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Telling Stories, Scanners of Memory


Curator: Brian Langer
Video Positive ’93, Unity Theatre, Newcastle UK

A selection of recent video from Australia. 

Any programme of video as art produced in the early 1990's is linked to a history of highly creative and personal experimental image making. A hybrid artform, video is an ever expanding modernist and postmodernist discourse involving notions of cultural production on a global level. 

Since its early beginnings in the '60s and '70s the electronic image of video has evoked a transitional experience of reality and artifice for the spectator, creating dream worlds of temporal and spatial manipulations where mass media information is reconstructed as an expression of the 'self and cultural mythologies and the human (sub)consciousness is fabricated within systems of technological exploration. 

Video can also combine processes of technological manipulation with low-tech equipment or the digital integration of a diverse range of post-production techniques. This rawness, coupled with paradoxical confluences of mass media forms and genres provides artists with a radical and oppositional stance to mainstream media culture. This is evident in the following works: Test by John Gillies and the Sydney Front; K-Rad Man by Ian Haig; and  Paint I Am by Michael Strum. 

In Museum of Fire by Chris Caines, John Conomos and David Haines; Down to the Line by Marshall White; Sometimes by Suzi Alesandra and Driving and Dreaming by Jane Parkes the private self in the public sphere is exposed. The video image in close-up is linked by a face-to-face narrative of every day rituals and dreams (either spoken or as a silent rhythmic sub-text). 

This intertextual experiment in videographic inquiry subverts the relationship between object and subject, and the inherent control governing our ability to view and being viewed. In Jill Scott's new work Paradise Tossed the ironic artifice of digital electronic imagining as a televisual and allegorical intertextual rendering of meditative landscapes of domestic technology cannot be avoided. The directness of this piece is transformed into a surreal investigation of female identity.

Museum of Fire 45 mins David Haines/John Conomos/Chris Caines 1991 
Driving and Dreaming 4 mins Jane Parkes  1991 
Sometimes 5 mins Suzi Alesandra 1992 
Down to the Line 10 mins Marshall White 1992 
Test 3 mins John Gillies & the Sydney Front 1992 
I Paint I Am 1 min Michael Strum  1992 
K-Rad Man 10 mins Ian Haig  1992 
Paradise Tossed 13 mins Jill Scott 1992

VIDEO POSITIVE 93 acknowledges the financial assistance of the Visual Art/Craft Board of the Australia Council and the support of the Electronic Media Arts (Australia) Ltd, Brian Langer the curator and the artists.



United Kingdom