I have been tasked with trying to answer some of the questions that Lucy raised in her blog post ‘Can I buy that video?’. I’m going to admit now that I may fail, but I promise to give it a good go.Thanks Lucy.
It really is true that along with the fantastic responses we have had to Hanae Utamura’s video, we have been finding ourselves inundated with questions about what happens next. Why would someone buy a video piece and what do they get when they do? The first question can be answered with another question: Why does anybody buy any artform? Insert your own answer here.
What someone receives when they purchase a piece of video art is dependent on what the artist intends the work to be. In Utamura’s case, the work is the documentation of her performance in the Sahara Desert and you get to keep that documentation on a Blueray disk. Other artists may sell the work on a memory chip, and some may sell the video along with a television or projector, stipulating that it be viewed that way. The artist can and should be clear about what it is they are selling, no different from a painting or print; price with frame or without. Really we are talking about an agreement, a contractual relationship between artist and buyer.
It can be difficult for any artist to truly understand their rights when it comes to selling their work but for video artists, it can be an even murkier area of confusion. However there is help out there. Websites such as Artquest and Electronic Arts Intermix can offer artists information support on issues concerning contractual agreements with galleries/private collectors, copyright, censorship, resale law and a variety of other sale related issues.
I can’t pretend to be very knowledgeable about the sale and procurement of video art but what I have experienced in my short time as a curator, leads me to believe that despite video and films popularity, it is (in the grand scheme of things) a relatively new form of art. We are all still learning. Often there is not one set template of how things work and by using forums and the online community here on Axisweb we can all discuss past experiences and pass on our own collective knowledge.
The more questions we ask each other the more information we will find. Hopefully.