art haus berlin

@ takt residency, Friedrichshain (
An artist residency. Bunch of complete strangers living together in Berlin making art.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Q&A with Keith Telfeyan: video art

Gallery captions fanclub?

It's always nice to know the name of who made something. It's also great to know the title, as artist's often use the title to imbue the work with deeper meaning. A year created and materials used seem appropriate, I suppose. Beyond these simple things, I think any other blurb about work is usually gratuitous. The most crucial information should be evident in the art. If the curator feels the need to explain something, whether it relate to the work or the audience, so be it. Often, though, the audience will lean too heavily on what's written and not enough on the work itself.

Your own video work?

My video work exists on the Internet, but not necessarily because it should. It is not the ideal way to watch the sort of videos I make. I have shown work in theaters, which I think is great. Not all video art belongs in an auditorium, but I like to think that many of my pieces can command that sort of 'ultimate viewing experience.' I want my work to have a viewer's undivided attention. That's hard to do online. In a gallery, I like to maximize focus on the video by emptying the room of any other distractions: walls as bare as possible, external sound muffled, etc. General white cube gallery etiquette. I like using projectors and screens, depending on the work. These materials have meaning. What other contexts exist for video? Computer screen, projection, television screen, bedroom setting, gallery setting, theater setting... Outside can be cool, I suppose.

Full reel viewing or just a glimpse?

It depends completely on the video. Working with time is so exciting because people always expect something else to happen. Artists play with this expectation. After viewing enough film/video in one's life, you get a good sense of how to read these things. Is there a narrative structure here? Will there be a payoff? Or will it maintain this same situation and mood perpetually?
I do not believe that video art need to be viewed in any specific way generally, but as a viewer, I will read the clues involved and make up my mind given its parameters. Generally, if there is a posted showtime or formality to the screening, it should be viewed longer. If it's more casually set up, it can be viewed shorter. The main rule is this: Watch something as long as you like. Keep watching if you're inclined (whether that be out of curiosity or enthrallment).

Sit or stand?

Context is key with everything. The context in which you experience the moving image often dictates how one feels about the piece. Like, watching a movie in a theater from the front row, head tilted up, will often ruin your experience, even if you thought it was a good movie. When I enter a space that shows moving images, I respond to that space. Does it want me to sit on a bench? Are people already occupying that bench? Should I just remain in the doorway? Should I stand at the wall or sit on the floor? I notice these things almost before I notice the work itself.
In general, all video work in galleries should be shown as the artist intends. For my videos, that would mean: as comfortably as possible, with ideal image size and volume level. Some video artists build discomfort or other barriers into the artistic experience. It makes sense for certain pieces to be viewed on one's feet; others offer you a couch or even bed to watch it from.
Once I am actually absorbing the piece, I will decide how long to commit to it regardless of my physical position. If I decide it's bad or just not for me, I'll get up even if comfortable. If I'm loving it and the room is crowded and seats are taken, I'll stand as long as possible to remain in its trance.

Friday 12/07/2013