Blast from the past
“A video work preceeded by the first version Video Conference: Exposition 1.0 shown in 2008, explores the relationship between human, and electronical and mechanical visual capabilities and capacities. Through the interplay of equipments, gadgets and live feed to create pulses of imageries that are unique from the combination of singular signals (analogue) and digital video, the work seeks to examine the crux of visual manipulation as a reaction on the bombardment of consumeristic technology.” (artist’s text, extracted from theblackmark.sg website)
One might miss the work consisting of 2 screens and think it was the surveillance monitor, and live feed gone awry – a gabbled, flickering image of the interior of the shop, distorted and wavy. Like his earlier works, Urich Lau examines, and experiments with the limits of electronic lens-based media, from photocopying machines, digital video, and now surveillance cameras. Obsessed with distorting means of image making, the live feed is possibly fed onto itself, creating the cascaded mirror effect. The camera looking at itself looking, an art theme since Nam June Paik, and Bruce Nauman started popularising the use of video in art. Theoretical appreciation aside, the work might be a clever play on ‘consumerism’, where desire to ‘buy/consume’ feeds onto itself, and placed in a hip shop where local designer dresses average at $200+ a piece. Visually, the work is too subtle to have any presence, lost on the shelves.
Video Conference: Solo 1.0
The near 30 minute performance by Yuzuru Maeda, consists of playing the violin in tune with a pre-recorded digital sampled track piped through a simple guitar amplifier, while wearing a headgear. This headgear consists of two approximately 3 inch screens, and mounted with a minature camera, which in turn is linked to a projector that casts a moving image of the ‘screens-eyes’ surveying the room of its audience. While fairly in tune, and blind-folded, the violin-play was largely shy, weak and muddy at its worst; it did its’ ‘good feel’ moments towards the end, but little could be said about the projection. Taking this at face value, we could interpret this solo piece as raw, and exploratory where visuals meet music in the most primitive video way – live feeds and live music, and projection. If we look at the work from the awareness of the history of video art, such as those by Nam June Paik (TV Bra for Living Sculpture, 1976), Yves Klein’s Monotone Symphony (1960) and Laurie Anderson, visuals and audio had their brief encounters. They all had their awkward moments, defying hollywood epic soundtrack renditions. This Solo 1.0 seemed to be an attempt to reprieve raw video and music, delving deep into our interpretation life, new age music, and huddling in a dark room where a performance took place. If the video ‘live feed’ and ‘projection’ worked, we would have seen ourselves, ‘huddling in a dark room where a performance took place’, becoming part of the performance or ambient trace. This solo, I hope, will lead onto other experimental projects by the artists, more fruitful collaborations not unlike those by KYTV or Theatreworks.