VDB Interviews

On Art and Artists: Video Data Bank Interviews

This section comprises taped interviews with artists, architects, musicians, critics and other creative practitioners, recorded in conversation with Video Data Bank staff, colleagues from the School of the Art Institute faculty, and others knowledgeable about the particular interviewees work.

The first interview dates from 1976, the year of VDB’s official inauguration, and VDB continues to add to the collection to this day, recording and producing approximately ten new interviews a year.  Many of the interviewees are guests of S AIC departments, such as the Visiting Artists program or Conversations at the Edge screening series, or invitees of the Society for Contemporary Art.  The VDB interviews supplement these visits, allowing for an in-depth conversation that underlines the development of an artists’ practice.

 

1988
Felipe Ehrenberg: An Interview

Felipe Ehrenberg is a prominent Mexican artist who has been actively producing interactive political art, installations, and murals for more than 30 years. Also a writer, Ehrenberg has run a small press in Mexico City and has published numerous articles for art journals in the United States.

Interview by Carol Becker.

1998
Olafur Eliasson: An Interview

Berlin-based Danish artist Olafur Eliasson complicates and simulates perception through his installations, sculptures, and photographs. He has created disorienting artificial illuminations and reproduced natural phenomena such as clouds, glaciers and the sun through large-scale, high-tech installations.

1987
Ute Eskildsen: An Interview

German curator Ute Eskildsen (b. 1947) was born in Itzehoe (Schleswig-Holstein). After studying photography and working as an assistant in a fashion and portrait studio, she went on to study photography and the history of photography at the Folkwang School of Portraiture in Essen. A fellow in Visual Communication at the Essen University, she served as assistant to Otto Steinert in the field of photo-history exhibitions.

1990
Karen Finley: An Interview

Karen Finley is well known for her confrontational monologues, often performed in clubs and bars, which exploit the stereotype of the hysterical woman to address the sexual and political taboos associated with femininity. Using a variety of unusual props, such as Jello, chocolate syrup, stuffed animals, and glitter, Finley provokes her audience into thinking about a range of repressions and contradictions in contemporary society. She gained mainstream attention when Congress questioned her NEA funding in the early 1990s.

Interview by Tom Jaremba.

1987
Joan Fontcuberta: An Interview

Joan Fontcuberta was born in Barcelona in 1955. His work has been widely exhibited internationally. Fontcuberta uses photography as a conceptual medium, often testing the limits of the image’s credibility. Fauna (1987) and Sputnik (1997) take advantage of photography’s documentary quality to pose elaborate hoaxes. In recent work, Fontcuberta explores and criticizes the image and its proliferating sources with works such as Orogensis/Landscapes Without Memory (2002) and Googlegrams (2005).

2014
Simone Forti: An Interview

The later 1950s and early 1960s saw the development and proliferation of radically new forms of dance driven by a desire to understand the essentiality of movement divorced from traditional, balletic and modern syntaxes. At the forefront of this new wave of performance was Simone Forti, an artist with a hand in both improvisational techniques and choreographed task-maneuvers. This interview details her exploration of each – with a particular focus on her earliest investigations into movement, owing to time spent under the study of Anna Halprin.

2001
Hal Foster: An Interview

Hal Foster is Professor of Modern Art at Princeton University, and has written and edited numerous influential books on postmodernism, art, and culture. His books include Recodings: Art, Spectacle, Cultural Politics (1985); The Return of the Real: The Avant-Garde at the End of the Century (1996); and, as editor, The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture (1983); Vision and Visuality (1988); and Richard Serra (2000).

Interview by David Raskin.

A historical interview originally recorded in 2001 and re-edited in 2008.

1987
Video Data Bank, Christine Frisinghelli: An Interview

Interviewed by Colin Westerbeck.

A historical interview originally recorded in 1987.

2004
Coco Fusco: An Interview

Coco Fusco is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist and writer. She has performed, lectured, exhibited, and curated around the world since 1988. She is the author of English is Broken Here (The New Press,1995), The Bodies That Were Not Ours and Other Writings (Routledge/inIVA, 2001) and the editor of Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas (Routledge, 1999) and Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self (Abrams, 2003).

2014
Kendell Geers: An Interview

In this 2014 interview, South African artist Kendell Geers (b. 1968) discusses the function of magic, myth, and memory in his work. Beginning at childhood, Geers charts the path he has taken in his understanding of his own biography as a site of resistance. This interest in the use of personal biography culminated in 1993 with his decision to change his date of birth to May 1968 as a way to reference both the May 1968 student protests, and the fact that 1993 was the first year that South Africa had participated in the Venice Biennale since 1968.

2002
Joe Gibbons: An Interview

In this 2002 interview, filmmaker Joe Gibbons (b.1953) discusses his early work and the path that led him to an interest in both narrative and experimental film. Gibbons recalls how exposure to P. Adams Sitney’s Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde while at Antioch College would compel him to begin making his own structural films. Describing his appreciation for the directness and immediacy of experimental filmmaking, Gibbons discusses a subject’s relationship with the camera as one characterized by intense intimacy.

1989
Guerrilla Girls: An Interview

The Guerilla Girls are an anonymous activist group who refer to themselves as “the conscience of the art world” and whose stated goal is to combat racism and sexism. Through posters, magazine ads, exhibitions, and panels, they have educated and agitated the art world with statistics on the under-representation of women and minorities in galleries, museums, and the press. This interview is conducted with three Guerrilla Girls, who appear adorned in their trademark gorilla masks to ensure their anonymity.

Interview by Carole Tormollan.

2005
Doug Hall: An Interview

This extensive interview with California artist Doug Hall (b. 1944) provides unique insight into the culture and politics of experimental artistic production during the 1970s. Discussing the founding of the performance group TR Uthco, Hall offers context for his contribution to the field of video art, and shares stories of his collaborations with Ant Farm, Videofreex, and others. Ranging from his early years as an art student, to his romance with artist Diane Andrews Hall, to reflections on technology in art, this interview importantly extends the discourse surrounding topics of archive, performativity, and autobiography—subjects that have come to define the contours of video art today. 

1991
Dee Dee Halleck and Bob Hercules: An Interview

Dee Dee Halleck is a media activist, one of the founders of Paper Tiger Television and the Deep Dish Satellite Network, and was a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California-San Diego. Her first film, Children Make Movies (1961), was about a filmmaking project at the Lillian Wald Settlement in Lower Manhattan. She has led media workshops with elementary school children, reform school youth, and migrant farmers.

2015
Louis Henderson: An Interview

Louis Henderson’s work focuses on anti-colonialism and criticizing the neocolonialisation of cyberspace.  Born in England in 1983, he graduated from London College of Communication and Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains. He recently finished a post-diplôme at the European School of Visual Arts.