The work originates from an artistic dialogue between Benglis and Robert Morris, where the video tapes would pass between the two artists as in an exchange of postcards, each artist modifying, adding to, or in other ways transforming the received material. In 1973, Morris concluded the dialogue with Exchange, an “anthology” or review of the entire proceedings. Both Mumble and Exchange seem to suggest that the relationship presented in this dialogue arises as the unique result of the productive framework of televisual technologies, without any self-evident correlate in a reality beyond this framework. This collaborative work then opens up certain fundamental questions concerning the artistic medium of video as a social machine, one invested in a fundamental reconfiguration of the very idea of social relations. By framing the question of sociality in terms of an encounter between various pictorial conventions related to the history of Western art and the new signal-based technologies, this work adds a different twist to the history of the social art practices of the 1960’s and 70’s.

Ina Blom is Associate Professor at the Institute of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo. Her fields of research and teaching are modernism/avant-garde studies and contemporary art and aesthetics, with a particular focus on media art practices and media aesthetics. A former music critic and DJ, she has also worked extensively as an art critic and curator. She has been a senior curator at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo (2000), and the curator of the Fluxus/Intermedia Archive at the Henie Onstad Art Center in Oslo (1988-93). producing a number of exhibitions on art from the 1960’s onwards. She has been an editor of Samtiden and of NU: The Nordic Art Review, and contributes to Frieze, Flash Art, Parkett, Afterall, Texte zur Kunst and PAJ – A Journal of Performance and Art. Selected writings include: On the Style Site; Art, Sociality and Television Culture (Sternberg Press, New York 2007); How to (not) Answer a Letter, The Postal Performance of Ray Johnson’s (MIT Press, Oslo/Kassel/Sittard, 2003); Joseph Beuys (Gyldendal, Oslo 2001). She has also contributed an essay to the forthcoming Witte de With publication Technical Specifications on the work of Saâdane Afif.