Videofreex Archive

Videofreex, one of the first video collectives, was founded in 1969 by David Cort, Mary Curtis Ratcliff and Parry Teasdale, after David and Parry met each other, video cameras in hand, at the Woodstock Music Festival. The group soon grew to ten full-time members--including Chuck Kennedy, Nancy Cain, Skip Blumberg, Davidson Gigliotti, Carol Vontobel, Bart Friedman and Ann Woodward--and produced tapes, installations and multimedia events. In 1971 the Freex moved to a 27-room, former boarding house called Maple Tree Farm in Lanesville, NY, operating one of the earliest media centers. Their innovative programming ranged from artists' tapes and performances to behind-the-scenes coverage of national politics and alternate culture. During the decade that the Freex were together, this pioneer video group amassed an archive of 1,500+ raw tapes and edits.

The Videofreex Archive, now housed at VDB, chronicles the counter-cultural movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The titles listed here are the early results of an ongoing project to preserve and digitize important examples of this early video art collective.

 

More About the Videofreex Archive Preservation

 

Timely concerns about the future of video, artists’ complicity in the money making system of the ‘establishment,’ and the effect of the camera’s presence on personal encounters, is discussed and debated in this late night video produced by David...

 

Videofreex
1970 | 20:00

This tape documents Nancy Cain’s birthday party and captures the inner workings of the Videofreex’s social ethos. As pipes are refilled and passed around, and the music of Aretha Franklin and the Beatles croons in the background, members of the...

 

This eight-minute video is part experimental video art, part sketch comedy routine, and part informational lesson on the advantages and disadvantages of owning Sony's latest video technology. In it, David and Carol participate in a brilliantly...

 

This early Videofreex production exemplifies the type of imaginative approach that the collective adopted when exploring the medium of video, and how, in many ways, this balance of play and experimentation defined and unified the group's work...

 

Videofreex
1973 | 13:33

This tape, Harriet, created by Videofreex member Nancy Cain, unfolds much like a short play or literary character study. With very little directed dialogue, we gain intimate entry into a day in the life of Harriet—a long-time resident of...

 

Videofreex, Everson Museum: Video and the Museum Conference

Videofreex members Davidson Gigliotti, Bart Friedman, Skip Blumberg and Nancy Cain travel to Syracuse, New York to attend an exhibition and two-day conference featuring video art at the Everson...

 

Videofreex, Hells Angels with Sandy Alexander

In February 1970, the Freex visit the garage of the Hells Angels to informally discuss American politics and motorcycle maintenance. In this video, David Cort leads an extensive interview with the group’s president, Sandy Alexander.

 

Videofreex, Nancy's Drug Problem

In this short but provocative tape, recorded August 4th, 1971, Carol Vontobel “interviews” Nancy Cain who is speaking about her “coke addiction problem” under the pseudonym Nancy X....

 

Curtis's Abortion

In conversation with Carol Vontobel (behind the camera) and Nancy Cain, Curtis (Mary Curtis) Ratcliff describes getting her first legal abortion, soon after the state of New York legalized the procedure in 1970. Curtis supplies details of the...