Why Video Art Shouldn't Have a Beginning, Middle, or End

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The Guardian's Jonathan Jones has some strong feelings about the consumption of video art--namely that the length of time devoted to it should be determined by the consumer, not the confines of the work itself. Much like someone can choose to look at a painting for as long or as little as she likes, Jones feels that video and performance art should behave in a similar way.

He writes, "I love art [because] It imposes no obligations on our time, but offers a chance to escape into its time. It can therefore be as slight or profound as we want it to be, because everything depends on our engagement. It does not have a beginning, a middle and an end. It is not like books, plays and films – it is inherently open and above all we are free to give it our time as we please. That is art’s unique freedom. But this freedom is being destroyed. More and more artworks define and dictate the time their audience must give them. Too many videos are made like feature films, with a start and finish, and the clear message that you need to watch the whole thing to understand it. Performances too can be like plays, with a defined start and end. This is so wrong – like those weird old photos of 1960s audiences primly watching happenings.

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