Week 3

Summary of work for Week 3:

1.Look at all the material and watch the videos.
2.Write 6 sentences (details below) and post on blog.

3. Make an image of your action and post the image on the blog.

Conceptual Video Art:

If conceptually informed artworks are ones in which an idea determines the work. You can think of some of the works below as a response to a simple, one sentence instruction.

Watch this video by Lee Walton below.  

If you had to sum up this action in one instructional sentence or formula it would be something like:

Use your hands to feel a diverse range of things in the city.

Notice he takes the common expression “Getting a Feel for Things” literally in this work, and feels things. See how he uses common expressions, and simple instructions as a formula for creating in the following videos.

If conceptually informed artworks are ones in which an idea determines the work, as opposed to the artist’s masterful technique, or the perfect handling of materials. In fact, when you follow directions, things might even turn out badly, things can break down, fail, fall apart. There is tremendous tension in this – when we really don’t know how things are going to go. Watch Jon Sasaki play with attempting to do something, and the possibility (and sometimes the reality) of failing, falling, or otherwise destroying everything.

WRITE: Watch the following videos by Lee Walton, Jon Sasaki, and Lenka Clayton and Yuula Benivolski. Sum up the actions in each work in one instructional sentence. See if you can determine the formula, or the task the artist assigned to themselves to guide the action of the video.

You have to watch the videos, and write one sentence for each . (Total writing, 6 sentences).  

Jon Sasaki:

Ladder Climb:


Dead End, Eastern Market, Detroit:


Lenka Clayton:

Yuula Benevolski: (video not currently available – )


Here are some John Baldessari instruction pieces – used as assignments for students at Cal Arts from 1970. Notice how they sometimes play with language, or satirize artistic tropes. They sometimes read like eccentric proposals for science experiments, and suggest game like systems for working.

Have a look at this John Baldessari image, where he assigns himself a task to complete the work. The titles often give you a sense of the instruction he used to start:

John Baldessari
Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts), 1973
Complete set of twelve offset lithographs in colours, on coated stock paper, with title and justification pages


Check out DAVID HORVITZ’s website for other examples of conceptually informed project – listen to the audio descriptions and use your imagination to complete the works: http://www.davidhorvitz.com/

MAKE: You will follow an instruction developed by John Baldessari (1970) – one of my favourites:

Defenestrate objects. Photograph them in mid-air.

This means throw something out the window, and photograph it in the air. Post your image on the blog, with a short description.

YOU MUST BE SAFE – Do not throw something out of a high rise balcony – even a coin can be dangerous when it hits the ground – or risks hitting a passing person/animal/vehicle/property. Only do this in a situation where you are CERTAIN you can throw a benign object SAFELY out of a window with no danger to anyone or anything below. Make sure the scene is clear. Try to solve the health and safety constraints in the most creative way you can. If you don’t have access to a low window – throw something feather light. Or – simply throw something into the air from the ground, and photograph it. Solve the instruction SAFELY even if it isn’t exactly a real “defenstration”.

We will discuss a few good examples of your work in the next class huddle.

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