In this well-known early tape, Jonas manipulates the grammar of the camera to create the sense of a grossly disturbed physical space. The space functions as a metaphor for the unstable identity of the costumed and masked female figure roaming the screen, negotiating the rolling barrier of the screen’s bottom edge. “[Making] use of a jarring rhythmic technique to develop a sense of fragmentation, Vertical Roll uses a common television set malfunction of the same name to establish a constantly shifting stage for the actions that relate both to the nature of the image and to the artist’s projected psychological state.”
—David Ross, “Joan Jonas’s Videotapes” in Joan Jonas: Scripts and Descriptions, 1968-1982, ed. Douglas Crimp (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983)
This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.
This title is also available on Surveying the First Decade: Volume 1.