Vito Acconci (b. 1940) is known as a conceptual designer, installation and performance artist. In the 1960s he embraced performance in order to "define my body in space, find a ground for myself, an alternate ground from the page ground I had as a poet." Acconci’s early performances, including Claim (1971) and Seedbed (1972), were extremely controversial, transgressing assumed boundaries between public and private space and between audience and performer.
A portrait of an unnamed city in Italy. Sidestepping the tourist attractions that make the city famous, the film/video posits an almost-imaginary place that draws closer to the reality of its inhabitants. Using a voiceover narration that collages direct observation, literary texts, historical fact, local folklore, and a bit of sheer fabrication, the film/video melds documentary and narrative, past and present.
San Francisco is a city where the virtual and the real co-exist. It is both a center of multi-media and Internet activity, and a city with a vibrant street life and commitment to public space. Awakening From the 20th Century explores these issues by asking the questions: Is life becoming virtual? Are we witnessing the end of the city? Will the computer replace the automobile?
During her graduate studies at Hunter College, Alice Aycock (b. 1946) began to forge links between personal and more inclusive subject matter and form. In her quest for contemporary monuments, Aycock wrote her Master’s thesis on U.S. highway systems. Aycock’s large environmental sculptures create intense psychological atmospheres. Although she uses primitive rites and architecture as sources, her implementation of contemporary materials removes those specific connotations.
A great example of early 1970s counter-cultural activity and the influence of Buckminster Fuller. The video, shot in Woodstock, NY in November 1971, includes footage of a communal meal being eaten in the woods, and of children playing in the mud. The video goes on to document the building of a geodesic dome. As the group works, many of them naked, they are interviewed to camera, and explain how to build a dome.
As regional character disappears and corporate culture homogenizes our surroundings, it's increasingly hard to tell where you are. In Chain, malls, theme parks, hotels and corporate centers worldwide are joined into one monolithic contemporary "superlandscape" that shapes the lives of two women caught within it. One is a corporate businesswoman set adrift by her corporation while she researches the international theme park industry. The other is a young drifter, living and working illegally on the fringes of a shopping mall.
C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience), Part 1 is a collaborative video and performance work by artists A.L. Steiner and robbinschilds, with AJ Blandford and Seattle-based band Kinski. Inhabiting the intersection of human movement and architecture, A.L. Steiner and robbinschilds (Sonya Robbins and Layla Childs) present a full-spectrum video, set to a score by rock quartet Kinski.
"This video in two parts is a newcomer's portrait of Montréal, and focuses on two of my architectural obsessions: the Hydro Québec building and the Métro. I spent my first winter in Montréal in a cold, dark, first-floor apartment. I sat in the kitchen beside the electric heater, drinking coffee and watching the disk on the electric meter spin faster and faster, all the while wondering how I would manage to pay the bills. At night, I lay in bed and looked at the enormous illuminated 'Q' on the Hydro Québec building and wondered how much it cost to keep it lit every night.
Brave new shopping worlds are being created. What have mall owners, architects, surveillance technicians, and supermarket workers done to turn human subjects into pure streams of consumers, into the perfect inhabitants of shopping mall paradise?
“But we are alone, darling child, terribly, isolated each from the other; so fierce is the world’s ridicule we cannot speak or show our tenderness; for us death is stronger than life, it pulls like a wind through the dark, all our cries burlesqued in joyless laughter; and with the garbage of loneliness stuffed down us until our guts burst bleeding green, we go screaming round the world, dying in our rented rooms, nightmare hotels, eternal homes of the transient heart.”
—Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms (New York: Random House, 1948)
El Livahpla (Alphaville spelled backwards) is about the ways in which we "normals" are encapsulated in architecture and technology. Through the lens of Alphaville, we see into a past that exists in the present, while showing a future that looks old. It is a waking dream in which the objects of design that surround us fail to provide the answers or the escape that we seek.
El Zócalo is an observational portrait of Mexico City’s central Plaza de la Constitutión during one day in August. Soldiers, Aztec dancers, clowns, food vendors, protestors, rain, dogs, tourists, kites, balloons, and dignitaries all meet in the public space of the Zócalo. This documentary presents daily life in one of the largest and most vibrant urban centers in the world, but it begins with a dream of history and ends with a dream of the space full of people for a Zapatista rally.
An original program for VDB TV curated by Rachael Rakes and Leo Goldsmith. These striking videos each examine a force of feeling which is beyond emotion or affect, and which often elicit physical sensation.