Where photography once overtook painting as the shower of truth, this title is now held by video. We see it used in one way or another by most, if not all disciplines.

The potential of video makes it one of the most versatile and efficient forms of communication that exists in contemporary society.

Its appeal is in its ability to straddle both education and entertainment. It can be the documentation, the art and the data. It can show us things in the cold light of day, or whip us in to an emotional whirlwind. Quite often it is also a mode of presentation that can put the viewer in control of how, where and on what device it is watched.

The hosting of video content online means it cannot be lost, degrade or take up local memory. A digital archive and platform like YouTube, Vimeo or iTunes U exists in perpetuity, providing routes to other content through playlists and access to back-end data via analytics. Further versatility through sharing and embedding means video can be in multiple places at once, watchable on most devices. Privacy settings also allow owners to control its viewership and wider reach.

Holy Water by Tita Salina & Irwan Ahmett (2016) is a unique piece of work in the way it uses video. It documents the collection of used syringes in public places and the distillation of the liquids inside back in to pure water, which is then taken to a local church. The liquid is branded as true holy water because it has “travelled to hell and back”. The video, along with a vile of the water is then framed as the artwork within a gallery setting. Here we see the versatility of video; it is both the art, the documentation and the vehicle by which it is consumed all at the same time.

The videos (Duke Mitchell, 2017) replaced printed materials at Six Decades Six Sculptures (2017) at Victoria Art Gallery and Drawings of Different Sizes (2017) at Drawing Projects allowing visitors to see and hear Michael Pennie tell the story of his work, almost as if you were having a conversation with him in person. This mode of presentation also benefits venues in that it bypasses the need for printing, distribution, waste and the costs they bring.

As the desire to capture and present research narratives increases with the impact and public engagement agenda across universities we shall see video add another string to it’s already impressive bow.