. Through the lens of a portable video/film camera, the artists and collectives demonstrated vision embedded in one’s body, which simultaneously affects and is affected by others. The intersubjective vision renounced television’s distanced, objectifying view and reductive tendencies that present the world in a facile image based on sets of semiotic binaries: subject/object, here/there, inside/outside, and us/them, for example. Moving with the newly portable camera, the artists performed a simultaneously reflective and reflexive act of seeing while also becoming visible objects (being seen) in the presence of others before the camera. The resulting videos present embodied and intersubjective vision that does not claim perceptual and intellectual mastery over the object seen. By doing so, the artists’ videos offer concrete situations in which we explore an affective relationship between subject, object, and the environment—beyond the confinement of the frame and yet grounded firmly in our lived-body.
Issue Date:2021-12-01
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Hayan Kim
Date Available in IDEALS:2022-04-29
Date Deposited:2021-12

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