Like every new technical device, video started out as an experiment.
Experiments vary greatly in their goal and scale. However, an experiment is based on a method or repeatable procedure and logical analysis – with the goal of explaining the nature of reality or verfying a hypothesis.
Józef Robakowski, a pioneer in Video Art and Experimental Film, like many other artists, creates highly saturated settings for experiments. He collaborates with other artist and strives to visualize these dialogs and collective moments via moving images on film. Since the 1960s he has been attempting to operate outside of established galleries and museums in order to address critical and politically relevant questions in complex experimental formations of image and sound. It seems, when, in 1978, Robakowski deemed his apartment in Lódz the Exchange Gallery for collaborative activity and collective experience, he silently made way for the offspace ideas of the past decades.
S T O R E is one of these non-profit experimental spaces outside of institutional setups that entertain collaborative ties and a growing number of collective projects with other actors. With the show we aimed to pay tribute to pioneers while offering refuge to unprecedented forms of art. Hence, we included a wide selection of contemporary international artists with a focus on moving images. Most of them have never met, had no knowledge of their counterpart’s existence or were enthusiastically recommended by serious strongholds of young contemporary art. Others were already known collaborators in a vivid exchange and tribute culture on blogs and websites.
In Video Violence. optional commemoration and the future* all of the 19 presented videos are displayed on one wall. Via different devices they are either projected directly onto the wall or displayed on Computer screens, monitors and flatscreen TVs. Despite their different nature – either fragile or demanding, abstract or hyper-real – different works exist simultaneously in audio and video The result of this wall-to-ceiling endeavor is at times hostile and violent but often poetic in detail and intellectual in focus. Filled with almost overlapping images, both exhibition wall and blogs show great simlarities.
A set up such as this generates at least one more reference to experimenting. A dense and non-linear salon hanging of old masters in traditional exhibitions, museums and collections seems almost classical today. Its origin itself is the result of an eager endeavor. Currently, the most used – but not quite up to date – Victorian/Petersburg/Russian or Salon Hanging originally was also an experiment. With the goal of showing as much of a collection as possible at once instead of having to change the paintings periodically, one used the entire available wall space from floor to ceiling in order to make the most of the collection.
Looking at it with a contemporary eye: put on display like this, the single work bonds with the images in its proximity and acts in the context of the entire setup. An additional conversation opens up and common ground becomes visible in the areas of interference.
The heart and brain of this installation will be the work of the video and experimental film pioneer Jozef Robakowski.