The Inoperative Community and Allan Kaprow ‘Hello’

The Inoperative Community at Raven Row 

This is an exhibition of experimental narrative film and video  made since 1968  addressing ideas of community and the changing nature of social relations. It reflects the overlapping and entangled histories of  cinema, video and television. They all describe the destruction of community, the limits of activism and leftish subcultures. All of them use narrative to explore these issues.

Because there is fifty hours of material, any visitor can only  see a fraction of the works, but can make connections can be made between the works.
it was fascinating just wandering from room to room, staying sometimes ( rarely) for a complete work but just ‘browsing’ and not feeling as is this was a ‘bad thing to do’.

A bit like watching Periscope Streams! I couldn’t really do it justice as I had to move on to the Lecture at Whitechapel. I had no idea there would be so much. There were timetables so you could check what you were actually seeing and schedule in other visits.

I loved the confusing, fragmentary nature of the total summary narrative that you are left with, and the remnants of the powerful individual storylines from the individual works . Interesting.

I particularly enjoyed Luke Fowler,  Johan Grimonprez,

 Anne Charlotte Robinson Selections from 5 year Diary 

anne charlotte robertson-1.d5bd935c7d9790f28b78aa1058d3b5dc

and Lav Diaz Melancholia ( 2008)


 Electronic Superhighway

I visited this exhibition after seeing The Inoperative Community and going to the James Bridle Lecture. Trying to squeeze far too much into my time. By the time I got to this exhibition I hadn’t got time before it closed to look closely at everything, and Boy! was there a lot to look at! I browsed around and ended up making Vines of bits of Naim June Paik’s work Internet Dream and some of the other works….but even managed to get those on the wrong axis, I was so tired….interesting though

Also good to see Lynn Hershman Leeson, whose work I saw at Modern Art Oxford in Summer 2015 and Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T)  John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg.

 Here’s a review of the whole show from The Guardian

Allan Kaprow Hello 

Of all the works in this significant and somewhat overwhelming exhibition I kept returning to this., Allan Kaprow Hello. Probably because of the elements of human interaction.
Kaprow created  this interactive video happening in 1969 for The Medium Is the Medium, an  experimental television program with five television cameras and twenty-seven monitors connecting  four remote locations over a closed-circuit television network.
Groups of people in the various locations  were given instructions to say on camera, for example “Hello, I see you”  seeing their own or a friend’s image. Kaprow acted as a director in the studio, the picture suddenly switching randomly so that there was not only the process of communication , randomness and chance,
Kaprow  was interested in the idea of  ‘communications media as non-communications‘, the most important message  being the idea of “oneself in connection with someone else”.  Hello  was a the disruptive way that technology mediates interaction by  metaphorically short-circuiting the television network,  and  demonstrating the connections made between actual people. Kaprow did suggest a global form of Hello, interconnecting continents, languages, and cultures in one huge sociological mix, much as Periscope operates today  demonstrating contemporary simultaneity.

(Adapted from: Kristine Stiles and Edward A. Shanken , MISSING IN ACTION: AGENCY AND MEANING IN INTERACTIVE ART) and Gene Youngblood: EXPANDED CINEMA, 1970, [PDF /4.6 Mb] pp.343-344



Allan Kaprow, Hello, 1969 Filmstill | ©


Hello Allan Kaprow 1969, 4:23 min, b&w, sound


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