Mediamatic Magazine Vol.1#1 Joseph Semah 1 Jan 1986

All Art is Media Art

A personal view on media art.

...The common people are always impressed by appearance. In this context there are only common people, and there is no room for the few when many are supported by the state. A ruler never preaches anything except peace and good faith, and he is an enemy of both one and the other, and if he had ever honored either of them he would have lost either his standing or his state many times over...
(Machiavelli, Il Principe)

There is no form which has not a content, on the other hand the only way to see a content is by its form. Video art claims to isolate form from its content. Appearance comes face to face with its simple content.

Yet the decision whether or not to respect this simple content seems to be a very difficult one to make.

The Western world adopted three languages - religion, science and art. The encounter of these three languages brought at once interdisciplinary relation and a system which made possible a continuity of investigation into the course of the 'being' and of the 'Being'.

Today we call this encounter culture.

The Western world became accustomed to isolate the form by suppressing its content. The reason for that is usually to ensure that the form serves the ideological claims of a social system.

Ever since the emergence of the Christian world, religion and science have become antagonistic.

For religion to survive it had to make use of art to support the stance of religion. Art had to be transferred from a position of language to the field of media; the theory of information.

Art loses in due course its only means of investigation: Language.

...Television for me, is a model, ULISES went on, it partly determines my activities, I partly copy its processes and so my work is principally suitable for universal distribution...

(Max Bruinsma, Talks on talking back in: Mediamatic no.O)

This interpretation of universality made me think again about Culture, but this time in its anthropological sense.

Art was not allowed to make clear the relation between man and nature, and to transform its textual form objectively.

Art became at once institutionalized social behaviour, a system in a system in a system.

Art uses the idea of economics as its very motivation. The artist became an 'honest' salesman.

Humanity exists as well as society and media art proves it time and time again. The communicative impulses are significant, all art today is theory of information.

In our history, it is not unusual for social systems to create the instrument of its own destruction and for a cultural course to carry the spores of its own decay.

Than, video art has to be based upon activities of collective origin, based on indirect social or cultural experiences, rework them, process them and returning them to their point of origin- TV, Museum, Government, Church.

Are we today in a post-culture era?

Video art's universal language means a different thing. It means spiritual poverty, total isolation from the collective identity.

Science is asking this very day if the atom has a self-determination, but video-art is still occupied with its own sectarian formalities.

...Art in the twentieth century is, in my opinion, involved with morality. One has to deal with it very carefully. A museum also has a moral aspect; it is a temple, in any case, a moral institution...

(Rudi Fuchs talking to Erik Beenker in: De Volkskrant 20 12 1985)

To be honest, I do not think that today is less political than the rest of this century. This century appears always to strive for universal harmony and it ends up being scientifically moralistic, emphasizing part of the truth.

TV, Museum, Art-criticism, Government, Church are examples of that partial truth.

So, for me a TV monitor is the last place to search for the lost language of art, least of all when it is situated on the staircase of a temple.

If you'd like to quote something: Semaj, Joseph. "All Art is Media Art." ''Mediamatic Magazine vol. 1 # 1 (1986).