Audiovisual Live Performance

3 Video Art

By the early 1970s, the availability of portable video equipment had given rise to video art. Meanwhile, analog synthesizers were becoming popular in music performance and recording. Video artists like Nam June Paik and Woody and Steina Vasulka were already exploring distortions of video signals through such means as holding magnets near the screen and creatively manipulating vertical and horizontal hold settings on television sets. A few video artists, including Paik (with Shuya Abe), began building analog video synthesizers, which were basically video equivalents of audio synthesizers, allowing one signal to be used to control another signal in real time. Video synthesizers were often used to alter live camera or videotaped sources, but could also be used in self-contained setups to generate abstract visuals. Analog, and later digital, video synthesizers were used by artists in studio production and occasionally were used in live performance situations. Stephen Beck’s Illuminated Music for example, was performed in auditoriums throughout the United States in the early 1970s.[2] However, the size and expense of analog video synthesizers prevented them from being widely adopted as performance tools.