The recent exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Signals: How Video Transformed the World offers a critical look at the medium, spanning from the 1960s to the present. Featuring works from guerilla television collectives like Raindance to contemporary artists like Martine Syms and Tiffany Sia, MoMA’s exhibit employs a more expansive definition of video to include television broadcasting, CCTV, and moving images captured and shared on cell phones. Film Quarterly contributing editor Laurie Ouellette argues that while MoMA frames the exhibit in terms of video’s critical potential to speak against television and media infrastructures, the exhibit is limited by the lack of historical context given to the ideological and material uses of video. The exhibition points to the contradictions inherent in the media landscape, which for Ouellette, demands greater critical attention for video in television and new-media studies.
The Video Revolution, according to the Museum of Modern Art
Laurie Ouellette is professor of media and cultural studies at the University of Minnesota, specializing in television and feminist media studies. She has published in a Television & New Media, Cultural Studies, Continuum, Cinema Journal, International Journal of Cultural Studies, and Flow among others. Her recent books include Lifestyle TV (Routledge, 2016), and the co-edited collections Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture (NYU Press, 2009) and Keywords for Media Studies (NYU Press, 2016).
Laurie Ouellette; The Video Revolution, according to the Museum of Modern Art. Film Quarterly 1 September 2023; 77 (1): 75–80. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2023.77.1.75
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