– Spring/Summer 2016

Intervention: Stuart Marshall

Ian White

Stuart Marshall, Blue Boys, 1992, video, colour, sound, 25min, still. Courtesy British Artists’ Film & Video Study Collection, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London

In Screen (‘Video: Technology and Practice’, vol.20, no.1, Spring 1979) Stuart Marshall points to the lack of a ‘legitimising history’ for the then nascent practice of video art, while making video art himself and generously attempting to document the work of others. To write about his work is as much to write about the state of video art then. It is ultimately a caustic irony and an ironic testament to his project that his videos, like his sound, installation and live works, have nonetheless shamefully remained outside of an authoritative international canon.

Marshall’s article maps an evolving practice, from Nam June Paik’s first use of the Sony Portapak in 1965 to video’s intersection with the women’s movement (in works by Lynda Benglis, Joan Jonas and Hermine Freed on sexual difference). Just as notably, the article describes its limited British economy. In 1979 there was no commercial gallery infrastructure for video works in the UK, commercial distribution was unsustainable and broadcast was in the exclusive grip of a closed ‘duopoloy’ between the institutions of BBC and ITV. My proposal is that this latter – television – became Marshall’s particular and specific, culturally reflective concern, one that found its apotheosis in his

  1. Stuart Marshall, ‘Video: Technology and Practice’, Screen, vol.20, no.1, Spring 1979, p.117.

  2. Rosalind Krauss, ‘Video: The Aesthetics of Narcissism’, October, vol.1, Spring 1976, p.57.

  3. Ibid., p.59. Emphasis the author’s.

  4. Ibid.

  5. S. Marshall, ‘Video: From Art to Independence – A Short History of a New Technology’, Screen, vol.26, no.2, March–April 1985, p.69, available at http://www.luxonline.org.uk/articles/Video_From_Art_to_Independenc(1).html (last accessed on 10 January 2016). Emphasis the author’s.

  6. Ibid.

  7. Ibid.

  8. S. Marshall, ‘Video: Technology and Practice’, op. cit., p.110.

  9. S. Marshall, ‘Video: From Art to Independence’, op. cit., p.69.

  10. Ibid. Emphasis the author’s.

  11. Ibid. p.70. Emphasis the author’s.

  12. See Raymond Williams, Television: Technology and Cultural Form (1974), London: Routledge, 2010.

  13. ‘Signs of the Times’ (7 October–9 December 1990) featured works by Rose Finn-Kelcey, Judith Goddard, David Hall, Susan Hiller, Tina Keane, Tamara Krikorian, Stuart Marshall, Jayne Parker and Cerith Wyn Evans, amongst others.