Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos

01:07:00 | 2 DVDs

Collection: Single Artist Compilations, DVD Box Sets

Tags: Art History, Humor, Landscape, Minimalism, Performance, Video History, Visual Art

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Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos

Video Data Bank is proud to present the poetic work of West Coast conceptual artist Paul Kos. This two-disc box set features 25 video works that reveal how Kos mines humble materials for their physical properties and metaphorical possibilities. Included is a 50-page monograph containing specially commissioned essays that expand upon Kos’ five-decade long practice by art scholar Constance Lewallen and SFMOMA’s Curator of Media Arts Rudolf Frieling. 

“I try to work under some of the following self-imposed precepts: reveal slowly; prove metaphor is more; heed site or be shortsighted; respect simple humble materials; prefer art that is, to art that is about; strive for equilibrium in message and messenger; and finally, opt for, but never expect, “partly cloudy, becoming mostly sunny.”
— Paul Kos in conversation with Jarrett Earnest, Brooklyn Rail, 2012

"[Paul Kos’] work is conceptual to a degree, but it takes a real, generally sculptural, form. Add to that a strong vein of Dada absurdity and an ultra-dry wit, and it adds up to one of the Bay Area’s most entertaining, influential and important living artists.”
— Charles Desmarais, San Francisco Chronicle, 2016

 

Included Titles

1970 | 00:22
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The artist swings a live-set small game trap near his extended other hand. The trap swings ominously: will it snap his fingers? The end comes quickly! This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: performance

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The artist uses wire to suspend a block of ice in a pit-like industrial space. He swings the ice block, which is lit by a similarly swinging light bulb on a separate pendulum.

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: performance

1971 | 07:30
Warlock(ing)
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In this early black and white, reel-to-reel video, small game traps are set to catch the rain. This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: conceptual art, environment

1972 | 03:13
Paul Kos, A Trophy/Atrophy
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A two-headed calf died when one head atrophied. It became a trophy that the artist used as a source for this 16mm film transferred to video. This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: animals, conceptual art, experimental film

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"A major influence for generating ideas for me was not what I could contrive on my desktop, but being open and receptive to “accident”. For instance, one evening in 1972 while typing a syllabus for a class on my old Smith Corona typewriter, I...

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: humor, language, performance, war

Pilot Butte/Pilot Light, Paul Kos
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Produced in 1974, and restaged in 2002, near Pilot Butte in southwestern Wyoming. The artist makes a pilot light using ice, which he has fashioned into a magnifying lens to start a small fire. This piece was originally shot using 1/2" open reel...

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: conceptual art, environment, performance

1974 | 02:53
Ice Makes Fire
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Ice is fashioned into a magnifying lens and it is used to start a fire. Created in 1974 and restaged 2004. This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: performance

Riley, Roily, River
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The seemingly groundless debate as to whether a river is "riley" or "roily" can be interpreted as an example of language's descriptive failure. A shouting match over how to describe the river has no effect; the face of nature continues unchanged....

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: environment, language, video history

Paul Kos + 1 other
1976 | 01:23
Paul Kos & Marlene Kos, Lightning
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When I look for the lightning, it never strikes. When I look away, it does. Filmed inside a car, this tape focuses on observation of natural phenomena, presenting the obverse of the, "If a tree falls in the woods..." conundrum. Does observation...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: environment, video history

Paul Kos + 1 other
1977 | 06:47
Sirens
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Taking its title from the sea nymphs in Homer’s Odyssey—the treacherous spirits whose sweet voices lured sailors to their death upon the rocks—Sirens presents four hallucinatory scenes, visual puns authored by a mischievous agent. Mocking laughter...

 

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: literature, mental landscape, myth, photography, video history

1980 | 02:07
Ramp
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On a gradually inclined plane, attempts are made to scale the rise, and rubber shoe marks leave evidence of the point where all of humanity fails. This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: conceptual art, performance, sculpture

1985 | 01:10
Gargoyle V
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A Yosemite gargoyle climbs two gothic arches. This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: architecture, environment, performance

1985 | 02:45
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A Yosemite gargoyle climbs two gothic arches. This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.  

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: body, landscape, performance

Sympathetic Vibrations
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Twelve church bells are rung daily for 30 days in a sculptural setting at the Capp Street Project in San Francisco. Ringers progress from practice sessions on beer bottles to a full-scale ring. This piece was shot using a combination of 3/4" U-matic...

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: city, conceptual art, performance, sculpture, sound

1987 | 03:02
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After a failed attempt to melt down ballistic missiles into bells and site them in the city they had once targeted, 100 homing pigeons were used as metaphors, each carrying a small bell and capsule containing a Soviet or US flag. They flew from...

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags:

1987 | 14:10
Tower of Babel
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75 people speak 50 languages sometimes simultaneously. This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: language, performance

Internationale Bed and Breakfast
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When everyone has forgotten the romantic refrains of the Internationale sung in different languages, Pablito, a blue front Amazon parrot, capable of living to 100 years old, will remember. He rings bells and is learning to whistle, hum and sing the...

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: history, humor, language, music

1996 | 02:41
Paul Kos, La Vache
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Caught by video on a mountainside, Swiss cows compose and orchestrate a bell sonata. This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: environment, landscape, music

Coal Train in 2/4 Time
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Filled to capacity, each car of a 157 car train sounds a percussive note in this homage to John Coltrane. And not one coal train, but two. This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: expedition/travel, music

2x2
1997 | 04:43
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On the narrow stairway that exits Paul Kos’s Tunnel\Chapel, where his 27-channel Chartres Bleu installation is housed, Kos writes with both hands on opposite walls, recording the narrative of Noah’s Ark. This title is also available on ...

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: drawing, performance

1998 | 01:45
Reflection
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Is the left simply a mirror of the right or vice versa? This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags:

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Neither a Sierra snowfield nor a tunnel proves to be the perfect studio space for the improvement of one’s craft. Only practice counts. This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: landscape

2007 | 03:19
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The combination of a found site (an old power station in Norway), and a found object (a log) and a found instrument ( a wooden floor) produce a found sound in this acoustically alive action. This title is also available on Sympathetic ...

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: installation, sound

2007 | 02:19
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Relying on the magic echo found in an old power Station in Norway, the artist whistles and marches to the Internationale, a May Day workers’ song. This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: installation, performance, sound

2007 | 04:12
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Split screen. On the left is a walk up a twisting, rocky trail while on the right is Kanji caligraphy describing the action, completing a Haiku by Basho. This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

 

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: language, mental landscape