Videotexts is a collection of previously published essays written by Peggy Gale between 1977 and 1994. The articles have been revised and are positioned between a new introduction and afterward. The combination of the systematic development of Gale’s reflections on Canadian video art, and her germane hindsight provide the reader with a perspicacity into this medium’s early evolution.
Rather than furnishing a chronology of video’s development Gale focuses on specific themes. Concepts of narrative, memory and the self are addressed in relation to specific works and artists. These are then situated within the economic, social, technological and aesthetic terrain of Canadian video. Although a theoretical background is apparent, Gale does not lose her subject in the labyrinth of contemporary video theory.
The re-editing that Gale has done notwithstanding, the nature of the articles which comprise Videotexts (the majority of which were written in the mid-eighties), prevent her from considering some of the more contemporary issues within video today. Gale recognizes this inadequacy and tries to reconcile it in her conclusion. Gale should be commended as one of the first critics to write about video art in Canada and as such, Videotexts provides an excellent introduction and raises questions which could serve as the basis for further research. C. S.