1996

Dieser Artikel wurde für das Programm­heft des VIVA 8 Festi­vals, London Film Makers Co-op (GB) geschrieben. Es ist nur auf Englisch erschienen.

Tanya Ury’s Video Hotel Chelsea – Köln wurde auf dem Viva 8 Festival aufge­führt und ausge­zeichnet als:
best confron­ta­tional video. 

Vor einigen Jahren habe ich eine Super-8-Kamera gekauft, danach eine Hi‑8. Ich liebe sie – sie sind so unauf­fällig, man kann sie fast in der Hosen­ta­sche verste­cken. Aber ich nehme sie nicht überall mit. Ich bin über­vor­sichtig, dass Kunst nicht eine Vorrang­stel­lung in meinem Leben einnimmt. Also sammele ich Geschichten und Situa­tionen, und später filme ich etwas geplantes aber anders, und stelle Ideen neben einander. 8mm ist so harmlos – Du kannst es überall hinstellen und keiner merkt was Du da tust. Es ist unauf­dring­lich – Du kannst Dein Leben einfach weiter­führen, während Du filmst. Das profes­sio­nelle Kamera-Team kündigt sich mit seiner über­wäl­ti­genden Präsenz an. Eine Crew die arbeitet, ist in sich eine Perfor­mance.“

Now everyone’s got a Hi8 and it has become a cliché. The mystique of filmma­king should finally have evapo­rated. Holi­days and growing children are filmed by indi­vi­duals en masse; previously only an élite docu­mented with Super 8. But I imagine that every Hi8 owner also takes the camera into the bedroom. Home movies will have taken on new vistas. Surely ever­y­body makes their own home pornos? So this has to have become a banal act in private, even if in public the subject of sex and its image making still excites the need to create taboos. The theo­re­tical millions world­wide using Hi8 for such a func­tion legi­ti­mises my own enga­ge­ment (in art) with the subject matter in ques­tion. A tripod and mains supply also allows for the privacy of working without an extra came­ra­person.

Of course I have used other types of cameras: U‑matic and VHS. The advan­tage of Hi8 is not only its size but the picture is also strong enough to pass for broad­cast quality. I can live with the fact that, espe­cially when projected, video images break up; it is the aesthetic of the un-aesthetic. When I want the clearer image of Super 8, I still transfer to video for the edit, because the idea rather than the mate­ria­lity of film is para­mount to me.

As a rule the disad­van­tage of using 8mm as a medium is that it is not taken seriously and so spon­sor­ship and reco­gni­tion are hard to come by. The myth of film may have been exploded by a Hi8 consumer public, but in fine art, film and TV circles, the hier­archy is clearly defined: Hi8 is not high art. Whilst galle­ries perceive the work as too closely iden­ti­fied with film, film distri­bu­tors and cura­tors consider video to be the poor rela­tion. However, in spite of and in the face of all this discri­mi­na­tion, I have repeatedly come down in favour of 8mm. A raw image does not disallow for the pushing of an idea until it expands beyond the medium’s limi­ta­tions; in fact the video look, lacking its visual depth, demands to be backed by philo­so­phical insight that pene­trates the surface of the image.

I have some­times been described as a perfor­mance artist and I have made live art, but the act was mediated by Hi8 cameras to moni­tors, which were concur­r­ently viewed by the spec­ta­tors. I could not conceive of presen­ting perfor­mance in any other way. Whether some­thing filmed really happened or not is a fact which tele­vi­sion and film have confronted us with daily: an inci­dent, captured on secu­rity camera, a child’s evidence in court, the tourist’s Hi8 coup at the scene of the crime, the denial of holo­caust film footage. These sorts of instances have dictated my use of Hi8 within perfor­mance. For this type of live action Hi8 is prac­tical; one can manœuvre easily.

Before I was an artist I docu­mented the construc­tion of the house I built with my ex, on Super 8. Years later I was able to use the mate­rial effec­tively as home movie found footage with added spoken texts that contrasted with the visuals. That was the first footage I ever shot and it connected me to child­hood memo­ries of the Super 8 films my father had taken, while also looking forward to married life. The act of editing and making an art video ten years later with the mate­rial preci­pi­tated a deco­n­struc­tion of that child­hood, the marriage, and the house itself.

It has been my expe­ri­ence that in some expe­ri­mental circles these 8mm works have been well received, but there has also been much criti­cism of the lack of profes­sional finesse: too much camera hand­shake etc. It is a ques­tion of value systems and in which camp one wishes to reside. 8mm is not main­stream and is also old fashioned; it’s like prefer­ring to use a typewriter or even writing by hand, instead of using a computer. As far as I’m concerned, a hand­written letter is stripped of preten­sions; the 8mm medium also reveals flaws but tells you more about the true inten­tions of the author.

Tanya Ury


Präsen­ta­tion

1996 Publi­ziert im Programm­heft für das VIVA 8 Festival, London Film Makers Co-op (GB)

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