Emerging Millenial Video Art
In 2005, Walmart announced that it would stop selling VHS tapes. In 1997 the new format of the Digital Video Disc (DVD) had been introduced and, since then, the Video Home System (VHS) format, having reigned supreme since its introduction in 1977, had rapidly begun to lose market share. The last known company in the world to manufacture VHS equipment was Funai in Japan, which ceased production of VHS in July 2016.
In 2010, Blockbuster Video filed for bankruptcy. Competition from Netflix —founded as a DVD mail order company in 1997—only hastened its demise. In 2007, Netflix announced that it would launch an online video streaming service. Hulu, Amazon, & HBO also began offering competitive video streaming services to subscribers. While Netflix still maintains its DVD mail-order service, DVD users continue to edge towards obsolescence over the past 7 years. As of 2016, Apple has ceased production and design of devices with built-in disc drives.
Each of the artists represented in this video art exhibition were born in the early 1990s. They grew up watching movies on VHS. They also witnessed its death and the birth of another medium: DVDs. We are now observing the slow demise of the latter, at the hands of online video streaming services. RIP DVD pays homage to this video format which, in the last 20 years, we saw rise to prominence, and now is in decline.
Individuals and families across the United States have established “DVD collections”. Many of us may have grown up playing our favorite DVDs hundreds of times for ourselves, and therefore have imbued these discs with a nostalgic context. Plugging in and tearing out RCA cables, changing television video inputs, and playing with power supplies for our DVD players, gave many of us our first lessons in troubleshooting and systems analysis.
The content of a film or a work of video art might not be changed by differences in the kind of media on which it is played back. However, the format for the presentation of video is by necessity the context through which we are able to experience it. Therefore, it is understandable that we might develop a certain attachment or sense of the importance to a particular video format we’ve used over an extended period of time.
The digital files for the video artworks in this exhibition were each respectively burned onto their own DVD with the <rip>dvd/> watermark. These Exhibition Edition DVDs of the video art being shown are significant in that they function as vessels, currently allowing us to witness this collection of video art in this gallery. To have this art displayed on DVD is a symbolic tribute to the now fading media format that the artists in this show have used to consume video for the majority of their lives.