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ABOVE: White Balance: A History of Video (2013) Photograph by Chloe Pang


"The title White Balance refers to the process by which a camera is adjusted to account for differences in light, changing the relative strengths of colors to reach a truer sense of what is being seen. Echoing my recent extensive research of performance and video archives of New York artists such a Stuart Sherman, this performance uses a series of outmoded vintage video cameras to explore how our ways of seeing and ways of remembering may be informed by the medium used to capture the event – the artists document, the family gathering or news broadcast. This work is part of a continuing series of works that create fictional narratives and explore their potential relationship with real life and autobiographical experience. An early, work in progress iteration of this piece was presented at the New Performance Festival in Turku, Finland during the summer of 2013, and was further to be developed with the assistance of a Franklin Furnace Inc. Artists Award, leading up to a showing of the piece in a nine hour version presented over three days at the Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery in New York in October 2013. Although emerging from similar themes and concerns to that of my Stuart Sherman research and related performance pieces, White Balance represents a point of departure from these projects that has allowed for a broader and more expansive view of the archive relative to my previous focus on a singular artist. Also, points of reference have expanded out from the video document as merely a concern of the performance artist to record their work. The history and use of the video camera in the setting of the gallery or the studio has now widened to encompass an exploration of its employment in domestic settings to give a broadened visual palette to work from in terms of imagery and content. In my explorations of numerous video formats, the focus of these explorations is what the tone of the given image might suggest. For example, the association of a particular kind of warmth, sharpness or softness associated with a particular video format popular at a specific point in time. The performance speculated on the possibility of using video to ‘tell the time’ so to speak. The thesis is that our memories look like the things they were recorded with. That the sense of another time or place is not dictated by the content of foot-age - temporal pointers such as a location that has not been visited in recent memory, or a clear visual evidence of ones own ageing. Beyond the understanding of a particular space and a particular time is a third dimension: a particular format. The vessel that carries the signal now seems the primary point of reference.” [PROGRAM NOTE]


SPILL Festival of Performance, Barbican Centre, London, UK: 11.04 – 06.2015 / Conversations at the Edge, Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, USA: 02.19.2015 / Hitparaden Festival of Performance, Copenhagen, Denmark: 09.19.2014 / Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery New York, USA: 10.10, 11 and 12.2013 / New Performance Festival, Dance Theatre ERI, Turku, Finland: 06.14 and 15.2013


Trailer and artist interview (as part of the SPILL Festival of Performance) can be seen here.

Documentation of the final version of this performance (at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, USA, 2015) can be seen here, along with a work in progress version (as part of the New Performance Festival, Turku, Finland, 2013), here.


An essay on White Balance: A History of Video by writer Lewis Church can be found here.


ABOVE / RIGHT: White Balance: A History of Video (2015) Photographs by Guido Mencari