The decision to produce an entire issue of Video Guide on performance grew out of the notion that there is a logical correlation between live art (the term used in the UK) and video. In many cases, performance that uses video is the outcome of an expanded video presentation in an attempt to place the original medium in a larger context. Other times, performance becomes the inspiration to make tape, either as a document of an event or as a singular narrative piece. In any case, video is one of the tools that has been used to establish performance art in a realm separate from theatre, an aspect which has led to its development as an art form.
This issue also reflects a renewed interest in performance in both the local community and the larger international context. A number of performance series have developed with in the Vancouver art community, notably the Western Front Performance programme, Ideophrenia, and events sponsored by the Pitt International Gallery and Pop tart Magazine, which in some cases have played to capacity audiences. At the same time, the EDGE 88 Festival in London last September presented Britain's 'First Biennale of Experimental Art' showcasing the performance work of 25 international artists over a two-week period. Needless to say, the works produced varied in scope and aspect, and attitude toward performance, from the Polish artist Zbigniew Warpechowski's simple yet effective use of himself as sole performer with minimal tech (and no video) to Paul Wong's extravaganza Self Winding which included multi-media tech, performers, live and prerecorded video, etc.
The diversity of attitudes toward performance and video performance is reflected in the articles chosen for this issue. We have also presented views from both sides of the Atlantic by producing this issue jointly with Projects UK in Newcastle. Their tireless pioneering involvement with live art, and experimental work in general, has resulted in Projects being a seminal organization in UK contemporary art. They have lately expanded their projects to include those of a more international scope and are the organizers for EDGE 90, Britain's second biennale of experimental art which promises to be one of the largest in Europe. In spite of their growth, Projects have maintained their integrity and have staked their loyalties on the side of artistic expression, unlike other European art festivals such as Venice or Documenta where nationality has become a commodity for sale. The choice of artists for EDGE 90 will not be market-driven, in part because of the organizer's attitude, but also due to Projects extraordinary ability to fundraise public money in Thatcher's Britain.
The articles in this issue speak for themselves. Among the authors are individuals who have played an integral role in a variety of ways in fomenting an interest in performance/video art. It is not the role of an editor to single out any for separate mention - all are worthy of reading.
Guest Editor this Issue
The Museum of Modern Art Department of Film