Video History

2009
ETC: Experimental Television Center 1969 - 2009

ETC: Experimental Television Center 1969-2009 is a five-DVD box set presenting the electronic media work of over one hundred artists who participated in the Center’s Residency Program during a 40-year period. The collection offers a look at the evolution of the unique artist-designed sound and image tools that are the hallmark of the Center’s studio, and provides a view into the constantly changing artistic processes and practices that have shaped the work over the years.

1976
The Eternal Frame

Irreverent yet poignant, The Eternal Frame is a re-enactment of the assassination of John F. Kennedy as seen in the famous Zapruder film. This home movie was immediately confiscated by the FBI, yet found its way into the visual subconscious of the nation. The Eternal Frame concentrates on this event as a crucial site of fascination and repression in the American mindset.

"The intent of this work was to examine and demystify the notion of the presidency, particularly Kennedy, as image archetype...."

— Doug Hall, 1984 

1993
Everyday Echo Street: A Summer Diary

Filmed in Susan Mogul’s Los Angeles multi-ethnic working class neighborhood, Highland Park, Everyday Echo Street: A Summer Diary, is an insider’s view of how home and neighborhood are constructed in everyday relations. Composed of conversational and anecdotal portraits of neighbors and merchants, Susan ruminates about the past and the present, as she looks out her apartment window. Struggling to arrive at a new definition of “home,” she ponders loss, middle age, and living alone.

1990
Everyone's Channel

This video documents the history of U.S. community television and public access TV, using rare video clips from across the nation. Combining unique archival footage from the early days of cable, rediscovered footage from the 1/2" portapak era, and interviews with access pioneers, Everyone's Channel provides an illuminating overview of the people, ideas, and technological developments that helped make cable access a reality, and stresses the continuing need to see it as a vital necessity and right.

1985
EVOL

In EVOL (love spelled backwards), the audience is voyeur, peering into the delirious and erotic dreams of a young man (Oursler). We drift with him through anecdotes that poke fun at the disparity between the culturally accepted stereotypes of sex and love we are taught as children and the realities we discover in adult life.

1973
Exchange

In 1972, Robert Morris and Lynda Benglis agreed to exchange videos in order to develop a dialogue between each other’s work. Morris’s video, Exchange, is a part of that process—a response to Benglis’s Mumble. At the beginning of the piece, Morris comments on the nature of the collaboration, their interaction, and what they represent to each other. Morris’s speculations about work, travel, and relationships are juxtaposed with frozen images of race cars, Benglis herself, images from Benglis's video, and Manet’s Olympia.

1972
Face-Off

Acconci listens to his own recorded monologue of sexually intimate secrets and repeatedly tries to obscure these secrets by shouting over the tape, demonstrating the paradoxical situation of the artist confounded by two desires: to reveal oneself for the sake of pleasing the audience, and the conflicting desire to protect one’s own ego. As viewers, we are intrigued and tantalized by the confession we never hear.

1973
Hermine Freed, Family Album

Over a montage of family photographs, Freed’s narration questions the consistency of memory and self over time, with Freed displaying a quizzical and sometimes hostile relation to her past. In a manner that recalls philosopher Roland Barthes’s poetic unraveling of photography—in particular photography’s power to bind memory and desire within a still image—Freed attempts to uncover the “stranger” that is her childhood self and discover how her past has shaped her present.

1978
Feathers: An Introduction

Feathers: An Introduction is a self-portrait centered on the story of Latham's grandmother’s comforter which, old and worn, scatters feathers everywhere. Displaying an arresting stage presence, Latham addresses the viewer as a potential friend or lover, speaking in a soft-spoken near-whisper, and gingerly touching and kissing the camera lens and monitor. Then, almost mocking the video’s intimacy, Latham gives us close-ups of herself chewing a sandwich and shaving her armpits, heightening the sense that she has been playing cat and mouse with the viewer all along.

1973
Female Sensibility

As two heavily made-up women take turns directing each other and submitting to each other's kisses and caresses, it becomes increasingly obvious that the camera is their main point of focus. Read against feminist film theory of the "male gaze", the action becomes a highly charged statement of the sexual politics of viewing and role-playing; and, as such, is a crucial text in the development of early feminist video.

1975
A First Quarter

Using the structure of a feature film as its basic format, A First Quarter adopts the principles of nouvelle vague cinema. Simultaneous realities, altered flashbacks, and plays on time and space, are all components of the form and content of this film. Because it was originally shot on video, then kinescoped to 16mm film, A First Quarter has acquired a softened, poetic look. The dialogue derives entirely from the creation of the work as it is spoken and read, built, enacted, written, and painted by the players.

1973
Five-minute Romp through the IP

In 1973, Dan Sandin designed and built a comprehensive video instrument for artists, the Image Processor (IP), a modular, patch programmable, analog computer optimized for the manipulation of gray level information of multiple video inputs. Sandin decided that the best distribution strategy for his instrument "was to give away the plans for the IP and encourage artists to build their own copies.

1968
Flesh to White to Black to Flesh

Presenting his bare torso to the camera, Nauman meticulously applies, and removes, layers of white and black pigment, to his face, arms, and chest. Beyond the link to body art, and the idea of treating the human body as artistic subject matter and material, Nauman enacts a process of self-transformation—a masque applied and removed—as the tape ends where it began.

This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.

1979
Peer Bode, Flute With Shift

"Newly hand-built digital video A to D and D to A with ALU bit flipping. Controlled by an ELF II computer. The image brightness changes also controlled analog synthesizer parameters of the live flute playing. I sat in the camera image zone and played along with the programmed staccato picture and sound shifts. David Jones, digital video design."

– Peer Bode

1977
For Example: Decorated

For Example: Decorated is a talk show featuring art world personalities Britte Le Va, Peter Gordon, and James Sarkis. The show begins with Le Va reciting the credits; then she introduces herself, Soviet style — as in Do You Believe in Water? — by saying her name, then clapping. The other guests follow, and as the three converse about the role of art in life, they build little structures with the Lego blocks that cover the coffee table.