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Vidicon Inscriptions

David Hall

UK, 1973
6 minutes, 10 seconds, B&W, Sound, 4:3
Original format: SD video
Available formats: DVD / Digibeta tape / SD Digital file

“..Here preserved are the poignant traces of ghostings , where the mugging of participants has at once the presence of improvisation and yet is already caught in a moment, simultaneously, of capture and decay. The work is about the materiality of the screen technologies of the day, for sure. It is also, especially in retrospect, an elegy for the passing of time – the time of the gesture as it fades from the screen, the time of technologies that have their moment and pass away.” Sean Cubitt , Greyscale Video and the Shift to Colour , Art Journal, Fall 2006.

Over-lighting exceeds capacity for assimilation in a 1970s video camera and images are ‘burnt’ into the surface of its tube. Here a unique property is discovered where both the passage of time and trace of that continuum are registered as one. A section of the original tape version records the image of the artist with a camera (via a mirror) panning, by stages, across the screen. Before movement the lens is covered and re-exposed after the change, and each time the image appears to be inscribed onto the screen. In the interactive installation, 1975, a camera registers the live passage of time through a translucent polaroid shutter. Periodically the shutter lifts – triggered by the participants’ movements – and images are fixed and inscribed.