Interview with David Claerbout

Studio David Claerbout, Antwerp, February 25, 2009


Since the end of 1996, David Claerbout (born in 1969 in Kortrijk, Belgium) has been creating a body of work that tacks between still and moving images, photographic and digital techniques, and animation and digital image manipulation.

Influenced by phenomenology, David Claerbout investigates our visual perception and memory. In an attempt to convey reality, his work investigates the boundaries of all forms of visual reproduction.

Barbara Dierickx and Rony Vissers of PACKED spoke with the artist about the documentation of his work and his personal contribution to its preservation.


The passing of time is a dominant theme in his work, and he employs various methods to give shape to the duration of time. In early works such as Ruurlo, Borculoscheweg, 1910 (1997), he introduced moving elements and therefore also inseparable time into old photos with the aid of video technology. While these early works were very simple video installations, in 2000 he also began working with interactive technologies. An example of this is Untitled, Carl and Julie (2000) in which movement only appears in the image when the viewer approaches the projection screen and thereby activates a sensor. At the same time, Claerbout also created the web project Present (2000) in which he gives the viewer the opportunity to download a flower and install it on his own computer. This flower begins in full bloom but then slowly wilts. Ever since, he has made increasing use of digital video in order to create mini-stories which are situated in buildings or urban spaces and in which the passing of time is often embodied by changes in the light. In The Stack (2002), the colossal concrete motorway intersection houses a sleeping homeless person, but everything in the work is actually about the slowly fading sunlight and the passing of time. In addition to these video works, David Claerbout has also created several photographic installations consisting of a series of lightboxes exhibited alongside one another in a darkened room, including Nocturnal Landscapes (1999) and Venice Lightboxes (2000).


PACKED: When the American artist Bill Viola1 sells a work, the buyer receives two components: the audio and visual-display equipment on one hand and the archiving components on the other. The archiving components form what he calls the archival box. This archival box contains a certificate, a master tape, the installation instructions and the ground plans.2 Do you employ a similar system?

David Claerbout: Bill Viola indeed normally sells a large object in the form of a flight case. This contains all the necessary audio and visual display equipment, which normally works for ten years without any problems. However, I use a different system. I never supply variable equipment such as projectors. This would not have been particularly useful for my work in the past and I think that this is still the case.


PACKED: With regard to the preservation of media art, Bill Viola3 and Richard Rinehart,4 amongst others, have made a comparison with music. Each time the same music composition is performed, different musical instruments can be used. Only the score remains the same. They say that, just like music, media art also has a variable form. Is the score a reference for you in the documentation of your work?

David Claerbout: Yes, I also like comparing it to a musical score. What I mostly try to do when documenting my work is to write a sort of score. Not everyone can then read and perform this score. However, there are a number of people who will be able to reinterpret my score. This reinterpretation of the score happens when the work is displayed in an exhibition. Indeed, every time a work is displayed in another space, the question arises as to how it can be set up in a different way. How the work can be set up in these different circumstances can be found in the installation instructions.


PACKED: Can you explain this comparison with the score a bit more?

David Claerbout: In my view, you make a mistake as an artist when you fix a work and say that nothing more about it can or may change. A work must remain flexible. It is for that reason that I compare it to a score.

Nowadays, Bach’s music is no longer performed the way it was played during his era. The quality of the instruments has changed, the quality of the air has changed... It would be foolish to say that we listen to Bach’s music today in the same way as one did back then. Even the score is interpreted differently today.

Thanks to the use of new media, technology changes more quickly than in Bach’s era. It is therefore faulty reasoning to cling to the idea of the art object, and to the fetish of the artwork when it comes to the preservation of media art.


PACKED: With respect to your own work, what are the most important parameters of the score?

David Claerbout: At the moment, it mainly indicates a number of proportions. There is no maximum size for the exhibition space, but there is a minimum size. A minimum and maximum projection size is also designated.

There is an indication of the lighting intensity expressed in lux,5 and an indication of the light output of the video projector in ANSI lumens.6 To indicate the ANSI lumens, I refer to an appropriate type of video projector at the time when the work is created.


PACKED: What else do you give the buyer?

David Claerbout: In addition to the installation instructions, I also provide a certificate. This certificate is the most important thing of all. If the certificate is lost, the work itself is also lost. I therefore usually advise the buyer to above all store the certificate safely. As long as I exist or a representative of my work exists, the buyer always has the right, on the basis of the certificate, to a new copy of the work and, if necessary, even to a copy which has been transferred to a new, higher-quality format. Though, admittedly, for a fee.

Furthermore, my archive box normally consists of two hard disks, each with a display copy of the work in Quicktime7 format and a master copy in a TARGA8 format, a DVD copy for private use --at least if it is a work which can be played on DVD-- a number of installation photos which give visual references, and four pages of installation instructions, normally with diagrams.

I always ask the buyers to sign a copy of the certificate and the installation instructions and send them back to me. By doing so, I aim to draw their attention to the need to read these documents.


PACKED: What are your experiences of this system?

David Claerbout: In most cases, we receive a signed copy of the certificate and the installation instructions from the buyers in the correct manner but I notice that, despite the signature, these documents have often not been read.

I also notice that private collectors normally have difficulty in reading the installation instructions. This is also often the case with museums, unless there is a member of the museum staff who specialises in such material. The only comment I have ever received about light was recently at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. They were the only ones who, for example, knew how much light came into the room. When I thought about it, I realized that the museum staff members were aware of this because they belong to the photography department. I have never known anyone to be concerned with such matters in any other museum.

Therefore, the certificate also states that, if necessary, we will make upgrades of my work available. We do this because we know that museums are rarely concerned with these aspects of conservation. Museums have scarcely any knowledge regarding the production of such upgrades. Museums of contemporary art specialise primarily in the conservation of art objects. The conservation of media art remains a difficult subject for them.


 David Claerbout, Ruurlo, Bocurloscheweg 1910, 1997, courtesy: MuHKA / David Claerbout


PACKED: The signing of installation instructions does not provide any guarantee that they will be followed either...

David Claerbout: For that reason I have an assistant who travels round and installs my works. I believe that this is part of the task of my studio. The installation instructions state that my work may not be exhibited without my knowledge. Sometimes we are not informed, but this is quite rare. We are normally well informed in the event of an exhibition. I think I can count on one hand the number of times that something has gone wrong.

One could therefore view the engagement with my work as a form of theatre in which the buyer or owner of the work is not simply given a free hand. There must always be a form of communication between myself – the artist – and the owner of the work. The link between the two of us is my installation assistant, who goes on location or who communicates with the owner and provides advice on the basis of photos.

I therefore never view my work as an autonomous work of art that can be taken out the box and exhibited, although I have thought about this. I have considered providing hardware which can, potentially, be put in a flight case whereby you press one button and the work then functions. However, in the past this sort of method would have caused problems. This is why I have never yet used it.


PACKED: We read in the installation instructions for one of your works that, as the technology changes, you will attempt to upgrade the playback and display equipment and that the owner is asked to be prepared to upgrade the image quality at the request of and according to the instructions of the artist. What are your experiences in this regard?

David Claerbout: My experience of this is quite limited. I think that this mainly has to do with the fact that there is always an assistant available to go and re-exhibit the work and answer the owner’s questions. He conducts the dialogue. I have little experience of it myself.


PACKED: As regards asking the owner to be prepared to accept upgrades, have there ever been any problems with this when selling your work?

David Claerbout: No, not when drawing up or signing the certificate...


PACKED: When you considered providing a flight case where only a single button needed to be pressed, was this because you thought an end would come to your current way of working, whereby you send an assistant along who has all the necessary knowledge?

David Claerbout: I don’t think you can evade problems that way...


PACKED: Because in the end you are again faced with the same problems...<

David Claerbout: Exactly. If you send this flight case with one button, the same problem will always present itself at a certain moment. The equipment in the flight case will have to be overhauled at some point.

I know of a copy of a work by Bill Viola which still functions after 10 years in a flight case and where the pickup heads of the laser disc player9 have not broken. But even though everything still functions perfectly in this case, it would be wrong to suppose that the flight case with the equipment is the work and that the artist no longer bears any responsibility following the sale of the work. I think a certain responsibility remains with the artist.


PACKED: Have you been using this system since you began making video installations at the end of 1996?

David Claerbout: No, it has evolved, particularly since I have surrounded myself with assistants. Today my team is made up of eight assistants. As the number has increased, the management of my work has also improved, including the certificates and installation instructions. They are constantly becoming more precise and exact. Together with my assistants, I continuously try to update the conservation of my work.

However, this upgrading is not always possible for the organizations and collectors that own my work. We therefore always wait until a work is being re-exhibited. We then pick up the thread again and send a new copy, for example in a new, higher resolution.


PACKED: When you create an upgrade of a work, this new version is probably also documented. Do the museums or collectors then receive a second version of the installation instructions?

David Claerbout: Yes, but you cannot really expect them to exchange it for their first version, because they have bought it. That would be a bit unfair.

My current certificates and installation instructions state that I undertake not to give any collector more privileges than any other. It is therefore difficult for me to demand the old documents back collector by collector because the new documents would nullify the old ones. This cannot happen. One can only do this on the basis of the owner’s voluntary willingness. However, there is no reason why the owner would not take up the option of an upgrade.


PACKED: Can you give us an example of how your method has changed over the years?

David Claerbout: Whereas several years ago it was still a matter of course to send a DVD or to play the work on DVD, I now do not actually have any more works that are shown on DVD. Most of them, including those I created for DVD, have since undergone an upgrade. They have been transferred to hard disk and are played with hard-disk players. We think it gives a better result when a Digital Betacam tape10 is transferred to a hard disk instead of a DVD. We now only use DVDs in emergencies, if there is no other option.

Previously, there was also only one hard disk provided with the instruction that a back-up11 should be made. Today, we always provide two hard disks.


PACKED: In addition to your video works, you have also created several interactive works. Can you tell us something about the conservation of these works?

David Claerbout: Indeed, in addition to my usual video works there are also a number that function interactively. They contain a piece of hardware, an interface with sensors, and so on. Some of them date from 2001-2002. And we are now beginning to wonder whether they still work in all the collections.

In 2003, I also created a work called The Rocking Chair. It uses DVD-players with infra-red connections. The questions we now ask ourselves are "What happens when there are no more DVD-players with infra-red connections?" and "what happens if there are no longer any DVD-players at all?" Fortunately, it turns out that when you take the modules out of the cupboard and turn them on, they still work. This is what we were scared of with The Rocking Chair. After all, there was a battery in the modules. When the battery is not regularly connected to electrical current it does not recharge, and the work has to be reprogrammed. Someone therefore has to be familiar with the programming language and in my studio that is not the case. There have not been any problems in the seven years The Rocking Chair has existed. However, I will never say to anyone that there never will be any. They may still occur.


PACKED: Have you had any similar experiences?

David Claerbout: One of my other works is Untitled (Carl and Julie) (2000). It is a simple interactive work in the collection of the Flemish Community and is kept by the MuHKA.12 The work was once also loaned to a biennial. When I arrived at that biennial one morning to inspect the components, I noticed that they had been taken apart. It then turned out that the local technician who was responsible for setting up the biennial had been curious as to how the work was put together and unscrewed the components. You can’t blame the owner for anything because he is normally not aware of what happens during the installation at such an outdoor event.

Media art actually requires highly specialised knowledge. I therefore always depend on my installation assistant. He is the specialist who notices and reports this sort of irregularity. However, in 50 years’ time people like my installation assistant may not exist and the information may therefore also be lost. I am under no illusions. In 50 years, we will all be in the phase of reconstructing works that have disappeared. And this, this appearance and disappearance, is in fact the inherent aspiration of the new media.


 David Claerbout, Untitled, Carl and Julie, 2000, courtesy: MuHKA / David Claerbout


PACKED: In addition to your video installations, you have also done photographic work. Do you use a similar system for it?

David Claerbout: Yes, there are not just video installations but also photographic ones. I give the buyers the same guarantees. My lightboxes can be reproduced.

I object to photographers who only make their work available in the form of a single unique copy or who do not grant the institutions or collectors any access to their master copies or archives. I also object to the conservation of photography in the form of photographic prints. These prints have to be scanned at a certain moment. Artists such as James Coleman13 have a great problem in this regard. It is not their work which ages and sinks into oblivion, but the material which they are working with. As a result, over the course of time the danger emerges that museums will give up trying to conserve the work in a suitable manner. I remember a dinner where I was sitting with Candida Höfer14 for a picture by Andreas Gursky15 and she turned green when I told her that I believe in the idea of the score.

Some responsibility remains with the artist. I don’t think you can leave conservation completely to the museums. I therefore also talk about theatre. You cannot or may not remove this responsibility. A photo must be able to be reprinted.


PACKED: Does the conservation issue have an influence on the creation of your work?

David Claerbout: Yes. Every work can be reconstructed again and again with minimal trouble, as long as there is a support on which the work has been well conserved. The reconstruction will cost money, but not an awful lot. I am not interested in creating works which are difficult to conserve or reconstruct. It is only the interactive ones that are somewhat more complex. In my work, I primarily aim to create images that can be easily remembered, which survive. The survival strategy is already partially built into my work. My work therefore behaves as something hard-wearing.

In the creation of my work, I prefer to keep as far as possible from works for the internet, complex installations such as those of Diane Thater16 which use projectors with three screens or 16mm projections like those by Marijke Van Warmerdam,17 all of whose owners are in a panic about the longevity of film projectors.

I am a bit of a freak when it comes to conservation. I even go so far as to render18 my master copies as TARGA files. You have to be a real idiot to mess up a TARGA sequence. You then have to reformat the entire hard disk yourself.


PACKED: Have you never had any problems yourself?

David Claerbout: Yes, despite all the precautionary measures I have a lost a number of things since the end of 1996. I have also had to look for the old U-matic19 tapes in order to recover things, re-digitise them and store them on a hard disk. It would be a bit pretentious of me to say that I have never experienced these problems myself.


PACKED: So how do such problems come about?

David Claerbout: Several weeks ago, for example, we started renaming files on hard disks. We want to name the files in a more systematic way. For instance, you are then confronted with a series of photos whose file names vary from DSC_0001 to DSC_1000, and so on. These file names can be changed manually or automatically. This is very dangerous work. An error can easily be made with files on a hard disk. An assistant only needs to be wrongly informed and it goes wrong. Different photos then suddenly appear in a work or links go missing. Things can also easily go wrong when working in Adobe Premiere or Apple Final Cut. You want to change something quickly and make a new render... Errors are easily made.


PACKED: Do you seek advice from an expert in digital archiving for the conservation of your work?

David Claerbout: No, but we have consulted the information provided by Electronic Arts Intermix.20

I normally hold discussions with my assistants. The subject of conservation comes up once or twice a year. We then ask ourselves if we shouldn’t sometimes approach conservation differently.


PACKED: Can you tell us something about the upgrading of The Stack?

David Claerbout: The Stack is a work we edited in 2002 in Standard Definition21 and then put on a Digital Betacam tape. The preserved TARGA files were therefore also in SD, while all photographic recordings in 2001 were made in High Definition.22 However, at that time I could not yet edit the visual material in HD because the computers to which my budget gave me access were not capable of it. In 2005, when my computers were able to do it, I hired someone who redid the editing of the work in HD.

I then noticed that I had to look deep into the archives of The Stack in order to retrieve the files with the original visual material and that the Adobe After Effect files, which were then only four years old, had to be partially reconstructed.

A new HD version of The Stack was therefore finally made. I then provide this new version to the institutions and collectors as they need it, when they re-exhibit the work.


PACKED: From the certificates and installation instructions for The Stack we were able to look at in the S.M.A.K.,23 we understand that they possess an SD version of the work on a Digital Betacam. Is it possible that, although there is now a new version, the owner’s conservation documentation is not modified?

David Claerbout: The version with the Digital Betacam is indeed the old SD version. So you can see where it could go wrong. When the S.M.A.K. wanted to re-exhibit The Stack, I remember that we told them that there was a new HD version available in addition to the SD version. I also think that they received a hard disk with the HD version. However, I wonder if a conservator at the museum then put the two versions and the documentation together and stored them alongside one another in the box.

This is of course a speciality in itself. In the museum, they perhaps have no idea at all what it is about. In order to prevent the effort involved in updating the work going to waste, there actually needs to be a museum employee who wants to and can take care of this aspect. And as an artist, you must then have direct contact with this person. However, there are no universal guidelines for this.


PACKED: You also once created an internet project commissioned by the DIA Art Foundation, Present (2000). I read in an interview with researcher and MoMA curator Glenn Wharton24 that these works are not included in the collection, as a result of which the DIA Art Foundation is not obliged to preserve them. Are you also conserving this work yourself?

David Claerbout: That’s right. I didn’t receive any money from the DIA Art Foundation to have the work included in their collection. All elements of the work have been conserved by myself, but not online. It is actually mainly just the basic information that is conserved, i.e. text material about how we came up with the concept for the work. This documentation is stored here and nowhere else. I assume that the work can be completely remade on the basis of the documentation. It must then be reprogrammed into a new online version.


PACKED: Have you ever noticed whether the conditions you stipulate for the exhibition and conservation of your work have an influence on its sale? Incidentally, who buys your work?

David Claerbout: No, I have never noticed that my conditions have an influence on the sale of the work. I think you can divide the buyers of my work into two categories: 50% public collections, 50% private collections. These private collections also include a number of semi-public collections, such as Schaulager in Basle.


PACKED: Are all these collectors well aware of the conservation issue?

David Claerbout: No, often they are not. In fact I think most of them are not at all aware of conservation. They rely very much on the galleries and artists.


PACKED: What role does your gallery play?25

David Claerbout: They refer the contact to my studio. The conservation and installation of my work is a little too complex for a gallery. I don’t leave this to my gallery. My studio is reasonably autonomous. All material remains here and therefore does not go to the gallery. You cannot expect a gallery to pay external specialists for this.


PACKED: In the long-term storage of video art, the preservation of the master copy is an important aspect of the preservation of the work. In order to safeguard the master copy for the future, it has to be regularly migrated from one carrier to another and transcoded from one file format to another. Is this your responsibility or the museum’s?

David Claerbout: I prefer not to leave this to the museum. I view this somewhat as my responsibility. I certainly don’t just relinquish my work. Nor do I tell a museum or collector that they can recompress the files or duplicate the DVDs themselves for their exhibitions.

There are few museums that work expertly with migration and transcoding within the framework of conservation. The Centre Pompidou is one of the few exceptions I know of. One could expect them to do the transcoding themselves. They are aware of such issues.


 David Claerbout, Ruurlo, Bocurloscheweg 1910, 1997, courtesy: MuHKA / David Claerbout


PACKED: Have you had any bad experiences with transcoding?

David Claerbout: For exhibitions, we often work with Mac Minis. Here in my studio, we have about ten which are constantly going back and forth from exhibitions. Sometimes museums tell us that we do not need to provide a Mac Mini because they have hard-disk players. They often also have flash card players. My work can be shown using 16 GB flash-card players. When we then ask the museums about the file size and check it ourselves, we see that they are actually playing a highly compressed SD version. There is still an awful lot of ignorance and confusion about this matter in the field itself. The use of a hard drive or flash drive is no guarantee of quality.

I have also noticed that the issue of image quality is taken very lightly in exhibitions in Asia. The DVDs are often rewritten in a quality much worse than the original. There is a different mentality when dealing with media. In Asia, they deal much more easily with the loss of quality. They are less concerned with conservation there. This is not the case in old Europe and even less so in the United States. The development of new media within the arts is taking place largely in the United States. The reason they are so far ahead in the field of conservation, and engage very rigorously with it, is that they want to preserve their own recent history.


PACKED: What references do you yourself use for quality?

David Claerbout: The three standards I use to determine the quality of files is the codec26 used, the file size and the image size. These are my references.


PACKED: When you yourself keep watch over the authenticity and survival of your work in this manner, there is a shift in the responsibility for conservation. Whereas, in the past, this responsibility was with the museum, it is now shifting to the artist.

David Claerbout: I personally believe that the artist or his representative have their own responsibility for conservation. This is of course something of a Sword of Damocles hanging over my head. After all, there are not just video installations, but also the photographic installations which must be able to be reproduced. However, as long as I do not have to cover the production cost, it is not a problem.

I find that most institutions which collect works worry a lot about the durability of the original. They are normally scared of no longer being able to exhibit their original copy. This is something which needs to be thought about in a fundamentally different way. I believe that a work must be able to be remade.


PACKED: As long as you are around…

David Claerbout: Exactly. Me or my representative...


PACKED: You talk about your work in terms of a score, but it is not a score which can be freely interpreted. You remain the conductor, who determines how the score is played. Is the life span of your work in this way determined by the duration of your own existence?

David Claerbout: Perhaps not so much the life span, but certainly the way the work is approached. In that sense, my work will be produced differently than when I myself am not there. But for the life span in itself, it is not a problem.


PACKED: There is the chance that the work will change. The works can perhaps also continue to exist in the form of documentation.

David Claerbout: If necessary, the works will have to be reconstructed back to their original form. It will not be possible completely from scratch, but it is possible on the basis of a simple data carrier on which the audiovisual material has been stored in a good format. The culture of the exhibition must of course be preserved.


PACKED: Might we say that despite minor imperfections, your method seems to be working well for the time being?

David Claerbout: Yes, in certain respects.


[Translation: Gregory Ball. Additional text editing: Jeff Martin]





  • 1. Bill Viola (1951) is an American artist who is regarded as one of the pioneers of video art. His work has contributed to the recognition of video art as an important form of contemporary art and to the expansion of the scope of video art in terms of technology, content and historical reach. Viola’s video installations – spatial environments which immerse the viewer in image and sound – are characterised by the use of the very latest technology, but at the same time they also stand out for their direct simplicity and precision. See:
  • 2. JEFF MARTIN, Interview with Kira Petrov.(
  • 3. BILL VIOLA, Permanent Impermanence in MIQUEL ANGEL CORZO (ed.), Mortality Immortality?: The Legacy of 20th Century Art, J. Paul Getty Trust, 1999, p. 89
  • 4. RICHARD RINEHART, A System of Formal Notation for Scoring Works of Digital and Variable Media Art, University of California, Berkeley, 2005, 25 p. ( en RICHARD RINEHARD, Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive in: ALAIN DEPOCAS (ed.), JON IPPOLITO (ed.) and CAITLIN JONES (ed.), The Variable Media Approach: Permanence through Change, Guggenheim Museum Publications, New York, 2003, pp. 25-27 (
  • 5. The lux (symbol: lx) is the international unit of illuminance and luminous emittance. It is used in photometry as a measure of the perceived intensity of light.
  • 6. The light output of projectors (including video projectors) is typically measured in lumens. A standardized procedure for testing projectors has been established by the American National Standards Institute (AMSI), An ANSI lumen rating uses an average of several measurements taken across the face of the light source.
  • 7. QuickTime is a multimedia framework developed by Apple. It supports a large number of formats for digital video, media clips, sound, text, animation, music and interactive panoramic images. MOV is a special video format for the Quicktime player. It is available for both Mac OS and Windows operating systems.
  • 8. The TARGA or TGA file format is a raster-based graphics file format. The TGA file format was developed as early as 1984. It was the standard file format for Truevision Inc.’s TARGA card, one of the first graphic cards for IBM-compatible PCs which supported true colours. It was one of the most modern innovations in the field of digital image processing. Today, the TARGA file format is still extensively used in the animation and video industry. Although the maximum colour depth does not fulfil the requirements for quality colour printing, the format is still extremely suitable for displays using monitors and projectors.
  • 9. An analogue video format popular for the storage of film files in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
  • 10. Digital Betacam is a digital version of the professional Betacam videotape format. Digital Betacam is regarded as a format suitable for the preservation of video.
  • 11. A secured copy of data.
  • 12. Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (Museum of Comtemporary Art in Antwerp),
  • 13. Although the Irish artist James Coleman (1941) has worked with film, video, photography and theatre since the beginning of the 1970s, he is best known for the installations in which he uses different projectors to project slides in synchrony with a soundtrack. With photographic and film media, he redefines the traditions of representation and of the creation of images which are primarily associated with painting.
  • 14. Candida Höfer (1944) is a German photographer and former student of Hilla and Bernd Becher. She is known for her colour photos of public spaces such as libraries, theatres, museums, zoos, etc. Her photos are tranquil images of spaces which have been stripped of all human presence but which simultaneously display a great richness of human activity. Just like David Claerbout, Candida Höfer is represented by the Galerie Yvon Lambert (Paris and New York) and Johnen Galerie (Berlin).
  • 15. Andreas Gursky (1955) is a German photographer and, like Candida Höfer, a former student of Hilla and Bernd Becher. He mainly makes large and often digitally manipulated colour photos of landscapes and buildings which play a role in international trade and tourism. Gursky’s photos offer a critical view of the effects of capitalism and globalisation but at the same time are also highly sought-after objects on the international art market. In 2007, a copy of 99 Cent II, Diptych fetched a price of £1.7 million at an auction at Sotheby’s in London.
  • 16. Diana Thater (1962) is an American artist who has been exhibiting video and film installations since the beginning of the 1990s. An increasingly recurring theme in her work is nature, with which she draws the exterior world into the exhibition space, and researches into the relationship between modern technology on the one hand and beauty and the sublime on the other. In her work, Thater regularly uses red, green and blue projected light – video’s basic colour palette.
  • 17. Although the Dutch artist Marijke van Warmerdam (1959) initially created sculptures in materials such as wood, plaster, metal, glass, textiles and rubber, she is better known for works she makes with film, video and photography. Movement and time are important themes in her work. The movement or passage of time in her work is not linear, but circular. Her most well-known works are her 16mm film loops, in which the beginning and end of the film are pasted together and the same images of everyday life continue to repeat themselves.
  • 18. Rendering is the term used to describe the process whereby video effects are calculated in an editing file in order to obtain a finished video file.
  • 19. U-matic is an analogue video format developed at the end of the 1960s and consisted of a ¾ inch magnetic videotape in a cassette. It is the forerunner of the analogue Betacam.
  • 20. Electronic Arts Intermix is an American, non-commercial distributor of video art. Its website contains, among other things, the Online Resource Guide for Exhibiting, Collecting & Preserving Media Art. See:
  • 21. The term Standard Definition (SD) refers to an image resolution of 480 picture lines (for NTSC) or 576 picture lines (for PAL). The resolution describes how many picture lines (horizontal rows of visual information) the video picture is composed of.
  • 22. The term High Definition (HD) today refers to video formats which have a higher resolution than the Standard Definition (SD). Today, there are two resolutions for HD: 1080 or 720 picture lines.
  • 23. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst Gent (Municipal Museum of Comtemporary Art in Ghent),
  • 24. JEFF MARTIN, Interview with Glenn Wharton. (
  • 25. David Claerbout is represented by Hauser & Wirth (London and Zurich), Johnen Galerie (Berlin), Yvon Lambert (Paris and New York) and Galerie Micheline Szwajcer (Antwerp).
  • 26. A codec is a piece of software or hardware which allows data to be encoded/decoded or compressed/decompressed.
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