James Welling b. 1951
Middle Video Alternative (1972)
½ inch Helical scan video transferred to DVD
SS: One of your tapes from that era, Middle Video [1972-73], is a series of 2- or 3-minute close-ups of your hands holding objects for examination, in shadowy black and white.
JW: I’d been feeling homesick and had brought back to California a slew of objects—letters, books, linen napkins and other old things from my family’s house in Connecticut. Partly under the influence of Robert Lowell, I decided to use the newest form of image-making to look at very old things. The tape opens with an image of a funnel spinning, and then hands pick it up and rotate it carefully in front of the lens. I remember showing Middle Video to Dan Graham, who suggested I look at Marcel Broodthaers’s work, because Broodthaers also had an antiquarian’s sensibility.