Takahiko Iimura, a pioneer of Japanese experimental video, started video in the early 1970s, inspired by Nam June Paik and other video artists. Coming to New York City from Tokyo for the first time in the 1960s, he was then a filmmaker, having made such works as LOVE (1962) (music by Yoko Ono), which was highly praised by Jonas Mekas in the Village Voice at the time. He found video quite different from film, discovering it to be a valuable medium for examining the relation between image and language. Because video is able to record and playback immediately, one may use it to view the observer and the observed simultaneously. Thus the observer becomes the observed, and vice versa; or the subject turns into the object and vice versa. He applied this theory to practice.
The result is a video trilogy of CAMERA, MONITOR, FRAME (1976); OBSERVER/OBSERVED (1975), OBSERVER/ OBSERVED/OBSERVER (1976). These works have now been included within another trilogy of Concept Tapes, 1, 2, 3, after reassembling the first trilogy and adding other tapes. Most of the works are excerpted from the originals, showing selected parts from the series.
Especially notable is Concept Tapes 3, an anthology of performance tapes which examine the relation of performance and language. This work includes not only his performance, but also the piece JOHN CAGE PERFORMS JAMES JOYCE (1985).
The above works have been widely reviewed and are highly regarded: "discovering their great complexity and profundity" (John G. Hanhardt, Curator, Whitney Museum), "elegance which defines complexity" (Daryl Chin, art critic), "refresh our ability to perceive" (Scott MacDonald, film critic), and "most significant" (Peter d'Agostino, Professor, Temple University).