Curated by Video Data Bank
The emergence of video art tools in the late 1960s and early 1970s paved the way for an extraordinary number of outstanding art works by women. Captivated by the relative accessibility, portability and immediacy of Sony’s Video Portapak recording system, a significant number of female artists began to experiment with the video format. Often taking a direct-to-camera approach, many of the resulting works reflect the burgeoning feminist movement in the U.S. at the time.
The videos in this program, all made by women artists active in the 1970s — video’s first decade — occupy a number of positions and points of view in relation to women’s role in society. Several fascinating tendencies can be traced:
• The claiming of one’s own image, occurring at the very same moment that the female body was increasingly co-opted by the commercial world of advertising
• Video being utilized as a means to directly comment on a world where, to a great extent, men called the shots
• Video being used as a tool to disrupt and question notions of originality, ‘truth’ and identity, via feedback, looping and the static shot
• Video as a vehicle for humor and/or parody, whether directly mocking the self or, more often, mocking examples of the machinations of male hierarchies apparent throughout western society
— Abina Manning, VDB Executive Director