Radical media, politics and culture.

Usula Biemann, <I>Stuff It: The Video Essay in the Digital Age</i>

Stuff it: The Video Essay in the Digital Age

Edited by Ursula Biemann, Zurich Institute for Theory of Art and Design

With the entry of documentarisms into the arts, the video essay, as a visual reflection on reality, has gained much attention in recent art debates. Moreover, due to its subjective, dissociative, and highly self-reflexive characteristics, this video genre has become a preferred visual medium for theoretical considerations regarding the major shifts taking place in visual culture.Stuff It maps a wide range of contemporary essayist video practice. Following the discussions on post-structuralist cinematographic experiments in the 80s, the publication seeks a deeper understanding of how essayism relates to the digital cultural developments today. On the one hand, the discursive and compressed video genre is presently situated in the context of new media, hypertext and digital image production. This raises the question of how these technologies emphasize or mutate the characteristics of the essay and potentially open up new possibilities for a critical engagement with them. On the other hand, the video essay faces an increasingly complex society. The great geographic and cultural diversity of recent video making redirects the theoretical discussion from a eurocentric literary tradition towards a postcolonial cultural studies perspective where a new set of issues including diaspora, migration and the ambivalent experience of nation, borders and belonging are being addressed.

Stuff It is a profusely color illustrated collection of texts by video artists and cultural theorists who illuminate the video essay in its role as crossover and communicator between art, theory and critical practice in all its variations: from monologues of disembodyment to cartographies of the transitional, from the essay as organization of complex social shifts to transnational positionality and non-linear memory structures.

With contributions by Nora Alter, Ursula Biemann, Christa Blümlinger, Eric Cazdyn, Steve Fagin, Jörg Huber, Angela Melitopoulos/Maurizio Lazzarato, Walid Ra'ad, Steve Reinke, Hito Steyerl, Alan James Thomas, Tran T. Kim-Trang, Jan Verwoert, Rinaldo Walcott, Paul Willemsen, and a video archive.

The publication is in English and is a continuation of the Stuff It symposium, organized in collaboration with the Migros Museum Zurich in June 2002.

Published by Edition Voldemeer Zürich / Springer Wien New York, 2003

168 pages, color ill., (= T:G series, vol. 02), CHF 43.50 / EUR 27

ISBN 3-211-20318-4