Video art’s burgeoning in North America from 1968, following Sony’s release of the video Portapack in 1965, emerged in the wake of postminimal departures in body art, process and time-based work. In this context influential ‘video artists’ came to include Vito Acconci, Dan Graham, Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, Howard Fried, Terry Fox and Joan Jonas, all of whose work explicitly linked video to their engagements with live performance. Indeed, as early as 1971, exhibitions such as Ten Video Performances at the Finch College Museum of Contemporary Art in New York (Viola 1995: 129) reflected a sense that, as Laura Cottingham subsequently proposed, ‘[m]uch of the most interesting work in video made between 1968 and 1978 can accurately be described as ‘‘a video of a performance’’’ (Cottingham 2002: 13). Here, too, relationships between performance, documentation and the video work became uncertain or multiple. Thus, Joan Jonas’ Vertical Roll (1972), one of the most celebrated of early single-channel video works (Elwes 2005: 30), was, in fact, produced in the process of Jonas’ multi-media performance Organic Honey’s Vertical Roll (1972), which was itself the subject of a separate documentary video work (Electronic Arts Intermix 2006). Indeed, such interweaving of live, mediated and recorded performance had also frequently come to position video and photographic ‘documentation’ as the principal or only means of accessing ephemeral events. Many of Dennis Oppenheim’s actions and earth works from 1968 were thus presented through videotape, film and photographic documentation, in gestures linked to the contemporary exhibition by artists of the photographic remainder as a trace and index of performance’s ephemerality

(Kaye 2006). Bruce Nauman’s early film and video similarly elided distinctions between performance, time-based art, video documentation and the film or video work, through recordings of his studio-based actions, including Wall-Floor Positions (1968), Walk with Contrapposto (1968) and Stamping in the Studio (1970). For Vito Acconci, in turn, the multiple relationships between the performed event, the production of mediated and recorded ‘video art’, and an engagement with the time and place of a tape’s exhibition and installation intrinsically linked video to live performance. Here, too, in a reflection of Paik’s fracturing of the present tense, Acconci’s work, among others, frequently set the ‘presence’, ‘sign’ and ‘trace’ of the performer at the centre of a practice that articulated the ‘screened’ body’s definition in and of multiple spaces. Indeed, it is in the articulation of the performer across these transitions and exchanges, in particular, that this second wave of video art pressed toward the vocabulary and implications of an explicitly multi-media practice.