Prior to 2005, a small number of books had appeared in Canada and the USA charting the history of video art; however, UK video was significantly absent from these publications. Cate Elwes' objective was to write the first comprehensive account of the history, theory and practice of video art that also demonstrated how UK video intersected and contributed to developments in Europe and North America.
Synopsis: Video art dominates the international art world to such an extent that its heady days on the radical fringes are sometimes overlooked--often unknown. This book is an essential and highly entertaining guide to video art and its history. Elwes, herself a pioneer of early video, traces the story from the weighty Portapak equipment of the '60s and '70s to today's digital technology, from early experiments in "real time" to the "new narrative" movement of the 1980s. She also examines video's love-hate relationship with television, from its literal destruction in "scratch" video to its apparent absorption into the mainstream with works commissioned by Channel Four. Throughout its forty-year history, video has been allied to self-portraiture, landscape, painting and sculpture and has been co-opted as a political tool. Artists discussed include amongst many others Nam June Paik, Nan Hoover, The Duvet Brothers, Dara Birnbaum, Bill Viola, Pipilloti Rist, David Hall, Stuart Marshall, Shirin Neshat, Smith & Stewart, Steve McQueen and Sam Taylor-Wood.