Hey pal, so here’s a quick question; what do you reckon is the longest amount of time you’ve spent watching a video artwork in a gallery?
The reason I’m asking is because the title of Sydney based artist David Greenhalgh’s video work, 40:01, refers to the duration of the piece being forty minutes and one second, and so it’s got me wondering about how much time people actually spend with video art.
I just went on facebook and asked the question to the first five artists who were online, here’s their answers;
Melbourne artist Fleur Summers said “Probably about 15 minutes. Maybe longer…”
Perth artist Shannon Calcott said “Erhhhh not long…. Probably 5 minutes max. Is that bad?”
Sydney artist Tom Polo said “30 or so mins? maybe 40 max.” (Which means that when Tom watches 40:01 he will officially break his record by a second.)
Perth artist Abdul-Rahmen Abdullah said “I reckon I’ve watched a Daniel Crooks work for about 45 minutes. I made a point of staying with it, usually I have a ten second rule.”
And lastly I asked Melbourne artist Inez De Vega, and she answered “the longest I’ve probably spent in a gallery watching a video I was really into is about 25-30 mins…but most I spend less than a minute with… :(”
Talking about the duration of 40:01 seems like a good entry point into the work because of its title, but also because the piece itself is about the memory of everything that’s ever happened in the history of time, and to try to summarise that sounds tricky, so maybe I’ll use Abdul’s ten second rule and just focus on the opening shot. (Ha, and besides, surely everyone who watches the work is guaranteed to watch at least that far.)
The opening shot of 40:01 introduces us to a history teacher, he’s the films protagonist and he walks us through his morning routine of breakfast, consisting of a cigarette. The man explains “a normal breakfast makes me feel nauseous”. I think I might be the opposite of this guy, I love a normal breakfast.
How about you? Are you more like me or like him? I know I already asked you one quick question but here’s another; what do you have for breakfast most days?
I just went back on facebook and asked this question to the same five artists, here’s their answers;
Fleur said “Weatbix with sultana bran on top (both Aldi brand) with milk”.
Shannon said “Usually eggs on ryvita, or peanut butter on toast or nothing.”
Tom said wholemeal toast… likely with Vegemite… sometimes an egg on toast, sometimes just a coffee, sometimes just fruit… Irregularly bran flakes or muesli.
Abdul said “Mostly noodles with prawns, egg, mushrooms, bok choy, beans and celery. Breakfast of champions!”
And Inez said she has “either a cup of Earl Grey tea (or 3) or a cup of Russian Caravan tea…yum”.
Are there any correlations between what kind of breakfast people have and how long they watch video art? I’m not sure about that, but I am sure I’ve been writing this for just under 40 minutes and one second which is the exact amount of time I’ve given myself to finish this. I know I haven’t explained 40:01 very well, or at all, but given that the title of this exhibition is disinformation it wouldn’t make much sense for me to try and inform you anyway.
I asked David Greenhalgh what’s the longest amount of time he’s spent watching a video artwork and he told me “40 minutes or so”. I then asked him what he has for breakfast most mornings and he said eggs on toast. Poached if he’s got time, fried if he’s in a rush. Maybe I’ll have eggs tomorrow too. No doubt mine will be fried though as I’m always in a rush, there just isn’t enough time in the day, especially seen as though there’s so much great video art that needs to be watched.