Tag Archives: Krauss

Voyage on the North Sea -2

Voyage on the North Sea (Rosalind Krauss) is an inspiration and base for thinking about media and the medium but poses some problems as a framework for practice, especially in relation to technology and media in 2017. For example

Technology – by valuing obsolescence it seems the artist can stand back from a wave of technological developments which can be difficult to evaluate or develop a relationship with. On the other hand it appears to point way from an active engagement with current technology. It is also possibly contradictory ie stucturalist film of the 60s and 70s employed 16mm film but this was cheaply available and commercially widely used. Only now is 16mm actually obsolescent.

How do we engage with technology as an artist in a way which permits a kind of deeper engagement and space for improvisation within constraints?

In a later post on media archaelogy I will propose some approaches that may address this

Intermedia – as a kind of discursive chaos, intermedia is condemned as lacking or not permitting the kind of engagement from the viewer/artist Krauss is looking for.

In a following post I will look at questions around intermedia and possible ways of addressing some of these issues.

Voyage on the North Sea – 1. Rosalind Krauss and the medium

Have been reading Rosalind Krauss on the medium, especially the essay Voyage on the North Sea and her paper on William Kentridge.

Voyage on the North Sea is for me a starting point in how I think about my working process and its relationship to technology.

It is a complex essay but there are some essential points

A medium is complex, has a supporting structure which recursively defines a set of rules or conventions

This recursive structure is something made, not given.

These conventions open up a space for release for the artist within which improvisation can occur.

These conventions are somehow specific and recursively define their own necessity

Structuralist film is given as an example in which the film apparatus is interrogated to explore ‘a model of how the viewer is connected to the world’

Video is contrasted with film as occupying a kind of ‘discursive chaos’

The outmoded and the obsolescent is positioned via Benjamin, who notes that only in extinction is the true collector comprehended ie we need the distance of obsolescence to be able to engage and appreciate the (utopian) promise of a technology.

Broodthaers employs film in the context of its early promise rather than as a defiance of Hollywood. The approach is archaelogical and redemptive

Krauss specifically attacks the discursive chaos of intermedia while redeeming Broodthaers who employs a form of ‘differential specificity’.

Differential specificity is a kind of reinvention or rearticulation of the medium – while acknowledging the constraints that it may involve while at the same time reconfiguring them.




William Kentridge- Rosalind Krauss

William Kentridge Drawings for projection – Rosalind Krauss . Krauss discusses Kentridges working process in which drawings are made and animated via a stop motion process in which an original drawing is developed into a series via a process of erasure and addition rather than replacement.  References Marey and trace which is very interesting. Mareys chronophotographs could be seen as relating to Kentridges working process at some level although the analogy is not precise.


Beginning to realise that spectral media is a cultural construct – phantasmagoria. Spectrality is not an essential property of the projected image for example.

Points towards a media archaeological approach to medium.

Links also to Krauss’ essay Voyage on the North Sea.  What is an obsolescent medium for example?  What are the strategies implied by this essay if looked at from the point of view of artists practise rather than an art historian?

Thinking through the role of the medium via media- art- history.