The works on Reel 3 were produced during 1972-73, and re-mastered in 2005 when several newly available titles were added. The focus here is on social relationships and attaining the perfect life, be it through making the right decision, getting something for nothing, or just having it all. Many of the comic skits parody television ads and infomercials, and Man Ray has to make some consumer choices.
In this interview, Indian artist Shuddhabrata Sengupta (b. 1968) discusses his role in the initiation of the Raqs Media Collective, a Delhi-based artist collective, active since the 1990s. At the time of this interview, Raqs had been creating documentaries, art installations, and educational programs for eighteen years. Sengupta likens the driving force of Raqs to that of a game of catch, a process generated by a back-and-forth dialogue mobilized through writing and in-person meetings. As children of the late sixties, Sengupta explains how and why the members of Raqs, (himself, Jeebesh Bagchi and Monica Narula) share an interest in investigating mass communication, technologies of visibility, and the significance of memory and travel. It is also for this reason, Sengjupta explains, that the Collective’s work is committed to fostering rigorous research in addition to art-making endeavors.
"There are three scenes in this work, all reflecting a changing sense of time. Each has a voiceover soundtrack with a similar structure, but with different information. Some of the comments presume that the viewer is privy to information which is never given..."
Sphinxes Without Secrets is an energetic and transgressive acount of outstanding female performance artists, and an invaluable document of feminist avant-garde work of the 70s and 80s. No Mona Lisa smiles here, as performance artists spill their guts about what outrages and delights them. Performers, curators, and critics unravel the mysteries of a new art form and ponder the world women confront today. Since its inception, performance art has provided a forum for artists who create work that challenges the dominant aesthetic and cultural status quo.
From an inverted position, high above the floor, the camera records Nauman’s trek back and forth and across the studio; his stamping creates a generative rhythm reminiscent of native drum beats or primitive dance rituals. However, Nauman is not participating in a social rite or communal ritual—he is completely individualized. Isolated in his studio, his actions have no apparent reason or cause beyond his aesthetic practice.
This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.
Letting go of realist constraints, and going back to the mirror-images of some of Provost’s famous previous works, we are diving into a cosmic ocean of ever metamorphosing baroque circumvolutions in which our minds try to capture reassuring forms before letting the ghostly demons blur our vision.
At the age of twenty-four, Taiwanese artist Tehching Hsieh (b.1950), moved to New York, where he has created and documented time-specific, conceptual art performances since the 1970s. In this interview, Hsieh discusses his formative years and philosophical moorings. This dialogue includes description of the artist’s early period of painting, his military service in Taiwan, and the cultural atmosphere of a country then undergoing massive political change. Much of the discussion focuses specifically on Hsieh’s understanding of the relationship of art and life, his investment in “free thinking,” and the politics of documentation. For Hsieh, the ability to think freely is art’s bottom line—he believes the essence of his work lies in human communication. To this end, Hsieh insists that his work, though incredibly personal, is not autobiographical, but philosophical.
In a vile and ingenious way, Acconci pleads with the camera/spectator to join with him, to come to him, promising to be honest and begging, "I need it, you need it, c'mon... look how easy it is." Acconci addresses the viewer as a sexual partner, acting as if no distance existed between them. The monitor becomes an agent of intimate address, presenting a disingenuous intimacy that is one-sided and pure fantasy, much like the popular love songs in the background with which Acconci croons, "I'll be your baby, I'll be your baby tonight, yeah, yeah."
Rirkrit Tiravanija’s work explores the social role of the artist, and that role’s ability to create interactive spaces for people to come together. Focusing less on the construction of discrete objects, he maintains a practice predicated on diffuse forms of installation that facilitate the activities like cooking, reading, and general collectivity. The particularly conceptual nature of his work is a central theme in this interview. While in art school, a teacher Tiravanija greatly admired told him to “stop making art” and this was something he took very seriously.
Reportedly shot in the back office at Leo Castelli’s New York gallery, an ashtray is used to demonstrate five different actions related to artistic work. With the camera static, the video opens with the ashtray in the center of the screen. A hand approaches from above and slides the object up and down, then back up and back down. Each time an act is completed, the hand retreats from the object, marking a separation from the next “possibility.” The actions (or movements) mimic language (e.g. “to and fro”) as it is spoken.