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.
Transient Trilogy comes close to "being a real film, with an actor, a setting and something of a narrative scheme. Ruby himself plays a bum, who transits a marginal landscape, neither nature nor manmade, where he occupies himself crafting what can only be called artworks from string, cast-offs and other bits of trash." --Walter Robinson, Editor, Artnet Magazine
They just flew in from New York, and boy, are their arms tired... Out in the Nevada desert, against the windblown backdrop of Air Force bomber training sites, artists Hajoe Moderegger and Franziska Lamprecht - better known as eteam - gathered testimonials of stranded passengers, crew members, and local residents to recall an episode in the lost annals of American aviation: the 2006 "unscheduled layover" at International Airport Montello (IAM). Truth in Transit reaches beyond simple documentation.
Acconci again confronts both the viewer’s and his own expectations of his performance, saying, "I've waited for the perfect time, for the perfect piece, I'm tired of waiting... but no, you want me to have something ready for you, something prepared." Acconci addresses the artist's perpetual wait for both inspiration and appreciation. He pulls apart the relationship of the artist to the audience, which for Acconci constitutes a mixture of independence and co-dependence, relying on the viewer to both validate and motivate his work.
Originating from personal affection toward Seoul, Twelve Scenes portrays the spectacles in daily life by juxtaposing urban space in a twelve month sequence. As the individual particles in a kaleidoscope create splendid illusions by being reflected on a mirror, Twelve Scenes shows our individual life, seemingly separated by time and space, actually composes the scenery in the kaleidoscope of Seoul. Twelve Scenes represents a 'moment for self-reflection' or 'small, but precious enlightenment on life'.
Acconci sits with a man and a woman before a microphone. The man and the woman read from two different texts (novels by Mickey Spillane and Raymond Chandler), and Acconci repeats everything the man says. From time to time, an off-screen voice asks Acconci something about what the woman has been saying, and he tries to answer. The focus of the tape is the relationship between modes of attention, direct and peripheral, in a situation where simultaneous strands of information are being presented.
This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.
“Collaboration is competitive” – this is the tag line for the artist collective Type A, composed of Adam Ames and Andrew Bordwin. Their projects stretch across the mediums of video, photography, sculpture, and installation – using different formats less for their own sake and more for their appropriateness in relation to a given idea. This malleability allows them to stage installations that are more like interventions in various non-art spaces such as the city streets or a high school gym.
In this now infamous tape, exemplary of his early transgressive performance style, Acconci sits and relates a masturbatory fantasy about a girl rubbing his legs under the table. Carrying on a rambling dialogue that shifts back and forth between the camera/spectator and himself, Acconci sexualizes the implicit contract between performer and viewer—the viewer serving as a voyeur who makes the performance possible by watching and completing the scene, believing the fantasy.
Nauman stands with his back to the camera, repeatetedly drawing the bow across the strings of a violin tuned D, E, A, D. Perhaps more than any other exercise, this tape demonstrates the sense of anticipation built up in the viewer, as we wait for Nauman to walk, to turn around, to play music ... to do something. This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.
Making himself into a “minimalist” prop sculpture in the manner of Richard Serra, Nauman moves through various poses in realtion to the floor and wall. While other sculptors were using wood planks, pieces of lead, or sheets of steel, Nauman uses his body to explore the space of the room, turning it into a sort of yardstick to investigate and measure the dimensions of the space. This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.
An experiment in "video cubism." Two rows of three cylindrical water glasses are lined up to fit the frame of the monitor. The glasses disappear, then reappear; the action of placing them on the table is never seen. The glasses are filled with water with the image parallel to the picture plane; then again, with two cameras—one above and one straight on. Water Glasses investigates the psychology of perception—especially in relation to female identity—the video image, and the role of spectator.
Acconci explodes the notion of an artist’s creation, his creative act being the build-up and discharge of saliva, an activity more properly belonging to the realm of necessary and autonomic bodily functions than art. Positioning himself as a hyper self-conscious artistic subject, Acconci fuses the terrains of body art and process art, formulating the body as process, and art as a natural function of the body. This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.