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Video and Performance

story © Michael Betancourt | published April 3, 2004 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Why is it that when video gets used as part of a larger show, it rarely plays a role greater than that of wallpaper--a visual enhancement to "enliven" the performance, rather than being allowed to play a role in the way that any other "performer" does?

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IMHO 11: Media Mythos

story © Michael Betancourt | published November 9, 2003 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


repost from The Miami Art Exchange

After more than a century of gradual development we have arrived at a point in time where all our desires, interests, beliefs, and thoughts are carefully tallied and counted through polls and marketing analysis to better sell us anything that we might happen to have a passing fancy for. This situation has resulted in a simultaneous creation and destruction within our collective psyches. The past has become as much a close world as it is a world before. The meaning which invested itself in all aspects of our arranged human world are now as meaningless as stones. We do not exist with the density of meaning which invested the worlds of our ancestors. This is what we have lost, destroyed by the need of manufacturing and consumption to always provide new goods, new services, even if these goods and services are themselves unnecessary, or even wasteful, of our lives and our money. The goods are produced, so there must be a market for them, consumers willing and able to pass over their currency for whatever thing it is that is sold.

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Four Trajectories out of Realism

story © Michael Betancourt | published January 30, 2002 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


1. Imitative (creation of mimetic illusion)

2. Deformative (painterly motion in Bacon)

3. Transformative (paranoiac-criticism, metamorphic images, based in perceptual recognition)

4. Simulation (where the image becomes the thing imaged)


Notes for Essays on Inconsistency

story © Michael Betancourt | published December 19, 2001 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


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Video is Dead, Long Live Video!

story © Michael Betancourt | published September 28, 1999 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Let's begin with a statement so absurd, so against the grain of common knowledge that it will require some discussion to explain what is meant by it: "Video is a dead medium." Ridiculous. Impossible! Video is everywhere.... The technology we call video has been replaced by a newer technology with a higher degree of control over the image, a slightly different characteristic curve, and sharper images. Incidentally -- and not accidentally -- we call this new technology "video." There is a high degree of overlap between the two.

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n-dimensional objects

story © Michael Betancourt | published September 24, 1998 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Memory, most fickle of dimensions, is key to our experience of encountering these diminutive objects. The act of looking is as much a matter of our remembering what we saw a moment ago as it is a biological tapestry of rods and cones, neurons and synapses firing in a specific pattern. What we think we see is not always what is actually present before us. Desires and emotions color our experiences even as they cloud our recollections after the fact. For all of us, any movement through space entails a certain degree of movement through our memories of that space and our beliefs about what we will see next. We live in a network of overlapping spheres of memory and anticipation, the unseen dimensions of our worlds.

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Realism in Photography

story © Michael Betancourt | published August 22, 1998 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


The most self-evident element of photography is also is its most commonly unconsidered: realism. It is that we find this to be a self-evident quality that leaves us with the feeling that of course photography is realist in depiction. Thats what photographs are. We think of photo-ids, the photo-finish, and the photographic memory. All present us with an essential tie to reality through their depiction. This is why we say of a photograph that it is what it shows. We dont really mean that a photograph of a dog really is that dog, but that it shows us how that dog really looks. The idea is that in some base (mechanical) fashion the photograph has captured the dog; the dog has been shot, the photograph is the trophy.

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survey answers

story © Michael Betancourt | published April 30, 1998 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


No idea what this was used for.

> For an essay I would like to do a survey, would people like to answer these > questions and email the responces?

What is this survey going to be used for in this essay? A content analysis for marketing purposes or what??


1. What do you think computer/ digital art is?


[It's also important to recognize that "computer art" historically encompases different things than "digital art" historically does, and conflating these two terms is both innacurate and misleading.]

2. Do you think computer/digital art is a valid form of art like painting and drawing etc?

What is an invalid form of art?

(Isn't this like asking "when is a dog not a dog?") I don't understand this question at all.

Do you mean "valid medium"? In which case I would like to know how you're defining "art"; such a question about appropriate and inappropriate media relates to notions of medium-based purity. (These notions were never historically valid, a point clearly side stepped by Greenberg and his followers if you are familiar with their criticism. Also, such definitions are currently very much doubted epistemically.)

3. What place do you think art has on the internet?

The internet could be a useful way for artists to present their work to an audience; it could also become an "open" museum accessible and accepting anyone's work. However, for it to do either of these it would need to be part of a culture that values art as something other than a commodity or a status-object that could be owned by an individual because there is only limited ability to own works presented on the internet, and it is impossible to understand the works presented through it except in terms of open series of multiples, much as with television. This is built into the technology (is the technology), rather than being a side effect of it, as with traditional printed matter.

The non-physical nature of materials presented on the internet (binary code) means that they are at once easily distributed, copied and owned by anyone who wishes to make a copy of the work in question. This defeats the conception of ownership in the sense of a unique object. If I have a file and I want to give it to a friend I simply make a copy and then there are 2 essentially identical files. Further, I can delete one of them and it makes no difference which because of their identical nature.

At the same time digital works can only be viewed through technology, that is, they require technology to remain digital works. Prints are not digital works; they are prints made from digital files, which is to say that they are essentially different.

4. Would you use computer/digital art?

Use it for what? Does art need to have a use? If that is the case, then you're disagreeing with Kant, and I would like to know what you base this disagreement upon.

[Do you mean "make" this work? If that is the question, then the answer is yes.]



story © Michael Betancourt | published May 26, 1997 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Realism is something distinct from narrative, from the way the film events develop, but at the same time it is a mode by which they are revealed -- thus, even for films which are not-realist, they will still find themselves following the same hieratical structure of photography/editing/development (action) that realism follows.

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Formal Aspects - a statement

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 26, 1997 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Formal aspects of the film material -- frame lines, tape splices, dirt, fingerprints etc. -- have been claimed by some filmmakers as the only way to make film pure. Often these arguments for purity proceed from the basic idea that the material of film, the base which supports the emulsion, is the basic aspect of what film is. Such arguments are based on the idea that the projection is separate from the film, separable from the film. But when we consider what it is that makes our experience of film different from sculpture or painting, we realize that this experience is based around the projection of a film and its development within the duration of that projection.

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