I used to be one of those people who gave art videos a 30 second watch and then walked away. So last semester, my first at SMFA/Tufts, I decided to stretch myself. I took a video class to learn the techniques of shooting and editing video…and to try to understand conceptual video art.
In my first videos I simulated surveillance, in particular watching and being watched. In retrospect it was a natural instinct…I was suddenly “in control” of what images I was recording and displaying. (Background: my father is an ex-reporter; I’ve been on the fringes of PR/outreach in prior jobs; I’ve witnessed how easily the truth can become muddled and how difficult it can be to report what is “real” without bias.) My subject matter was also greatly influenced by a chance meeting and subsequent clearance to a surveillance center. Meanwhile, in the studio, I was simultaneously exploring “real” in a sculptural installation.
So what is real in surveillance and the watching/watched dynamic? What is real is the complex situation we as a society are able to practice – at once a complicit participation in surveillance and, on the other hand, a consistent disregard for uncomfortable circumstances. What exactly are we looking for and why don’t we see what is right in front of us?
I’ll continue my exploration of video. It satisfies the two sides in me: the geeky, quasi- journalist and the picture maker who loves a sexy image.
Note: Unfortunately, I don’t have clearance to show these videos yet. Here are a few stills from a three channel installation to pique your curiosity...