January 22, 2008, 10:04 am



FAR FROM IMPACT – EVENT 1: Brussels, October 2007, the Video Vortex international symposium part 1, organized by the Institute of Network Cultures, in collaboration with Argos Brussels. Video Vortex. One of the speakers present was media artist Keith Sanborn. Program by Keith Sanborn.

At one point Sanborn described an installation project he produced in Antwerp, where, in one and the same room, he showed a collection of very extreme videoclips, all equally loud and simultaneously visible on multiple screens of all sizes. Sanborn definitely created an impact there. Visitors, he said, could stay no longer in the installation environment for more than 5 minutes.

But then he said something very strange : ‘I want to understand what the impact is of all these surrrounding pictures’ / ‘I want to understand the impact’ / ‘I wanted to discover new ways of relating to these images’

These remarks made me think about the notion of impact, and its relevance to videomaking, television and more specifically in relation to the situation of video vortex on platforms such as YouTube.

Whenever ‘impact’ happens, so I thought, the only thing one can do and does, is to run away from it, to look for shelter, if not to react to it, responding to it with counter-impact, more impact that is.

When one is confronted with impact – of a bomb, an explosion, a newsbite, a shout (be it by an artist, a guru, a politian, it doesn’t matter by whom), an info bomb – , the only one thing one definitely cannot do, is, to start thinking about it, to reflect on it, to try to understand it, let alone to start searching for new ways of understanding, to discover new ways of expression. Neither can one start then a new kind of development, form an opinion, start up a new creation  as a witness, a pro-active visitor, or as a maker. Impact excludes, annihilates creation. It only call for reaction or even intensification.

Only with a certain distance from impact, I started thinking, only ‘far from impact’ indeed, can one reflect, think, investigate and comment, as a person, as a user, as a maker.


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