Tue, April 05, 2005 – Sun, May 29, 2005

The exhibition »video/text« focuses on works that attribute meaning to writing, text, and characters - in addition to image - and visualize this in a variety of ways. The use of writing is a well-known theme in the fine arts. In video, the interplay of image and script is expanded by new possibilities, such as movement, thus creating a new space for action. Combining text and image is appealing because it offers the possibility to create two levels of meaning, which in video are also joined by a third, sound. This enables different ways of seeing and reading: text, image, and sound can supplement one another, but can also run entirely counter to each other. In video, reading speed can be predetermined through the time factor and the actual act of writing can be captured.
The compilation, which is based largely on works from the ZKM_Video collection, documents artists’ interest in dealing with text and their visualizations of language in the field of video art from the early 1970s until the present. The contributions shown here are concerned not only with the pure visualization of text as a dynamic stylistic measure and the typographical use of text characters, but also aim to impart a concrete meaning. Behind that, among other things, is the intention of contributing a tangible statement to the »complex image« with the help of the written word.

Jochen Gerz, for example, »writes« his own video image, until finally the written »Auto-portrait« covers him.
Anna Gollwitzer ties the work with words and sentences to physical effort and full bodily employment. With this, she continually questions the position and meaning of the sign. She investigates this by setting herself into a relationship with her word sculptures and setting the signs in motion.
Dellbrügge/de Moll use the resources of media theory and visual text excerpts from Beate Ermacora, Dieter Daniels, Matthew Geller, and Friedemann Malsch, to draw attention to, among other things, the circular flow of discourse and work production.
Jenny Holzer employs the medium of video to bring her text messages to viewers in the format of the advertising slogan. With her »truisms«, such as »ABUSE OF POWER COMES AS NO SURPRISE«, she positions herself at the interface of art, politics, and poetry to critique common power structures.
In the video works »Happenstance« and »Picture Story«, Gary Hill pursues the relationships between words and electronic images as well as spoken and written texts. Language influences text image. In these early video tapes, Hill is interested in the development of an »electronic linguistics«, which investigates the use and meaning of language in electronic-visual media.
Stephen Partridge’s »Easy Piece« does not promise any more than the title hints at and thus breaks from the viewers’ anticipation of visual information. For the most part, the screen remains empty and is only occasionally interrupted by a picture of the word »easy« that at the same time is spoken by a sensual, calm voice.
In his piece, »Logos auf Schwarz«, Daniel Pflumm relates to Norbert Meissner’s running text (»Betrachten Sie dieses Band«), which consists of company names. Pflumm thereby opens up ways of working with text in terms of label and logo by means of digital processing.

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie