Black Box Recorder

Black Box Recorder, the title of this exhibition catalogue brings to mind something that is submerged but holding the key to things. It suggests the importance of recorded information to decode and deliver those vital moments that may have seemed like nothing at all. The video works selected for the accompanying exhibition have all been made by young artists from Britain. However, the subjects of the videos have the fascination and near universal appeal of moments with which we can all identify. Often these are private moments, usually experienced without self-consciousness or a sense of being watched. For example; young boys holding their breath in the back of the car as they are driven through a tunnel, a girl vainly trying to sketch a car spinning off a race track, a person talking away in someone else’s character.

From the first major exhibition in Britain devoted exclusively to video in 1975 to today, video has become increasingly adept at exploring multidimensional realities and at concentrating on personal moments of feedback. Needing to be seen and heard in relatively controlled conditions, it allows more than any other medium the slip-ups and accidents that are usually edited out of ‘broadcast’ media to become the very stuff of the performance – process not as a furtive preliminary to proceedings, but the proceedings themselves. This exhibition is full of those proceedings – frightening, mundane, or exhilarating – and should hopefully prove as revealing to the viewer as to the artists at the moment of making them.

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