Half-Inch Portable Video
Portable units including a half-inch tape deck and a black-and-white video camera were commercialized in Japan at the beginning of the 1970s. Until then, video equipment, which used two-inch tape, notably in the television studios, was heavy, hard to handle, and expensive. By contrast, portable video offered the possibility of easily recorded images and instant playback. As such, it appeared to offer an alternative to the hegemony of television, and in France, political community activists were quick to make use of it.

Happening (event, performance, action)
The happening is an evolving action carried out within a defined environment. Notwithstanding a general direction established in advance, there remains a large margin for improvisation while it is in progress, and the reactions of the spectators may in turn influence the action under way. The origins of the happening cannot to be traced to the theater, because of the difference in the choice of sites and participants, as well as the postulate of indetermination. Rather, the happening must be linked with the visual arts. In the course of the twentieth century, painting and sculpture gradually went beyond their respective two- and three-dimensional limits to gradually take the form of assemblages. These in turn were to evolve into environments and then, with the introduction of live participants, into happenings. Indeed, these events grew out of the search for more direct relations between artist and public, or between art and life, and the rejection of the power of the market over art. In Japan, the nine members of the Gutaï group, including Murakami Saburo, Kudo Tetsumi, and Shiraga Kazvo, made happenings their speciality from 1955 on through spectacular actions, such as the opening of a passageway through a succession of paper screens that were destroyed as the group advanced. The situation in the United States developed in parallel. As early as 1952, John Cage, who was then teaching at Black Mountain College, created an environment incorporating works by Robert Rauschenberg, a ballet by Merce Cunningham, a poem by Charles Olsen, and the music of David Tudor in a single space. But the happening spread in the artworld through the efforts of Allan Kaprow, who created 18 Happenings in 6 Parts in the Reuben Gallery in New York in 1959. The following year, French artist Jean-Jacques Lebel presented the Enterrement d'une chose (Burial of a Thing) in Venice. Among the other artists most representative of the early happenings were George Brecht, Dick Higgins, George Maciunas, Robert Whitman, Red Grooms, Ben Vautier, Joseph Beuys, and Wolf Vostell, as well as the Viennese threesome of Hermann Nitsch, Günter Brus, and Rudolf Schwarzkogler. The happening was often a political (Beuys) or sociological (Ben, Vostell) gesture, but it might also take on a poetic or playful form (Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg). Other terms covering the offshoots of the happening may be associated with these different conceptions: event (a short, anodine action) for Brecht, concert for Fluxus, performance for Oldenburg, and action for Beuys. Toward the end of the 1960s, two main trends emerged: the performance, which was more structured and sometimes narrative and which often put the public back in its role of spectator, and Body Art, where the artist's body became a veritable medium.
Bibliography: Jurgen Beckek and Wolf Vostell, Happening: Fluxus, Pop Art, Nouveau Réalisme: eine dokumentation (Hamburg: Rowohlt Verlag, 1965). Allan Kaprow, Assemblage, Environments, and Happenings (New York: Abrams, 1966). Jean-Jacques Lebel, Le Happening (Paris: Denoël, 1966). Mariellen R. Sandford (ed.), Happenings and Other Acts (London: Routledge, 1995).