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Nick Kaye: Reflecting the view, set out in his essay Pop Dead Pictures, that “if an image exists, then it has already destroyed the possibility of being constructed by the viewer,” these dream-like works were thus “designed to mirror a thought pattern or process,” and so operate “in opposition to a film grammar, which is [. . .] attempting to replace the eye” (Oursler in Janus 1999: 70-1). Indeed, Oursler’s resulting “video grammar,” while including residual references to plot, storytelling, scene, and character, engaged directly with the viewer’s complicity in forming the image, while addressing the transformative role of video as an affective medium. Thus, in his remarks to Kelley, Oursler noted that for Grand Mal (1981), one of the most influential of his single-channel works:

I thought of the viewer as the character. He or she is actually participating in a state of mind. That was the goal; to collaborate with the viewer, give them enough room to dream, to read into the signs yet to follow a loose path. (Oursler in Kelley 1999)


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