Artists' film and video has changed a lot in the ten years that tank.tv has been running. To use a very physical example just take a look at our archive; it's kind of unthinkable that an artist will submit a film to us now on a miniDV tape. The lowering cost of technology, that itself has become easy to use by non-specialists, is a revolution whichever way we look at it. There was a similar pattern that occurred a hundred years ago, in the early part of the twentieth century, in publishing, and that gave us the artists' manifesto and the now-ubiquitous artists' book or magazine. The question is, does this matter of form have an effect on content?
In 2007, tank.tv released Fresh Moves, a combined DVD and book, with work by twenty-four moving image artists, selected by Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Benjamin Cook and Mike Sperlinger, Stuart Comer, Michelle Cotton, Rose Cupit and Kathrin Becker. The aim was for each artist was to present a three-minute work that, when combined, would reflect the breadth and creativity of artists' film and video at the time. Since then, some of the artists, including Spartacus Chetwynd, Jeremy Deller and Ben Rivers, have become as close to household names that film artists can get.
The Internet was very different in 2007; undoubtedly it will look more different still in six years time. It's a definitely more expanded place. This has ramifications for film and video artists in, at least, two ways. Any filmmaker now has the prerogative to show his or her work online and, as such, have complete control over how it is shown and where it is shown. Moving image has become integral to the development of the Web and anyone who utilises it for professional purposes has to have an understanding of its working, methods and implications. Very crudely, it's not enough to talk about film and video anymore. The pervasiveness of new technologies and the development of new modes of distribution mean that artists' film and video has evolved, and that's why tank.tv has had to evolve, too.
And making use of this ever-expanding, non-physical space has had similar implications on content. If everything you see can be turned into an icon on your Instagram feed, the only thing left that remains truly enigmatic is the self, but in putting yourself before the camera all your happiness, your sadness, your joy and your suffering suddenly becomes a performance for all to see and judge. The films presented here are performances of the self; portraits in film and video.
I want to know where that moment is, where film and digital video coalesce and intermingle with performance. Is it possible for moving image to accurately express the material? Every artist listed in this show put themselves into either or both the conception and creation of their work. None specifically make 'films' or 'videos', but at some point along that line 'film' and 'video' intersect with their work. That line will inevitably continue along its trajectory but it's that moment of intersection that I want to capture.
So, for the new generation of artists and audiences, tank.tv presents NEW MOVES.
With thanks to Adham Faramawy, Eloise Fornieles, Max Hattler, Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski, Yelena Popova and Nicola Thomas.