Video History

1972
Four More Years

TVTV's inside view of the 1972 Republican National Convention made broadcast history. While network cameras focused on the orchestrated renomination of Richard Nixon, TVTV's rag-tag army of guerrilla television activists turned their cameras on to the cocktail parties, anti-war demonstrations, hype and hoopla that accompanied the show.

1977
Peer Bode, Front Hand Back Hand

"Actions, states, one B+W video camera, the Paik Abe Colorizer, a video switcher. The two states, a b a b, I put my hand in the camera frame and saw a colored hand shifting. I moved my, the, hand, including back and forth, realizing or connecting to the visual and language potential of front hand and back hand. Giving it some veracity, the pace became about attempting to keep up with the position changes together with verbally reciting front hand back hand, co-coordinating from hand to mouth and mouth to hand."

– Peer Bode

1975

In the wake of Lord of the Universe, TVTV planned to cover the impeachment of Richard Nixon, but, unfortunately, Nixon resigned. The group made a ninety-degree turn to covering the “first hundred days” of the Gerald Ford administration, a cavalcade of photo ops and campaign appearances. In Part One of the four-part series, entitled WIN (referring to the Ford slogan, “Whip Inflation Now”), TVTV goes on a whirlwind across-country trek with Ford, stopping in Sioux City, Iowa, Salt Lake City, and Portland. The show is more about Ford’s public than Ford.

1975

Arguably, the most successful of the four “Gerald Ford’s America” shows was “Chic To Sheik,” a TVTV tour of the private culture of the official Washington. Lead by Megan Williams, they blithely move around an official White House tea for Betty Ford at the beginning and cavort at the Shah of Iran’s birthday party at the Iranian Embassy at the end. Shot with almost open access because this was when even public people, in private, were innocents before a documentary camera. Washington Post Society Editor, Betty Beale, leads the way. A gem.

1976
Green As Well As Blue As Well As Red

A table is set with two red books placed at diagonal corners and a stack of three poker chips placed in the center. Two women enter, sit, and begin to play with the books and poker chips. Different soundtracks converge; the dialogue begins to sound like an interrogation as one character asks, “What is the structural definition of logical positivism? Lawrence Weiner, what is the structural form as in the manner and use of your language? Does it not have a direct relation to logical positivism?”

1976
Greetings from Lanesville

In Greetings from Lanesville, the Videofreex tour the countryside of Lanesville, New York interviewing the local people for a weekly broadcast program all from behind the wheel of the Lanesville TV Media Bus. As the first localized pirate television station, Lanesville TV brought its guerilla broadcasting to Upstate New York with interviews of ordinary townspeople in an effort to present an image of community created by the community itself.

1973
The Grunions are Running

Using imagery from a Japanese "creature feature" and a chewing gum commercial, Benglis's camera focuses on different parts of the screen to emphasize different messages. With dialogue and sound replaced by the sound of frogs croaking outside Benglis's studio, the absurdly comic visuals of the movie and commercial oddly begin to echo each other, raising questions about the nature of the absurdity beamed into our homes and uncritically accepted as entertainment.

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

1976
Robert Heineken: An Interview

Robert Heineken (1931-2006) used technically sophisticated photographic methods to mingle erotic images with visuals from TV and advertising. The American artist was known for appropriating and re-processing images from magazines, product packaging or television. In the "Are You Real" series from 1964 to 1968, he created a portfolio of images filled with unexpected and sometimes surreal juxtapositions by placing a single magazine page on a light table, so that the resulting contact print picks up imagery from both sides of the page.

1978
Hey, Chicky!!!

In this cooking demonstration/performance, Sobell wears a chicken carcass over her face while dressing (literally, in baby clothes) a chicken to be cooked for dinner. Cooing and breast feeding the chicken as she would an infant, Sobell brings two stereotypical female roles—that of care giver and that of cook—psychotically close, emphasizing the potential dark side of women’s intimate association with food in a way similar to Suzanne Lacy’s Learn Where the Meat Comes From.

1972
Home Tape Revised

In Home Tape [Revised], Benglis took a portable tape recorder with her when she visited her family in Louisiana. She saw most of the experience through the video camera, thus giving her a distance from an emotionally involving situation. The tapes were replayed and re-shot off a monitor and commented about by Benglis... It is a deeply personal tape about an emotionally involving situation, but it is precisely controlled.

1976
How's Tricks

There is a crudeness to How's Tricks, Benglis's first venture into narrative fiction. No attempt is made to hide the mechanics of making the tape. At one point, while Benglis and [Stanton] Kaye argue about the tape they are making of [Bobby] Reynolds (a real-life carny who also appears in The Amazing Bow-Wow), Kaye is seen reaching over to turn off the video recorder—and thus the scene ends... The Nixon footage exposes the media structure that props up public personae, thus revealing the disjuncture between the media's presentation and the behind-the-scenes reality.

1971
I Am Making Art

“A good example of Baldessari’s deadpan irreverence is the 1971 black-and-white video entitled I Am Making Art, in which he moves different parts of his body slightly while saying, after each move, ‘I am making art.’ The statement, he says, ‘hovers between assertion and belief.’ On one level, the piece spoofs the work of artists who, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, explored the use of their own bodies and gestures as an art medium.

1980
I Remember Beverly Hills

Segalove comes out as the child of a movie star haven where messy lawns are reported to the police and designer labels are removed from hand-me-downs for the maids. She reveals some of the dirt among the manicured yards, including a local custom of girls jumping from a terraced lawn at Beverly Hills High to induce miscarriages, and her friend Yasmin Hayworth’s wish that Rita was a “natural mother.”

1997
I Stare at You and Dream

I Stare at You and Dream is a slice of life melodrama that journeys to the core of interrelationships. This film juxtaposes and links the lives of four people: the filmmaker, Susan Mogul; her friend, Rosie Sanchez; Rosie’s teenage daughter, Alejandra (Alex) Sanchez; and Ray Aguilar; Susan’s-on-and-off boyfriend. Tender and unflinching, each character gradually reveals their desires, wounds, and romantic entanglements in the context of their everyday lives.

1974
I Want to Live in the Country (And Other Romances)

Jonas intercuts scenes of the Nova Scotia countryside with images of a studio set-up reminiscent of a di Chirico painting. The soundtrack includes both music and spoken excerpts from a journal Jonas kept while travelling in Nova Scotia. I Want to Live in the Country ultimately deals with observation and fantasy, living in the country, and the stifling aspects of the city and one's art.

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