A curious term I’ve come across in my web-wanderings on film is “video painting”, videos (primarily of an ambient nature) displayed as still, traditional paintings would be. British filmmaker and philosopher Hilary Lawson has been cited as the founder of the movement in the 2000s. His material can be viewed at Open Gallery.
Though Lawson has popularized the term, another artist who comes to mind immediately is Brian Eno:
An excellent primer on video paintings and the ambient video genre can be found at The Fibreculture Journal, which expands greatly beyond the typical notion of tropical scenes in dentists’ waiting rooms and the annual Yule log:
Some work in this genre will be algorithmic, and closely linked to a screen saver aesthetic. This will include purely graphic abstract designs and geometrics, naturalistic CGI motion graphics such as water and fire, and quasi-narrative artificial life environments. It will certainly include visual creations that are driven by music (such as the light shows built into Apple’s iTunes and Microsoft’s Windows Media Player).
What does it meant for video to be ‘in the background’ or to augment other art? To slip in and out of registering what’s on the screen and letting it audio-visually soundtrack the physical space it is playing in?