Home Video Systems
Johannes Raether

For the „Home Video Systems“ project, I asked Istanbul residents to host screenings of artists’ video works in their private homes, on their own TV and VCR.
A number of artists were then invited to each contribute a video for the screenings in these private spaces.
The different screenings are scheduled for a specific time on different days. At this time the public can visit the respective house in order to watch a video.

In the gallery at Platform is a sign, displaying information about the different homes that will screen a video, much like a „you are here“ sign in a tourist center.
There is also a leaflet containing all the information required, including location, date and times to visit one of the stations of the „Home video systems“.

With the „Home video systems“ project, I research the conditions of reception of video art and the importance of the context it is shown in.
I see it as an experiment, which articulates a sceptic position towards the black box situation of contemporary exhibition practise and aims to provide a different setting, that is more likely to catalyse dialogues and the exchange of ideas between audiences.
The network consisting of different private homes that host a video, dissolves the terms of private and public, suggesting a more subjective perception of the urban space, which can be characterized by collecting information, moving along random narratives and maps and passing on knowledge by word of mouth about sites and situations experienced in the city.

With the visitors entering the private homes, privacy is altered into a situation in-between house party, movie night and opening reception.
The ambivalence resulting from this situation, may it be characterized by curiosity or awkwardness, carries the possibility of an experience beyond consuming video in a public exhibition.

Being a stranger in the city, asking strangers to let strangers into their homes, becomes a chance to rethink identities and territories as social constructions that can be challenged and replaced by subjective experiences.
The „Home video systems“ project is an example for the personal distribution of culture on a small scale and on a local level. Thereby the project promotes the importance of creating alternatives to a solely virtual cultural exchange, one which is expanding with mass tourism and the liberalized economies.
It aims to substitute it with a concept of self-organized networks.

The artists that were invited to contribute, reflect the medium they work with in many different ways. From documentary to music video, most of the present formats of televison culture are represented in the language of the participating videos. Appropriating a formal structure is often used to produce statements that suggest an alternative to present ways of communication, thought and representation. The diversity of artistic positions reflect the variety of programs, ideas and concepts produced by the entertainment industry, blurring the borders between the disciplines, thus rendering them visible to an unexpected extent. Questions around the definition of cultural territories, are likely to be raised when viewing an artist video on a private TV on someone else’s sofa: How does the perception of the artist´s video change? Do we relate differently to a video, maybe even to the whole media, in a situation, in which we don´t have to perform our assigned role in the white cube? And finally, in what sense do we perform another role while entering the home of a stranger?

The notion of technical progress has always been used as propaganda for an automatic social advancement to happen in parallel. If there is a utopian model formulated by those in power, it is often merely a technical one. The inflation of the dot.com hype and the promises of the internet were just the most recent examples.
Video was also once charged with an utopian ideal and it is only now that we see the reality of all those hopeful expectations regarding availibility, low-cost production and the possibility of democratic distribution.
It is now possible to discuss if the technical possibility of producing moving images for everybody has effectively triggered the production of alternative information, other models of representation or an alternative network of distribution. The „Home video systems“ project is an experimental way of articulating the importance of rethinking the context and site where media is consumed, rather than the technical properties being the utopian promise of the medium.

By asking others to participate in building up a small network, linking people and sites, I define myself rather as a mediator than a producer. Even if the „Home video systems“ project can be seen as a curatorial concept, hosted inside an exhibition, it is more an attempt to create many small-scale situations, that are not manipulated by the artist’s control. With this practise I hope to enable people to join a cultural concept changing it actively, building upon it, or re-adjusting it to their needs. That way, I become a guest in my own idea.