Feminism

2016

Largely focused on the critical use of language both archaic and contemporary, poet Caroline Bergvall’s work asks questions about cultural identity and feminism and explores challenging or unknown historical and political events. She works across multiple media practices including audio texts, plurilingual poetry, installation and Performance Writing.

1976
Susan Mogul

“I may have to get a back up career.” I mull over what I might do if I don’t make it as an artist. What if I lose my eyes? I figure a career as a stand-up comic is a safe bet and try out a few jokes on an imagined audience — of course with my eyes shut tight.

2001
Dara Birnbaum: Damnation of Faust Trilogy

Using Wagner's Faust as a touchstone, Damnation of Faust is a trilogy of highly structured and composed video works evoking a free-floating, non-linear dream or memory. The broad themes of the work are conflicting forms of societal restraint and the struggles to define and express personal identity.

 

1988
Birth of a Candy Bar

In Birth of a Candy Bar, the young people who worked on the video participate in a pregnancy prevention and parenting program at Henry Street Settlement in New York City. The title of the video comes from a poem that comments on sex and birth by way of names of candy bars. ("...nine months later she had a Baby Ruth.") Poetry, fast-action music, dancing, interviews, statistics, street scenes, and docudramas are combined in segments written, taped, and produced by each participant—personalizing the problems of teenage pregnancy and assessing its causes. 

1989
Blind Country

This collaborative video project is based on a short story by H.G. Wells called "The Country of the Blind"—about a man who travels to a country of blind people and attempts to dominate their sensual, feminine culture with his male, sight-derived power. Following this theme, Blind Country begins with animated fruit dancing over Mike Kelley’s body and the admonition of “Northerners” to “refill the quickly emptying sack.” In the male-dominated land of the North, candy-spurting pinatas stand as phallic symbols.

2007
Blood and Guts in High School

Blood and Guts in High School features actress Stephanie Vella in a series of video installations* that re-imagine punk-feminist icon Kathy Acker's book of the same title. The book received noteriety from 1978-1982 during the rise of Reagan republicanism and the emergence of punk rock. In Parnes' interpretation, each video-chapter presents a typical scene in the life of Janie bracketed by U.S. news events from the time period in which the book was written.

2013
Blood and Guts in Hollywood: Four Works by Laura Parnes

Video Data Bank is proud to present the wonderful work of artist Laura Parnes. This two-volume box set features four video works that highlight her interest in the deconstruction of narrative film conventions, including her reimagining of Kathy Acker's 1984 novel, Blood and Guts in High School.  Included in the set is a 44-page monograph containing an essay on the collection and interview with Parnes by writer and novelist Chris Kraus.

1998
Lyn Blumenthal Videoworks: Volume 1

The two Social Studies videos call into question fundamental assumptions about the cross-purposes of entertainment: to entertain, to present cultural values, to mediate public policies, and to define social relationships.

 

1988
Born to Be Sold: Martha Rosler Reads the Strange Case of Baby $/M, With Paper Ti

Martha Rosler tackles mainstream media's representation of the case of surrogate mother Mary Beth Whitehead.

1990
Kaucyila Brooke: An Interview

Los Angeles-based, Kaucyila Brooke (b.1952) makes what she describes as, "wall size photographic sequences in comic-strip format that consider lesbian relationships within American popular culture." Produced over the past five years, Brooke’s large-scale photo-text installations look at aspects of lesbian culture and alternative communities. Wry and often quite critical, they probe some of the ways lesbian relationships both challenge and reproduce the power relations and narratives of the wider culture.

1990
Canon: Taking to the Streets

Starting with student-recorded VHS footage of two successive Take Back the Night marches at Princeton University, Birnbaum develops a saga of political awareness through personalized experiences. This localized student activity then progresses to, and is contrasted with, the 1988 National Student Convention at Rutgers University. Through this dynamic portrait, Birnbaum posits a series of compelling questions: How can the voice of the individual make itself seen and heard in our technocratic society? What forms of demonstration support this expression? How is a voice of dissent made possible?

1982
Barbara Aronofsky Latham, Chained Reactions

Unhinging the narrative conventions and stereotypical elements of the whodunit occult thriller, Chained Reactions is an update of film noir style. Calling on the cliches of gothic romance novels and television soap operas, Chained Reactions presents an increasingly dense collage of symbolic, absurd, and everyday images and gestures, challenging the viewer to find the associative meanings that link them. The soundtrack, composed of whispers, music, and sound effects, sets a suspenseful, unresolved tone.

1995
Shu Lea Cheang: Lesbian Shorts

Cheang’s work from the early-to-mid 1990s demonstrated an exciting fusion of identity politics and erotic exploration, making her one of the period’s most prominent queer media artists. This collection presents two of her solo works, along with two collaborations.

1976
Judy Chicago: The Dinner Party

Judy Chicago (b.1939) is an artist, author, feminist, educator, and intellectual whose career now spans four decades. In 1974, Chicago turned her attention to the subject of women’s history to create her best known work, The Dinner Party, which was executed between 1974 and 1979 with the participation of hundreds of volunteers. This monumental multimedia project, a symbolic history of women in western civilization, has been seen by more than one million viewers during its 16 exhibitions held at venues spanning six countries.

1975
Judy Chicago: An Interview

Judy Chicago (b.1939) creates large-scale, collaborative artwork has brought greater prominence to feminist themes and craft arts such as needlework and ceramics. Her most famous work, The Dinner Party (1979), was an enormous collaboration with hundreds of volunteers including ceramicists, china painters and needleworkers. The monumental finished piece has place settings for 39 mythical and historical famous women, writing them back into the heroic history usually reserved for men. Earlier in her career, Chicago was part of the Finish Fetish movement within Minimalism.