Early Video Art

Early Video Art is a collection of 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.
Vasulkas Inc
1980 | 24:00
Cantaloup
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Following the Vasulkas’ effort to build their own computer imager, Steina explains how the video processor works, digitizing the image, inserting color, reassigning value, density, and texture to specific areas of the video image. The constant...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: image processing, video history

Vito Acconci
1971 | 22:43
Centers
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"Pointing at my own image on the video monitor: my attempt is to keep my finger constantly in the center of the screen — I keep narrowing my focus into my finger. The result [the TV image] turns the activity around: a pointing away from myself,...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: performance, video history

Barbara Aronofsky Latham, Chained Reactions
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Unhinging the narrative conventions and stereotypical elements of the whodunit occult thriller, Chained Reactions is an update of film noir style. Calling on the cliches of gothic romance novels and television soap operas, Chained...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: feminism, video history

Chicken on Foot
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In Chicken on Foot, Sobell bounces a chicken carcass as one would a child, periodically crushing eggs (fetal chickens) on her knee. A statement of the displacement of sexual desire on food and women’s bodies, and an expression of female...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: body, feminism, performance, video history

Vito Acconci
1971 | 1:00:20
Claim Excerpts
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"In this record of a live performance, Acconci gives physical manifestation to the subterranean regions of the artist’s mind and will, revealing the effort he must make as an artist to simultaneously convince himself and his audience. Perhaps no...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: documentation, performance, video history

Lynda Benglis
1973 | 09:30
Collage
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Three basic compositions are played and recombined in Collage: a hockey game; arms swinging across the screen; and a hand holding one, two, then three oranges. As in her other work, Benglis plays with several generations of each shot,...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: performance, video history

Vito Acconci "Command Performance"
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Torn over the pressure to perform for his audience, Acconci fantasizes about "a dancing bear" who takes his place, performing in the spotlight, doing what others want, "what I always had to do."  The viewer is placed in the position of an...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: mental landscape, performance, sexuality, video history

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The Commision is an ambitious narrative in operatic form that blends video effects and electronically manipulated sound with stylized docu-drama. Based on the real-life drama of Niccolo Pagnini, the 19th Century violinist and composer (...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: image processing, music, video history

Barbara Aronofsky Latham, Curtain: An Untold Story
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In this video, the unseen narrator describes her inability to communicate to the camera what she wants to say and to whom she wants to say it. The curtain is the central metaphor for the piece, representing how Latham hides behind the video...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: feminism, performance, video history