9 mins


click image for QT movie (6.7 Mb)


Short Histories of Video Art 1965-present
25-29 May 2004
Stephen Partridge, Interplay (UK, 1980, 9 mins)

All concepts undergo historical change, and the concept of narrative has shifted since this piece was made. Watching an artwork concerned to open out the narrative devices utilised by mainstream film, it is interesting to ask whether what at the time it was made might have seemed a deconstruction of the structure of narrative could now be seen as no less narrative in its construction than mainstream films made today, or indeed the films it sought to deconstruct. On the other hand it lacks any sort of resolution, which is of course its significant difference to those films, a resolution which would confer a unity to its contents. Yet this videotape could nonetheless be said to speak of an experience of looking, and to do so in a way that would make sense to, say, a young viewer of today.

It is a playful piece, its moves could have been made for the sheer pleasure of their invention, without regard for distinguishing between truth and illusion. What might once have been intended as an examination of the structure of looking and the cinematic organisation of the gaze appears now to be agonistic. And perhaps it is even representational, a little narrative reflecting how our very looking is itself ‘cinematic’ and suggesting that no longer can we speak of the technics of cinema and of the camera as an imposition on the world, as if the world could ever be seen outside of how cinema and the camera has enabled us to view it.
© 2004 Jonathan Dronsfield
Director For Contemporary Art
John Hansard Gallery
University of Southampton

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© 1999 Stephen Partridge

© 1980 Hugh Stoddart