Selected video works
A Fear of Shadows deals with psychological power. It is essentially a dialogue of one individual with everyone. Whoever watches the work is directly implicated in an intimate manner. It begins, on the surface as a gentle acknowledgment of generic closeness, but soon develops into a more psychological entrapment. The work on a broad level deals with the endless possibilities of interactions that occur and will occur without most of us knowing that they will. That intimacy with anyone is possible because we are unaware of the different paths that people are on and when, through a series of interventions, they might cross and become something more concrete. The work is about this, but also about a darkness that pervades with obsession. It is also a metaphor for hierarchical systems of power where a “big brother”, in whatever form, has the ability to know more than what should be permissible. The viewer is “colonised” on both a psychological and emotional level.
Beauty and the Beasts is a documentary film by South African visual artist Greg Streak. The film is about the high levels of pollution in the South Durban Basin. The 78′ full feature documentary won a Special Mention Jury Award at the Durban International Film Festival in 2006. The film is without copyright and can be downloaded and distributed for free – only if done in its entirety. The soundtrack by Jon Chappe is copyrighted. There are 6 parts to this film.
Streaks video tackles head on some of the implications of the ‘truth’ of witnessing. Directly titled Witness, it shows a short but crucial sequence from the Peter Weir movie of the same name (starring Harrison Ford), where a young white boy sees a black man slit a white man’s throat. Videoing the sequence and then videoing the retake again and again, Streak’s piece both depicts violence and affects a ‘violence’ on the original, relentlessly destroying the primary image. Not only is the perpetrator of the crime never revealed, but what is seen continues to degenerate into a jumble of colours and marks, not unlike some modernist abstraction; only here, the ‘essence’ of the image, its pixels and signals on the video screen, serve not to reveal the truth, but further distance us from it, calling into question our memory of the original and our reconstruction of the ‘facts’. – Virginia Mackenny
Streak fed a sequence from the film Witness, depicting a man cutting another man’s throat, witnessed by a young boy, into a edit suite and out again in a continuous process that resulted in the footage losing a generation of quality each time. The progeny of his critically acclaimed video trio Dreams in Red (1999), Leaving (Blue) (2000) and Jaundiced (Yellow) (2000), Witness begins as mimicking reality in a naturalistic if dramatized manner, yet ends as abstract painting in motion, a seething, pulsating field of electronic colour-stains and televisual noise. An indictment of the vagaries of truth and memory, Streak was interested in the process of erosion. Through the dissolution of the image, one is forced to forget whether the men are black or white and whether the man attacked has a hood-like object obscuring his face. These details were uncannily mirrored in the retelling of horror experienced directly and vicariously through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. – Kathryn Smith
Dreams in Red, Leaving (blue) and Jaundiced (yellow) were the contributions of Greg Streak to a