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.
Chicago Travelogue: The Weathermen
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An interview with a group of people shot in October 1969, some of whom were involved in The Weathermen’s "Days of Rage" actions. As those present recount the significance of the actions, and the possible ramifications on the movement as a whole...

 

Collection: Videofreex Archive, Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: activism, crime or violence, documentation, politics

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

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

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

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

Davidson's Jail Tape
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Footage from the May Day 1971 events in Washington DC. Davidson, a Videofreex member, gets arrested, and what follows is rarely seen footage of the inside of the detainment bus and the jail cell, videotaped by an arrestee.

 

Collection: Videofreex Archive, Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: activism, documentation, history

1973 | 13:44
Discrepancy
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This structurally simple video, shot through Benglis's apartment window, contains a, "distinct disjuncture between the visual and aural components of the work. The viewer, initially presented with a contemplative view of nature, is frequently...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: performance, video history