Pieces I Never Did (3 Screen Version)

Pieces I Never Did (3 Screen Version)


"By 1979, when Pieces I Never Did was made, colour cameras, U-matic cassettes and a wide range of colour monitors were available. I was able to visit many performance, film, video, installation and sculpture ideas in the work.

Talking to camera, I described ideas that had never got beyond a note in a sketchbook. Paradoxically, I was able to resurrect on video these items of personal performance that had been edged out by the structuralism of early video art (such as shouting the words 'Shut Up!' until I lost my voice, having objects thrown at me until I changed colour, and proposing to end the piece by blowing myself up). I intended the piece to be colourful and action packed – far removed from the forty-minute single-take of Changing in 1973.

Pieces I Never Did was probably the last piece of work I made which tried to reconcile some of the material differences in the various media and methods I was using. At the same time I presented a self-critique and, by inference, a critique of other video art work going on at that time. The work was intended to be screened on three monitors and the thirty or so sections of all three tapes were edited to run in analogue sync for the thirty-five minute duration. This differed by fractions of a second from one screening to another depending on how the pause and start buttons were pressed, in turn resulting in a very different sound environment for the visuals to work in. In various combinations this work put together about eighteen propositions for art works covering performance, film, video, installation and sculpture.

The complexity of the video recording and editing in the making of this piece went far beyond anything I had done before, yet this was not the primary focus of the work. It is more about the reading of each distinct piece as realised on video in one minute sections against the justification for making them, or even thinking of them in the first place. It is about why we make art at all." – David Critchley