Early Video Art

Early Video Art is a collection of over 200 titles that are central to an understanding of the historical development of video art. This collection includes, but is not limited to, many titles from the original Castelli-Sonnabend collection, the first and most prominent collection of video art assembled in the United States. All of the work in this collection was produced between 1968 and 1980. These works represent important examples of the first experiments in video art, and include conceptual and feminist performances recorded on video, experiments with the video signal, and "guerilla" documentaries representing a counter-cultural view of the historical events of the 1960s and 70s. Many of these tapes represent a desire for a radically redefined television experience that is centered on the innovative, the personal, the political and the non-commercial.
1972 | 06:20
360º
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The frame is filled with two concentric magnifying lenses, one larger than the other. Behind them is a mirror. The mirror turns and reflects the landscape around it. Distortions of the moving images appear in the lenses while the space behind...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: feminism, video history

The Adventures of a Nurse
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Playing with cliched feminine personae, Eleanor Antin in The Adventures of a Nurse manipulates cut-out paper dolls to tell the story of innocent Nurse Eleanor who meets one gorgeous, intriguing, and available man after another. Nurse Eleanor is the...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: feminism, video history

Affected and/or Effected
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Affected and/or Effected begins with a close-up of a girl resting her head on her hand, reading. On the overlapping track a male voice states “affected,"—followed by a female voice that responds “and/or effected….”  This pattern of dividing...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: conceptual art, gender, video history

After the Bar with Tony and Michael
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An early example of video erotica from the Videofreex. A group of naked people lounge around smoking and listening to music. A male and female couple is making love on the floor in a room full of monitors.

 

Collection: Videofreex Archive, Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: body, documentation, film or videomaking, sexuality

Altered to Suit
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The whole story takes place in the mise-en-scene of the artist's studio. The delicate psychological allegory of "a day in the life of..." anchors the displacement of (filmic) reality and the alienation of the (player's) self. Devices such as...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: film theory

The Amazing Bow Wow
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The only Benglis video with a discernable plot, The Amazing Bow-Wow follows the adventures of a talking, hermaphroditic dog given to Rexina and Babu by a carnival barker. Rexina and Babu soon decide to make the dog a sideshow act hoping to earn...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: performance, video history

1973 | 13:52
Keith Sonnier, Animation 1
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With the Watergate hearings as a backdrop, quotes from various newspapers and magazines--including the story of Robert Smithson's death in a plane crash--build a picture of the confusing and tragic events of July 1973. Sonnier uses appropriated...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: animation, image processing, video history

1974 | 26:05
Animation 2
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Concentrating on abstract shapes and color value, Animation 2 is a record of images manipulated through computer animation. By recording the data screens of the animators and the voices of the controllers, Sonnier discloses the process of making the...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: animation, film or videomaking, image processing, video history

Linda Montano, Anorexia Nervosa
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Through the testimonies of five women, this video lays out the complex problem of anorexia, detailing how the disease develops as a response to both personal and societal pressures. The common thread in these accounts is how the disease clusters...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: body, health, performance