Landmark is happy to present the screening programme ‘VIDEO ERGO SUM: Norwegian Video Art Pioneers Turn the Camera Towards Themselves’, curated by Nina Toft.
The programme looks at a tendency that can be observed in the work of many artists that experimented with video when the technology first became available: turning the camera towards oneself and using ones own body as a point of departure and site of exploration.
VIDEO ERGO SUM includes works by Morten Børresen, Elisabeth Mathisen, Lotte Konow Lund, Kjartan Slettemark and Kristin Bergaust and is curated by Nina Toft.
The French philosopher Rene Descartes famous and much cited philosophical tenet from the 17th century, “Cogito ergo sum; – I think, therefore I am” is a fundamental component in modern, western philosophy. The sentence was meant to prove the existence of the self through radical doubt – the ability to doubt ones own existence as proof of the existence of the self as a rational subject. Kjartan Slettemark plays with another famous quote from literature in his video ‘Video or not to be’. Shakespeare’s opening in Hamlet’s monolog “To be or not to be, that is the question”, is one of the most famous quotes from world literature as well as a philosophical doctrine in terms of human, existential questions. The word video comes from the Latin verb videre; – to see. Video means “I see” and Slettemarks title ends up meaning something along the lines of “I see – or not to be”. To see, to observe is to be present in the world. Video ergo sum – I see – therefore I am or therefore I record myself on video – therefore I am.
The programme seeks to bridge the real-time aspects of video technology, as explored by artists in the 70s and 80s, with extensions of the sensory apparatus in contemporary media culture. Media understood as central to the development of individual subjectivity.