“We have to be minimalist. A small event, if we can understand it, reconciles us a little bit with the world.” Agnès Varda

In my conversation with Agnès Varda about her current exhibition of video installation, photography, and sculpture showing at Blum & Poe (the full interview will run next month in The Brooklyn Rail), she emphasized that expanded vision occurs through close, returning attention to all that is caught in images of daily life: the complex and sustaining drama of living in time.

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“The many types of video art have been made with a variety of intentions, ideas, working styles, and structures. Some address pure aesthetic concerns, where others prioritize content in less formal but still original and more deeply personal ways.” Kate Horsfield, “Introduction to the Video Data Bank Collections,” Feedback, 2006.

(Here you should see Kate Horsfield interviewed in the 1970s about video, but Google video won’t let me embed. You can also see my interview with her for the 1990s Women of Vision, here.)

If everything on YouTube is video art (at least the stuff made by individuals and not corporations), but very little of this art can be ever finally understood as such because it wasn’t really made to be art and won’t be recognized as such either, even if it was (unless it goes off YouTube gaining sanction, context, and community along the way), then it is the archivist (the curator, the choreographer, the tour guide) who becomes the final, visible, verifiable YouTube artist by herself making visible the links (to other forms, communities, ideas) that the artist alone might once have made (off-line in a place on a box for an audience). See the work of Natalie Bookchin, for example: