Video Weekly Programme #2
“Encounters in the age of Internet”
by Nikoleta Marković
When thinking about the idea of how we can connect through art in these times when we are unable to physically attend exhibition openings and see the original works in real life, I wondered how this sudden change affects video as a medium. Video transformed itself from avant-garde cinema to conceptual art and even further as a medium delivering information in a direct and immediate way.
Nicolas Bourriaud explained in his theory of relational aesthetics, what exists within relational aesthetics and what the theory builds upon is the inheritance of conceptual art – a good example being Flux, first and foremost happenings, but also mind-set practices of the 1970s. What is also characteristic of this theory is the understanding of relational aesthetics as the social cracks of interstitials, and can be seen as a non-specific exchange in communities not based on monetary exchange. To Bourriaud, “Art is a form of social exchange, the realization of a social relationship is a form of art” – or to paraphrase it, art can be seen as a state of encounters. The theory focuses more on human relations and their social context, rather than an independent private space, and the artist is perceived as a catalyst for the interactions and the artwork rather than being a central figure.*
And what about these days when the world is struck with pandemic and people are locked in their homes, practicing social distancing, with curfew hours and many restrictions that prohibit our movements. In this state we are in, how do we consume and contemplate art, nature and the world around us, creating those, as Bourriaud would put, encounters that enrich our lives and give meaning? Well, one word – Internet.
As we try to make the best of the situation that we are in, the Internet is overwhelmed these days with VR exhibitions, online viewings and auctions, HD photographs of artworks that try to evoke that experience of being present and seeing the original, but for video as a medium, it doesn’t change much. Videos can still be experienced in almost the same way in a gallery space, or safely at home. It’s interesting to say that the moment in which art overlapped with video is crucial and it coincides with the time the Internet appeared. This is why we can reflect on the genre from today’s point of view and define its status in the age of relational aesthetics.
The following videos correspond with the contemporary art world and relate to our current situation where we try to apprehend those participatory experiences, without actually being able to physically participate. By looking at these encounters, we can contemplate the (un)real world around us through sound and moving images.
*Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, Les Presses Du Reel edition (January 1, 1998)
- Louis-Cyprien Rials, Travel in China ( is french copy better than chinese original? ) – ( 2016 ) video 4k 16:9 stéréo – 5’55” – Son : Romain Poirier, studio MER/NOIR, Paris
“Travel in China ( is french copy better than chinese original? ) is a video made with photographs collected on the internet after a travel interruption. I was supposed to realize a video in Zhangye Danxia mountains, which are very colorful under certain conditions, but was prevented due to an injury. My impossibility to travel made me reflect on the possibility of realizing a work remotely, far away from the original place. By playing with the colors until ultra saturation, I suggest both a mental travel as much as an exaggeration of our post instagram society. The video can be seen as the heir of the travel books, where it’s exaggeration can project us both in a strange lucid dream as much as how our scientific tools can see the landscape. The title was chosen as a humorist point to describe the theft of intellectual properties as much as un homage to this unexpected voyage.” – Louis-Cyprien Rials
- Marija Avramovic & Sam Twidale, Sunshowers, 2019
Marija and Sam’s work is used here as the epitome of the above mentioned encounters. The work is inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s film Dreams which follows a young boy as he explores a forest and stumbles across a fox wedding (Kitsune no Yomeiri). Exploring ideas of animism and assigning life in the form of artificial intelligence to all of the objects, both natural and man-made, within the virtual world where they are free to interact with each other. It’s important to say that the work is unfolding in real-time with the characters themselves deciding which path they follow, allowing us to contemplate and experience these encounters and the (un)real nature around us.
- “Basketball Musical Strategy” by Morelos León Celis and Predrag Terzić
Sport as such represents a transnational category that connects people and creates an atmosphere where at least for the duration of the game we are all connected to each other, by investing ourselves in the outcome of the game. At the start of the pandemic sporting events had been played in empty halls without an audience before all leagues got completely cancelled. We lost the right to participate in the same way as we lost the right to travel or even leave our homes. In this collaborative work, the memory of a basketball game is evoked through the sound of an orchestra playing on an empty field. In this context of contemplating the world around us while staying safe at home, Basketball Musical Strategy can be perceived as a catalyst for human relations and as a video game, where the musicians are emulating the movements of strategic basketball plays.
Many thanks to all artists for their participation.
All videos are courtesy of the artists: Louis-Cyprien Rials, Marija Avramović & Sam Twidale, Morelos León Celis & Predrag Terzić