As a video artist I can empathise with some of the issues you raised in your rant, such as having work wedged in a showreel of unrelated film. However in response to one of the points you raised about filmaking kit changing and evolving, I believe this need not affect video artists.
Yes, it is easy to get caught up in technology, spending time finding out what a camera / new editing software / effect plug-in can do and how to do it to the detriment of your pocket, the art you are trying to create and the message you are trying to convey. Yes, presentation of work is important and a slick kit can help this, BUT I don’t think that it is always necessary to have the latest and greatest.
Video artists cannot compete with industry professionals, but that’s ok, I don’t think that we need to…unless it’s relevant to for their work. As a video-artist I feel video is just a tool, a vehicle for content. The focus is on the stuff we create, not just the tools that we use. Saying that I don’t want a bad edit or glitchy export to detract from what I have made and I hope to have done just enough trawling through techy blogs, youtube tutorials and invested just enough money in kit to steer away from such problems.
Another side-point in defence of artists who are comfortable revelling in shabby kit and basic techy knowledge, is that it can be common practice for artists to deliberately use dated equipment, for reasons ranging from affordability to being easy to handle and letting them get on with the job of making the art, or because like a weathered friend battered old tools can become easy to use and have fantastic personalities.