Performance

1995
Surveying the First Decade: Volume 1

This comprehensive anthology on the history of experimental and independent video is an essential tool for teachers, libraries, and researchers. Volumes 1 and 2 include over 16 hours of historic video on eight thematically curated programs, exploring conceptual, performance-based, image-processed, feminist, documentary and grassroots community-based genres.

Volume 1 includes:

Program 1: Explorations of Presence, Performance, and Audience

1999
Swamp Swamp

Swamp Swamp and Wurmburth are each comprised of a series of tightly cropped shots of small, hand-made table-top sculptures or "sets".  Paint and many other materials that behave like paint (i.e. lotion, shampoo, foodstuffs) are blown through these environments with plastic tubing and forced air.  Each edited collection of shots makes an endless cycle of primal sludge and rupturing goo.

1970
Videofreex, Sybil

Nancy Cain interviews an upside down chin face about Women's Liberation, asking "Where do you stand on the subject?"  The chin face professes to be happy with her lot, and says she enjoys living alone with her cat.

This video was shot in the Prince Street, New York loft/studio used by the Videofreex.

 

1986
Sympathetic Vibrations

Twelve church bells are rung daily for 30 days in a sculptural setting at the Capp Street Project in San Francisco. Ringers progress from practice sessions on beer bottles to a full-scale ring.

This piece was shot using a combination of 3/4" U-matic video plus Hi8 video.

This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

2016
Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos

Video Data Bank is proud to present the poetic work of West Coast conceptual artist Paul Kos. This two-disc box set features 25 video works that reveal how Kos mines humble materials for their physical properties and metaphorical possibilities. Included is a 50-page monograph containing specially commissioned essays that expand upon Kos’ five-decade long practice by art scholar Constance Lewallen and SFMOMA’s Curator of Media Arts Rudolf Frieling. 

1974
Take Off

"I made Take Off in my studio apartment on Myra Avenue during my second year living in Los Angeles. As a member of the Feminist Studio Workshop, I was writing an essay at the time comparing male artists’ representations of their sexuality with female artists’. Vito Acconci was my model for a male perspective. I had been captivated by his videotapes; particularly Undertone, where he was supposed to be masturbating while seated at a table. The videotape was my ultimate response and commentary on Acconci as well as an expression of my own sexuality."

— Susan Mogul

1990
Takeover of the Empire State Building, Glenn Belverio

In Takeover of the Empire State Building, Brenda and Glennda visit the top of the Empire State Building as it is lit up in lavender for Gay Pride. They interview both tourists visiting the building, and activists who have come to see the lights. Ultimately, they question whether this gesture is adequate, or if there is still a way to go until equality is achieved.

1999
Target

Why is this injured man driving around and around a shopping center parking lot? Just what is his Target? An atmospheric mystery tale that hints at a sad story.

1991
Target Bush - Wigstock - Part One, Glenn Belverio

This two-part episode features Glenn Belverio and Duncan Elliott participating in an ACT UP demonstration at President George Bush’s summer house in Kennebunkport, Maine, interviewing activists and documenting this historic event. Following this, Brenda Sexual and Glennda Orgasm attend Wigstock, an annual outdoor drag festival in Manhattan's East Village. At the festival, they rally for National Healthcare and discuss other issues such as violence against LGBTQ+ people. 

1991
Target Bush - Wigstock - Part Two, Glenn Belverio

This two-part episode features Glenn Belverio and Duncan Elliott participating in an ACT UP demonstration at President George Bush’s summer house in Kennebunkport, Maine, interviewing activists and documenting this historic event. Following this, Brenda Sexual and Glennda Orgasm attend Wigstock, an annual outdoor drag festival in Manhattan's East Village. At the festival, they rally for National Healthcare and discuss other issues such as violence against LGBTQ+ people. 

1972
Teaching a Plant the Alphabet

“[A] rather perverse exercise in futility,” this tape documents Baldessari’s response to Joseph Beuys’s influential performance, How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare. Baldessari’s approach here is characteristically subtle and ironic, involving ordinary objects and a seemingly banal task. The philosophical underpinnings of Baldessari’s exercise are structuralist theories about the opaque and artificial nature of language as a system of signs.

2012
Tehching Hsieh: An Interview

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.

1998
The Telling

The Telling (1994-98) shows Anne McGuire telling two acquaintances a secret from her past using a three-camera set-up in the Desi Arnez style. The commodification of intimacy is not the strangest thing about this work. The fractured editing, silences, and lapses in continuity suggest vast narratives far more evocative than anything revealed on screen. McGuire uses television vernacular ambiguously to provoke discomfort, two things that television strives to avoid at all costs.

1996
Temple of Confessions

A documentation of a performance/installation. Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Roberto Sifuentes created a fictional religion based on inter-cultural confessions. Exhibiting themselves in Plexiglas boxes as "end-of-the-century saints", the two performers hear the confessions of audience members willing to reveal their intercultural fears and desires to the saints.

2017
The Death Tapes (Image Credit: Gisela Gamper)

VDB is proud to present Linda Montano's The Death Tapes. Originally trained as a sculptor, Linda Montano began using video in the 1970s. She is a seminal figure in contemporary feminist performance art and her work has been critical in the development of video by, for, and about women. Attempting to obliterate the distinction between art and life, Montano's artwork is starkly autobiographical and often concerned with personal and spiritual discipline.