Reading List for Vidiots

I know next to nothing about video synthesis, but I want to learn. As a retired graduate school professor of the history of architecture, there’s nothing better for me than reading about stuff. Well, watching videos is great here.

So let’s post the titles of any books from the past or the present that would be of use in, say a course on the topic (I’m not planning to teach one).

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One of the best sources for historical documents related to early video art/synthesis is the Vasulka archive.


Wow, the detailed technical descriptions in the Works by Steina section of that site are really interesting too.

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I’ve really been enjoying what I can follow of this thrift store find off and on. It is quite technical, all full of vacuum tube charts and Fourier coefficients, and was published before color broadcasts were standardized, but gives quite a nice description and rationale for how analog broadcast systems were engineered.


Analogue Video by Angelo La Spina
(technological evolution plus DIY circuits)

Johannes Gfeller, Agathe Jarczyk, Joanna Phillips - Compendium of Image Errors in Analogue Video (2013, Scheidegger & Spiess) is mainly about preservation of videotapes but also has a concise chapter on how analogue video works and another on video art.

Recently available academic free e-book resource that has lots of useful information, again primarily from a preservation point of view.

Digital Art through the Looking Glass:

Oliver Grau, Janina Hoth, & Eveline Wandl-Vogt (eds.)

Also a few others worth mentioning in case they haven’t shown up on your radar.

I find this indispensable although pricey:

This is filled with amazing details (especially related to the Vasulkas) and can be found used affordably:

Great resource with tax exempt donation to a worthy cause:

Not a book but same gushing praise as previous entry:


The bible of compositing techniques:

On the pattern and design angle:

This one is fun: