Journal article “Interrupting the Program: Descrambling TV through Video” (2001)

This article published in a 2001 issue of Canadian Art is an edited version of my MFA thesis. The essay discusses how video artworks address technology and the variety of effects it has on identity issues within an increasing digital world. I discuss how certain video works examine television not only for the content that it airs but also for its ability to intrude into the everyday lives of its viewers.

This paper includes a discussion of two works by Kristin Lucas – Cable Xcess from 1996 and Host from 1997 – within a larger discussion of the effects of televisuality on identity formation. Kristin Lucas’ examination not only demands us to question our relationship with what we watch on television but also encourages us to acknowledge its influence unto other computer based systems that we deal with on a daily basis. I describe how video art is questioning the media-absorbed viewer by allowing a personal viewpoint to disrupt the shifting landscape of the media rather than the other way around. The impersonal nature of television and technology becomes personalized by the artist, allowing authoritative qualities of the medium to diminish. I discuss how video can be used to speak about the transference of televisual language, derived from TV and other infotainment devices, onto the individual being. The video works described in this paper use the inherent relationship between video and television as a means to comment on visual culture.

Citation: May, H. (2001). Descrambling tv through video. Canadian Art, Volume 18, Number 2 (pp. 66-73).

Click here for unedited MFA thesis (2000)



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