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In the area of image production and manipulation, artists like Nam June Paik (in collaboration with the technician Shuya Abe) or Ed Emshwiller also explored the technical possibilities of image editing, and in so doing further developed them, for example the Paik/Abe Synthesizer (1969), which is named after them. In 1970, Stephen Beck developed the so-called Direct Video Synthesizer, which makes possible a direct in- fluence of elements like color, form, movement, and even the illusion of depth. With this, images could be produced that approached optical hallucinations, something then more commonly found in psychedelic film, which questioned the constants of perception by way of visual effects.
«Although not long lasting, there was a period in video when the subject of representation was discussed, resembling the dialog between musique concrète and the Synthesizer or the Bazinian discourse of cinematic reality. The appropriation of images was the topic; those taken from God/Nature through the camera versus those constructed inside the instrument. There was a clear interest in machine-made forms as far away from nature as possible. The
synthetic principle was the talk of the day.»
Since the invention of electronic technologies, the opposition between synthetically produced and recorded aesthetic material has played a role in various artistic areas. In the area of the visual there is the opposition of film and synthetic image, while in the acoustic area, musique concrète (for example, the work of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry) is opposed to electronic music (Karlheinz Stockhausen). The use of images or sounds that maintain a link to external reality is here opposed to the artistic new creation of visual and acoustic elements of expression. Similar to the images in abstract film, video works that are purely electronically produced, like «Artifacts,» have no representative intention. Their function is self-referential and indexes their own technique of image production.
Over the course of the 1980s, the interest in the study of video as a medium has declined. Questions about perception and technology that until then were extensively studied are overshadowed by an interest in narrative forms and subjective expression.