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By Peggy Gale
Subjects Film & Media
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Paperback : 9780889202528, 108 pages, October 1995


When the video camera first appeared on the market, artists hailed the newly available equipment as the new pencil, the better canvas, the best eye of all. The medium was exciting and revolutionary: low-cost and low-tech; “everybody” was curious as galleries and museums hastened to program new video works in festivals and exhibitions. However, little aesthetic or critical material was available on either artists or issues: it was generally assumed that artists’ video was just some kind of wannabe television — its concerns and achievements, and its relationship to the visual arts generally were too often undervalued. But video artists continued to explore and advance in the medium and works produced in the seventies are strikingly different from those of today.

Videotexts is an invaluable collection of essays — a comprehensive guide to Canadian video artists and their works. The essays focus on important individual tapes and artists and on the development of narrative forms: to construct meaning and confirm memory. Revised and updated, they offer a “present-tense” assessment of key works from the last twenty-five years, and of artists’ ideas and processes as they were unfolding. Everyone interested in video and contemporary art and culture will want to read them.


"Gale should be commended as one of the first critics to write about video art in Canada. ... Videotexts provides an excellent introduction and raises questions which could serve as the basis for further research. "