This seminar consists of four lectures and three related days of screenings.
The wide-open field of early video may arguably be the typical condition of a medium at birth (compare the Internet, on its way from being a Utopian arena of activity to a gated compound locked down by corporate toll takers, if they get their way). Despite the competition of sites like YouTube, video as an art form has become, by definition, an expensive captive of the gallery and museum, the black box inside the white box. But the transformative impulses that drove Utopian hopes in the earliest days have not completely evaporated. It is absolutely vital to revisit early video works and their context (including the texts of the era), to provide a deep slice into the moment of origin and see what may be refurbished and adapted for the present-beyond the stylish appropriations of the 1970s “look.” In the face of the Society of the Spectacle, taking back/talking back to the media was a watchword of the era, offering the hope of social transformation through art, activism, and community interventions. This hope animates many today, in whatever form and medium it may be furthered.
Night School is an artist’s project by Anton Vidokle in the form of a temporary school. A yearlong program of monthly seminars and workshops, Night School draws upon a group of local and international artists, writers, and theorists to conceptualize and conduct the program.